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Old 03-10-2020, 03:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does anyone have a good source of semi-rigid, 4"-6" flexible material?

Hello everyone, I'm working on building side skirts for my 2017 Nissan Leaf (build thread here), and I'm looking for some options.


Here's a picture of a 1st draft mockup using ABS plastic.

Basically I'm looking to close off the wheel well on the bottom area, but be able to flex it around to curve to the compound edges created by this project. I would secure it to the bottom of the plastic skirt, and to the front and rear edges of the wheel well itself.

Notably, looking for something similar to cove base material or maybe this neoprene rubber stuff.

I'm not sure that either of these two products will be stiff enough to not deform greatly under air pressure at highway speeds, so I'm wondering if anyone else has a suggestion on something that might do the trick for a reasonable price.

I would prefer an online link if possible, I have looked in local stores and haven't found anything I want. I have looked at garden edging and that stuff seems too inflexible.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-10-2020, 04:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I found some heavy indoor-outdoor rubber mat at Menard's that I used for my enlarged wheel air dams. No Menard's on the West Coast, but there may be something similar at Home Depot or Lowe's. It's stiffer than that neoprene probably is.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I got something like that from Tractor Supply. I think it's sold as baler belting. Used to be sold by the foot, now it's in an overpriced packaged roll.
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Old 03-10-2020, 04:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vman455 View Post
I found some heavy indoor-outdoor rubber mat at Menard's that I used for my enlarged wheel air dams. No Menard's on the West Coast, but there may be something similar at Home Depot or Lowe's. It's stiffer than that neoprene probably is.
I've gone to both HD and Lowe's and haven't quite found what I'm looking for--but that gives me some ideas. Maybe I'll swing by Harbor Freight and see what they've got.

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Originally Posted by Gasoline Fumes View Post
I got something like that from Tractor Supply. I think it's sold as baler belting. Used to be sold by the foot, now it's in an overpriced packaged roll.
We have a Tractor-Supply-Esque store here, a farm and garden store, and they didn't have anything like that in stock. And as for overpriced packaged roll, that's kind of my fear. Everything seems to be stupid expensive. Anyway thanks, I'll continue to keep an eye out.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Flakbadger,
I don't know how thick you want it or how stiff it needs to be. For small plastic pieces I can usually find a plastic bottle, (eg. anti-freeze/coolant) that has a flatish side to cut up. That's free. Plastic gas cans have large flat sides for lots of scrap pieces but cost about $15 for a 2 gal can.
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Old 03-11-2020, 12:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Rigid, semi flexible, 4-6", is this a joke?
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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1/2’” foam insulation board with foil on one side and clear plastic on the other.
Use a High Strength spray can adhesive to glue multiple layers as needed and to adhere to the skirt. A knife, saw, coarse file, hand grinder and or hot wire cutter will all easily shape the foam. 1/2” foam board is easy to bend or twist. Glueing multiple layers on top of a bent or twisted layer makes it possible to keep bent and or twisted shapes from returning to their natural state. The foam is soft and semi rigid thus it won’t damage the wheel or your vehicle or anyone else’s should it fall off.

You can easily build wheel spats and more with it.

A 4’x8’x1/2” sheet of foam insulation board and a can of adhesive is less than $20.

For a example of what can be done with foam search “Boat tail Redneck style”.

If anything, it’s a cheap way to test mods before making them from a more durable material.





>
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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A good source for almost every type of plastic or rubber material is McMaster-Carr: https://www.mcmaster.com/. They sell many types of belting by the foot, and you can get as much or as little as you want. Their catalog is the ultimate wish book for people who build things - over 4000 pages of everything you can imagine plus more.
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Before anything else, thank you to everyone who has commented with ideas and solutions, they've all been useful and have gotten me thinking, which I think is a good thing....?

Here's a high-quality image of what I'm looking for a semi-flexible belt for:

Looking to make the black/gray thing out of one long piece of rubber-ish material. Flexible enough to do the compound curves, stiff enough it won't flap around like paper. I would be mounting it inside the front and rear mudflaps, and to the plastic skirt above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mort View Post
Hi Flakbadger,
I don't know how thick you want it or how stiff it needs to be. For small plastic pieces I can usually find a plastic bottle, (eg. anti-freeze/coolant) that has a flatish side to cut up. That's free. Plastic gas cans have large flat sides for lots of scrap pieces but cost about $15 for a 2 gal can.
-mort
Thanks mort, that's not a bad idea. I'm trying to get two uninterrupted pieces--one for each side--about 3 feet long by 4"-6" tall if possible. But the plastic bottle technique might be a very useful one for some of the smaller mods I have planned. Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersbird View Post
Rigid, semi flexible, 4-6", is this a joke?


Quote:
Originally Posted by redneck View Post
.

1/2’” foam insulation board with foil on one side and clear plastic on the other.
Use a High Strength spray can adhesive to glue multiple layers as needed and to adhere to the skirt. [...] If anything, it’s a cheap way to test mods before making them from a more durable material.
>
This is a cool technique, I think I'm looking for something specific in this case, which is a piece of conveyor belt (or something similar) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg... however this technique does give me an idea, because I want to make front wheel spats and I think this would be the way to go. Especially because if I curb it when parking, I'm not shattering plastic all over the place.

As for testing, I have been scouring the area for a road that I can do coastdown testing on and haven't been able to find anything
a) deserted enough
and
b) flat enough
I will keep trying to find something, but for the meantime, I have a bit of free time on my hands until my new job starts in late April/early May, so this is pretty much the opportunity I'll have to make my aeromods, and I can test them afterward at my leisure.

It is something I've been mindful of, testing is just as important as construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMichler View Post
A good source for almost every type of plastic or rubber material is McMaster-Carr: https://www.mcmaster.com/. They sell many types of belting by the foot, and you can get as much or as little as you want. Their catalog is the ultimate wish book for people who build things - over 4000 pages of everything you can imagine plus more.
Very cool. I've already tracked down some 4" belting for $4/ft, and I need ~6ft, which isn't too expensive. I'll throw it in the options pile. Browsing the rest of the site, it's a friggin candy land!
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasoline Fumes View Post
I got something like that from Tractor Supply. I think it's sold as baler belting. Used to be sold by the foot, now it's in an overpriced packaged roll.
Baler belting is going to be your best bet. I use it for front air dam material and it's flexible enough for me to hit packed snow and it gives, but air pressure doesn't bend it. It comes in 7" wide rolls in different lengths Some places like a farm and fleet store will sell it by the foot.

Picture of my air dam

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