I am the head tec for Plasweld. Have over twenty five years experience of putting back together broken and destroyed farings. To a standard that is second to none. We have the same approach to vehicle plastic.
A distressed looking man is walking towards the doors of the workshop, in his hands are two plastic shopping bags. We unpacked the bags and laid out the contents piece by piece on to the work bench. I started placing the jigsaw of a faring together, the shape it formed was that of a Honda CBR 600F side panel. On closer inspection it became more complicated, there were a number of pieces missing, some of these major.
I looked at him, he said “I was told it could not be done” I replied ” The only limiting factor is price” A smile crossed his face the first bit of good news in his quest to put his pride and joy back on the road. ” This is why we say bring it in let us see it in the flesh.” It was not a lost cause. After fixing the price, he left with a happier look, to return in a couple of weeks.
We had our work cut out, first thing to do was to fix all the bits together so the main part of the faring was in one piece, then we could start fabricating the missing parts, these would be cut from sheet plastic of the same material, if it is not the same type it will not weld together.
We are not like other repairers in that, we do not use two pack fillers to replace parts that are missing in thermoplastic products which a lot of faring’s are made from. Other repairers will do this were they can get away with it or say it cannot be done. If you have a vintage farings on your bike would you not want the best repair possible for this rare item? I know I would!
When you use the same material to repair a breakage it should act in the same way that it did before it was broken. If you introduce another part whether it’s filler or fiberglass it will change the way the panel acts and can cause the repair to fail in the future.
When the man returned he did not believe that it was the same panel until I showed him the back with it’s fine lines of weld. He was very pleased with the result.
Mister street fighter Alan (good friend) decides to put a Ducati 916 seat unit on his GSXR. I said “what’s that got to do with me?” “Well, I want you to turn the square back lights into round inset lights! Can you do it?” he said. “Of course, but you find the lights you want to fit!” “Deal.”
A few days later he turns up with the light housings. Now the work begins.
Turning the square holes into round ones was straight forward. Making the housing to mount the new lights on was not. It means weldingplastic mounts into the seat unit that would take a plate with the lights on and come out with ease once on the bike, not fouling on the frame.
It all went surprisingly well; Alan was over the moon when it was finished. The only reservations I had was the red paint work on a blue and white paint scheme. Turns out Alan had a problem too with the paint work because the next time I saw the bike it was black with polished metal work. Now it looked really sexy!
B.B’s attempt to ride the wings of the angel of the north ended in disaster today. It was his first try which he had nearly completed when there was a spine chilling loud creaking cracking noise as the wing he was riding on started to twist, followed by a snapping as the wing came away from the body of the angel.
Luckily the two spectators standing the closest to the the wing were pulled out of the way at the last minute by two of B.B’s support crew, as the edge of the wing hit the ground.
Emergency services were quick to arrive at the scene. Paramedics treated B.B at the scene before he was helicoptered to hospital. Suzanne and George Hackington were treated for shock, the two crew Sideways Jim and Melted Bert were also treated for minor injuries sustained in saving the Hackingtons from the falling wing.
The police and fire service are investigating how it was possible for the wing to come down. A spokes person for the council confirmed that an engineer had inspected the angel only two days before the stunt was to take place, giving the all clear for the attempt.
When asked a police spokes person said that they were keeping an open mind and would not be drawn on whether or not it had been sabotaged.
Dr Holingwood from the local hospital gave us a statement saying that Mr B.B Boots had had a miraculous escape stating that none of his injuries had been life threatening. He sustained a broken arm, fractured leg and a number of cuts with some heavy bruising. He is as comfortable as could be expected under the circumstances. It will be some time before he will be riding his bike again.
Mitch Dango event organiser said that they would cooperate with the investigation in any way they could and would like to thank and praise everyone involved for their quick responses. It could have ended very differently with several fatalities. He also said that he still cannot believe what had happened.
It is not that well-known among the wider biker community that we were the first to put a set of foxeyes ( head lights from a Honda fireblade) into a Suzuki GSXR 11oo nose cone. We were also the first to do it using sheet thermo plastic, molding it to fit an existing faring and welding these parts into place giving it durability and strength and above all that distinctive sexy look.
GSXR nose cone custom
Nose cone custom to except Honda fireblad headlights
I only discovered recently that the nose cone was still about, in good condition and in one piece. But sadly not on the bike it was made for. It turns out that it is sitting on a shelf in someones garage looking for a new GSXR home.
I am pleased to say it has stood the test of time. Just go’s to show plastic welding is number one for repairs and custom work.
When considering whether or not a panel is worth repairing you need to take a number of things into account: Paint, decals, age and in some cases the foam backing.
Some manufacturers stick foam to the back of their side panels to stop the engine/frame
work rubbing against the back of the faring. It also stops any knocking noises and vibration while the bike is being ridden. When a panel sustains damage resulting in a crack or breakage or both, it does not always transfer to the foam behind. Even if it has not, the foam needs to be removed to do a repair. Where plastic welding is used the heat from the machine will melt the foam giving of a noxious gas. In most cases we can separate the foam in one piece from the plastic panel. So it can be reattached after the repair is compete, there by saving the cost of new foam for the customer.
There are some situations where it can not be removed in one piece. Foam, like plastic, deteriorates with age but at a faster rate. There are two types of foam backing – open cell and sealed. The former gets impregnated with road dirt, oil etc, this helps to degrade the backing more quickly turning it to dust, making it impossible to remove in some cases. Because the later is sealed it repels most of the detritus thrown up from the road and stops oil soaking into it. This increases the life of the foam, therefore making it a better candidate for removal when a repair is needed. The sealing helps to keep it in one piece making it easier to remove.
The pictures show.
Thunder cat side panel. One with the foam mat partly removed.
We do from time to time get asked to repair plastic on bikes that are more than thirty years old. These panels present some unique challenges. Panels made of ABS, age, this leads to deterioration that shows it’s self in a couple of ways. The first are fishers appearing in the panel as you pass heat over the area to be repaired and secondly moisture leaching from these hair line cracks. It is well known that untreated ABS is hydroscopic.
Recently we had a gent in with two very old Triumph battery covers that had stress cracks. I say stress but to be honest these were signs of their age. The next indication was the way little rivers of water came running out of the plastic as heat was passed over the repair area, with numerous fishers opening as well. This complication turned a straight forward repair into a bit of a challenge.
It is difficult to know how far to to take repair’s like this. It was handy that the owner was in the workshop to experience what was happening. We agreed between us to only make good the cracks and some of the fishers that lead into those creaks. Otherwise the repair would have become very expensive.
We are often asked to repair plastic petrol tanks and motorcycle windscreens. In the case of the former we say no even though we have in the past repaired one. We only did it as an experiment to see if it could be done and the customer had spare tank material we could use to plug the holes. Did it work? As far as we know; we tested it with water in the workshop with no leak but petrol is another matter. We are happy to try another as a test to see if it works or not. BUT the material has to be identical to the tank you want repaired.
As for motorcycle windscreens we can repair them as long as they are made from Polycarbonate and the crack or piece broken off can not be seen when repaired. There is nowhere to hide with clear materials as you can see from the picture. Once repaired and prepared the plastic go’s a milky colour. Imagine how that would look running down the middle of your screen.
On a more serious note, in some cases broken screens are less expensive to replace than have repaired.