So a few years back the chin fairing on my XB gave in to vibration, I believe due to not having any support at the front with the Jardine mount. Here's a pic I posted of it way back when...
So today, I looked up how to weld plastics up on Youtube. There's plenty of videos, I'll let you look for them if you have interest. I just wanted to share my experience of doing this for the first time. It's pretty easy to do. I used some plastic from a 5 gallon paint bucket as filler on the inside to build up a bead to strengthen the repair. I'm not really sure how similar this is to the Buell plastics, but it seemed to work very similarly, and seemed to mix together when melted, so I'm hoping for the best. A better filler would be a piece of plastic from a "donor" piece, but this was a no investment trial.
Here's my results, inside...
It seems pretty solid at this point. I threw it on the bike to test it for a while. If it holds up, I'll put more time into it and refinish it properly.
I used a soldering iron. I guess I'll post up the videos that gave me the general idea of how to do it.
It does kind of remind me of gas welding, but it's real easy to go back and smooth things out with another pass. You don't work with a puddle though. It's more of a goo ball. To be honest, I watched the videos without sound, so I have no clue what tips he may give in the audio.
I plan to leave it go for quite a while of riding. If it holds up, I'll finish it this winter. I would really like to fabricate a bracket that would support the front like the stock muffler does. If it fails while this thread is active, I'll be sure to post the update.
BTW, I did find that just like with welding, you need to get some penetration into the original plastic. You can't just melt the filler onto the surface of the original. It will peal right off. Just work very small sections at a time, and know that you can smooth it out with another pass of the iron.
I was also surprised that the iron didn't become a mess with burnt plastic residue.
I use a small section of stainless strainer screen which i then heat and embed into the plastic , slightly below the level of the normal surface , thereafter the plastic is welded by adding some donor material and the repair smoothed over.
It takes a little longer but the repair is immensely strong.
I use a small 50 watt temperature controlled soldering iron for the job
I had some fun making headlights for my Lotus 7 rep out of trashcan lids , in stainless. Nobody could figure it out!
Window screens may work but you need a fairly rigid material.
One can also find aluminium mesh used for body repairs here but the stainless is used specifically because it has a degree of rigidity .
When the repair is done , basically the whole section is embedded quickly and completely by forcing first the centre across the crack , then left , then right of it , in quick order while the area is still "Plastic".
It also helps to preheat the mesh so that it goes in easily allowing the molten plastic to ooze through as its pressed in.
The stainless does'nt bend unless it's pre-bent, to fix an angular section
The mesh is used in small sections , cut to roughly 10mm wide by 15 to 20mm long and one would normally set patches about 25 to 30mm apart along the length of a long crack.
Bigger pieces can be used to fuse multiple pieces together as well but obviously takes more effort and a lot of heat , it's a great way to repair really broken fairings and the like.
Unfortunately , i don't have any pics of the process at the moment , usually done for customers or on a rebuild , will post some when i repair my XB's chin spoiler.
That was the original reason for going the stainless mesh route.
I learned the hard way by using a local plastics repair co to have some scooter panels repaired , the mounting points they were supposed to re-instate were'nt in the correct place and when it came to mounting the cracks they had repaired just cracked wide open again.
That was the last time i ever used a repair company again , learned to do it myself using the method described and never looked back.
There's also another dodge using cyanoacrylate glue if you're interested , but it can be nasty to work , having said that no worse than molten plastic!