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Boats - Welding Plastic

Boats - Welding Plastic

Plastic in all its forms is everywhere and has been with us for many years.  Similar to other manufacturing materials, modern plastic is recyclable and very weldable, so not only can you repair broken / damaged parts you can also add to, customise or make our own items for example water tanks, buoys, covers, tarps etc.  Let’s keep it simple:
Narrowing it down to two types of plastic:

1.  Thermo set - GRP – Glass reinforced plastic commonly known as FIBRE GLASS.
Not weldable.

2.  Thermo Form – PVC, PE, ABS, PC, PP etc.  – The majority of plastics DO NOT like being stuck or repaired with fibre glass, super glue, duct tape etc.  These methods simply do not work and have little or no structural strength.

If a metal angle broke you would weld it; you would not repair it with duct tape, and if your fibre glass boat was damaged you would not repair it with super glue.  If you have a damaged plastic item, you would instead repair it with a plastic welder using the appropriate plastic welding rod.  No matter how large or small the plastic repair or indeed the plastic fabrication, it can be welded using a Leister Weld Gun.
When choosing a plastic welder, use your common sense.  Think – If it looks like a glue gun it probably is, and if it looks like a paint stripper then it probably is.  If you are told it is a plastic welding gun, look at the accessories and nozzles and if they are of pressed tin manufacture it is probably not a plastic welder.
If you are in any doubt then ask for a demonstration weld.  A plastic welded / repaired component should be as strong as the original and cosmetically acceptable.

Plastic Identification Codes

Look for the code or a number marked on inside of part

ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
ABS/PC Polymer alloy of above
PA Polyamide (Nylon)
PBT Polybutylene Terephtalate (POCAN)
PC Polycarbonate
PE Polyethylene
PP Polypropylene
PP/EPDM Polypropylene/Ethylenediene Rubber
PUR Polyurethane (not all PUR is weldable)
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
GRP/SMC Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (not weldable)

Editorial Supplied by Able Plastics - Contact : Dave Tucker, Telephone: 01206 272004

Able Plastics - Boat welding

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