It's Monday; lunchtime. Time to try my hand at plastic repair.
This is part of the right plastic panel from VX#1. Completely failing would be painful, but I have the plastic from VX#2 and it is in much better condition.
First, I pressed aluminum foil onto the piece. The thought was that it would help keep the heat focused on the plastic and not allow the plastic to burn. See how well the crack stands out on the foil?
I then started by following the crack with the point of the iron. I didn't press too hard at all. I wanted the plastic to heat evenly and slowly. After I could feel the plastic become soft, I started rolling the tip of the iron so plastic around the crack would melt into the crack.
Here are my initial results. Yes, they look a little rough but at least the plastic didn't burn.
The results were indeterminate. The smaller crack on the left sealed well. The larger crack on the right did not completely bind through the crack. It may be due to the heat not being applied for long enough. That is my uneducated guess anyway.
Tomorrow I will attempt longer exposure to the heat.
I also found this interesting post about using a soldering iron to repair larger cracks and broken plastic pieces. Looks promising. The author recommends using aluminum screening to reinforce the plastic. Looks like it is worth a try.
The crack seal attempt did in fact, fail. I stressed the piece and even the small crack opened. But I learned that the heat needs to be applied for a longer period of time to heat the plastic more thoroughly. We shall see if my second attempt tomorrow succeeds.