Machining Thordon Elastomers
Thordon’s elastomeric polymer grades such as XL, SXL, COMPAC and Composite can easily be machined; however, since these are non-metallic materials they require different machining techniques. To machine these materials, it is very important to use sharp cutting tools, as they tend to move away with applied pressure; especially if the material being machined is thin! When machining thin walled bearings, any excess pressure applied by the cutting tool may deform the bearing. This is why in some instances the tube being machined may need to be supported by a mandrel, a plug, a spider or by mounting it to a fixed faceplate.
Another important factor is the cutting speed! The combination of low feed rates with high turning speeds may cause too much frictional heat resulting in a galled/melted finish. Too low of a turning speed combined with low feed rates may produce a rough finish. As a rule of thumb, the speed/feed combinations that work best are similar to the ones used when machining Aluminum.
Thordon elastomeric grades are highly versatile and can undergo virtually all kinds of manufacturing operations, such as machining, drilling, tapping, shaping, routing, sawing, broaching and milling. Additionally, these materials can be manually shaped or worked using regular hand tools. It is also important to note that sawing Thordon elastomeric materials requires the use of carbide tipped cutting blades to prevent heat buildup.
A comprehensive overview of Thordon’s machining techniques and tips are included in Thordon Elastomeric Bearings Engineering Manual. Click below to download the manual. There is also a great video resource on youtube, click below to view it.
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