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The fundamental requirement for plastic welding is that the filler material has properties very close to those of the base material. The plastics we normally weld are polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC, CPVC, ABS, polycarbonate, and acrylic. This is just the list of our most common work; many other plastics can be welded.
Welds in material thinner than 3/8” are normally done with a hand torch which passes electrically heated air over the rod and also over the surfaces of the pieces to be joined. All of the weld types used in metal welding can be used in plastics, ie butt welds, lap welds, corner welds, etc. Proper beveling of the surfaces is critical because much less of the base material is melted in plastic welding than is metal welding.
For materials 3/8” and thicker, the strongest welds are done with an extruder. This machine melts the welding rod in an electrically heated chamber and forces the soft material onto the workpieces in a thick line typically of about the same diameter as the thickness of the pieces being welded.