Welding isn’t just a job for experts. If you’re a DIY enthusiast or someone who wants to learn how to repair things at home, there are many ways you can learn how to put welding to use. One of the easiest things to weld at home is plastic. Below we outline a few basic ways to start welding plastic if you’ve never done it before.
Uses for Plastic Welding
Anything that requires two pieces of plastic to fuse together can be welded at home. This could involve a repair, a craft project, or building something new. For example, items you could weld at home include:
- Arms on a chair
- Plastic Buckets
- Car parts
Plastic Welding 101
At its most basic, welding plastic requires heat. It is more effective than glue because it fuses the materials together rather than providing a temporary bond. It’s also important to note that the easiest plastics to weld are:
- PP – Polypropylene
- HDPE – High-density polyethylene
- LDPE – Low-density polyethylene
To get started on your project, you’ll usually need the following items:
- a heat gun, such as a Leister Triac ST
- a soldering iron
- leather gloves
- a mask to protect your face and breathing. You should also ensure the area is well ventilated.
Once you’ve gathered the appropriate tools and materials, you’ll need to establish how well the plastic will fit together. Depending on the object you’re welding, you may need soldering arms, or you could try to glue the pieces initially to hold them together.
There are a variety of ways to weld plastic, but two of the most common are:
Face fusing is a simple technique where you heat each face of the plastic you intend to fuse. Using a piece of sheet metal, you can fuse the two items together. It can be easy to overheat, though, so be careful!
In this method, you’ll take the soldering iron and gently run it along with the plastic until it melts. This allows you to then fuse the item together.
While most plastic welding can be straightforward, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before embarking on your project.
- Is the plastic thin or thick?
- What type of plastic is it?
- Does the plastic you’re welding have holes?
- Are there other materials that might interfere with the welding job?
These considerations will enable you to determine whether you need other materials aside from the basics listed above. You may need to add additional plastic or metal pieces, such as staples, to strengthen the welding job in these cases. When embarking on any project, it is also important to take care of your safety. Some welders use respirators or ventilation fans to ensure that they don’t inhale any of the chemicals. Welding requires close-up action with the plastic, so you must take safety precautions. The above is only a brief guide to plastic welding. If you’re a newbie, various tutorials can help you become familiar with the process.