Remove Super Glue From Polycarbonate


#1

I accidentally spilled some super glue on a polycarbonate panel. After quite a bit of swearing, The panels I was gluing together fell apart. Now I need to get the super glue off the polycarbonate panels, as it must be clear. I have tried WD-40, acetone, rubbing alcohol, and even dish soap to try and get it off with no avail. Does anyone know how to get super glue off of polycarbonate?


#2

Razor blade? Sandpaper?
If you are going for aesthetics, I’d probably give up - it’s not coming off easily in any pretty way without some serious solvents.
In general, I try to avoid using glue on robots unless in situations where there is truly no other way.


#3

Assuming this is a cyanoacrylate super glue, if acetone didn’t take it off it isn’t coming off.


#4

It’s not coming off, sorry. Have run into this several times and there’s no way to get a clean finish.

You can mechanically remove it but it will obviously scratch the part to do that.


#5

Augh, guess I’ll recut the pieces. Was wondering this. I should use acrylic next time with a better glue than superglue, probably like acrylic cement or sealer.


#6

What are you using this for? Cyanoacrylate usually does a decent job getting polycarbonate to stick to itself when you leave enough time for curing. Also, depending on your application, you may not want to use acrylic. Acrylic does have a tendency to shatter. Also, you should never use acetone on polycarbonate. It will chemically attack it and ruin it’s properties.


#7

Don’t know if it will work but you could try sanding it which will leave it looking like frosted glass, then take a heat gun to it. That will kind of melt the plastic and make it clear again. It would be REALLY tricky and may not be the most beautiful results but if you didn’t have extra you could cut it might be worth a try.

I would recommend recutting the piece, but if you do decide to try the method above please let us know of the results. I’ve been successful with very small pieces done in acrylic but have never tried polycarbonate. I would be interested in the results.


#8

It obviously is application dependent but acrylic and robots is not a great match. Polycarbonate usually performs way better. Arylic tends to shatter under impact shocks loads and have issues with stress cracks.


#9

Since it hasn’t been said here yet, cyanoacrylate (the active ingredient in super glue, as well as loctite and other glues) can cause polycarbonate to turn brittle upon contact. I highly recommend using an epoxy or other type of adhesive if you want to glue polycarbonate.

As far as removing the glue, acetone is the usual remedy for errant super glue. But as has been said above, acetone eats away at polycarbonate (even more than the cyanoacrylate does). All in all, I’d recommend just cutting a new piece so you don’t have to worry about the meterial not behaving the way you expect it to. And in the future, make sure to keep super glue, loctite, and any other cyanoacrylate far away from your polycarbonate.


#10

Came here to say this. Now all I have to do is second it!

Here is an acrylate epoxy from 3M (not cyanoacrylate as far as I know). Remarkably stronger than a good ‘super glue’ from 3M.

The epoxy failed cohesively (glue broke apart) at 1,000psi in shear when bonded to polycarbonate, whereas the ‘super glue’ had substrate failure (polycarbonate broke) at 660psi in the same test. This indicates that the super glue creates a weaker joint because it degraded the polycarbonate.

TL;DR - The right epoxy will be 50% stronger (or more) than a super-glue joint.

3M also provides instructions for best-practice joint preparation, and their static mixer nozzles and guns are REALLY nice to work with, if a little expensive.


#11

Even if there weren’t serious chemistry concerns here (see above 2 posts), OP is concerned mostly with with aesthetics of their thing, and super glue is probably going to cause some undesirable (ugly) crazing of the PC surface.