For this Project you will need:
- A plastic Welder
- A Dremel Tool w/sanding head
- Adjustable crescent wrench
- Some sort of plastic filler material (preferably same color as broken plastic)
- Safety Glasses
Before repairing the box itself, I highly recommend practicing on some scrap plastic to lock in the techniques explained in the next few steps. If you mess up on the box itself it will makes things more difficult in the long run, rather than making it easier.
Step 1: Getting Started
Included with the plastic welder is the instruction manual, and in that manual it gives a chart of temperatures in accordance with the different nozzle types. Select which nozzle is best for your repair, the included types are featured in the first photo. When you install the head, make sure you tighten it down a quarter turn with the adjustable wrench; I learned after welding a bit that it will shake itself loose over time. On the bottom of the plastic welder you will see the knob that adjusts the temperature needed for welding. For this project I was around level 2-3, adjusting accordingly for when the gun heated up and cooled down. W Before you get started, you need to place the welder in a clear open space away from any other objects. It is key to turn the welder on and let it run for roughly 3-5 minutes to get up to temperature, otherwise it will just be blowing cold air. The welder featured does not need an air compressor so it's a bit more accessible, but takes longer to warm up.
It is important to mention safety here as well. When working with the warmed up welder, it is crucial to wear gloves through this process. At first it may seem safe to do without, seeing how it's not nearly as high temperature as a MIG or TIG welder. However, the temperature needed will be around 300°F so you can easily burn a finger.
Step 2: Tack Welding
One note: If welding without filler material doesn't work, use a small amount just to make sure.
Step 3: Welding Along a Seam
Remember! Do this in a safe and clear environment to avoid all hazards and maximize safety.
Keep in mind once you have welded the entire seam, it won't look pretty. Since the box pictured here is clear, there is little finish work available compared to something that is painted. However, there is something that can be done in the next step!
Step 4: Sanding Down the Weld
To get rid of the gnarly plastic along the crack it has come time to break out the Dremel tool! For this you will want to keep the RPM down on the tool to be sure to not melt the plastic. I started at the lowest setting and moved up from there, gauging what was needed based on effectiveness and speed. A bit too fast and you will risk melting the plastic as well as grinding too deep, and too slow it will take an unnecessary amount of time to sand down the weld.
If you have a painted or otherwise coated box, there will be an extra step of refinishing over the sanded plastic. It's really on a case to case basis with what
After you are satisfied with the sanding, you are done! This fix will make the box fully functional once again and will save you some money before upgrading the container to something new. All of these tools and more are included with a TechShop Membership so come on down!