I’m Anne, a homesteader, blacksmith and woodworker living in Seattle. I run the YouTube channel and Instagram page, Anne of All Trades, and I’ve partnered up with 3M on my current project to renovate and restore the blacksmithing shop on my farm. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting here with updates on my project and how it’s coming along.
When we bought this property 4 years ago, I just knew this space would make such an amazing place to work on my blacksmithing projects. A few farm emergencies later, it became a chicken coop for a short while. The building fell further into disrepair and I’ve not had the chance to tackle fixing it until now.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been using the 3M Industrial Community as a way to find information and tips on how to restore this workshop. I’ve also been chatting with 3M engineers, who suggested I use 3MTM VHBTM Tape to “fabricate” some no-weld window frames. It’s a fantastic way to attach the acrylic window panes to the metal frames, and a great way to attach the steel-to-steel components with a bond as strong, if not stronger than, welding.
Before I get started, I have a few questions about the application of the tape:
- I have made some window frames by notching out 45-degree angles in steel with an angle grinder and cutoff disc. I then bent the steel into a square frame shape. See picture below. How best should I prepare the steel for tape lamination? Should I sand it at all or just wash it?
- What is the best way to apply the tape to the steel to ensure proper adhesion?
- Once the tape is applied, are there any final steps or considerations before using the windows?
Thanks John! As suggested, I prepped the surface with 320 grit sandpaper and cleaned it with isopropyl alcohol.
Then, I applied the tape and rolled it with a J roller to assure proper adhesion to the steel. The next step was peeling the opposing side of the tape away, then sticking the acrylic window to the tape on the steel frame.
Finally, I used a little clamp to get out any air bubbles.
The biggest benefit for me of using the tape is that it’s easier than welding because it requires no welding equipment, no grinding, is very quick and very clean.
Without the tape, I would have had to weld and grind the frames and keep them perfectly square through the process. But with the tape, I could cut the acrylic perfectly square and fit the metal frame squarely to the piece as I taped it in. I was also able to avoid drilling and screwing the acrylic into the frames, which would have been extremely time-consuming because I’d also have to drill and tap the metal frames. Acrylic is very brittle and is highly prone to scratches, so I wanted to use a method that involved a quick, easy installation. I’m so glad I had 3M’s engineers suggest such a simple solution.
Using the tape allowed me to transform a dilapidated structure on our property that’s gone unused for the last 4 years into an inspiring and useful creative space where I can continue to learn about tool-making and blacksmithing. If you want to follow the progress of this project, I’ll be posting updates here on the page over the next 3 weeks, so stay tuned!