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Silicone tire technology

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  • Silicone tire technology

    I just started working at a factory that molds rubber. This has spurred my interest in making my own tires (or tyres as they call 'em here). One of the lab techs gave me a list of some pourable silicones, but I'm having trouble deciding what one might suit my needs. Does anyone know what type of silicones I should be looking at and what specifications I should be after? They are rated in viscosity and shore A hardness - anyone know what we want for tires?

    I know others have spent a lot of time and money researching these things and I'm not looking for trade secrets here - just wanting to get some practice mold-making. I realize I can quite easily and inexpensively purchase tires from the advertisers, but I like to do these things for myself!

    Thanks for any help that can be offered.

  • #2
    It may be a little harder to do what you want with a mold.
    What we do at The Race Place is called applied silicon tires.
    We use either natural rubber or synthetic to make the tire mounted on your choice of rims. Pro-track makes us some
    .500 width @ 20 mm. and 22mm. You then take any type silicon that is available, preferably pourable like you noted.
    Turn the tire slowly and apply silicon with finger use a piece of glass or non-stick plastic to put finishing touch on surface of tire(smooth surface). Continue to turn til silicon sets so no lumps will accure. Foam allows for cushion between track and car. When car goes done straights tires can still grow for max. speed on straights and smooth transitions on track.

    Best Regards,
    Greg Walker
    The Race Place


    • #3
      A pourable silicone works well for coating an existing rubber or foam tire, I am not sure that it is the way to go for moulded tires. A pourable silicone is a silicone elastomer dissolved in a solvent, a ketone like MEK or MIBK works best with silicones. When I was working with silicones I would react a silicone polymer with a silicone type crosslinker using a catalyst to make an elastomer. You could fiddle around with different combinations for a long time without getting a decent tire. The other problem is the mold, 1/32nd cars use goofy rims with a center rib. Making the mould for that type of wheel is more trouble. Since silicone is difficult to sand you would want the tires to come out as true as possible.
      HO racers use a lot of silicone on sponge tires, they give terrific grip and are more forgiving on a bumpy surface. They are not often used in 1/32nd scale, I presume because they do not look like 1:1 tires.


      • #4
        Re: Make your own tires etc.

        Try these articles from OWH!