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rubber apparel buttons from bike tires? Answered

I made the bike tread belt, and of course wound up with two extra strips of rubber. Then I cut out shapes from them, which I think could be used as apparel buttons (as opposed to on/off buttons.) Is there an easier way to do this than with scissors? Also, buttons are often harder than rubber tires, but I also know that rubber gets hard over the years. Is there a simple way for me to make the rubber harder?

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NachoMahma (author)2008-11-11

. For round buttons, a hollow punch (aka gasket punch) should work.
.
. Vulcanization. No it doesn't have anything to do with Mister Spock.

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lotusduck (author)NachoMahma2008-11-11

Hmm, good idea. I think I will try the instructable on die cutting also. I already read the wikipedia article on vulcanization, and while informative it doesn't really have a recipe for treating already vulcanized tires. I guess I can just pop them in the oven and hope for the best?

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Goodhart (author)lotusduck2008-11-12

Did they melt? Or worse yet, did you set off the smoke alarms? :-)

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lotusduck (author)Goodhart2008-11-12

Haven't done it yet, but they would not melt , since the vulcanizing temperature listed on wikipedia is like 320 degrees F, and these are already vulcanized making them resistant to melting.

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Goodhart (author)lotusduck2008-11-12

Yes, if you keep your oven below that temp. Lots of food is baked/broiled at the 350o to 475o F range. I was just being overly cautious again :-)

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lotusduck (author)Goodhart2008-11-12

Not to quibble, but the info I read on vulcanizing made it seem that melting down vulcanized rubber is a difficult process in the factory, and would be impractical or impossible to do at home.

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Goodhart (author)lotusduck2008-11-12

Hmm, I wonder what my soldering iron temp. is then....it seems to be able to melt and slice through most hardened rubber grommets I have had to remove "Rambo style" in the past. I wonder if they are referring to "well hardened rubber"?

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lotusduck (author)Goodhart2008-11-12

I initially thought that a soldering iron would cut right through a rubber tire, so I tried it. It softened it enough to poke through, but only very slowly and with some difficulty. Room temp scissors turned out to be much easier, even though they are tough for scissors. I don't know if the non-rubber fibers inside of bike tires have anything to do with this.

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Goodhart (author)lotusduck2008-11-13

The only time I had to "cut" a bike tire, was after a tire gauge failure, did not warm me that the tire was reaching critical inflation, and it blew up in my face (DON'T try this at home!). To wheel the bike home without carrying the front end the entire 5 miles, I had to cut it off (yes, that is wire in the edge that seals the air in). It was fibrous and tough. I never really tried to melt one though I knew they softened after a lot of riding (and then hardened once they cooled down).

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killerjackalope (author)2008-11-12

The rubber in a tyre has already been hardened, you could try puncture repair fluid the stuff to stick patches in bike kits, it's vulcanising fluid. If you want hardened rubber any tyre over seven years old will be about as hard as they get easily... Things that may help: - Strong doses of UV light - Possibly heat, though I'd say on the radiator might be a safe place to start, if you go overboard they'll be a crumbly mess - try various solvents, not sure what but isopropyl alcohol might work - Vulcanising fluid seems like a good bet. I don't know why you'd need to harden them though, the rubber's fairly inflexible, maybe a few thick wires worked through the middle of it like a cross section, it wouldn't be obvious but may help stiffen it somewhat.

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Maybe I don't need to harden them at all, especially since over the years they'll get hard on their own.

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lotusduck (author)2008-11-11

oops, didn't add the image.

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