By now you know what the hot stapler does: strengthen and repair thermoplastic parts with stainless steel staples. If not, the video above explains what you need to know.
Now you are familiar with the why, what, when and how, the next relevant question is which staple goes where. Some StapleClips® are designed and suited for certain situational repairs. You might be asking yourself, “What is the difference?” which is a great question. A better one is would you use a Phillips screwdriver on flat head screw? The answer is no because it does not fit, but the reverse situation would be yes even if you did have some difficulty; a small flat head could probably work on a Philips screw. The thing to remember when selecting which StapleClip® to use is which one fits best even though some staples can be used universally. A general guideline is listed below.
There is an important feature to understand; what makes a Dent Fix Breakaway® Staple® breakaway. This small design element will cut cycle time and save technicians extra steps.
The leads are notched, like someone took an ax to a tree, allowing them to be snapped off with a hand, instead of having to go back over with snips. The time savings does not stop there: if sunken deep enough the leads will break below the surface of the plastic eliminating the need to go back over with a grinder later. Over time these simple improvements make the difference in profitability and not going over the allocated time.
Z-Clip: Stitch Tears
The most common variety used, the Z Clip is the most versatile. Designed for repairing general tears the Z shape forms a natural stitch. Usually used for small and delicate tears with not much obstructions. This staple is placed at 1 to 1.5 inch intervals on straight breaks and open areas. Tighter staple intervals can be used on curved cracks and high load bearing areas.
Some straight cracks might be located in high vibration areas like plastic supports under the hood. To counteract the vibrations, these clips are used because the footprint is larger than the Z-Clip. The extra width covers more surface area and adds rigidity. The larger footprint allows it to be used horizontally and vertically.
M-Clip: Outside Corner
The inside corner of a broken part might not be accessible from the backside. Using the M-Clip on the front of the repair not only allows for the repair to be performed, but also saves time by not having to remove the part from the vehicle. These areas are usually right angles, bends and joints.
V-Clip: Inside Corner
A great selection for the inside corners of right angles. The major advantage is to reinforce 90 degree angles from the inside which also can conceal the repair to the back side. Use smaller intervals to create a stronger spine or connect a support tab.
The specialized W shape really comes handy when a V-Clip will not work. This shape adds extra support to thicker gauge plastic. The ridges provide more stable surface areas for the staple to reinforce the corner. Typical applications are for thick cornered areas and structurally load-bearing joints.
S-Clip: Stitch Holes
This staple is a specialty staple that can be used in specific areas like round curves and also in areas where there is little obstruction. When used on open area cracks for best results, after submerging the staple into the plastic give a clockwise twist while the staple still hot. This twist helps to further reinforce the repair area.
U-Clip: Rounded Corner
Another curved application, this staple can help with a rounded corner. This is an alternative to the M-Clip which would leave exposed staple. Also effective in curved areas around screw and plastic rivet holes.
Information can only get someone so far but doing builds experience. Old plastic parts destined for the dumpster are the perfect practice instruments to try out the tool. and hone your hot stapler skills. If none are available try it on any other thermoplastic part. They are easy to identify because the melted plastic will not solidify after when cooled. If the plastic does not solidify after being heated by the staple you should not practice with that part. Only one thing left to do: get out there and try it out!.