How to fix tiny tear in camera bag before it widens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by editor, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. editor

    editor Guest

    Cutting bottom straps off camera bag today, I accidentally made a tiny
    cut about 1/4" long in "second bottom" layer of bag. Bag apparently
    is polypropylene.
    Any ideas on how to fix it - so it doesn't spread?
    editor, Feb 19, 2010
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  2. editor

    tony cooper Guest

    Bicycle tire patch kits are sold at auto supply stores for under $2.00
    Ugly, but if it's in the bottom of the bag no one will notice. Test
    the glue on a small spot, though.
    tony cooper, Feb 19, 2010
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  3. editor

    Nervous Nick Guest

    Sew it with heavy duty nylon button thread, then cover the suture with
    a patch--maybe a patch like Tony suggests. I can almost guarantee that
    this fix will outlast the bag.
    Nervous Nick, Feb 19, 2010
  4. editor

    Better Info Guest

    Polypropylene is one of the more difficult plastics to glue. The adhesive
    for rubberized compounds (as in a bike-tire repair kit) will have no effect
    on poly plastics. Not even super-glue will stick to poly plastics. That's
    why the cap for super-glue tubes is made of poly.

    One of the very few adhesives I've found that works is a product made by
    LocTite, called "Stik 'n Seal" in the USA. A water-glass clear silicone
    type of compound. Though I doubt it would work real well for a tear or cut,
    but it does adhere glass, metal and other substances to poly plastics when
    given fuller layer contact. You could try applying this glue to a small
    patch of similar or clear poly and giving the two more surface contact
    across the cut, patch-style.

    The only other solution for poly mending is using a patch and adhering it
    with light pressure and heat, very very very carefully, so you don't do
    even greater damage. This is rarely possible on an already assembled
    product due to curvatures and existing seams. But does work when you have
    flat sheets that can be seamed this way. Many a beach-toy is constructed in
    this manner. If you can find a water-bed repair kit, that might also be

    On TV many years ago they used to sell a vinyl repair-kit for car
    upholstery cuts and rips that might work. It used to come packaged with
    various colors to mix together for color-matching. With texture swatches
    that you apply over the "glue" while it sets up to match the original
    upholstery texture. Where you can find that today I have no idea. Advice
    for mixing upholstery-vinyl compounds (a type of poly) with other types of
    poly and having it work would have to come from someone that's ever tried
    it. I doubt it would work, but it's possible.
    Better Info, Feb 19, 2010
  5. editor

    Bob Williams Guest

    As has been noted, polypropylene is almost impossible to glue with
    conventional adhesives.
    However, It can be repaired with a "Hot Glue Gun"
    The molten adhesive is polyethylene, which is only one carbon atom away
    from polypropylene. Make sure that the hot glue is very hot and flows
    easily. It will probably help if you also warm the site of the tear to
    soften the polypropylene to make it more receptive to the molten
    polyethylene hot glue.
    Good Luck.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Feb 19, 2010
  6. editor

    pbromaghin Guest

    Try the handyman's secret weapon - duct tape.
    pbromaghin, Feb 19, 2010
  7. editor

    M-M Guest

    Silicon seal works. Use the clear stuff made for bathtub caulkng, or
    better yet liquid nails clear.
    M-M, Feb 19, 2010
  8. editor

    GregS Guest

    GregS, Feb 19, 2010
  9. editor

    Bob AZ Guest

    �Bag apparently is polypropylene.

    I have bags fxed occassionally at a local upholstery shop. They have
    any cloth or material needed and the skills needed to sew them up.
    They never make a charge but I always tip a 5 or so. And the next time
    I go to the head of the line. Be sure and take your best manners with
    you also.

    Bob AZ
    Bob AZ, Feb 20, 2010
  10. editor

    pbromaghin Guest

    pbromaghin, Feb 20, 2010
  11. editor

    Better Info Guest

    Thanks for the tip. It'll give a new use for my container of xylene. I
    hadn't thought of mixing/using solvents as a catalyst for unrelated
    adhesives+plastics before. I wonder if methyl ethyl ketone might be an even
    better intermediary, as that seems even more reactive to a wider variety of
    plastics than xylene.


    My plastics and paints solvents-reaction list, from least reactive to most.
    Rated by experience only, from life-experience random fix-it projects:

    Kerosene : Dissolves waxes, to make a penetrable liquid lubricant. Another
    usage, draw a few lines of a candle-wax over a scratched CD/DVD then add a
    drop or two of kerosene, rub it all in and then buff with a soft dry cloth
    to fill up the smallest of scratches. Makes the CD/DVDs readable again. For
    quicker evaporation use Naphtha instead. Kerosene dissolves waxes much more
    slowly than naphtha. The same method can be used on scratched or scuffed-up
    reading/sun glasses, naphtha method preferred.

    White gasoline

    Isopropyl alcohol : Dissolves powdered rosin to make an easy to apply
    friction enhancer, great for small belt-drive systems that are slipping due
    to belt-fatigue or oils on the belt. I've had many a throw-away VCR in the
    past that was fixed instantly with a couple drops of this liquid-rosin on
    the one or two rubberized drive belts. It will also dissolve many ink and
    pigment vehicles more safely than any of the following solvents, but will
    require more elbow-grease. A slower but safer way of removing them.

    Naphtha : Dissolves/penetrates most gum and rubber compounds, the best
    label-adhesive and tape-adhesive remover which will not harm the underlying
    plastic. It is also the same combustible sold as Ronsonol, Zippo
    flint-lighter refill. You can buy it at 1/10th the price from a hardware
    store under the label of Naphtha. It also rejuvenates the paper-feed grip
    on printers where the feed rollers have hardened and glazed themselves too
    much, without harming the printer's plastic case.

    Pine Oil : I've only used it to "disappear" special-effects plastics in
    novelty items and special-effects projection systems. As its index of
    refraction perfectly matches most clear-sheet plastics when immersed in
    this compound. The sheet of plastic perfectly disappearing (visually,
    without harm to the plastic) but any dichroic or other surface-effect
    application on that plastic remains. Hmmm... I guess it's not technically a
    plastics-solvent then. Nonetheless it's a fun optical-experimenter's

    Orange Oil : Not much experience with this, but I know it will ruin some
    plastics, permanently.


    Methyl cellulose : ? I think it is called. It's the solvent used in the
    original "Magic-Markers", not Sharpies, an unmistakable aroma. A few
    centiliters beneath the felt nib rejuvenates any dried-out Magic-Marker. It
    is also the solvent used to produce the child's "Permanent Plastic-Bubbles"
    toy. I'm guessing the name of it, the bottle is back on my lab-shelves
    somewhere. If you've ever smelled a Magic-Marker you are knowledgeable of
    this liquid compound.

    DEET insect repellent [N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide], worth mentioning. : The
    most annoying of plastics solvents in the world; as it seems to melt most
    of the commonly used plastics for watch-bands and watch-faces,
    fishing-lures, plastic compass housings, sunglass lenses and frames, etc.,
    etc. And you don't know about it until a day to a week later when your
    hard-plastic compass-case or sunglass frames are now a smeary black melted
    mess and the compass or sunglasses are totally ruined. Most annoying is if
    you get a DEET covered finger-print on your new plastic-lensed sunglasses
    and that's the only thing it managed to melt. There is no cure. These
    melted and smeary qualities of the DEET afflicted plastics never changing
    afterward, into perpetuity. Other than a way to get your body and clothes
    to be repellent to insects, DEET serves no other useful purpose in anyone's
    life anywhere on the planet. IMHO. :)

    Xylene : This and the following two will dissolve the most stubborn of
    silk-screened or baked-paint labels, use this and the next two with caution
    or you may destroy the plastic that a label is printed on. It can also be
    used to safely remove most cements used for glass-optics without harming
    the housing or the baked pigments on the metals. Is also used to un-cement
    permanently prepared microscope slides that have been fixed (made
    permanent) with Canada Balsam.

    Methyl ethyl ketone : Don't huff it you damn kids! You have enough
    brain-damage already. And ... GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN, you lousy kids! :)

    Acetone : Seems to dissolve, or ruin, most anything if applied long enough,
    will even un-cement cemented achromats if the achromat is immersed in
    acetone for an appreciable amount of time. This is the same solvent as in
    nail-polish remover and superglue (cyano-acrylate-glue) remover. Buy 4 oz.
    at the nailpolish counter for $5, or a quart of it for $2.50 at the
    hardware store.

    Though the last two seem interchangeable in reactiveness at times depending
    on the plastic or pigment vehicle. Most of them easily available and
    inexpensive from any hardware-store in the paints and solvents dept.

    There was one fantastic solvent that someone gave a pint of it to me once,
    it is used to bond plexiglas to plexiglas. Just place plexiglas parts edge
    to edge and flood the meeting surfaces with a drop or two; instant,
    permanent, water-tight bond; as if the parts were originally a solid unit.
    But the vapor-pressure of it is so high that it evaporated through the thin
    seal under the metal cap in less than 2 months. Before losing it all from
    the metal container to the atmosphere I managed to construct a full set of
    plexiglas shelves for all my chemical supplies. And even made a giant
    water-prism to place on a windowsill to project a wide and bright rainbow
    across the ceiling every morning. The plexiglas water-prism being 4x4x4x12
    inches. I never did find out what that solvent is called. I imagine I can
    find out by surfing the net or calling any custom plexiglas design
    companies. It had already served its purpose so it's just a mild curiosity
    now. It was nonetheless an interesting plastics solvent I had not used nor
    known of before.

    It would be interesting to see a household and inventor's usage-list of
    commonly found solvents. There's my contribution.

    Bonus points for reading: What's the most reactive solvent in the world?
    And no, it's not sulphuric, nitric, phosphoric, nor hydrochloric acid. Nor
    is it lye, to cover the bases. (pun intentional)

    Hint: The astute might guess correctly.
    Better Info, Feb 20, 2010
  12. << Snipped bits out >>

    Excellent compendium.

    My experience with orange oil is that it's a good solvent for removing
    sticker gums from bottles, or metal, but as you say, some plastics react.

    And that there are lots of things that are cheaper by a big margin at
    the hardware store vs. the drugstore, or depending on what it's called.

    Isn't toluene a major ingredient in a number of glues?

    And I too cannot recall the name of the solvent for plexi- used it 20
    years ago, and it does do the job, especially if you've done a dry run
    to make sure the pieces fit together well....
    John McWilliams, Feb 20, 2010
  13. editor

    Better Info Guest

    And we have a winner!

    Nasty stuff that dihydrogen monoxide. I always have to dilute it with high
    percentages of ethyl alcohol or something to make it safer to handle. I've
    heard about a few special-interest groups that are trying to get the
    production of it banned world-wide.

    An even more OT p.s. Does anyone know what you get when you mix plexiglas
    with nitric acid? Knowing how many explosives are formed from organic
    compounds and nitric acid, I've been avoiding putting or dropping anything
    on top of the splotches and stains of the plexiglas cover on my lab table
    where some nitric acid spilled. The deeply frosted regions seem stable, but
    I'm wary. I was using the nitric to refine some sterling silver to pure
    silver at the time.
    Better Info, Feb 20, 2010
  14. editor

    editor Guest

    Finally got some Stik N Seal today (the plain version) and used it to
    repair that small cut in camera bag - of course with dSLR out of the
    bag. Also used it to fix purse shoulder strap whose leather layers
    were separating. It worked fine for both.
    Thanks to those who'd suggested it. - your source for hard-to-find stuff!
    editor, Feb 21, 2010
  15. editor

    John Turco Guest

    Better Info wrote:


    On a vaguely related note, "Goop" is an excellent multi-purpose cleaner. It's
    effective and yet, also gentle.

    In the 1980's, I used it on a number of "box cameras" and their ilk (thrift
    store purchases), with good results. Goop allowed me to spiffy 'em up, both
    inside and out.
    John Turco, Mar 29, 2010
  16. editor

    John Turco Guest

    Which makes me wonder: How did the medieval alchemists intend to >store<
    their long-sought "universal solvent," eh?

    I guess it's fortunate that they never made it!
    John Turco, Mar 29, 2010
  17. editor

    GregS Guest

    Methylene Chloride
    GregS, Mar 29, 2010
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