Soft laser safe rubber?


#1

A friend just hit me up asking if I could engrave rubber bases for a knife block he is designing. A quick search for laserable rubber gives me stuff for rubber stamps, but that stuff will probably be pretty firm. I’m guessing he’s after a softer foam rubber since it will be the base. I’m thinking silicone could be an option too.

Thoughts? Have any of you tried layering soft rubber?


#2

You’d need the SDS(Safety Data Sheets) to let you know what chemicals are in that particular rubber.


#4

If the footprint of the knife block is 2”x6”, then I’d be cutting a rubber pad to just less than that & engraving his logo/name onto the pad. Then that would get glued to the bottom so it would essentially act as protective feet but as a solid sheet.

He just asked in an email if I could do it. I’ll also throw it out there that depending on dimensions, I could engrave directly on the knife block itself.

@wesleyjames I know to check the MSDS of whatever rubber would get zapped - my question was if anyone knew of a softer rubber than rubber stamp stuff. Seems to me that might be pretty firm stuff. Although the plus side of that is you can find low/no odor sheets of it. I’d hate to think of what a “normal” piece of rubber would smell like in there. :nauseated_face: Silicone might be an option too.


#6

ENot looking to engrave a 6” thick piece of rubber. LOL. The 2x6 I threw out was a hypothetical footprint. My buddy is thinking 5mm thick but what I’m finding is more like 2.5mm.

I don’t think there’s necessarily a right/wrong material for this use as it’s essentially just a thin “foot” glued to the bottom of a wood block.

Yeah I know I can go it in my Pro if I find the right rubber. That is the point of my original post - asking if anyone knows of a laser safe rubber that is softer than what gets used for rubber stamps. :wink: I’m thinking maybe more like a foam-style rubber.


#7

ahem so I suppose when replying while working, one would be wise to not skim blurt out tired responses.


#8

How about engraving the text/logo into the base, then casting clear polyurethane rubber over it ?
Flat base, any thickness you need,
[< :upside_down_face: >]


#9

Neoprene foam? You can get it on Amazon, but I don’t know if it’s laserable or not, and it tends to stink and off-gas for a while even without lasering. It’s very flexible though, and you can get small sheets of it with adhesive already applied.

Definitely not sure it’s safe.


#11

Neoprene is along the lines of what a had in mind, but a quick googling says it has chlorine in it. Boooooo…


#12

OK two things

one a big rubber pad on a counter top that then gets stuff spilled on it, well just becomes nasty.

two, I would suggest using 4 “feet” on the bottom of the block. They are easily obtained. Rockler etc.

My dad gets them for cutting boards.

That way there is air circulation under the block, in this way he could even make the “slots” go all the way through and keep stuff from accumulating in the bottoms of the “pockets”.

OTOH, ROCKLER carries a branding Iron that can be custom made.

Also, you could engrave a spiffy plate for the side of the Block.

Chris


#13

Neoprene was also what was I thinking… minus the bad stuff.

Google says a few alternatives to neoprene are:
ariaprene
guayule rubber
neogreene
thermocline


#15

Sounds like the intent for the rubber pad is to hold the block in place and keep it from sliding around. A foam will be squishy and allow it to wobble. A rubber with a glossy/polished surface will have higher grip/slip resistance than a matte finish so keep that in mind.

Silicone and EPDM sheets with adhesive backings are readily available, check McMaster-Carr for reference but silicone is really expensive. They do have all kinds of thicknesses though.

Found this website for a company called Micron Laser with a listing of the rubbers and foams they process.


#16

What about a different tack and using cork?


#17

A whole lot of great ideas here. He just got a pic of it to me and It definitely will need a thin firm base - although the feet idea is a good consideration too.


#18

Depending on the end material, you could also just make a mold for this and skip the laser.


#19

Good find! I had found Buna-N (nitrile rubber) too. I went back to him with some options. I’ll post up some pics of whatever he decides once it’s done.