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Old 01-16-2011   #1
Silverthorne, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 93
plastic welder

any thoughts or experiences on who is best/closest plastic welder to summit county or front range?

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Old 01-16-2011   #2
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Athens, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I ordered some plastic welding rods and use a soldering iron and my wifes hair dryer.
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Old 01-16-2011   #3
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Canberra, OZ
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Posts: 168
I took my boat to the wildwwasser/prijon shop in Boulder when I cracked mine. They have a hookup with a plastic welder, I think. Cost me about $80, but my boat was extremely beat up, so it's probably cheaper if you just have a small crack/1 crack.
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Old 01-17-2011   #4
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
Do it yourself

You got ripped off. You can buy plastic welders at Habor Freight for cheap. Plastic Welding Equipment & Plastic Welders

Check Allen Stincle's how to on the LL website.
I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 01-17-2011   #5
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Plastic welds never hold up when rock tested. I've done good welds (and bad), and the result seems to be the same--you might get a run or two in before you notice your boat fills up with water. Half full boats will turn class III into V- is the good news for a dry spring. I've gone through 2 boats that I've nursed with welds. One I've turned into a planter, the other is 'fixed' in my garage (broken, fixed, broken, fixed...). If you like the odor of burnt plastic and the challenge of welding, then go for it , otherwise, you'll probably save some heartache buying another boat. I know someone out there is going to disagree with this... Bitch-o-thane is another fun route to try if you get bored of the smell of gas-fired polymer.
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Old 01-17-2011   #6
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
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Posts: 5,507
The plastic shouldn't burn or smell funny, if it does the molecules don't bond correctly and the plastic becomes brittle and recracks. A craft store heat gun is all you need! Heat stick heat boat spin it in as you go super simple, plastic is only slightly stiffer after and yes welds hold when done correctly! Use the heat tape and peices of plastic from that same brand boat, cut them into 1/4" inch strips, quickens it a bit, less heat means less change to molecules which is key!
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Old 01-17-2011   #7
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 91
maybe I've been overheating the plastic, then? So you've had those welds hold under a hit?
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Old 01-17-2011   #8
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Bozeman, Montana
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Hits you mean. And yes my welding is that outstanding!
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Old 01-17-2011   #9
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Posts: 2,032
I agree that doing it yourself is the way to go. It's not that difficult and you'll probably be doing it again (and again and again...). I think the plastic welder Don posted is a good bet if you don't already have something. It's best to get plastic from the same type of boat that you're welding if possible.

From what I've seen, if you have a small crack your chances are really good of getting a weld to hold. If it's a large displaced crack under the seat it's going to be more difficult. If it's not under the seat you're in luck.

It also depends on why your boat cracked. I've found that often once you get a crack from wear and tear it's an indication that your plastic is done worn out and you're about to get more all over the place. I've chased small cracks around my boat for months and found that the welds almost never open up again.

I've taken to doing a weld on the outside, then on the inside, and then slapping on a few layers of Gorilla tape on the inside (just in case). It's not as good as new, but pretty bomber. I would perform this in a well ventilated area.

A lot of people end up using a welded boat for roadside runs and keep an uncracked one for runs that would be painful to have to walk out of.

deepsouth and I were once discussing putting together our own amateur "how-to" welding video but have been too lazy or apathetic to do it. I'm thinking a special feature on the new HH website
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Old 01-17-2011   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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If you are a regular boat abuser, it pays to learn how to plastic weld. The link Don posted to harbor frieght shows 3 welders... I have the $69.99 welder and it works great.

Welding takes practice and the durabilty of the weld is a fuction of welding skill, and location of the weld.

Welds directly under the seat are in a high impact area and are prone to recracking. Cracks anywhere else (nose, stern, piton damage) can typically be water tight for a long duration.

The key to not finding yourself sinking when you crack a weld is to back it up on the inside with gorilla tape (my preference) or bitchithane. If you develop a crack in the weld, you won't take on much water if you seal the boat up on the inside. You can simply re-weld the crack in the weld and be ready for another mission.

I've been welding cracks together with a welding rod first to seal the gap and then welding a 3/4" wide rectangle of plastic cut out from a salvage hull over the crack. The weld is bomber, but the point of maximum stress is transferred to a spot a couple inches to the side of the weld because the weld doesn't flex and the rest of the boat does.

Also, I've tried out the g-flex epoxy and its got similar weaknesses to welding. The g-flex is brittle and will crack if the repair is under the seat or takes a beating. If you tape up the inside of the crack, you can keep the boat floating and simply slap some g-flex on the hairline crack in the repair every time you take it out. Its a good short term solution to keeping a crosslink mank boat floating.

So welding isn't a long term solution to keep your boat going, but it is a short term solution to keep your mank boat floating.

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