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Material for Way Protector - Rubber? Or What?

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  • Material for Way Protector - Rubber? Or What?

    My Grizzly dovetail column mill needs a new way cover for the rear of the saddle. The old one is about 10 years old and splitting in two places. It looks like black rubber or some synthetic variation of that. It is a flat sheet, about 11.5" x 14" and is held at both ends with (sheet?) metal strips. The Grizzly site says it is no longer stocked or I would just get the OEM(?) part. So I will have to make my own replacement.

    So, what material/kind of rubber should I get? OR, I saw a video by Stefan Gotteswinter where he showed using a soft leather for a way cover on a lathe. He said it resists hot chips. Is that normally used? Wouldn't cutting fluids and oils saturate it and do heaven knows what to it? I would think that hot chips would be a secondary consideration on a mill; oil would be the first. And how thick should I get it? 1/16"? 1/8"? It has two 90 degree bends so it needs to be somewhat flexible.

    I will probably get a 12" x 36" piece because there is a second cover over the vertical dovetail that has not split ..... yet.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

  • #2

    Several years ago I bought something similar from Arceuro in the UK. They are described as dip-moulded rubber (ie fabric dip moulded with 'rubber')

    Try this link for reference/ideas:



    • #3
      You can use a piece from an old tread mill mat/belt.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
        You can use a piece from an old tread mill mat/belt.
        +1 Those treadmill belts are real nice material, I have used them for lots of things such as matts for toolbox tops etc.

        I once had a set of aftermarket way covers I bought for a bridgeport. They were some type of rubber sheet. Rubber roofing material "appears" to be just about the same stuff, although compositions are unknown on both. I have used the rubber roofing material for such purposes and it worked very well. Contractors that do rubber roofing have tons of large scraps that get thrown away, free for the asking. Worth noting that rubber roofing material comes in various thicknesses. Don't confuse rubber roofing material with EPDM roofing material. EPDM is different and far less flexible.

        On the DIY cnc forums, many use shower liner material for their enclosures and it gets good reviews. Its available at the home stores.
        Last edited by Sparky_NY; 03-23-2020, 06:43 AM.


        • #5
          I've been using a car floor mat from Walmart. A front and rear set was a few bucks. I made two small sheet metal mounts to hold it. The picture shows version 1.1 with a piece added to protect the column. Version 2.0 uses one piece and allows the knee to go all the way down.

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          • #6
            make sure you get a nitrile rubber, its good with oil.....many rubbers are not and fall apart


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
              You can use a piece from an old tread mill mat/belt.
              That is what I am using!


              • #8
                McMaster Brown Neoprene Belting
                It's all mind over matter.
                If you don't mind, it don't matter.


                • #9
                  I saw a shower-pan material at Home Depot (Urethane, I think) that is sold by the foot and is flexible, looks promising.


                  • #10
                    Treadmill mats are pretty thick. I used fabric reinforced neoprene sheet from McMaster. It's held up for years under heavy oil/coolant abuse and not been damaged by hot chips. You can get it in various thicknesses.
                    Southwest Utah


                    • #11
                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        I can tell you one option that is not good is vinyl.

                        I have some thick clear vinyl such as used for boat canopy or convertible car tops on hand and tried a bit as a clear bed shield for the front of my lathe carriage. The usual cutting fluids and oils didn't make it break up but it did pucker and distort badly in short order. Over a two year time frame it puckered so badly that it was pointing this way and that and getting badly in the way.

                        Cordura or "ballistic nylon"?

                        I also have some heavy weight back pack like Cordura material here from a past project. The rubber cover on my mill was too narrow to keep the chips off the ways and was starting to go stiff. So about 6 months back I made a new wider back cover and made up a front cover at the same time.

                        The coated nylon material is standing up well to hot chips and the usual cutting oil and water mixed cutting fluids. But where I used to be able to vacuum out the chips by forming the rubber into a tube to hold in the airflow now I can't do that as the Cordura is so flexible that the "tube" closes up tight instantly. So I brush the chips out into a dust pan now.

                        So while the Cordura is working for me I would not call it a full 10 out of 10. More like a 6 or 7 just because of the vacuum cleaner option being removed. But a positive is that it is SO THIN that even buckled up between the table and column it does not limit the table travel at all.... so I might be unkind with the 6 or 7 and perhaps it rates more like an 8 out of 10?

                        This wouldn't be a good option for consideration if you could not buy it easily. I looked on and 1000D or 1000 Denier coated nylon is available in a number of colors and a few varying prices. The cheapest seems to be THIS LISTING.

                        If you like this option and do go for it use the material with the coated side upwards. I started out with the coated side down and the chips catch and hold in the weave of the nylon fabric side. On the coated side they brush off very easily.

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                        Chilliwack BC, Canada


                        • #13
                          I used a flashing material left over from a job. It looks like black rubber that has a lot of fiber glass in it. It is 1/16 thick and flexible. It has been on the mill for years.


                          • #14
                            I used scrap material from a roofing job. It's about .050" thick and has a woven reinforcement inside.
                            I cut it off twice; it's still too short
                            Oregon, USA


                            • #15
                              The roofing material is being used more often on commercial building all the time, one type is called TPO and the other I've seen is EPDM that is real tuff but still flexible. I too saw the shower pan material at Home Depot the other day, it was 5' wide by the foot for $7.50 if I recall correctly.

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                              I use a couple of magnets to keep it attached to the table and the top is just cut to slide on the dovetail of the ram. the front one has kept my hands from being burnt by hot chips in the past as I'm manually operating the table. I'm using the EPDM from a reroof at my work.

                              Mr fixit for the family