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How to Repair Polyethylene

by C.L. Rease
The lightweight nature of polyethylene makes it an ideal material for kayaks.

The lightweight nature of polyethylene makes it an ideal material for kayaks.

The easy molding and lightweight properties of polyethylene make it an ideal material for kayaks, storage tanks and other items. The slick surface quality of polyethylene does not allow you to use epoxy resins to repair cracks or punctures that occur to an object constructed with polyethylene. One method of plastic repair will permanently repair damage on an object made of polyethylene. Polyethylene welds readily with the correct equipment and correct polyethylene filler material. The final repair will be watertight and stronger than the area around the weld repair because of the additional amount of material placed on the repaired area.

1.

Turn on the plastic welder and turn the heat setting dial to 575 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the plastic welder aside while it heats.

2.

Wipe the surface of the polyethylene that you need to repair with a clean rag in order to remove debris from the repair area.

3.

Set the point of the speed tip directly onto the surface of the polyethylene at the point of the repair that is farthest away from you.

4.

Feed one end of the polyethylene filler rod into the speed tip, and apply force downward on the filler rod with one hand while you slowly pull the plastic welder toward you with the other hand. Make sure you notice a small bead of melted polyethylene rolling in front of the filler rod. This indicates that the polyethylene filler rod is bonding to the surface of the repair area.

5.

Cut the polyethylene filler rod with the side-cutting pliers when you reach the end of the repair area. You want to cut the filler rod just above the entrance to the speed tip. This will allow you to continue pulling the plastic welder and melt the cut end of the filler rod into the repair area.

6.

Repeat the process to make multiple passes along larger repairs, and then allow the repair area to cool before handling the repaired area of the polyethylene object.

Items you will need

  • Plastic welder with a speed tip
  • Clean rag
  • Polyethylene filler rod
  • Side-cutting pliers

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