Monthly Archives: February 2014

Everything You NEVER Wanted To Know About Rubberizing Dog Agility Contacts!

 

Q: Have you ever wondered what it takes to rubberize dog agility contacts? Well here’s the answer!

A: The first step is to make certain the surface is securely attached to the contact’s frame. We use aluminum sheet metal that will never rust and creates an excellent surface for strength, durability and acceptance of binder and rubber granules. Before applying the rubber, the surface must be cleaned. We use an ammonia based cleaner to remove any residue, oils and grime.

Aluminum sheet metal is riveted to the aluminum structural frame.

Aluminum sheet metal is riveted to the aluminum structural frame.

The rubber granules are weighed and the appropriate about of binder is added. It is extremely important to get this ratio correct, if not, the rubberized surface can be shiny and slick. Exactly what you don’t want. You have much more control over the outcome if you work in small batches. It is more than worth it in the end!

Weighting rubber granules.

Weighting rubber granules and adding binder.

Before you apply the prepared mixture of granules and rubber, a very thin layer of binder is applied to the surface. The next step includes creating a retaining edge around the contact you are surfacing with rubber. Strips of wood can be attached with clamps to create a retaining edge or a moveable strip of wood can be used as you proceed. If you are new to this process by all means create an affixed retaining edge as shown below. It is also very important to note that the binder used is moisture cured.  If your environment is very humid the curing process will happen rapidly, but if the environment is very dry the surface area may still be tacky the next day! Also make sure that the retaining edge and slat forms are removed as soon as curing has just begun! If not you will have a very hard time removing them later!!!

Applying rubber to prepared surface without slats

Applying rubber to prepared surface without slats

Adding blue rubber granules

Adding blue rubber granules

If slats are included in the specifications for the contact surface, these should be constructed first for enhanced longevity and added strength.

Slats are added to aluminum surface area reflecting sanctioning group specifications.

Slats are added to aluminum surface area reflecting sanctioning group specifications.

Yellow slats are built on aluminum sheet metal surface of the A-Frame.

Yellow slats are built on aluminum sheet metal surface of the A-Frame. Blue rubber granules are added between slats.

The pattern for the slats is layer out with wooden strips to create the correct width and height. They are held in place with clamps or very strong tape.

Spacing for slats

Spacing for slats

A small spatula and guide for the ends of the slats are used to press and secure the prepared granules in place. A small amount of binder must be placed in the channel before the prepared granules.

Granules placed in channel to create slat

Granules placed in channel to create slat

Laying out slat pattern

Laying out slat pattern

Creating the slats on an A-Frame may also require weights to insure that the prepared granules do not drift under the forms.

Creating yellow contact zone slat for A-Frame

Creating yellow contact zone slat for A-Frame

Slats completed on A-Frame

Slats completed on A-Frame

Once the slats have been made and cured then the rest of the surface rubber can be applied (usually the next day). Use a guide to keep the prepared granules on the surface and use a trowel to press in to place.

Creating rubberized surface area between slats

Creating rubberized surface area between slats on DW

When transitioning from one color to the next, it is best to cover the completed rubber with part of a form used for the slats. This will protect that surface and provide a guide for the new colored granules. This is also easiest to do if the 1st color is either cured or partially cured.

Transition from blue to yellow rubberized surfaces on DW

Transition from blue to yellow rubberized surfaces on DW

Once all of the rubber is fully cured, it is best to reinforce the edge of the rubberized surface with a strong weatherproof adhesive. Apply in small sections and then press into granules on the edge with a spatula. Use a paper towel to remove excess adhesive. This process helps to prevent chunking on the edges.

Reinforcing the rubberized edge with adhesive

Reinforcing the rubberized edge with adhesive

That’s all it takes to get the job done! Have fun and RUN HAPPY!!!

Completed rubberized DW

Completed rubberized DW

DW plank with slats

DW plank with slats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed A-Frame surface

Completed A-Frame surface

Rubberized A-Frame surface

Rubberized A-Frame surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, please let us know. Best Wishes.