I went to the Long Beach bike show recently and saw a pretty cool product being demo'd. It is called Plastex and is basically a two-part fine powdered plastic with a liquid solvent/activator that can be mixed "in situ" to "weld" and fill/repair different sorts of plastics and ABS. The demo was pretty impressive so I bought a mid-sized kit (~USD: $55.00?), as I already had a use for it.
On the way home from the Torrey/Un-II trip back in October Leslie had run over a large, baseball sized, irregular chunk of asphalt sitting sideways in it's hole in the pavement. The bugger jumped up and bit her belly pan--but good--and left a few gaping holes behind. Although the silver duct tape repair didn't look too bad on her silver RT, I thought the Plastex might be worth a try for a more "permanent" fix. Plus, she was pretty bummed that her beautiful "Arianrhod" was now so grotesquely disfigured! I tried to comfort her, but she wouldn't buy the: "proud battle scars on the faithful charger of the brave and noble Shield-Maiden of Dry-Town" bit either . . .
I guess I oughta try to fix it then!
I contemplated a new belly pan for Christmas, but figured that since we both are riding plastic covered bikes, it might be a good investment in the future to learn how to do my own plastic repair. Add to that the fact that I love tinkering and puttering in the garage, and I just got a new Dremel for Christmas (thanks, babe!!
), what more encouragement do I need?
I took a few pics of the original state, the prep work, and the first coat. We removed the tape last night (it was kind of reminiscent of the old horror movies; slowly peeling away the blood-soaked bandages to see the new face or unmasking the mummy or some such
). I'm going to go put the second coat on and snap a few more pics, then see if I can get them all cropped, compressed, sized and uploaded this afternoon. Les is out caroling and it's raining here in Dry-Town today, so I've got some time (I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas!).
Preliminary report: Pretty farkin' cool stuff!
It solidifies pretty quickly so you have to mix it in place. You don't have time to mix it like epoxy and trowel it in as the solvent evaporates very fast and the edges would not weld a good bond with the plastic. The two holes were fairly good sized (1-2 sq. in.) with a lot of material missing and a lot of cracks. I carved out a "V" shaped channel on the backside (so the pieces would lay flat again and leave room for the material), taped over the holes from the front side, and used some fiberglass cloth from the back side as I filled the voids in with the powder and added the solvent. I probably made the first coat too thick as there was some un-activated powder still underneath the glass cloth that we found when we took off the tape from the front side. Not a problem, as I still have to put some more on the frontside now that the back is filled in to bring the level out flush with the curvature of the finished surface, then sand and paint it. Anyone have a good source for '02 Silver touch up paint?
Also, they include a plastic molding bar that is pretty trick! If you heat it up to 130F it becomes soft and moldable. if you are missing a tab or post on your plastic but have another one just like it on another piece, you can make a mold of the good one with the softened bar, cool it and it hardens like firm rubber, fill it with the Plastex and make a new piece, trim it, grind it, sand it as needed, then weld it to the broken piece with more Plastex, and voila! I'm going to try this method on the posts on the old side covers on my old Kawi cop bike (two of the three posts are missing on each cover and they cost ~$150.00 to replace).
More to follow . . . . Meanwhile, check out www.plastex.net
for more info.
Also, an interesting aside: I went to the dentist the other day for prep work for a couple new crowns and I recognised the smell of the solvent the dentist was using to make a "plastic" temporary crown while I await the finished ones. It is exactly the same stuff!
My dentist trained in Venezuela and he said they used to use the stuff all the time to repair all kinds of plastic--even the plastic ice maker water line to his fridge (which he said is still holding fine 10 years later!
) Crazy, no?
As usual, the standard disclaimers apply. I'll let you know how the finished product comes out, but the preliminary findings look pretty promising!