When it comes to cutting rubber, there are a few different ways to choose from depending on your specific circumstances, such as hand cutting, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and die cutting methods. In some instances, custom cuts must be as accurate as possible for applications such as seals and gaskets. Computerized cutting machines, such as laser and waterjet cutters, can provide more accurate cuts that would be impossible to achieve with the naked eye. Other times, larger, less precise cuts can be done by hand for a more cost-effective method of cutting rubber. Continue reading to learn more about each of these methods:
- Hand Cutting
Hand cutting is the most basic way to cut rubber and can be done with a utility knife and a T-square ruler. This method of cutting rubber is ideal for simple straight cuts that do not need to be precisely cut. Thicker, longer, and larger rubber sheets will be easier to cut using this method; however, thicker sheets can take multiple cuts to completely sever the piece. Despite having some difficulty with thicker sheets, this is the most cost-effective method of cutting rubber due to the lack of expensive machinery that are used in other methods.
- Laser Cutting
For laser cutting, a high-powered laser beam is guided across the surface of the material creating extremely accurate and precise cuts. Cutting rubber on a laser cutter gives you the benefit of cutting through thicker rubber sheets. Although laser cutters produce extremely precise lines, they also tend to use up much more energy than other methods. Due to the large amount of energy being used, laser cutting rubber is generally only used when in need of a tighter tolerance.
- Water Jet Cutting
Rubber parts fabricated through waterjet cutting are extremely accurate and true to the specified measurements entered into the computer. Unlike laser cutters, waterjet cutters use high-pressure streams of water to cut through the material. This method allows for a more precise and accurate cut that will not be compromised by heat that can melt away some of the material. When cutting through tougher materials, such as rubber with high durometer ratings, abrasives are added in the water to help cleanly cut through the material. The accuracy of the cuts made by waterjet cutting is unmatched by do-it-yourself methods.
- Die Cutting
Die cutting machines are essentially large hole punchers, pre-measured to customer specifications, that cut out custom rubber parts. Although die cutting is limited to thinner sheets, it reduces time spent cutting individual pieces. Die cutters are generally used for creating custom rubber parts en masse by using multiple pre-measured cutting molds punch out many rubber parts simultaneously. Die cutting rubber is an efficient method of creating large numbers of parts for precise applications.
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