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Shaping Silicone Tires

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  • Shaping Silicone Tires

    Ok, short of purchasing a tire truer machine of some sort (I'm saving for a Tire Razor) I'm left to my vices - running the car while on the track with the rear end up in order to try and sand a profile that's not square. It doesn't seem to work at all with 150 grit sandpaper, regardless of the speed of the wheel. Or am I just not giving it the time it needs... I've sat there for more than a couple minutes one time - and not even a scratch it seemed!
    What's the Best method to get a suitable sidewall profile on a silicone tire?

  • #2
    Do you own a Dremel?

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    • #3
      Yes I do. I have carbide attachments, cut-off wheels of 3 sizes and styles, sanding stones and sanding discs. Now that I think about it - my Dremel is the oldest tool in the shed! I should probably replace the brushes!

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      • #4
        Get the Dremel located in a vice. Best if the tire is glued to the rim first and allowed to dry, maybe 24 hours. IB2000 is the best glue, often marketed using other labels. Then get the wheel mounted on an axle or appropriate pin gauge and put this in the chuck of the Dremel.

        Then it's time to sand, both to make the footprint perfect, as well as round the edges. And it's going to take patience, don't go cranking it to 25,000 rpm or like that right away. You'll need a pretty rough sandpaper to effectively remove material from the tire.

        There should be threads around here somewhere about this process, but darned if I can find them right now. Please don't anybody post links to non-advertisers or competing sites, I'm sure that Dingleberry has Google at his fingertips.
        Last edited by Wet Coast Racer; 07-24-2020, 05:47 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the input! I guess I need to get some 80 grit sandpaper then...
          I think I'll try one or two different carbide cutters before running out for sandpaper. Have you tried using one of those?

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          • #6
            I would typically use a carbide cutter (in the chuck of a Dremel) to shorten an axle, or round off the end.

            But working on a mounted tire, being spun by the Dremel, and working on silicone tires, something like a 60 grit - either holding the piece in your hand, or glued to a flat stick, is the best way to make that tire perfect, I reckon.

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            • #7
              Do you just want to round off the shoulder of the tires or actually true them? If you want to true most silicone tires a Tire Razor would not be the ideal machine to use unless the tires were on stock plastic wheels. To round off the shoulders I use coarse emery boards to start with, those are 60-80 grit, and finish with a finer grit (about 200).
              I have used a diamond bit in a comm truing machine to turn down HO tires, but those are an older type of silicone similar to the type used for the old Indy Grip tires. The HO Super Tires tires that I use come in incremental sizes, so I have never had to turn those down. If I remember I will see how the diamond bit works with Super Tires.

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              • #8
                I just want a rounded shoulder (not a shoulder that's a perfect 90 degrees!)... I've tried with both my tungsten carbide cutting bits to no avail - this one 9903 and this one 9901
                bit1.JPGbit2.JPG
                and this high speed steel one also

                bit3.JPG
                and then I tried again with the 150 grit sandpaper and it didn't even make a dent! What the heck is this stuff!?!?!?!

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                • #9
                  Finer sand paper will only polish the really tough type of silicone that Quick Slicks and Super Tires uses. That type of silicone is not only very tough it also has some flex so any sort of steel cutter will just push it aside. For rounding off sidewalls some people use the mesh type stuff used for sanding drywall, but as I said 60-80 mesh emery boards work for me. Dremel makes some very coarse sanding drums that should also work, you would have to spin the wheel and tire with an electric drill and use a Dremel to turn the drum in the opposite direction.
                  You might also try using a reamer, those have razor sharp flutes.
                  Last edited by RichD; 07-27-2020, 07:09 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Skunk werks. For obnoxious silicones that wont cooperate, hone and grind stones work the best. A fixed medium stone allows the user to shape or roll the side walls with relative ease.

                    You can hum the tire on the stone, or you can counter rotate the tire against a grinding wheel, if you really want to shred on it. Obviously the latter takes a bit of acquired touch.

                    I do both the inner and outer edges to minimize chatter, and help ease the tires over the rails; as the chassis wigs and wags.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by model murdering View Post
                      Skunk werks. For obnoxious silicones that wont cooperate, hone and grind stones work the best. A fixed medium stone allows the user to shape or roll the side walls with relative ease...
                      Thanks for your input! Can you share what stones you use, or shed some light on what I should get?
                      I have this knife sharpening kit - will one of those work?

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                      • #12
                        I would try a shaving razor, not electric, they work well to shave the side walls.
                        Personally I would not use a dremel , too much play in the bearings to do anything precise.

                        We do sell an excellent Scaleauto Tire Machine
                        Last edited by Scaleracing; 07-27-2020, 09:41 AM.
                        Alan Smith
                        SCI Owner.
                        www.scaleracing.com
                        www.slotcarillustrated.com
                        www.facebook.com/scaleracingcenter
                        www.132slotcar.us

                        1-253-255-1807

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                        • #13
                          Do you mean something like this Alan? Capture.JPG I have boxes of them collecting dust!

                          Yes the Scaleauto Tire Machine... I've looked at it several times. Either I get 2 cars or the machine. I always decide on the 2 cars!!

                          I'll eventually replace all urethane and silicone tires with rubber.

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                          • #14
                            I would disagree with Alan regarding the bushings in a Dremel, maybe I've just been lucky but I have three of them and there's no noticeable play in the bearings.

                            But the idea of using a disposable razor - think BIC or like that - is a good one, I'd forgotten that trick though I've used it myself.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dinglebery View Post
                              I have this knife sharpening kit - will one of those work?
                              Try it and let us know.

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