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I have a Frigidaire French-door refrigerator with a broken handle. I've identified the part, and it's $47 to replace (plus tax and shipping). Being cheap, I'd like to try to repair rather than replace it. It's a clean break at both ends, with decent surface area and a snug friction fit when inserted in place - a good candidate for glue.

I found these relevant and useful answers: - Identifying Type Plastic - best glue for ABS kitchen appliance

Since identifying plastics is tricky and requires a flame test, my question is: Can I try different glues in sequence (until I get a good bond) without messing up my material?

I propose to try Isocyanate (superglue) first and if I don't get a good bond go on to ABS primer, and/or PVC primer. Suggestions welcomed!

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    If the first glue doesn't work, getting that glue completely off is going to be a job. – Carey Gregory Nov 26 '19 at 22:41
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    Super glue rarely works on high density plastics but if you find the correct solvent (most pros use solvents for the type of plastic but you can call it glue) solvent welding is far superior. Since you can find the part number you may be able to identify the plastic type using California prop 65 as everything causes cancer there so you ask the MFG on the type, I did this on a very expensive sensor array I needed to repair , the MFG gave me the type I found the appropriate solvent 2 drops pushed together and it has been fine in a high vibration machine for ~3 years “weld-on” makes quite a few. – Ed Beal Nov 26 '19 at 23:46
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    please post a picture of the door handle ... show a closeup of the break ... include a tape measure so that we can see the size – jsotola Nov 27 '19 at 0:37
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    @CareyGregory, I think you came closest to answering the question: Don't do trial and error because unsuccessful bonding may contaminate the surface. – jbbenni Nov 27 '19 at 3:16
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    I'd like to say I've never spent $90 on a box of glues and resins and epoxies to fix a $47 widget, but... – Roger Nov 27 '19 at 16:40
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Look into epoxy glue mixes such as:

enter image description here

or

enter image description here

You can read the package or call the company to check if it will work on your specific plastic.

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A "decent surface area" would lead me to drill and pin it using some metal dowels as well as using glue.

That should help spread the stress caused by using it and make the repair last longer.

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  • Yup. I'd glue and screw if possible. – Mast Nov 27 '19 at 14:56
  • I like the idea, but it doesn't seem like it would work well in this particular situation. The areas I need to join are thin; I worry about weakening them further with drilling. And there's no good place to put a concealed screw. – jbbenni Nov 27 '19 at 15:59
  • @mast i love the glue and screw approach, use it as much as possible – USER_8675309 Nov 27 '19 at 16:10
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    @jbbenni an image of the items and the break would make clearer what you meant by "decent surface area" so that we could perhaps be more precise with answers... I have, in the past used metal strips to reinforce plastic handles leaving the reinforcement concealed, have also made repairs to a washing machine door hinge... just have to work out what you can do... But for many items I have found glue needs help. – Solar Mike Nov 27 '19 at 16:15
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It seems like the "trail and error" approach is not smart. I like the suggestion to request prop 65 MSDS for the part, if there is one available.

Best practical suggestion came from elsewhere: apply a tiny test patch where it won't show and won't affect the joint, just to see if the selected glue/solvent/expoxy will bond.

If the test patch works, then use that material on the mating surfaces. If not, try another bonding agent on another test area. Check Epoxy, then solvent, and if all else fails carefully heat the surfaces until softened and fuse/weld them.

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    I would change the order from solvent first because epoxy will fill and coat and prevent proper solvent welding , if solvent welding won’t work 2 part epoxy is the next best thing , filler and solids that bond and become solids. – Ed Beal Nov 27 '19 at 4:38
  • +1 for suggestion about test patch :) – Arvo Nov 27 '19 at 8:13
  • What I actually did was to use an inexpensive 2-part product from Loc-Tite with a primer and what I think was regular super glue. It is specifically intended for Polyethylene and Polypropylene plastics. I couldn't pin because of the shape. The handle attached at two spots - one gave a good bond, the other not. I've decided to spend the money on a replacement handle. – jbbenni Dec 22 '19 at 13:51
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I have had limited success with super glue on pieces that get frequent loading (knobs, handles, latches, etc). I have had decent success with epoxies rated for use with plastics. Coat all the mating surfaces with epoxy. Tape, C-clamp or some how affix the handle in place. Make sure you see epoxy seeping out of the entire seam. Blend the excess into a smooth seam similar to what caulking would look like. The idea is complete coverage without leaving any gaps that can cause stress cracks later.

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