We are fortunate to live in the same state (Ohio) as the country's largest supplier of vulcanized rubber is manufactured. Every week we make the 25 minute drive to pick up our rubber. The owner took me and my husband, Rick, around the plant for an extensive tour and explained everything in great detail. I will be giving a Reader's Digest version of how rubber is made so you can see all the work that goes into every rubber stamp that is made for your passion...stamping!
This picture shows the ingredients that are used to make batches of rubber.
Here are the measured out amounts of supplies needed to make a batch of rubber, which includes natural rubber, clay, zinc oxide, curing agents.
Here we have raw, natural rubber before being mixed with the other ingredients.
This machine is a mix mill with two 60" long rolls, side by side horizontally with a gap of 1/4" to 1/2"separating them; each moving in opposite directions. The natural rubber and the powdered ingredients are added and mixed up. The rubber starts mixing and starts out yellowish, until the coloring pigment is added.
Here the worker has added the pigment, and the rubber is mixed, blended and rolled for a long time. He will cut the rubber, it will fall down and be thrown back to stretch it again several times.
The batch is almost ready as it has a uniform texture and color.
The rubber is cut into long sections and hung on racks so it can cool down.
This next machine is the calender and it used for rolling out the rubber to the desired width and thickness. It is run through several areas of the machine to thin it out as much as needed.
Here a worker is applying the powder/dust on the rolls right after the calendering operation. The powder will assure a smooth surface, assist in dissipating heat build up in calendering and assist in the molding operation.
Completed batches of rubber are stored in this area until they are needed to be thinned and rolled out in the calender.
Here is our rubber which is Orchid! It is our signature color that is made special just for us!
Once the rubber is complete, it is kept in the cooler until ready to be used for rubber plate pressings.
Once a stamp set is designed, I order it and it is made into a magnesium plate.
(made in Michigan). This one shown here is a very old plate, our first stamp set ever....Light of the World! The magnesium plate is layered with the green board, called the Matrix, and pressed in a very hot vulcanizer, and the matrix board them becomes the mold that is used to press the rubber sheets.
This is one of 2 industrial sized vulcanizers. The matrix boards, with sheets of rubber layed on top, are placed on the metal surface, and inserted into the vulcanizer. Two metal plates, called platens, are then pressed together with a hydraulic press for about 10 minutes. The combination of the high heat and the pressure makes the rubber "melt" and form into the mold, and rubber stamp set sheets are made!
Here we have the girls cutting our rubber sheets of stamps sets into separate stamps. They use scroll saws with special blades to cut the rubber.
A close-up of Cheryl cutting apart a stamp set.
Once we receive the order, Josh will ship it out to you!
I hope you enjoyed learning how rubber and rubber stamps are made!
All of us at Divinity Designs are so thankful for all our customers, whether you have ordered online, bought from us at a stamp show or attended one of our classes and mini shows! Our schedules are listed on the website HERE and HERE.
Be sure to check out our 2014 Anniversary Blog Hop on Monday, March 17, 2014, where we will showcase our yearly anniversary sets. My fabulous Design Team have submitted scripture verses, quote and sentiments for 4 new fabulous sets! We will have PRIZES!! See you then!