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  • Plastic welding

    I have become interested in the process of plastic welding. I notice there are two professional styles:

    1. airless
    2. using air pressure

    I have read a number of sites and viewed various U-tube presentations showing both methods.

    Both styles seem to have their pros and cons.

    I even saw a fellow in Jamaica use a standard soldering iron to weld a plastic frame for a bicycle..but we all know that's just not right!

    So..any of you here have experience in plastic welding?
    What tool do you use? and why?
    What are the common projects?
    What are the problems? such as eliminating the fumes as they are REALLY bad for you.....

    I don't want to get two systems so I'm trying to compare one method to another but can't seems to decide the best way to go.


    Cactus Man

  • #2
    Re: Plastic welding

    i have 2 professional plastic welders. mine have a self contained blower fan and variable heat.

    the most important thing is to properly clean the plastic prior to welding and also using the plastic filler rod that is the right material.

    takes practice, but working with scrap plastic is the best bet to learn the process.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Plastic welding

      Plumber Rick, what advantage does the blower fan style over the direct heat style?

      Aside from the obvious of keeping the plastic fumes away from you
      somewhat.

      Does the blower fan style end up with nicer, better, stronger welds?

      This is intended for the "weekend warrior" type plastic welding.

      I'm not even sure what applications I'll come across..but typically if I'll need it it will be on a Friday night at 10:00p.m. when everything is closed and I don't have a repair part!


      Cactus Man

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Plastic welding

        the units i have, have a built in fan blower and therefore don't require an air compressor. basically the unit is a very high powered hair dryer. not a cheap unit, but i purchased them both used.

        i had a couple poly propelene water filter tanks split on me at the 2'' fip connection. had them welded at a shop and watched them do it. they sold me a used one and gave me some lessons and some rod.

        i'll see if i can grab a photo and model number off of 1.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Plastic welding

          I made my decision....

          I ordered the Urethane Supply model URE5600HT
          It's an airless unit rated at 80watts.
          This model seems to be the most popular and I even found out
          the Snap On tool guy [locally] sells them to auto body shops
          and they are proven to be very good.

          I found the best price at "WWW.tooltopia.com"

          [I have no financial interest in the company, this is for information only]

          They have them for $154.99 and free shipping.

          After I receive it and learn how to use it [properly & safely], I'll return with my user comments.

          Oh, I did go to Harbor Freight and picked up a package of assorted plastic welding rod. My local store did not stock their three models
          of plastic welders.


          Cactus Man

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Plastic welding

            The plastic welder kit arrived today.

            I took the time to watch the enclosed DVD discussing the how
            to and demonstrations of various plastic welding procedures.

            In a word "WOW" I did not realize how sophisticated plastic welding is! There is definitely a steep learning curve here for excellent results.

            I have just developed an entirely new respect for those guys at auto body/fender repair places. The old days of bondo, sanding, and paint are a thing of the past. Most vehicles today have a variety of plastics and each type delineates a special skill and "stuff" to fix it!

            I am amazed as to the amount of chemicals and steps used to make a plastic repair.

            I am not even on the first rung of the learning curve here but I plan to start with scrap ABS and polypropylene and learn a new skill.

            I still need to research proper respiratory protection as the direct heat method does involve dealing with potentially dangerous fumes.
            This is one area Urethane Supply company [the source for plastic welding] seems to be lacking. They do not discuss any safety issues with respect to the fumes....The DVD shows the guy wearing a mask when applying the primer and paint, but not much discussion during the plastic welding/repair

            Cactus Man

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Plastic welding

              My final comments on this posting:

              I set up the plastic welder and decided to "train" on some old ABS plastic pipe. The pipe had some holes and cracks.

              The plastic welder iron is nicely balanced etc. But it did take a while to heat up..even in the 107 F degree work shop...Hey it's summer time here in Arizona! [but it's a dry heat humidity less than 10%]

              Once the iron was hot, I for lack of a better description...welded the hole shut and repaired the cracks!
              I did have a 16" fan blowing air across me and the work thus fumes and smoke were minimal. Actually I was expecting much more smoke and fumes.

              After the initial weld, I used the flat of the tip to smooth out the area as best as I could. Then after a few minutes the work cooled and was hard.

              I pulled out my small 2" right angle pneumatic sander and with 100 grit sanded the repaired areas smooth. I followed up with hand sanding using 120 grit.

              That's it! smooth, strong, etc. Of course a "real repair" would require more sanding at higher grits then plastic primer and paint to match.

              Now I'm sure as I do more I'll get better just as with metal welding,
              the more you do the better you get.

              I plan to invest in some sort of vapor respirator for plastic. I chatted with the manufacturer and they strongly suggest that. An alternative is to work outdoors and or have a fan blowing fumes away from you.

              I realize the fumes from ABS plastic were not as bad as I anticipated...very little smoke from the material or welding [specific] rod. Other plastics though will be much more volatile so safety here is a concern that will be addressed.

              So for those of you on the edge of entering plastic welding..go for it.
              The model 6 5600ht is an excellent kit.

              Cactus Man

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