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Sewing with Zip Ties! Plastic repair - ideal for bumpers and tool boxes

30/4/06 Yesterday I broke my plastic toolbox when a 50 metre extension lead reel fell off the ladder and landed on it!  I could have just bought another or gone back to using my old wooden one, but this box has become a bit of a favourite. It suits my tools just fine and faced with the prospect of yet another dull trip to a DIY store to choose a new tool box built to an even crappier specification, it just had to be repaired!

Plastic isn't always the easiest thing to repair with glue or fibre glass and as the box gets a lot of use it's got to be strong.  So I decided to have a go at sewing it with cable or zip ties.

I can't claim to have come up with this ingenious idea myself.  I saw a lorry the other day with a great big plastic bumper and the bottom if it had been damaged with a massive curved split along it.  Some artful fitter had meticulously drilled a neat set of holes along the crack and sewed it with zip ties acting as stitches.  The repair was excellent and was no doubt done to avoid the ridiculous cost of a replacement bumper.  In my experience plastic auto components are monstrously over-priced especially when you consider that they are probably made out of recycled bin liners!

My poor busted tool box!

Here we go, step 1, drill the holes along the split, keeping them far enough from the edge to be strong but neat enough to pull the joint together.

Starting the plastic repair with the zip ties

Step 2, apply generous amounts of Araldite or other epoxy glue along the join and pull the joint together with the ties.

I chose some nice red cable ties from my three quid Box of 1000 Assorted Ties as they matched the tool boxes snazzy colour scheme and show up better in the pictures!

Inside view, showing the stitched joint.

Step 3, the glue was nicely squeezed out by the pressure from the zip ties and made a good joint when set.

Starting the plastic repair with the zip ties

Step 4, trim off the ties to complete the job.  Not pretty I admit, but strong, easy, functional and much cheaper than a new box.

On a bumper it would be necessary to have all the large ends of the ties on the inside as the MoT requires that there are no sharp edges to injure pedestrians.

On my box I kept them on the outside because I didn't want them interfering with the removable tray which fits inside.

Here's my latest extreme zip tie repair. The steering arm on my youngest boy's Rolly Traktor! This old tractor has done well considering we bought it for £3 at the tip 5 years ago!