Plastic Welding


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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str8edge
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Plastic Welding

Postby str8edge » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:06 pm



I saw this video on You Tube and I was wondering if anyone had tried it before?






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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby NVSB4 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:23 pm

I've heard of people trying to weld on a Goldwing, but haven't heard many success stories.
All the "plastic" parts are made of ABS.
Usually, an ABS glue is used, mixed with some shavings to form a slurry for repairs of cracks.
For really bad cracks, a backer of sheet ABS us used.
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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby MikeB » Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:22 pm

I've tried plastic welding and the ABS glue with and without the ABS shavings to make a slurry with less than acceptable results. Maybe I just don't have the technique down.
What I have done with perfect results every time is use Plastex and Plast-Aid.
Both work very very well for me. Check out the videos and make up your own mind.
Plastex -


Plast-Aid -

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby deanbw » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:31 pm

I have a plastic welder, not a soldering iron, a plastic welder, it took some getting used to but once you get the hang of it and don't just burn things, it works pretty good. I think for the 700.00 it cost you can find other things that would work for what you want. I bought it to fix the nipple on a 300gal poly water tank. It was worth it for that but I wouldn't buy one just to fix bike plastic. I years ago did the water tank in a motor home I had with a soldering iron and it worked great. I just got a circle motion going and blended the two parts back together and it never gave me another problem. Bike plastic is ABS not really good for plastic welding, it will be brittle. ABS cement and a piece of window screen for a backer works very good.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:27 pm

I do the soldering gun welding almost all the time when plastics break.
I've made different tips for different areas for large flat panels to very tight inside corners.

One of the hardest things to do is make it invisible. Once plastic melts it gets wavy and or ripples. So most of my repairs are on the side that doesn't show.

If I need building material I'll go to those high accident prone intersections, plastic of almost any color for FREE... but usually comes in black.

Sometimes a weak area needs beefing up and more plastic just won't work. I'll melt into and hide, with the plastic, some flatten bits of solid core copper wire. With said copper wire I've also made missing TABS, works quite well I must say. BUT (always a but) but one needs some forethought as to the plastics strength or its needed pliability.

ABS is a different animal, it has rubber in it. So when it melts, the plastic and rubber wants to separate a bit. Best here is use either epoxy or ABS glue and plastic shavings making a slurry. You can bury metal screen, wire or ABS sheets for needed strength.

Then there's welding dissimilar plastic materials. In all basics it can't be done but I have found a way to do it. It usually does not look pretty so painting skills are needed. Even with plastic, dissimilar plastics will expand and contract at different rates and the repair can eventually fail.

Then sometimes I just get lazy and use 2 part epoxy. :? (another but) BUT special preparation of the plastic is required.

Ya, I've done a little plastic welding repair. ;)

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby minimac » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:00 pm

I've done quite a lot of plastic"welding". It's actually a fusion process, and is done best with a hot air "torch". You melt the plastic, but not too much, and work the puddle just as though you are heli-arcing.There are ABS rods available through plastics suppliers if you need to add to the puddle. It takes a little patience, but is worth the effort.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby deanbw » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:08 pm

minimac wrote:I've done quite a lot of plastic"welding". It's actually a fusion process, and is done best with a hot air "torch". You melt the plastic, but not too much, and work the puddle just as though you are heli-arcing.There are ABS rods available through plastics suppliers if you need to add to the puddle. It takes a little patience, but is worth the effort.


I agree with minimac, This is what I bought from Mc Master, it was about 550.00 but worth it to me in the long run, once you get the feel for it they work great.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:12 pm

OK to nice looking hot air plastic welders, for those who do a fair amount of plastic repairs.
But at those prices not many will let loose of that kind of money.

Almost everyone who do their own repairs will have a soldering iron of one kind or another.
Most soldering iron tips are changeable or one can make a custom tip out of 12 gauge copper wire. Some can use broken screwdrivers, like in the pix above.

It's all about being frugal, not cheap.
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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby deanbw » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:48 pm

FM-USA wrote:OK to nice looking hot air plastic welders, for those who do a fair amount of plastic repairs.
But at those prices not many will let loose of that kind of money.

Almost everyone who do their own repairs will have a soldering iron of one kind or another.
Most soldering iron tips are changeable or one can make a custom tip out of 12 gauge copper wire. Some can use broken screwdrivers, like in the pix above.

It's all about being frugal, not cheap.
FrugalCheap.PNG


I agree, as I said in a previous post I did a tank in my old motorhome with a soldering iron, it worked fine and never leaked. But if have a need as I did (300 gal water tank) then once you have it, it can do wonders.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:12 pm

Ment no dis, juz say'n. ;)

I made that pix last year... finally had a chance to use it. :)

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Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby deanbw » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:47 pm

FM-USA wrote:Ment no dis, juz say'n. ;)

I made that pix last year... finally had a chance to use it. :)

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby minimac » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:30 am

The "frugal" approach will work for most people, but realize your essentially gooping onto the surface. If you need to do a "proper" repair, the best way to go is the fusion process. Not all kits are as expensive as the McMaster unit-which happens to be an excellent set up. A soldering iron or a hot screwdriver will all work to melt plastic and it may stick together if you're lucky. BUT as soon as there is any stress at all on the part, it will break, because the melting alters the plastics' chemical make up, becoming brittle. Not all plastics are created equal, neither are all epoxies.
Being rather frugal myself, the soldering iron melt method, followed by a liberal coating of epoxy will work for non-stressed parts, most of the time.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby raven41951 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:36 pm

I have agreed with FM-USA in the past and will again. Back in my schooling days I majored in Plastics. In my working days I was a Plastics Engineer. Thirty one years taught me that what works best for YOU is the way YOU should approach it. Specifically, Wings panels are ABS, a thermoplastic, which means it can be heated, shaped and cooled multiple times. It has very long molecular chains, over 100,000 molecules per chain. When the plastic cracks or breaks, the chains break. When you melt it (less than 500F) the chains do not break but the bonds do weaken.

You can use a soldering iron the melt it, but I recommend using a rheostat to max the tip temperature between 400 and 500, and do not keep the material there more than a few seconds at a time. This will heal the wound but leave a scar unless you immediately compress it between polished plates. This procedure is good to use when you are working in very tight places but requires patience and practice to get it just right. Filler and paint also helps the cosmetics.

The slurry/glue method with some type of reinforcement (as mentioned above several time) is best used where there is ample room and placed on the inside of the part so as not to be visible. This method is also easier to learn and provides stronger repairs. ABS pipe glue works very well for this.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:08 pm

ONE OF THESE DAYS...
I'll take pix of the top box lid that I melded, glued and reinforced. In all basics it should have been replaced, it was that bad.
BUT, the ingenuity in me said,... OH WHY NOT GIVE IT A SHOT! 2 years later it's still holding, even with several trips of 40 pound bags of dog food on the trunk rack... one 8 foot wood ladder strapped to it... 2 steel joist posts... six 12 ft. 1x4 pine strapped to it and on my shoulder... ya, I think my ugly interior repair is doing rather well. ;)

BTW: When you over heat the ABS on your Wing, the plastic partly separate and there seems to be more rubber in its place.
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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:24 pm

raven41951 wrote:Back in my schooling days I majored in Plastics. In my working days I was a Plastics Engineer.

Question...
Have you ever sprayed styrene or similar?
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Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby raven41951 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:46 am

I am assuming you mean spray painting. We tried post-processing painting but there has never been a good system to get the paint to stick. It was easier and cheaper to add a (color) pigment to the material blend when processing as the paint would only adhere for a short period. The slightest flexing would cause the paint to chip off. Some blends, such as ABS, are easier in that they have more flexibility than styrene and the rubber (Butadiene) in the tri-polymer blend lends itself to adhesive bonding, thus the correct paint will stick.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:20 pm

No, not paint styrene, heat it to melting and spray it.
I know the stuff sets really quick in air, that's part of what I want it to do before hitting the surface I want to cover.
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And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby raven41951 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:14 am

Got it. Does not lend itself to spraying. Molecular chain length is way too long. Over 300,00 molecules long. You can not get it liquid enough to spray it without destroying the polymer. I dont remember the number off hand but around 100,000 the styrene becomes liquid (oily liquid).

You might be able to grind it into a powder then spray it onto a hot surface. This also degrades the properties but it would still look like polystyrene.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:54 am

I'm looking for it to be like spun fiberglass, very loos but stiff.
LOOOONG chains is near perfect. Constant overlapping loops is what I'm expecting.
You might now know where I'm heading with this.
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Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby raven41951 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:37 pm

Getting there. Yes its doable, like extruding spaghetti. The down stream pinch rollers need to be faster than the leader. The faster the pinch rollers the thinner the strand. Let cool and reheat to make the loop.

Use impact polystyreneHD (HiPS). It contains rubber and will flex. Straight polystyrene (GPPS) is like glass and very brittle (I have made a lot of those clear disposable champagne flutes). Polystyrene is clear (they call is crystal but its not really), impact polystyrene is cloudy/opaque and use to make refrigerator liners, among a gazillion other things. I was in the disposable packaging and dinnerware business for the most part, also some custom molding for electronics and medical applications. Paid for the kids college educations.

Have you thought about using polypropylene or high-density polyethylene? They are also commodity plastics and HDPE is very good for low temperature use where PP and PS are not. HDPE also stretches very nicely and can be used to make fibers and has good strength as well. Haven't used these acronyms in 10 years.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:35 am

raven41951 wrote:Getting there. Yes its doable, like extruding spaghetti. The down stream pinch rollers need to be faster than the leader. The faster the pinch rollers the thinner the strand. Let cool and reheat to make the loop.

Use impact polystyreneHD (HiPS). It contains rubber and will flex. Straight polystyrene (GPPS) is like glass and very brittle (I have made a lot of those clear disposable champagne flutes). Polystyrene is clear (they call is crystal but its not really), impact polystyrene is cloudy/opaque and use to make refrigerator liners, among a gazillion other things. I was in the disposable packaging and dinnerware business for the most part, also some custom molding for electronics and medical applications. Paid for the kids college educations.

Have you thought about using polypropylene or high-density polyethylene? They are also commodity plastics and HDPE is very good for low temperature use where PP and PS are not. HDPE also stretches very nicely and can be used to make fibers and has good strength as well. Haven't used these acronyms in 10 years.


I've looked at HDPE but it's a bit heavy and not very rigid until it gets near 1/8 inch, then it's heavy.
I also don't want anything with rubber in it, again not rigid enough.
NIDA-CORE Fusion STF would work nicely but way-WAY too costly.
My reasons for styrene, it will set rather stiff, and it's cheap, and EZ to repair. I don't want flex NOR do I want sag from high ambient heat. I'm looking at possibly maximum panel temps of around 180*F and a low of possibly minus 30*F. This will be skinned both sides so UV shouldn't be an issue.

If there's a lighter material that can be spun into lightweight sheets, I might be game. BUT it must be workable with 'shade tree' homies with minimal tools.

A bud sent me a fair sized sheet of blank IC board to test. It would be perfect except for the huge size I need... the price :o . HOLY-MOLY! Besides large sheets has some heft.
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Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby raven41951 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:56 am

Styrene has a distortion temp of at least 200F depending on grade. High heat grades go up to 220F. It will start to soften in th e 160-180 range but it has no cold temperature impact resistance. If its the meat in the sandwich then the skin may survive impact but the filler will fail. There is really no way to improve the impact strength other than adding rubber so it is what it is. That said laminatd structures provide a great deal of strength compared to the individual so it may survive the application.

It should make it through the 180 end provided it is allowed to cool without any pressure put on it which would cause distortion. The -30 end is entirely dependent on the skin. Styrene will be more brittle than glass.

I briefly thought of eps, the bead foam form use to make hot cups but there is no strength there but it would survive the temp range and the laminated structure would add some strength. It is commonly used in insulation panels.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby FM-USA » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:01 am

Well buggers, start to soften around 180.
Not good at all since there will be some stress on the panel.
I'd hate to go think fiberglass is the only option.

I'm going to PM you on this.
"OIL CHANGE?" _FM 07-2009
Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby flogger » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:27 am

JB Weld... Used it for many years repairing all sorts on all Hondas I've owned...
1996 GL1500SE GoldWing
1983 GL650i SilverWing
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Re: Plastic Welding

Postby WalterM817 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:00 pm

Redoing my old 82 Interstate and replacing the fairing. I decided to add it back to the bike. 4years ago I took it off and noticed it had a couple of cracks in it. They were pretty long and when I looked it over carefully there were a couple of others I had never noticed.
I thought I had read about joining or patching these things on another forum so I started looking about and discovered that all they had done was use Acetone to join the pieces. I made up a bit of ground ABS plastic from an old ABS cover I had laying around and put a bit of Laquer thinner(Acetone) in with it in a glass jar. It melted right away to a consistency of a thick glue. I tried brushing it into the cracks and letting it set while I held the edges together. That worked but was a bit messy where it squeezed out. But it held like steel. I wanted it to look better so I tried just prying the edges apart on another crack and using an insulin needle to inject the Acetone in the crack directly. I held them for a minute or two and these were just as strong when finished without the squeezed out stuff to look messy. SO far so good. The fairing has been handled and moved,twisted and in general pushed,prodded etc. and I think it will break somewhere else first. It;s cheap and unnoticeable and so far it's working . Just thought I'd share my experience so far!




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