Rubber is an ideal material for gasket, washer, and seal applications, traditionally produced by molding or die-cutting. Lathe-cutting rubber is an effective alternative to these processes, generating excellent results. Lathe-cut products are more cost-effective, because very little waste is produced, and little additional processing is required because no flash or other excess is created. The process also eliminates costs and time delays associated with tooling, making even very small runs of custom rubber products possible.
Can You Lathe Cut Rubber?
Lathe-cutting rubber is an efficient, affordable choice to produce quality parts, especially for uses where a static seal is needed. The process of machining rubber on a lathe to create products, such as gaskets, washers, and seals, is similar to any lathing method where the material to be worked is mounted on the lathe shaft and precision cut while it rotates at high speeds. Employing this process with an extruded rubber tube produces parts that are highly resistant to distortion.
Common Lathe Cut Rubber Parts
Because the lathe rubber-cutting process relies on rapidly rotating a tube of rubber on a central axis, it is ideally suited to products such as washers, gaskets, and seals. These rubber products are cut on the lathe from tubes of rubber or other elastomeric materials which have been extruded and prepared to meet precise requirements of size and diameter. They are then cut to the desired width on the lathe.
Lathe Cut Rubber Washers
With the ability to retain their shape well and be highly durable, lathe-cut rubber washers are commonly used in environments where a static seal is needed to prevent leaks and mitigate noise, vibrations, and shocks. Rubber washers can be lathe cut in sizes and diameters to accommodate threaded fasteners, such as screws and bolts, as well as threaded pipe.
Lathe Cut Rubber Gaskets
Square and bevel cuts, consistency, and tight tolerances at an affordable price separate lathe-cut rubber gaskets from those manufactured by other processes. Lathe-cut gaskets are especially effective as static seals, offering a large sealing surface that won’t lose its shape under even prolonged stresses.
Lathe Cut Rubber Seals
As with washers and gaskets, lathe cut seals are a cost-effective product available in a variety of inner and outer diameters and profiles. Lathe-cut seals are an appropriate substitute for O-rings for many applications, including high-pressure environments.
What Materials Are Used to Lathe Cut Rubber?
Most elastomeric materials are appropriate for lathe-cut rubber products due primarily to their ability to retain or return to their original shape repeatedly. Very hard or soft elastomers may not tolerate the lathe-cutting process without deforming, but commonly used materials that produce reliable, consistent results include:
- Buna-N or Nitrile rubber: Particularly useful for contact with fuel, oils, acids, and other chemicals
- Butyl rubber: Especially suitable for applications with exposure to chemicals
- EPDM rubber: Versatile and effective for countless applications across most industries for sealing and noise reduction needs
- Fluorine rubber (Viton): Offers exceptional durability and resilience
- Natural rubber: Available in harder and softer formulations
- Neoprene: Effective over a wide variety of temperatures and very long-lasting and durable
- Silicone rubber: Commonly used under extreme temperature situations and also suitable for food contact applications
- Solid & sponge rubber materials: Resists mold buildup and is a versatile packaging material.
At Moriteq, we offer precision lathe cut rubber services to create seals, gaskets, washers, and similar products for any industry or application, in runs as large or small as you require. Please contact us to request a quote for your next project.