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Subject: Broken plastic + heat = fix? rss

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Paul Bryant
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I was wondering if it is possible to use heat to fuse plastic back together on minis whose parts have broken off?

I don't mind if the positioning is a bit different I just want it on there without glue if possible.

I know there are masters of minis out there who can give some suggestions.
 
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Benjamin Maggi
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Glues are not equal to solvents. Solvents will "melt/fuse" plastic together once they evaporate. Glues will just make a joint, or blob. You can try using solvents on the plastic but certain solvents are designed for certain plastics. For example, Plastruct Weldene is very safe, smells nice, and is good for polystyrene. However, for attaching polystrene to ABS plastic, Weldene will not work. You need Plastruct Plastic Weld, which is nothing more then MEK. This stuff is noxious and should only be used with good ventalation, eye protection, etc. And, MEK can be purchased cheap in bulk at the hardware store.

Testors solvents are similar. That stuff in the orange/white tube that your father used on airplanes will work on certain plastics but will cause blobs, spiderwebs, etc. They have thinner liquids which come in bottles with brushes or bottles with thin nozzles that work as solvents.
However, until you know what type of plastic you have you cannot do much.

You might want to try superglue. It isn't very strong at all, but it sets quickly. Problems include white haze if not used properly, sticky/stuck fingers to parts, and old dried out bottles on store shelves that you discover when you get them home. There are gels and liquids which offer you gap filling properties or the ability to get into small cracks.

Epoxies are another option. They come in many forms, from 5 minutes two-part liquids to 24 hour, glue-stick like substances that are mashed together. If you don't know how to mix epoxy then stop right here. Don't get quick setting ones, because they sacrafice speed for strength. I prefer 24 hour cure ones because they are good and strong. I purchase it by the gallon at a local chemical shop. (I use it a lot in building my model railroads)

You can experiment on the bottom of the piece and see what happens. Or, just try it and hope it works. If the plastic is painted, you should strip the plastic of the joint will be very weak. And, some solvents like MEK set quickly but take a while to cure. Others, like Weldene, take a lot longer to cure. If your plastic pieces are heavy or awkwardly shaped, you will need to find a way to support them for the entire curing process.

Good luck whatever you choose!

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Justin Fitzgerald
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Unless it's an enormous piece, the answer is always superglue. It is easier to use and will bond any material used in miniatures. Just hold it longer than you think you need to, especially if metal is involved.
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Bill Richman
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KakarisMaelstrom wrote:
Unless it's an enormous piece, the answer is always superglue.


FWIW: I discovered Gorilla brand super glue a few months ago, and have been using it ever since. It's got microscopic particles of rubber dissolved/suspended (?) in it, which makes it much better at withstanding shock and vibration and at filling small gaps. Love the stuff! It's worked great for me on plastic too.
 
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Scott Westgard
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Some plastics CANNOT be joined with solvent based glues...such as the good ol' green army men plastics. Even superglue does not adhere that type of plastic very well, and heat melting might be an option.

Using solvent based glues will be as strong as actual styrene-based plastics (most hobby models) in a well-bonded application...just remember after adhering the pieces, a little giggling will help the parts melt a bit and produce a better bond.

Most glues will create some unsightly join marks, which can be fixed with tiny files, and touch-up painting. Superglue creates the least blobs, if used sparingly.

Heat melding only works when both surfaces are equally heated (liquid hot) and joined while still molten. Even with an EXacto blade heated with a alcohol lamp, this method is difficult and takes careful dexterity and timing to make a good weld...It often destroys more detail, and my ruin the parts by making nearby areas warp and bend due to the heat. MInd you, this is usually a last resort, and may end up in ruin, if you are not careful with applying the heat to the parts at the right moment, and without setting the whole kaboodle on fire!....and it will require extensive clean-up and re-painting the joined area after melting them together.

It takes a bit of practice, but when required, heat joining may work...

My advice is also to heat a small pin of cut metal (from a straight pin or wire) (best with a slightly curved end at both ends if there is enough goining area to work with) and lodge it into one part, and while still hot (using forceps) join the plastics from the other part. The pin will help reinforce the bond, even if the two plastics do not meld well, or are of different types. A heated pin will also soften the plastics momentarily, causing bend, and problems with angle-of attachment....It is a modelers trick that takes some practice.

good luck!
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