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LABS Tutorial

 

To get you started here are a few acronyms to get acquainted with.

 

  1.  ABS  (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)   ABS is all around you.  It is used in a lot of everyday plastic products and you use it all day long whether you know it or not.

  2. MEK  (Methyl Ethyl Ketone)  Read on I will address this product.

  3. LABS  (Liquid ABS).  A liquid mixture that results from dissolving ABS in MEK.      

 

First of all I should address the issue of MEK and the realities of dealing with it.  MEK  is a known carcinogen.  But don’t let that scare you away.  Gasoline, like the kind you put in your car and lawn mower, is a known carcinogen also. 

ALWAYS HANDLE ANY MEK OR ANY MEK PRODUCT DERIVED FROM IT WITH PROPER PROTECTION.  Nitrile gloves are a must.  Proper eye ware protection also. 

Preparing the Mixture:

You have to procure MEK and ABS first.  MEK is getting harder to find.  Lowes still carries it.  Lately I haven’t seen it in Home Depot.  As far as ABS it is better to use a pellet form that is in a virgin state.  People claim that things like LEGO blocks and such are a good source but I would go to a known source of ABS and there a lot of places like ebay and such to find them at a cheap price.   Don’t use things like Wendy’s cutlery because they are most likely Styrene or some other derivative and they WILL NOT WORK OR THEY WILL FAIL AS A REPAIR IN A SHORT TIME.  If bubbling is occurring in your repairs then your mixture or brush isn't right.  I have put in the research and done the repairs and I know what I am talking about.  I know what works and what doesn’t. 

  1.  You will need a suitable GLASS container to hold the mixture.  One with a tight fitting lid as LABS will dry rapidly when exposed to air.

  2. You will need a suitable brush to apply the mixture.  Any type of brush made from a petroleum or polymer product will dissolve when the MEK hits it and it will wind up as part of your repair.  It just won’t work.  I have found that a small horsehair brush works very well.  It won’t dissolve and is reusable if you clean it correctly. Typically they are used in the soldering industry as brushes to apply flux.

  3. You will need to mix ABS and MEK in equal amounts at first.  Depending on what type of repair you are doing you will need to thin the mixture up or down to take it from a pancake batter like status to a more watery type of mixture.  Going thinner is simple.  Just add MEK and mix.  Going thicker means adding ABS and the mixture will need time to dissolve the ABS and that could mean 24 hours.

  4. Start in small amounts.  Don't try to make quarts of this mixture.  You won't need that much.  Think in "cups" increments.

Here is how I store my LABS mixture.  A simple mason jar with a screw on lid.   Next to it is a used brush that I prefer.