Straightening/Flattening Bicycle Inner Tubes for DIY Projects

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About: Generaly confused. Secretly inspired.

If you follow me here on Instructables, you might have known that recently I've got an acces to contant supply of free used bicycle inner tubes, and now experimenting with all the different things I can do with them.

Inner tubes have prooven to be well suitable material for making belts or sewing wallets, purses, bags and whatewer else you want.

Step 1:

But there's a little problem with used tubes. Unlike brand new product being flat an nice, they have one side permanently stretched. It often results in crumbelled, wavy surface of sewn item. I "borrowed" last photo from sharpie.stories' instructable HOW TO SEW BIKE TUBES/VINYL. I'm not criticizing his work though. In fact I think he did a good job on that piece.

So, in this tutorial I want to share the results of my experiment on flattening/straightening used inner tubes for giving them more neat apperance in finnished crafting product and make them a bit more easy and pleasant to work with. I concidere this experiment being a success although I wasn't able to return tubes to their initial new-like condition.

Also, I think, this process will work best when making belts out of inner tubes. I can recommend BrittLiv'sBICYCLE TUBE BELT instructable, and suggest this procedure as one of initial steps in it.

Step 2:

For the start, take your tube and turn it so that the valve is facing out.

Then pull it onto straight wooden plank. It shouldn't be stretched too much, but quiet firmly instead.

Make sure that the tube is aligned well on the plank. Use existing lines and markings as a refrence.

Step 3:

Cut two holes near the valve (one on each side) for the air to escape freely.

Step 4:

Prepare two more boards and some clamps. They'll be used later.

Step 5:

Plug your less new iron and turn it to max temperature.

Now use a piece of regular office paper, or whatever piece of paper you have, to protect iron from rubber while ironing streetched tube. Apply moderate preassure and try to make sure that the tube gets heated all the way through to the back side. Do 2-3 passes over all tube with quick motion.

Flip the board and do the other side.

Step 6:

While the tube on the plank is hot, put it between two boards, we've prepared earlier and clamp them together.

Leave the whole thing for 10-15 min for the tube to cool down, undo the clamps and pull the tube off the plank.

Step 7:

As you can see processed tube is notacibly straighter then not processed one (I made a hole in it to relese the air so it retains it shape by it's own rigidity). Processed tube also tends to retain created creaced edge.

In general it's up to you if you want to take an extra step for straightening inner tubes for your project. I see a logic continuation of this experiment on trying to straighten a cut open tube for flat sheets. I'll chew on this idea later, but it's all for now. Thanks for your attention and don't apply this to Earth.

Also this is my Facebook page.

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    4 Discussions

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    jaxboy

    2 months ago

    Excellent idea! This opens up entire new area for the use of wide cheap rubber bands, rubber sheets, etc. Who would have thought it? Thank you!

    1 reply
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    Waldemar Shajaxboy

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank you. I have had thoughts on cutting the tube alongside and stretching it spread out like a sheet. I guess I'll try it when get to sewing them.

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    Alex in NZ

    3 months ago

    Good idea. Thank you for sharing.

    Do you think that storing the boards and inner tube in an airing cupboard would get them warm enough that there was no need to iron?

    1 reply
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    Waldemar ShaAlex in NZ

    Reply 3 months ago

    I don't think so. Even iron at max temp barely mannages to give the result. But also I think, that just storing them in stretched position for long enough will even them out eventually. Maybe I should try with one for a bout a week...