UHMW-PE The best material for impeller seals? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-18-2019, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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UHMW-PE The best material for impeller seals?

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE or UHMW for short), is mechanically the strongest long chain polymer. It is impact resistant and close to Teflon in "slippery", having a very low coefficient of friction. It's so slippery than snow doesn't stick well and it is more abrasion resistant to aggregate than most steels. It is not nearly the same as cheaper lesser polyethylene, such as HDPE.

Some of the above make it a good choice for impeller seals for the low friction and no snow sticking. It's also good for skid liners and scrappers as it won't mark pavement.

UHMW can be machined or cut with woodworking tools. It sands easier the grinds. It has a broad temperature range and can be bent using heat (heat gun or torch). When bending, milky white UHMW, can be taken to translucent and almost clear, though it will bend before that. It will need to be held in place while cooling, I've used spray water to speed this. When fitting, impeller seals, they should be mated to the just touch the blower housing at the narrowest gap. I measured this by first holding them in place with a strong magnet, then rotating the impeller through it's arc so the side wall would push the seal inward as needed.

My 63" tractor front mount blower with 1/8" UHMW back liner, chute liner, and blower housing liner. Note the blower housing liner, while it worked well, was more difficult to install and only lasted 3 seasons due to stone impact at the acute bend where it transitioned to the chute entry (impeller blades are now lined instead). Skids and scraper are 1" thick UHMW.



Impeller blade seal being installed on 28" snapper:



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Last edited by bumper; 02-18-2019 at 12:10 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-18-2019, 12:24 PM
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Very nice bumper, where did you get it and how much?

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post #3 of 5 Old 02-18-2019, 12:42 PM
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Very nice. I admit I'm less-convinced by using it for the impeller kit. It's hard enough that you really want to minimize any interference with the housing (I like your approach with the magnets). But my rubber reinforced baler belt is about 5 seasons old, and doesn't show any apparent wear. So I'm not sure what the UHMW would improve on. The compliance of the rubber helps it deal with bumping into the housing, I think.

I do like the idea of a UHMW scraper, though. Ideally, you could adjust the scraper bar for a slight interference with the ground, then let it wear in with use. But my steel scraper is thin enough that I'm not sure that just changing material, but keeping the thickness, would be strong enough.

I think Toro has some spring-loaded plastic scrapers. That would be nice, but that's likely difficult to retrofit onto a machine designed for a rigidly-mounted steel scraper.

I like the UHMW skid liners too, but I have UHWM Ariens skids at the moment, so that base is covered.

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post #4 of 5 Old 02-18-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Amazon, 12 X 24 X 1/8" about $20 shipped. If Peachtree Woodworking has it, they have great prices and typically stock the thicker pieces (skids etc) as it's used for lining fences and things on machinery. I also purchased a full sheet that was about $100 IIRC. Company wanted almost as much for shipping. When questioned, they said they had to use a big box. I asked them to roll it up as tight as needed to fit a smaller box. They got back to me and said, okay, we did it, shipping is $27!! (Helps to have a clue!!).

Here's a pic of my blower chute liner, which was taken before I lined the rest:

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post #5 of 5 Old 02-18-2019, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOctobyr View Post
Very nice. I admit I'm less-convinced by using it for the impeller kit. It's hard enough that you really want to minimize any interference with the housing (I like your approach with the magnets). But my rubber reinforced baler belt is about 5 seasons old, and doesn't show any apparent wear. So I'm not sure what the UHMW would improve on. The compliance of the rubber helps it deal with bumping into the housing, I think.

I do like the idea of a UHMW scraper, though. Ideally, you could adjust the scraper bar for a slight interference with the ground, then let it wear in with use. But my steel scraper is thin enough that I'm not sure that just changing material, but keeping the thickness, would be strong enough.

I think Toro has some spring-loaded plastic scrapers. That would be nice, but that's likely difficult to retrofit onto a machine designed for a rigidly-mounted steel scraper.

I like the UHMW skid liners too, but I have UHWM Ariens skids at the moment, so that base is covered.
Part of the reason for using UHMW, on the impeller blades, is to eliminate snow build up there, which may be more a problem in my tractor mount than on the walk behind - I think the walk behind spins a good bit faster - though with the UHMW lined paddles, the modified tractor blower pitches it a good 75 feet and it completely eliminated the snow build up problem.

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