Carving rubber mats

This post isn’t about asking about how to carve rubber but what I have learned since staring a project.

I have an old car and the running boards were originally covered with vulcanized rubber. I can send the boards out to have them professionally recoated but the current going price is $3000 plus shipping to and from Canada. Like with everything involving my old vehicles I like to do as much as I can myself. I bought the X Carve for my business to carve thin aluminum plate but I wanted to see if I could make the mats. I think I have the process almost down.

First, I had to find the correct material. I am using 1/4" rubber floor mats. I have my old running boards with the original matting, or what is left of them. I made a drawing in my CAD system and imported the drawing, in .dxf format, into the X Carve controller. Now the fun part.

After finding the material I wanted to use I had to find a way to secure it to the cutting surface. I used a piece of 1/2" plywood and two sided outdoor carpet tape. The carpet tape seemed to work OK but the 1/4" bit that came with the machine would grab the rubber and pull it up. My son, who does cabinetry work suggested using a downward cut bit they use to do veneer work. That bit worked really well. The mats I’m making have nine raised ribs with curved edges so I bought a round over router bit with the proper curve to finish the ribs the way I want them.

The carpet tape didn’t hold good enough so I found better carpenters tape that seems to be working pretty good.

A lot of work for a one time project but I have gotten interest about making these running board covers for others so I’m hoping I can make a little money on the side.


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