Plastic Welding

 I thought I’d give this a go when I discovered that one of the plastic dash bits (used) for the 2010 C14/GTR1400 Concours was upwards of $150US +shipping. One of the benefits of reading Practical Sportsbikes Magazine is that they’re always dropping technical hints and ideas. They mentioned plastic welding in one of their project bike articles, so I looked it up.

The repair kit cost less than $40CAD and includes a heating ‘iron’ with multiple ends and piles of plastic strips you can melt into a repair. Starting with a simple crack would have been easier, but I had to rebuild the broken end of a complicated plastic form, including a missing bolt hole.

Here’s the broken plastic dash panel:

I found a piece of plastic from a hex key tool with a matching sized hole, cut the end off the plastic bit  and grafted it on.

While that was cooling I melted some of the filler on the back and healed the crack up the middle.

I was liberal with the filler because I figured it would sand back. The only problem with this piece is that it’s patterned on the surface and I’m not sure how I’m going to replicate that. The fix might be to take both pieces of and just paint them to a matching finish.

When I tried it for size, the panel lined up with the holes perfectly and is much more sturdy than it used to be. I’m going to finish sanding it and see if the raw finish bothers me while riding. If it does I’ll take both dash panels off and paint both sides so they match. If I use a vinyl paint, I should get a matching finish that also acts like the original and would Armor-All up nicely.

So, what’s plastic welding like? Pretty straightforward, and like most things if you practice you’ll get better at it. The filler sticks provided in the kit melt easily under the iron and fill cracks and holes well. If you don’t like the first go you can reapply heat and get it to set differently. If you’re looking at absurd replacement costs for old plastic on a well used bike, a plastic welding kit is a good purchase.

from Blogger