If you grew up on the east coast and your dad was into cars, you’ve heard of Eastwood. Based in Pottstown, PA, Eastwood’s company history reads like a classic American story. They started out in a little garage in 1978 selling buffing wheels and compounds through word of mouth, classified ad’s, and at car shows, and built themselves up into a leader in the automotive restoration market. They have a knack for making professional processes and equipment like powder coating, affordable on a DIY budget. From rust removal to finish coat, if you’re into automotive work Eastwood has something for you.
Today it seems like everything has plastic parts. If you work on anything you’ve cussed at a broken piece of plastic used to make something plastic never should have been used to make. If that sounds like you then you’re probably also aware that those “cheap plastic parts” are usually anything but cheap. Theres seldom a good way to fix plastic so when it’s broke, it’s broke. Even something as small as a broken mounting tab on an air box or something can cost a lot of money to replace leading most people to just leave it broken. Last year my little girl got into ATV racing. What started out as a fun little race at the county fair turned into an organized, traveling, ordeal, with sponsors, special equipment, and a custom built racing ATV. After replacing 1 set of plastic fenders at almost $400 I quickly came to the conclusion that there had to be a better solution. I’ve tried epoxies and glues in the past, but they’re messy and usually don’t work for long if at all. That’s when I found the Eastwood Hot Stapler Kit.
So What Is It?
In a nutshell it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if you’re looking for a better answer it’s a fast, effective, and economical tool for re-bonding broken plastic, urethane, or vinyl. If you’re like me and you’ll admit to “sewing” together a bumper or something with zip ties then trust me, this is way better.
Plastic fenders on a car or ATV, mounting tabs on a car body or under the hood, interior components, anything plastic can be re-attached in a manner that won’t get you featured on Whitetrashrepairs.com, called names like “redneck” in traffic, or laughed at by that hot chick parked beside you at Wendy’s, if you have the right tool for the job. Eastwood’s Hot Stapler System is just that tool.
In The Box
Inside the sturdy case you’ll find the power supply which is connected to the “stapler”, 3 packs of staples in flat, wave, and corner, profiles (100 of each), and an instruction manual that consist of 2 small pages. Despite it’s modest content, theres a ton of versatility built in. The case itself is pretty nice too. It’s roughly the size of a lunch box, has metal sides, and includes storage compartments on top for holding extra staples.
How It Works
It works like this. The power supply has 3 settings Low, Medium, and High. You select your power setting based on the thickness and density of to plastic to be repaired. Next, you insert the staple into the tool. The stapler itself allows you to do so in straight, 45 degree, or 90 degree positions to allow you to get in virtually any area. You can also bend the staples if needed to suit your needs. Whether the break is on a flat area, crease, corner, or all of the above, you’ve got what you need to make the repair. Once you have the setting selected, the staple inserted and the angle determined, you’re ready to rock n roll.
Making The Repair
I’ve sit on this thing for awhile now. My assumption was that as racing season started, we’d undoubtedly have some busted fenders to test on. Knock on wood, that hasn’t happened (yet), so I scratched around and found some busted plastic on my kids Power Wheels. It’s not exactly a big money fix, but it’s roughly the same thickness and density of ATV plastic, so it should give us a good test.
With everything set up, the rest is simple. The instructions advise starting from the open end of the crack. You’ll need to hold the workpiece into proper position with your hand (or a clamp for bigger cracks). From there, you depress the button and hold it for 10 seconds or so to get it hot. The staple will start to smoke a little, so theres no guess work. You embed the staple into the plastic about halfway. Once you have it halfway, you just let off the button, wait 10 seconds or so, and pull the tool off (leaving the staple embedded). It’s really that simple!
To better demonstrate, here is a short video of the process:
I’ve found that twisting the staple slightly eliminates any backing out of the staple as you pull the tool off. If you wait the full 10-15 seconds as recommended, it won’t be an issue, but if you tend to get in a hurry, a twist would be advised. The number of staples required depends on the size of the break to be repaired. It might take 1 or 2, it might take 10 or 15, it all depends. Once the staple is embedded, you clip off the staple flush with the workpiece and, if desired, you can use the wand to smooth out any molten plastic from the repair. If the repair has cosmetic implications, you’re now ready to fill, sand, prime, and paint.
The finished repair is strong. Even moderate tapping with a 28 0z. dead blow didn’t re-break it.
I’m really high on this thing. It enables you to make efficient, professional quality repairs, where before there was no good way of doing so. You can get it from a host of retailers, but it’s cheapest price of $149 can be had directly from Eastwood or from Amazon, but that’s a real value IMO. This thing could very easily pay for itself in a single use. Everyone I’ve shown this thing to has been totally impressed.
The 0.8 staples can be reordered from a host of outlets and is not a proprietary design limited specifically to Eastwood’s model that you’ll have issues finding in the future. The design is straight forward, easy to use, and the learning curve is all of about 5 minutes. It really couldn’t be any easier!
Eastwood is pretty cool altogether. If you’re a shop rat like me, they have a ton of products that you’ll have to have. They sent a catalog along with the order and I spent at least 3 weeks looking through it. The only time I remember spending more time looking at a magazine was when my buddy brought his old man’s stash of Playboys to school in 7th grade. If you have some time to kill or some money to spend, check out Eastwood’s Online Catalog or Request A Catalog, but be warned, you’re going to want to spend money!
Another awesome thing about Eastwood is that their site features a really cool technical library full of good information, how to’s, FAQ’s and troubleshooting for tons of projects. Check it out HERE
I’m tickled pink to have Eastwood as a part of TIA and I hope to have some more reviews in the near future.