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Old 03-27-2018, 11:43 PM   #1
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Bow Roller: 'Nylon' bushes/spacers?

I've taken my stainless bow rollers off to have them polished. Either end of each roller is a 'nylon' (not sure exactly...a solid/hard/black plastic) spacer or bush...see photo. These have an outer diameter of 72mm (2 7/8"); they are 11mm (7/16") thick; and the inner shaft hole is 16mm (~ 5/8"). Manufacturer unknown.

These 'nylon' spacers are showing signs of age and I'd like to replace them. I cannot find anything 'marine' on line....and I've tried industrial nylon places locally without success. Can anyone assist?
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:01 AM   #2
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I wonder if starboard, in the common form of breadboard,is similar? Thickness might be an issue unless you find a supplier with a range of dimensions.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:12 AM   #3
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Get a piece of plastic of the correct thickness and cut it out with a hole saw. Its just to stop the roller from banging back and forth. I have a wooden wedge I set in the roller once the anchor is out to stop just that.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:13 AM   #4
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They are machined out of HDPE round bar. A ten minute job for someone with a lathe.
For a slightly rougher job you could slice some off with a drop saw.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:25 AM   #5
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I used to have 2 of those stainless rollers! The axle was simply flattened smooth at the ends, like a flush rivet and highly polished. But sideways load when hauling anchor spread the housing apart, and the axle fell out. Then my nice SS roller went to the bottom!

I managed to source a blue plastic keel roller designed for a boat trailer in Yeppoon, and then a 5/8" SS bolt and nyloc nut. The guy in the trailer boat shop said the blue ones were the hardest material. It is likely HDPE. The roller was too wide so I used a saw to remove about 10mm from each side. This has worked quite well.

I did not keep the off-cut 'washers', so cannot send them to you! But you could do the opposite to me: buy a roller, trim each end off to use as washers, and discard the middle part. A roller will be under $10 I would think, and has the right diameter and axle hole. Starboard might prove to be far too soft.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
I wonder if starboard, in the common form of breadboard,is similar? Thickness might be an issue unless you find a supplier with a range of dimensions.
Creative idea, thanks Bruce.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I managed to source a blue plastic keel roller designed for a boat trailer in Yeppoon, and then a 5/8" SS bolt and nyloc nut. The guy in the trailer boat shop said the blue ones were the hardest material. It is likely HDPE. ....you could ......buy a roller, trim each end off to use as washers, and discard the middle part. A roller will be under $10 I would think, and has the right diameter and axle hole. Starboard might prove to be far too soft.
Winning answer so far Brian!! Thanks very much.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:28 AM   #8
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It likely is nylon. THe black, whether graphite or molybdenum, will block the the sun's UV.
Any age showing is surface only and a bit of dirt never hurt the stuff.
Reuse it unless you simply want a new looking piece.
THey are not "marine".
They will have been made for the purpose, not a stock item. I'm surprised that an industrial PLASTICS shop can't help. A plastics fabricator? Even if the plastics shop can't make them for you a machine shop, or anybody with a lathe, should be able to if they can get a piece of 3" nylon moly or graphite filled.

I will add that black starboard may have a bit more cushioning though as nylon is quite a hard plastic. Starboard is softer and is available in 1/2" where I am. THe catch will be you may have to buy a much larger piece.

Those rings were likely taken off a piece of rod a hair larger, 3". I've made similar.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:17 AM   #9
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Delrin is what I would use. I had my bow roller bade out of black Delrin and it is holding up very well.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:16 AM   #10
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It's probably Delrin. Black delrin will resist UV. I had a set of new bow rollers fabricated (turned) from a piece of 4" dia. delrin stock I ordered from McMaster-Carr. Order a piece of round stock and cut slices off to suit.

If you haven't discovered McMaster for stuff on board, they have all sorts of useful stuff from silver plated buss bar to fiberglass grating (anchor locker floor) to plumbing fittings. Quick delivery, and great service. Reasonable cost.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:32 AM   #11
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First I would not bother changing out the spacers. There is nothing to gain.
Second, if you buy a piece of stock from anywhere, and walk into almost any machine shop, they could turn out a pair in a few minutes on a lathe.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:47 AM   #12
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Seems to me the most important part of your project is ensuring that the axle/pin for the roller will not EVER come out on its own. Ours was quite advanced; it has an internal reservoir and a rusty grease fitting. But it was retained in place with a cotter pin. We were pinned at anchor with a gusty southerly for several days and I became ever more concerned with the LOUD slapping of the roller side to side. I replaced the axle with a stainless bolt and elastic stop nut. The assembly never had spacers but had been bent sideways; I adjusted it with a sledge hammer and all is well.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:50 AM   #13
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OK everyone, following the pointers from your posts I have now found several nylon/rubber/HDPE stock options that I can machine into spacers. Many thanks to you all.

This has been one of those classic boat projects where you start out to do one thing and end up with many more jobs in the end. In my case, I'm getting organized to strip my too-thin foredeck teak and replace it with new teak or non-skid, tbd (I've been "getting organized" for about 2 years now). Before removing the teak I want to fabricate a mud-diverting tray or dam around my windlass. That requires dismounting the windlass first...but before doing that I needed to remove the 100m of 3/8 BBB chain which was overdue for end-to-ending. When I laid the chain out along the dock I concluded it would benefit from regalvanizing so I sent it off....and since I was doing that it seemed only sensible to get my hard-working 9 y.o. #8 SUPER SARCA anchor re-gal'd at the same time. With all that gone it was time to also replace shackles and swap out the controversial swivel for a solid Flip Link from the anchor manufacturer which eliminates the occasional problem of the anchor coming up backwards. Now all that hardware is removed I was staring at the poor state of the big heavy stainless bowsprit. So I removed the twin stainless rollers to give full access to polishing the 'sprit. I could then see how bad the rollers were so sent them off for re-plating. That exposed the deteriorating nylon spacers....

The foredeck project start date should only be a few months away now, really......!
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