I came across a company called Automotive Welding Solutions that has a product called the Mixplast Hot Stapler (or Mixplast Magic Stapler) for plastic repair. It’s a plastic panel repair system, a 2 in 1 machine that staples and welds plastic. It saves on the cost of a machine. It’s battery operated, no cables are needed, it offers quick cooling time and fast repair time and has three positions for angled staples, which is cool for tight areas. It has three or four different types of staples for different usages. It also comes with a handy storage case. Since I’ve found this tool, I’ve found more uses for it every day in the field—like door panels where a tab is ripping. I used the stapler to repair the tab without having to use glue, bonding or waiting. It’s an instant repair.
In one of my projects, I used the stapler on a front bumper filler that was missing a corner. The only place to buy this filler is in Europe and that would have cost the customer $250 with a six-week wait because the part was on back order. Instead, I used the staple gun to re-apply the piece, positioning the staples where I thought the strengthening needed to be. I put the staples in and melted the staple so it became part of the part, and then I cut the staple prongs and ground them down, then used 3M panel bond #08115 to level it out. I let it dry overnight, then came back and sanded it with 80-grit, then 150-grit, getting it shaped and ready to prime. I had a repaired part in less than 24 hours. It saved the customer time and made a great repair and it bonds like it was never broken. I wish I had this tool 15 years ago!
My second tip is a very affordable tape we get for a few dollars from Home Depot. It is multi-purpose foil tape and it becomes a tool when you are fabricating and modifying pieces on a project. I learned this technique from a good buddy of mine, Richard Wood, when we were up in Canada filming a new TV pilot called World Wide Car Building. We had nine guys under one roof, and you can imagine the creativity and the different ways people do things, so I walked out of there learning five or ten years worth of new ways to do things.
The foil tape is a tool, a gig and a clamp all in one.
Here’s a good example of a project where I used the foil tape. We took a ‘54 panel truck and turned it into a pickup truck, dropping it on a 2006 SSR chassis. The chassis is wider and needed clearance for wheels, so we needed to weld the fenders to the hood and we welded the grill and front bumper all in one piece, mocked it up, and then had to cut the fenders and widen them 2-1/2 inches. We were able to put gussets underneath and get fender placement without removing the original position of the headlight, but I needed to make 20 different cuts into the fender and I had to try to roll that as a natural curve back into the headlights because there was a 2-1/2 in gap where I cut it.
My buddy Rich came by and showed me a few tricks on how to use this foil tape. Normally, we’d have to hold everything together by spot welding pieces and re-spot welding them. Using the foil tape allowed me to shape the fender to get the look I was looking for, with the tape holding everything together from the outside with the natural contours so it doesn’t look awkward. I’ve got 20 different pieces so how is a clamp going to hold that? The tape was strong enough to hold everything in place so I was able to shape everything. From that point, after using the tape, I took the hood off and turned it upside down and was able to go to the inside and tack everything together while the tape was holding it, then flip the hood back over and remove the tape.
This is just one way of using the taping method. The tape can be used: #1 as a tool, #2, to hold everything in place, and #3, to give you an actual visual of how everything is going to look.
I’ve been really busy the past few months. I mentioned the 10-day shoot in Nova Scotia, Canada, with Curtis Customs, filming an episode for our documentary called World Wide Car Building. We will unveil the two vehicles we built there at the SEMA show. One of the builds is a 2004 H2 Hummer that we chopped five inches and made it into a two-door.
I am also working on another show called Build it With Rich Evans. For more information, see BuildItWithRichEvans.com. In this show, I am getting back to the nuts and bolts and helping DYI builders who are working on cars in their garages, where most professionals start.
You can keep up with me on my fan page, Rich Evans Designs on Facebook, or visit me at RichEvansDesigns.com or HuntingtonBeachBody works.com.
Thanks to my sponsors, I couldn’t build anything without them: 3M, Infratech, Woodward Fab, Lucas Oil, SPX products and others listed on my sponsor page at HuntingtonBeachBodyworks.com.
Keep on wrenching. Hope to see you at SEMA.