If you remember in our last newsletter, we discussed the reasons and applications to use a plastic welding process for your project. We use plastic welding to do repairs on farm machinery, snowmobiles, and even playground equipment. We have used our plastic welding capabilities and skills to create products for scientific research, farming, and construction.

What we have seen lately is a need for custom fabricated trays. There are a lot of drips out there and they are all not the same. Yes, there are the trays we make to catch water for under refrigerators, sinks, air-conditioners, aquariums, etc. Did you know we craft trays for non-water applications? We can make trays to contain hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, liquid nitrogen, sewage, and animal waste.

Pictured to the left is the plastic welding gun we use. It is sizable, a bit cumbersome, and there is a big learning curve. This is not a tool you can give someone and say, “Have at it.” We take time here at ShapeMaster to train our staff to operate this device. Once they have perfected the plastic welding process, we then allow them to create the trays we provide to you.

I did say that plastic welding gun was a glue gun on steroids. The only similarities are that it is gun shaped, it heats up, and a material comes out the nozzle. That is where the similarities end. It is a more complex device that requires an air compressor to extrude the plastic rod.

The process starts when we take a piece of flat stock material, such as ABS. We take the material, and bend the sides up using our “Unique Sword”. What we then have is tray shape with open corners.

We now need to seal the corners and this is where the plastic welding gun does its magic. There are three keys to get a successful weld: heat, pressure, and finally, the material that extrudes from the welding gun needs to be the same material as item to be welded. In other words, ABS to ABS, HDPE to HDPE, etc.

The plastic welding gun operator carefully stabilizes the corner of the tray. The operator then takes the tip of the welding gun and holds the tip of the welding gun to the material. The tip of the gun heats up to melt the material it touches. When the operator applies the right amount of pressure to the gap and melts, just a bit of the area, the operator pulls back on the trigger to inject the filler material from the gun, which is also in a melted state. The two materials mix, the tip of the gun is removed from the joint, the area cools, and Voilà! You have a fused waterproof corner.

I could just stop there since that is how the plastic welding process works, but we at ShapeMaster take the process to a higher level. We smooth the rough look of the welds so they are aesthetically pleasing. In some cases we apply an extra level of protection against leaking with a special adhesive/sealant, and finally, we water test all our trays before shipping them to you.

While I used ABS as an example for material and trays as a project, our plastic welding capacities also include HDPE, LDPE, HMWPE, and HIPS. As shown in the above video we can plastic weld just about anything.

ShapeMaster has the equipment, knowledge, and skills to fabricate or repair anything requiring plastic welding.

Please keep an eye out for our next newsletter. We have a lot of interesting projects to share with you!
Until then, please visit our website, and contact us for your next project. Who knows? Maybe your project will require some plastic welds.