FAQ: Heat Gun to restore plastic

Help with your Paint & Body Modifications
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Capt. Quad Killer
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:40 pm
Location: M-Town, Georgia ****Senior Modder

FAQ: Heat Gun to restore plastic

Post by ms1120 »

Heres a link to Blakes Original Thread. http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/foru ... C_ID=19267

I would like to add that I have used this method on the last five builds that I have done and I learned a few things. So here are my random Heat Gun thoughts....
1- CLEAN the area or vehicle that you are intending to heat very well. Since you are melting plastic, anything left on the surface will become part of the plastic. This includes left over adhesive. Bleaching, washing, drying and then heating is my preferred method.
2- Make sure that you havent done any serious sanding on the plastic prior to heating it. If you want to remove the chalky texture, just heat it. If you sand it heavily first and then heat it, there will be small canyons in your finished product. In my opinion, Heat it or Sand it but dont do both unless the sanding is after the heating.
3- Some plastic is thinner/thicker than others, even on the same vehicle. The "Power Wheels" badges on the sides of the cars will melt faster than the chassis of a Jeep will.
4- Dont touch or rub the surface until it has had a minute or so to cool. Hot plastic is no fun to have on your fingertips.
5- Watch areas like fender wells. They are unsupported and if they get warm enough, they will warp inward or downward.
6- If you intend to do a whole vehicle, plan on painting it. While this method of prep has saved me loads of time sanding chalk from a vehicle, it only makes for a good painting surface. There will be some "marbling" of the plastic that will make it unsightly unless painted.
7- When you use the heat gun, your objective is to heat the plastic till it starts to look like its covered in a liquid and then back off. Almost like if it was wet. With a 1500 Watt heat gun, this will take about 2 seconds from about an inch away from the surface. Its also kind like cutting hair. You can go over it again for a second pass but its impossible to put it back on once its gone.
8- Lastly, if you are going to use it like I do for body prep in place of sanding, get a good heat gun. There is nothing good that can come from getting half way though a project and then your unit crashes out on you. A decent quality gun will cost you between 20 and 40 dollars.
This is a very smooth paint job thanks to the heat gun. ZERO Sanding
This is a very smooth paint job thanks to the heat gun. ZERO Sanding
This is the before product that I started with.
This is the before product that I started with.