How to Glue Rubber to Steel

toy tractor from wood and with wheel from rubber image by Dzmitry Lameika from

Many types of crafts and projects call for gluing steel and rubber together. Because there are many rubber variations, not all glues will work well with each kind. Steel is more uniform in performance, and usually if the surface is clean and slightly abraded to receive a glue, most of the glue products rated for rubber-to-steel applications will work well. The first step to a quality bond in your project is to clearly identify what kind of rubber you want to glue. Once you identify the rubber type, you are also likely to encounter a manufacturer's recommendation for a particular type of glue to use in bonding the rubber to other materials. Some general glue types will work with a majority of rubber products if you are looking for a quicker result.

Clean both parts using a solvent, degreaser or sand blaster. All dirt, grit, rust or grease should be removed. When possible, abrade the surface of the steel slightly so that the surface is not slippery. This will allow the glue a better surface for bonding.

Identify the type of rubber you wish to glue. When possible, inquire from the manufacturer for best glue products for that particular rubber mixture. If it isn't possible to locate the manufacturer of the rubber, test a few products for one that works well in your application.

Glue small projects such as jewellery fittings or electronics using super glue (such as Loctite Black Max). This type of glue will work with a wide variety of rubber types with the benefit of quick bonding. Apply the glue to both parts and press the glued parts together until the bond is secure. Slower glues will benefit from clamping the parts together until the bond cures.

Select an automotive weather stripping glue, (such as 3M Weatherstrip) or a glue like E-6000 for a thicker viscosity and slower drying behaviour over a cyanoacrylate (super glue) adhesive product.

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