To the Steel Fabricator, Steel Erector or any construction trade, the category “Bearings” is comprised of many different products. Some, like elastomeric bearings, are made to order and are not re-sized or adjusted in any way by the end fabricator or erector. For purposes of this article we will focus on the bearing materials that can be cut to size, drilled and shaped by the fabricator.
Note: For purposes of this discussion, the terms Teflon® and PTFE are used interchangeably. PTFE is the generic name for Polytetrafluoroethylene. Teflon® is the DuPont/Chemours trademarked name for that product. The name Fluorogold® is fiberglass infused PTFE, and is trademarked by the Saint-Gobain Corporation.
Teflon® / PTFE
Typically white in color, Teflon® or PTFE is a very easy to shape. Cutting to size can actually be done in the thinner sizes, such as 1/16” and 1/8” with a utility knife. Thicker sizes can still be cut by hand, but will cut faster using any type of power saw. Holes can be drilled. Slots can be created by re-drilling, jig sawing or milling.
Important Note: Because Teflon® or PTFE is relatively soft and pliable, it cuts easily - so excessive heat is usually not an issue. If power tools are used, the fabricator should bear in mind the melting point is a relatively low 620°F. If the material moves through the cutting area quickly, heat will not be a problem. If this is not possible, running the tool at a slower speed will help minimize the heat generation.
Teflon® can be lightly sanded to remove and burrs or edges. If sanded, it is important to clean thoroughly to remove any abrasive particles or grain that may be left on the Teflon® surface.
It can be shipped in bulk or fabricated to specifications. While easy to shape and form, most of our customers still request Teflon® products be cut, shaped, drilled, etc. by The Steel Supply Company.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, which will cover Bonded Teflon® and Steel Slide Bearings!