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Thread: Welding a plastic canoe?

  1. #1
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    Default Welding a plastic canoe?

    I seen this video and just had me wondering, could this be done to fix a cracked canoe like a Ram-x Or Royalex? I dont have any cracks in my canoe but stumbled onto this and just had me wondering, if mine were to crack if this is something that could be dont to repair it?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4PNFUylj58

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    Interesting video. The "welder" tool being used appears to be nothing more than a soldering iron with a specialized tip. If the video producer is correct about manufacturers handing out repair materials, such as plastic "welding rods" for free, then you could do it on the cheap.

    I'm not sure how that would work on Royalex, but my other comment is to your mentioning of Ram-X. Ram-X is simply a type of FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic). Why would one go to all the work done in the video to "weld" Ram-X (if that can even be done) when one could simply rough up the edges of the break, mix up some resin, and repair it with fiberglass cloth?

    Interesting idea though.

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    I was just wondering, I wasnt sure if the material could be welded like that or not. I just saw it and had me wondering if it was even possible. I didnt know if there would be any advantages to plastic welding vs using fiberglass and resin.

    I thought it was an interesting thought non the less.

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    All plastic is not created equally and now days there are a bazillion types. Very few of these will take a glass and resin type repair until you get to a very high glass level in the plastic alloy.

    Its pretty easy to determine the weld ability of any plastic by simply trying it! You'll not be out anything if it does not work. In the past I've welded a number of things like the kids hot wheel trike by simply using an ice pick and strips of plastic milk bottle as filler rod. Stand a little propane torch where you can reach it and pass the ice pick or screwdriver thru the flame till its hot. Worry it back and forth in the crack, joining the two sides. I guess this would be your root pass? Then go back thru melting in strips from the milk jug to cap off the crack. With a little practice you can do very nice work.

    The only real word of wisdoms here is, go slow, don't get that ice pick red hot and don't be afraid to try.

    mike

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Colemans are made of HDPE. Try anything to get you home.Best once home is some screen and a piece of the bow or stern floation covers. Iron screen into canoe and then iron plasic into the screen,cross fingers but should work.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I was just curios if this would actually work or not. My canoe is just fine but I was just wondering if this was something that could actually work, but it looks like maybe it wouldn't be the best way to attempt to fix it.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    As mentioned, there are many different types of plastics, thermoset and thermoplastic and many different polymers of each type.

    Yes, some plastics can be very sucessfully welded. I've repaired an HDPE fuel tank that I accidentally ran a saw through I recomend checking out this website for lots of good info on repairing plastics by welding and supplies http://www.urethanesupply.com/

    As far as I know ram-x can be fairly easily welded (it's listed as HDPE), royalex is a completely different animal (ABS) and requires a special resin to repair. One note on welding repairs, if the plastic has alot of UV damage and is brittle, you'll probably find that you keep getting cracks, it's also a good idea to re-inforce any repair with stainless mesh and build up the area.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    I just repaired my Coleman Scanoe with the urethane supply kit with the "fat foot" soldering iron thing. Worked like a charm! I've had a crack at the rear for too long and had tried all kinds of stupid ideas. Nothing, NOTHING I SAY!, sticks to the plastic properly regardless of how you prep it. i got sick of wasting money trying to save money and ordered the kit. It came with Coleman green sticks, plugged in, slathered/spread/squished/melted in and around the crack and took it out the next morning. Looks like crap under the canoe, holds water, like it.

    As above, all plastics are different and you'd have to make sure you got the right material.

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    if you had a way to control the temp of the iron an it had a large flat side could you have had a better job unpon compleation of the repair
    some of the old irons have very large heads on the iron, could a flat iron work or not get hot enough ? fill us in a little
    SID

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    Sid: I'm guessing a regular clothes iron turned way up to "linen" would melt the plastic but I'm not going to piss my wife off trying! Not sure if that's what you meant or not.
    I thought about variable temp but frankly it came up to a really nice temp. Any hotter and it would have burned right through the body of the canoe, any cooler and it would just dent the plastic.
    One thing i saw after i did my fix was this: it's better to run the fat foot over the flat-ish rod they give you, kind of melting it, then press it down on the surface you're repairing. I just put the rod down (not pre-heating it) and pressed it in. Worked fine but I can see how it would stick so much better by pre-heating/pre-melting it before you stick it on the crack.
    What I thought was pretty cool is that you can order different feet for the iron, just like soldering irons have. They even have one with a "V" foot and a small hole. You push a rod of plastic through the hole as your "V" is melting surrounding plastic. I have a buddy who made very large plastic tanks for fire fighting. He had a large variable temp version of this with hot air blast included. Neat way to make custom sized boxes, coolers, tanks, etc..

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    I have repaired my coleman scanoe and my 4 wheeler fender by welding. I use one of the old soldering irons that has about a 3/4" dia head. I don't grind out the crack as the iron will melt clear through with out problem. I just melt the sides of the crack back together and run the flat side of the iron over the weld when done to smooth it. I have been using hot glue as rod when needed. I wore a hole in the bottom rear of my coleman so it was very thin around the hole. I melted hot glue all over the area and smoothed it till it was about 1/8" thick. Although I don't use the canoe a lot, It has held for about four years now. My soldering iron apparently gets hotter than the thing used on the video as it melts clear through easily. The hot glue sticks blend nicely with the coleman plastic as well as Honda and Suzuki 4 wheeler plastic although the color doesn't match. It's good to know you can get the proper plastic rods from the manufacture.

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    that is what I need ed for my head , there is ways to comtrol the temp of the Irons [ solder irons ] an yes the flat Iron could work , if you need an flat iron go to the goodwill store or 2nd Hand store an get a used one [ don't use the wife's sleeping on the flore is tuff ]
    thanks again SID

  13. #13

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    CAC Plastics in Wasilla did a great job of repairing my Coleman square stern canoe. It had a hole rubbed in the bottom right where the keel ends just before the transom. I had tried several products to repair it with no success. CAC did a great and permanent job of fixing it.

    Mart

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