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Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harden.

  1. Mar 16, 2012 #1
    Here is the problem: The bars of a saddle, which rest on a horse's back, rarely completely conform to the exact shape of the horse's back. I want to make a rubbery or heavy dense foam shim which will fill in the voids between the saddle bars and the horse's back so there is a perfect fit.

    In my mind's eye, the perfect material would have the consistency of tire rubber, and be about 1/2" to 1" thick. You could cut it so it matches the shape of the saddle bar and glue it to the saddle bar. When you were ready to fit the saddle to a particular horse, you would put the saddle blankets or pads you usually use when you saddle your horse on the horse, then do something to make the rubbery compound slightly viscous. Maybe peel off a paper cover, or spray it with some chemical. Then you'd put the saddle on the horse, and tighten the girth, i.e. saddle him. Perhaps you would even mount the horse and just sit in the saddle for say 30 minutes to an hour while the compound slowly fills in the voids and then sets or hardens.

    Thereafter that particular saddle would fit that particular horse like a glove, at least until the horse's back changed due to muscling up, fattening up or losing weight, pregnancy, age, etc. But the shims should last for a few years. Then you could just do it all over again.

    Because there would be a blanket or pad between the saddle and the horse, heat would not be too much of a problem. The compound could end up being hard as a rock, altho ideally there would be a little bit of give in the substance. The substance can't be runny, and it can't harden up super quick. If it takes an hour to take a shape and then you would unsaddle the horse and turn the saddle upside down and let the substance finish curing till it was permanently set, that would work too.

    I did make a shim out of Bondo, but it was a real mess, and I dread doing that again.

    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2012 #2

    uby

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    Re: Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harde

    You might be making things more complicated than they need to be. Why not use a molding compound (like the kind dentists use to make a mold of your teeth) to find the proper shape and cut a piece of leather to the right size?
     
  4. Mar 16, 2012 #3
    Re: Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harde

    There's stuff used to do this exact concept for ski boots for custom fitment.

    Find the ski boot stuff, and use that.

    :D
     
  5. Mar 16, 2012 #4
    Re: Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harde

    I have already checked out the dental impression material. It's call vinyl polysiloxane. It sets up too quickly and for my purpose is extremely expensive.

    I looked at some ski boot ads on-line. Some require heating their bootie to 250 degrees in an oven before putting your foot (w/sock on) inside. You then have about 5 minutes before it sets up. I don't think that will work, but I might try it. Another outfit makes a "footbed" by having the customer stand on a gizmo that then pushes 350 rubber rods up towards your foot. It then records the topographical info about your foot, which is used to make a footbed insert to fit the inside our your boot which will then match the contours of the bottom of your foot. That would be perfect if they made such a machine for measuring the back of a horse.

    I was just hoping there might be some other material out there that would work. My uncle told me there use to be in the oil field, pipes with a hard rubber like compound at one end which was covered with a liner. You'd pull off the liner, and the rubber became temporarily viscous. You could then stuff it into a slightly larger pipe and it would fill in the voids and then harden. I have been unable to find that product too. If something is out there that would work as I've described, I'd think there would be a lot of applications for it.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. Mar 20, 2012 #5
    Re: Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harde

    Try looking up some of the people that make foam rubber bike tires and tubes. They can make it in what ever (felt) psi level in a tire. spongy or hard. I don't know if it has to be heated. You might be able to use something like that. Just an idea.
     
  7. Mar 22, 2012 #6
    Re: Need a dense foam or rubber-like compound that will fill in a void and then harde

    I would guess the same compound the indy car guys use when fitting a seat to a driver would be what you need.
     
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