Did you know that one of the more unique of the heat tool applications is a type of welding? Granted, you can’t weld metals, but you can weld something that’s even more ubiquitous around our homes and lives: plastic. Here we will tell you how to weld general plastics and tarps.
Heating tools, like heating guns, are fairly standard looking at the base. They look like a heavy-duty hair dryer. With this, you don’t have much fine control over the direction of the heat, so you’ll need a nozzle or tip to place on the gun to narrow the heat down to the area you are interested in welding. A standard plastic welding kit comes with heat gun, slit nozzle tip, speed welding tip, welding rods, PVC, PP, AB, HDPE, LDPe, and more.
Once you have the tip in place, you’ll need to play with the temperature a little bit. Softer plastics melt and flow at lower temperatures than harder plastics. Start out with the lowest temperature you think appropriate, and test a small area of plastic. What you’re looking for is a softening that makes the plastic pliable and slightly tacky. This tackiness is what you’re looking for the initial stage of welding plastic.
Once you’ve figured out what temperature to use, you can start following these steps for the weld.
- Start melting the plastic where you want it. The tackiness will allow you to place the pieces and make sure you want them that way.
- When you know this is precisely what you want, turn the temperature up just 2 – 3 degrees more. This will allow the plastic to be at a temperature where it begins to soften and flow slightly.
- Put the pieces together, and press tightly. Make sure you hold it till the plastic sets, then allow it to harden.
If you have two tarps and need a larger one, you can join them in a similar fashion as welding above. Use the temperature in which the tarp is tacky, place the tarps together, and use a seam roller to flatten and secure the weld. It’s literally that easy!
Ready to get it a try? Contact us to see what tips you may need for what projects.