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Old May 02, 2002, 10:52 AM
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Atlanta, GA USA
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Where can I find black foam rubber for wheels?

I looked at a pair of Trexler wheels at $12 per pair that are not quite the right size or shape of what I want. I purchased a pair of foam wheels from the LHS that are still not the right size or type I want. Obviously I need something very light.

I much prefer to have some material(s) at hand to make what I want, when I want it, how I want it, so I am wondering about finding some black foam rubber and turning my own.

I'm looking for a relatively dense, but not too dense, black foam rubber sheet abount 1/2" and/or 3/4" thick.

Anyway, I want to give it a swing. Any ideas on how to turn this stuff would be appreciated. I plan to try to turn it as it is - or - soak it with water, freeze it, and then turn it.

Anybody know where I can get some of this and not have to buy a car load and/or pay and arm and a leg?

Planeman
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Old May 02, 2002, 11:24 AM
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I bought some neoprene foam sheet at a hardware store "OSH" in California a few years ago. They had a lot of 'industrial' class hardware in addition to the usual stuff. Sorry but I can't tell you where else to get it.

To make the wheels from this you can rough it to shape by cutting a do-nut of it with your scroll saw. For the inside circle cut don't cut right through the edge, rather put a small hole in the center waste area and thread your scroll saw blade through it. A hand held coping saw will work too, just be sure to cut a good circle at 90deg to the sheet foam. Don't try to hotwire the foam, it burns and the smoke is noxious.

You actually shape it by sanding. I usually glue the do-nut blank to the hub with CA. Then I put a machine screw through the hub and tighten it with a nut to serve as an arbor. This gets chucked into a drill or dremel. You then take coarse sandpaper and with the wheel spinning just sand in the desired contour. It goes quite fast. Finish it with a finer grade sandpaper.
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Old May 02, 2002, 02:36 PM
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Gerald...

I've been looking at the fantastic job you've been doing on the Thomas Morse Scout over in the "rigging" thread. You're a man after my own heart. Stick 'n tissue scale stuff. Don't 'cha love it!

Sandpaper! I believe you are right. A rough sandpaper should work. Now, just where can I get something to work on.

Planeman
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Old May 02, 2002, 03:13 PM
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Norfolk, England
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planeman,
Had you considered the type of neoprene chord that Kurt Bengtson supplies with his wheel kits. He supplies 8mm, but I know it is available in other sizes. No sanding involved, cut it to length, CA the ends together and fit the tyre to your hub. I know it works well since I've been using it for my WW1 style wheels.

Pete
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Old May 02, 2002, 03:58 PM
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Pete...

Thanks for the reply. I'm not familiar with the cord but I will look into it.

I've been building scale rubber for a long time but i'm not familiar with his kits either. I went to his web site not long ago to download some plans, however I didn't look over his kits as I scratch build almost exclusively. Let me see if I can dig up that site. I think I saved it under "plans".

Planeman
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Old May 02, 2002, 06:07 PM
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Raleigh/Durham Intl, North Carolina, United States
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Hey Planeman.I know just the foam you're looking for.I can get all the pieces of it I want,usually at no cost,at a place right across the parking lot from work. Gerald,if you ever need anymore you can get it at Raleigh Durham Rubber and Gasket.Planeman,If you can't find any send me an e-mail,I'll see if I can get you some.
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Old May 02, 2002, 06:50 PM
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You might try an industrial insulating firm. We hve it on piping where I work. It ranges from 1/2" to about 1" thick. You might try a hdw. store that sells knee pads for gardeners. One more place might be a LHS that sells on road R/C car tires. I believe that Du-Bro foam wheels come apart as well as Dave Brown.
One more thought. JR/Horizon sells a red knee pad. RED wheels!!

Good Luck,
Frank
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Old May 03, 2002, 11:56 AM
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Thanks DBlum!

If you don't mind I'll take you up on that if other sources to purchase don't work out. I know it would be a good bit of trouble to get it, pack it and ship it so I would want to make it worth your while.

The thought about RC cars is interesting. I'm going to look into that. I expect I'll still run into a size / shape problem, however it's worth a try.

Isn't this E-zone BBS and all of its fine brothers something great!

Planeman
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Old May 03, 2002, 12:50 PM
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Red Baron 47 sent me the following link/supplier:

http://w3.trib.com/~kmorris/Foamproducts.htm

Scroll down to "Rainy's Float Foam.
Availible in 1/4", 3/16", 1/8" dia in Black White Yellow and Orange.

He used this stuff for the tyres on his semi scale Bleriot XI

-E
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Old May 03, 2002, 06:46 PM
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Planeman,
PM me your address and I'll send you a piece of 1/2" black foam to play with. I found a piece of scrap insulation at work.

Frank
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Old May 05, 2002, 08:01 PM
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Raleigh/Durham Intl, North Carolina, United States
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Hey planeman,don't worry about what thickness you find.when you have your round tire blank chucked up in your dremel tool,you can slice it to whatever thickness you want with an x-acto knife.Make any size you want.It's not a big deal to ship it,foam is across the parking lot,post office is around the corner.
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Old May 06, 2002, 08:39 AM
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Thanks everybody!

Turning this stuff ought to prove interesting. I have a Unimat I'll use. Finding just the right tool and technique (sandpaper, blade, Dremel tool with rough tool run at high speed against the rubber, ???) will be a challenge.

If I have any revalations I will post them.

Planeman
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Old May 07, 2002, 06:56 AM
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Planeman,
Got your message. Try chucking your wheel/rubber in the lathe and grind it with your Dremel and a STONE tool. It will make a mess but I use to do this to car wheels to true them.

Frank
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 01:41 PM
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I want to thank everybody who gave me advice on how to make my own foam rubber wheels. I especially want to thank those who sent me some pieces of black rubber foam! After I received the black foam I realized I had seen this before. It is often used to pad-out kayaks to get a good fit to the paddler. If I need any more I’ll ask the kayakers where they get theirs.

I have just finished my first set of foam wheels and it worked out great. I made two 1 ¾” dia. wheels with balsa hubs and a piece of aluminum tubing for the axle bearings. One wheels weighs only 2 grams! In my opinion these are better than the inflatable Trexler wheels as they don’t go flat and they weigh about the same.

All I did was rough out a round shape using a sharp knife, drilled the center, and turned it on my Unimat lathe using some 280 grit sandpaper. It didn’t take very long. The only negative is it makes a little bit of a mess, however I put the end of the vacuum cleaner hose near where I was turning and this took care of it.

I didn’t try it on a scale plane for my first go at it. The plane in the photos is a Veco “Dakota” biplane 1/2 A gas free-flight once kitted in the 1950’s. I have converted it into electric RC.

I now have an “unlimited” supply of black foam wheels for about whatever I build.

Thanks again,

Planeman
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Old Jul 23, 2002, 03:21 PM
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Houston, Texas
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It helps if you freeze the foam before you turn it.
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