Despite being a particularly nasty material for the environment because it doesn’t biodegrade or corrode, plastic is one of the most used materials to make common household items. It’s hard, durable and moldable, making it a desired material for manufacturers. However, plastic can crack, dent, or get damaged in other ways and sometimes it’s better to try and repair the item than throw it away. There are plenty of ways individuals can repair plastic to make broken items operational again. Here are some ways plastic can be repaired.
Alternating Between Hot Water and Cold Water
Plastic has a relatively low melting point when compared to other materials meaning that when heated up, plastic becomes malleable and easy to shape. If hot enough, plastic can become easy to reshape and mold, especially if it’s small pieces of plastic such as figurines.
To do this, simply warm up some water until it’s just below boiling and place the plastic item you want to reshape into it. Keep taking it out periodically until you can move it your fingers. Once it’s like this, manipulate the plastic to its desired shape and then submerge in cold water so that it sets to the new shape. This method is used to mold gumshields for combat sports and is a really effective way to fix misshaped items.
Repairing cracks in a plastic device such as tubs and buckets or joining two plastic things together is super easy with plastic wielding, due to the previously mentioned low melting point of plastic. The basic technique of plastic welding is to apply heat to edges being joined together until it’s liquid enough to blend the edges together when it cools down. You can also melt additional plastic into the crack to make a stronger bond, but depending on the size of the crack, it won’t be necessary.
There are specific tools you can get such as a plastic welding kit to do these repair jobs, with some including attachments for each step of the process. These items offer great precision and quality to help make your repaired items look as good as new. Just be warned that melted plastic can be toxic, so make sure you do this in a well-ventilated room.
Using plastic patches is a great way to repair large holes in plastic items and is used often with kayakers and boatpeople to repair holes in their hull so that water doesn’t get in. To repair plastic with the use of a plastic patch, first heat up and soften the edges of the hole and the plastic section you’ll be using as a patch. The best way to do this is with a heat gun.
Next, place the patch carefully over the hole and make sure it’s completely covered. Once it’s on, it’s best to use a trowel to smooth out the edges and to ensure there’s no gaps. Make sure to use the same kind of plastic for your patch as the rest of the item so that it binds well. It’s also a good idea to use heat resistant gloves when you do this as things can get pretty hot.