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Machinable Neoprene?

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  • Machinable Neoprene?

    Is there such an animal that is a rubber/neoprene type that I can drill and shape the way I want, and still have flexibility to seal under minimal pressure? If I were able to drill a hole in a larger piece, then glue it to a mandrel of sorts, then be able to turn and shape the outside, would fill the bill. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Last time I did something like that I froze it then drilled it. Easypeasy.

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    • #3
      Been looking at McMaster Carr. If I had a 3/8" tube, and got some chemical resistant flexible tubing of 5/16" ID, shoved an inch piece on the tube, could I turn, or somehow grind, a taper to the OD of the tubing? Like this stuff: https://www.mcmaster.com/51225K33

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      • #4
        Yeah, the standard procedure for machining materials that flex a lot is to freeze them to the point where they are as hard as steel, then machine them like they were steel.

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        • #5
          I could have everything ready, pull it out of the freezer and into the lathe. Worth a try.

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          • #6
            You'll probably need it colder than freezer cold. Liquid nitrogen is usually dripped on the part during machining. Get a couple of cans of Freeze Spray to apply during machining.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rws View Post
              Is there such an animal that is a rubber/neoprene type that I can drill and shape the way I want, and still have flexibility to seal under minimal pressure? If I were able to drill a hole in a larger piece, then glue it to a mandrel of sorts, then be able to turn and shape the outside, would fill the bill. Any thoughts?
              if it's thin I don't drill I take a circle cutter punch, then trim with scissors, if its a chunk you might consider burning a hole through it instead of drilling, then believe it or not the wire wheel side of your grinder can eat soft material like crazy and leave a good finish - takes time to get used to it and don't let it "catch" or their goes the chunk...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rws View Post
                I could have everything ready, pull it out of the freezer and into the lathe. Worth a try.
                In my experience this did not work with 80A urethane. Being in the freezer seemed to make no difference in attempting machine work (lathe).

                When manufacturers make rubber or urethane covered rolls I'm told they grind for final diameter and finish.

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                • #9
                  To reshape an existing rubber or urethane piece, I've always ground it. Makes a hell of a mess. And smell. But that's probably what you should do in this case.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                  • #10
                    Definately rolls with urathane cover get ground, handy to find a print shop roll reconditioned company, great for belt grinder rolls, Any size you like
                    mark
                    you can freeze old school salt and crushed ice bath, won’t be nitrogen cold but pretty damn stiff

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DR View Post
                      When manufacturers make rubber or urethane covered rolls I'm told they grind for final diameter and finish.
                      What is the finishing process? I've only worked with a small number of rubber parts, and they never looked nice

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by thin-woodsman View Post

                        What is the finishing process? I've only worked with a small number of rubber parts, and they never looked nice
                        By "finish" I meant smoothness of the roll surface. Presumably that would happen by using a finer grit belt or wheel.

                        BTW: I found having rolls recovered is not an inexpensive process. I had a 8" wide by 2" diameter roll on a through feed belt sander sander that needed recovering. Around $300 and that was 20 some years ago. Being a cheapskate and doing some scrounging I found a roll from some sort of paper sorting machine at a scrap yard that could be shortened and it worked like a charm.

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                        • #13
                          Depending on the part, printing TPU or TPE might be acceptable with an FDM printer or with a flexible resin with an MSLA or SLA printer.
                          Mike Henry near Chicago

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DR View Post

                            By "finish" I meant smoothness of the roll surface. Presumably that would happen by using a finer grit belt or wheel.

                            BTW: I found having rolls recovered is not an inexpensive process. I had a 8" wide by 2" diameter roll on a through feed belt sander sander that needed recovering. Around $300 and that was 20 some years ago. Being a cheapskate and doing some scrounging I found a roll from some sort of paper sorting machine at a scrap yard that could be shortened and it worked like a charm.
                            We in-house grind the rubber rolls at the place I work. And yes recover on some of the rolls are not cheap but we are talking around 86” face and around 10” OD with a inch of rubber around it.

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                            • #15
                              I've been shocked at how well printing 'flex' has worked-
                              I've printed a couple of pretty heavily loaded drive rollers out of TPU,
                              and they're at least as durable as the 'rubber' they've replaced.
                              Pleasantly, when printing, it's trivial to give the roller a bit of crown
                              or cup as you need- helps a lot with tracking.

                              I had expected it to fail miserably, and instead, found
                              myself tweaking it to perform far better than the extruded originals ever could.

                              For sealing, however, I'm not so sure it'd be as good.

                              t
                              next- nylon!
                              rusting in Seattle

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