Best epoxy/adhesive for aluminum

christianoffroad

Cheap Adventurer!
I am looking at using aluminum to make a rear enclosure to replace my tailgate and door for my Wildernest. The idea is use aluminum angle/square tube/ sheet to make it, and epoxy/rivet it all together. This thing will have to be fairly strong, but still take some of the torsional twist that will come from being on the back of a 4x4. It will also have to withstand temps from -20 to 110. What has everyone used and had good luck with? I have seen aviation epoxies, but they go for an obscene price! Suggestions and experience would be greatly appreciated!
 

Tazman

Adventurer
I have used 3M 5200 for permanent bond of anything. It is a marine adhesive and you can buy it from Defender. It is PERMANENT, waterproof, flexible, and VERY permanent. Did I mention it is permanent beyond belief. If you ever are going to need to take it apart in the future, do not use this stuff but I'm sure another 3M product would work just fine.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
yeah, a small single project Id also suggest the 5200

You can get it in a few different volumes, all of which cheaper than a good 2-part epoxy system.
 

stingray1300

Explorer
I recommend my favorite aluminum bonding product: weld it. It too is very "permanent" (but there's nothing permanent about a weld - but it sure is stronger than any adhesive) MIG or TIG, either way works.
 

S2DM

Adventurer
Really depends on the how much force and what type of force you expect it to see. If its just a frame that will be experiencing torsional force, 5200 or sika 252 would be plenty. If it will also be experiencing any sort of peel force, I'd recommend a structural epoxy. Is it just a frame, or a frame you plan on attaching stuff to? Keep in mind 5200 and sika take almost a week to cure. 5200 comes in a fast cure variety that takes about a day.

5200 is an incredibly strong bond, but it technically isn't considered a structural adhesive. A toughened epoxy like a proset 176/276 is quite a bit stronger in terms of peel force to remove, yet still flexible. If there is a moment of force, such as a mast or outrigger etc, about the bond site, I'd recommend the proset, if not, 5200. More expensive ~ $50 (although you get about 50% more) and it requires a special $100 two cylinder gun to apply. Proset is also much easier to work with, clean etc. I've used alot of both in my project and I am very careful when applying 5200.

A properly glued project (scuff the surface well, wipe down with acetone, degrease the metal, scuff it well and wipe down with acetone) should be quite a bit stronger than a weld. No disrespect to welding, but if you consider the bond surface at play, a weld has to be many log factors stronger to compete because the adhesive approach has such a greater surface area to work with.
 

Ozarker

Explorer
Well, not to get off topic or hijack the thread, is 5200 good to bond wood or metal to fiberglass, the unfinished side of fiberglass that doesn't have the gelcoat finish? Attaching stuff to the inside roof of a pickup topper. And, would it bond canvas or poly to other poly, wood or metal? The prep work mentioned above can be done to all the materials in question. Thank!
 

Tazman

Adventurer
I had to replace the teak and holly floor on my sailboat. The factory that made the boat, used 5200 to attach the teak and holly (basically finished plywood) to the fiberglass floor. Over time it had rotted and needed to be replaced. It took two men, two days, to chisel the floor out. Two days. And yes I was one of the chiselers.

Did I mention this stuff is permanent.
 

S2DM

Adventurer
Just to be clear on my response above, 5200 is incredibly strong. I've had to remove it a few times now, and it is tenacious. Resists sanding off like crazy, basically requires chiseling. The difference between the two only becomes evident when you are talking about really big forces, like those involving a large lever arm producing thousands of pounds of force. For the average job, 5200 will do above average work. I use proset for things like bed support platforms that have a small glue surface and see a bunch of force, I also use it to glue in threaded inserts where I need a strong metal anchor that sees lots of force. Not a lot of glue area, so I use proset. Attaching a marine ply door frame to the side of the camper, 5200. Putting in windows, sika 252 or 5200.
 
For something that is strong yet is able to take torsional forces, the joint and connection design would have a much greater impact on the overall strength of the assembled unit. There are many industrial structural adhesives out there, the selection depends on your preferred characteristics and overall constriction, for a small project the cost is not that significant. I have used products from Plexus, Lord, and 3M Scotch-Weld If you chose one that fits your conditions and requirements form any of those manufactures, you will be fine as long as the joint is designed correctly.

Depending on what you are making, the structural tapes may also be an solution.
 

david506th

Adventurer
Just to be clear on my response above, 5200 is incredibly strong. Not a lot of glue area, so I use proset. Attaching a marine ply door frame to the side of the camper, 5200. Putting in windows, sika 252 or 5200.
Also save yourself the hurt and get a pneumatic chalk gun.
 

Roc8man

New member
Locktite Epoxy Marine has a bond strength that is 5x higher than that of 3m 5200 and is available in easy to use syringe type dispenser. You can even apply it underwater and it will cure to full strength. Another plus is full cure is 24 hours. At least this will give you another choice...

Good luck,
David
 

christianoffroad

Cheap Adventurer!
Wow, this is why I love this site! Thanks to all for your input! I will start researching and see what available around here. Since this project is always evolving, I will probably change my idea 10 times by the time I get the rest of the materials together! Any way I go, I think bonding this thing together is definitely the way I'm going to go!
 

SamM

Adventurer
My Schutt Industries LTT LQG military trailer width needed to be reduced to match the track of my Jeep Wrangler. The frame rails were removed and replaced with 1/2" aluminum flat bar. This reduced the width of the trailer to 51". I decided to use Grade 8 blots lock washers and nylock nuts to replace the Schutt Huck bolts that were removed. After doing some reading, I discovered that Loctite Hysol E20hp adhesive had a holding strength of approximately 5000psi. This glue rivals the strength of the Huck bolts and should be more than sufficient to hold my trailer frame together. The last of my frame parts will be here soon.

SamM
 

Ozarker

Explorer
My Schutt Industries LTT LQG military trailer width needed to be reduced to match the track of my Jeep Wrangler. The frame rails were removed and replaced with 1/2" aluminum flat bar. This reduced the width of the trailer to 51". I decided to use Grade 8 blots lock washers and nylock nuts to replace the Schutt Huck bolts that were removed. After doing some reading, I discovered that Loctite Hysol E20hp adhesive had a holding strength of approximately 5000psi. This glue rivals the strength of the Huck bolts and should be more than sufficient to hold my trailer frame together. The last of my frame parts will be here soon.

SamM
Sam, how do you convince the State Trooper at the vehicle inspection station that a trailer frame glued together is as strong as being welded or bolted? Really, not being a smart azz, our inspection guy wants to see the welds and everything welded. I'd love to use the stuff to add on to my trailer, but if I make it longer or wider than titled, I need to have it reinspected......and I could have issues in an accident. I can see bolting something larger and saying it's a bolt on, not part of the trailer, but the frame? Don't know.....
 
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