Things You'll Need
Nylon scrub pad
ABS plastic mending kit
You'll often find ABS, a rigid form of plastic, as trim on motorcycle or car bodies and RV holding tanks, as well as shower pans. Its rigidity makes ABS plastic prone to cracking under force. While numerous adhesives on the market work for plastics, not all are alike -- some that work on softer plastics such as polystyrene do not work properly on ABS plastic, and vice versa. Repairing ABS requires an adhesive resin that chemically melts into the existing ABS plastic, resulting in a strong bond.
Clean the area surrounding the damage thoroughly. Scrub dirt and debris off with a nylon scrub pad and a damp rag. Dry the plastic completely.
Wipe down the damaged area with the cleaner or primer included with the ABS-mending adhesive applied to a rag. Clean several inches beyond the damaged area. Some ABS repair products recommend cleaning the plastic instead with denatured alcohol; so follow these directions instead if present. Allow the plastic to dry completely.
Cut a piece of mesh 1 to 2 inches larger than a hole, or 1 to 2 inches wide and an inch longer than a thin crack. No matter the shape of the hole or damage, the mesh should be large enough to cover it in all directions with a little extra mesh beyond the damaged area.
Apply a thin layer of ABS adhesive resin from the kit over the crack or around a hole. Immediately place the mesh atop the wet resin, ensuring the damage is centered beneath the mesh. Quickly brush a layer of resin over the mesh. Allow the resin to dry for up to four hours, or as recommended on the ABS repair-kit packaging.
Apply another layer of resin over the repair, allowing it to dry for four hours. Repeat the process one more time.
Replace the lid immediately after using an ABS-repair resin, and between coats, as the solvents in this type of resin evaporate quickly. If too much evaporation occurs, the resin thickens and may be difficult to use without thinning.
If cracked ABS has some chips missing, drizzle resin into the chipped areas to fill it in.
ABS plastic may feel soft as the resin cures. This is normal; the plastic will harden once it cures completely.
Work with ABS-plastic resins only in a well-ventilated area, such as outdoors. Wear a vapor mask to avoid breathing in fumes of harsh chemicals emitted by the solvents in the resin.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.