Cutting and shaping Derlin Nut

Joe Desperado

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Have what I think is an old Derlin nut blank. It’s not pre-shaped, so it’s probably not Gibson factory stuff. I rough shaped it which was not very enjoyable, but slotting it seems next to impossible with slot files. I’m about to abandon it and make a bone nut, but decide to take a break and ask here if there is any secrets to it before I bail…

thanks in advance.
Joe
 

LtDave32

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I'm not sure what Derlin is, Joe.

But if it's like Nylon 6 / 6 (which is almost impossible to slot with files), you gotta use saws to rough-in the cuts.

SM has gauged saws that cut Nylon 6 like butter, but not a complete set. Use a hacksaw blade to rough-cut the rest of the larger slots, finish up with nut files.
 

Joe Desperado

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I'm not sure what Derlin is, Joe.

But if it's like Nylon 6 / 6 (which is almost impossible to slot with files), you gotta use saws to rough-in the cuts.

SM has gauged saws that cut Nylon 6 like butter, but not a complete set. Use a hacksaw blade to rough-cut the rest of the larger slots, finish up with nut files.
That’s it. It’s either 4/6 or 6/6 Nylon. Now I know why dog bones are made of this. My Bulldog even has a hard time chewing it.
 

LtDave32

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Well, I read somewhere that the factory injection-molded them with the slots in them. So they thought it tough to cut with files as well.

I did a thread somewhere here on cutting slots in this stuff. It's easy with saws All my guitars feature Nylon 6 / 6 for nuts.

It also sands well, and polishes up nicely. It just doesn't cut with files well.
 

Grandrune

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Delrin is a DuPont acetal plastic.
I use it for chem resistant parts at work.
Great stuff.
Made some picks out of it about a decade ago and
I am still on the first one. Tough stuff.
Also. All my cutting and shaping is with carbide Cnc micro Endmills.
 
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LtDave32

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@Joe Desperado ,

Joe, check out this thread I did a few years back:

 

BadMongo

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Delrin is a DuPont acetal plastic.
I use it for chem resistant parts at work.
Great stuff.
Made some picks out of it about a decade ago and
I am still on the first one. Tough stuff.
Also. All my cutting and shaping is with carbide Cnc micro Endmills.
Yep, very stable, wear resistant, glue resistant, self-lubricating. A lot of pipe makers use delrin rod for tenons because it's slippery and stable and easy to machine to a nice finish (the other typical option is cutting an integral tenon in the ebonite itself, which as a hard vulcanized rubber is more prone to changing dimension with temperature changes). Makes a lot of sense as a slippery and durable material. I haven't tried it as a nut material but did do a set of saddles on my Greco SA, ended up using it for the wound strings and regular old nylon for the unwound because I liked the way that combination sounded better, it sounds harder and brighter than nylon to me.

The big downside is that as a material, it cuts better than it sands - because it's a long chain polymer (I think), sanding it tends to make a rough thready mess rather than dust. I had the best luck starting the slots by cutting - I just started them with a razor but @LtDave32 's advice to start with saw would also work well - finished the slots with files and then used a razor to trim off the thready extra mess.
 

cmjohnson

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There are many grades of Delrin. Some are suitable for nuts, some are definitely not. Some are too soft and have insufficient wear resistance. Some are hard and tough and would make a decent light duty anvil for cold hammer work.

I've played with various synthetic materials for nut making and after going through all that, my standard material for nuts is always Tusq nuts. I've found nothing better.
 

LtDave32

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Yep, very stable, wear resistant, glue resistant, self-lubricating. A lot of pipe makers use delrin rod for tenons because it's slippery and stable and easy to machine to a nice finish (the other typical option is cutting an integral tenon in the ebonite itself, which as a hard vulcanized rubber is more prone to changing dimension with temperature changes). Makes a lot of sense as a slippery and durable material. I haven't tried it as a nut material but did do a set of saddles on my Greco SA, ended up using it for the wound strings and regular old nylon for the unwound because I liked the way that combination sounded better, it sounds harder and brighter than nylon to me.

The big downside is that as a material, it cuts better than it sands - because it's a long chain polymer (I think), sanding it tends to make a rough thready mess rather than dust. I had the best luck starting the slots by cutting - I just started them with a razor but @LtDave32 's advice to start with saw would also work well - finished the slots with files and then used a razor to trim off the thready extra mess.

Oddly, it does buff up nicely though. Easy to get a nice satin finish.

And yes, a sharp razor pencil or similar is definitely needed to clean up any "hanging chads" or little nylon fuzzy bits.

But with a good set of gauged saws used carefully and sparingly, along with decent slotting files, it's easy enough to include Nylon 6 nuts as a fearure on all of my shop builds with that style of nut.
 

Joe Desperado

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I sold these a couple of years ago, but this would have been perfect.

0B4F285E-F7ED-4391-927F-0B1BEF3756AC.jpeg
 

Joe Desperado

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Oh, yeah!

Did you make those yourself?
No. About 10-15 years ago, they were being sold on eBay as "the best thing since sliced bread". There are probably 1000s of sets sitting in drawers all over the world. They are marginal at best for bone nuts, as the teeth are big. But for the Nylon nuts, it would be perfect. I actually went online yesterday trying to find another set LOL. I sold this set 18 months ago for $30.. just because I couldn't see a need for them. I normally use both the SM gauged and the double sided files. The double side are slightly v shaped and open the top of the slot and then I finish with a gauged file to perfect the bottom of the slot. Just not on Nylon…LOL
 

LtDave32

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Shit, Joe.. I would have bought them.. lol

I actually need. .036 and .046, maybe a .056 for acoustics. SM needs to finish out their line of saws by including more gauges, but I don't see that happening. They won't take calls or emails anymore .

Be careful with saws and Nylon. It cuts like warm butter with saws. Just a few strokes and you've gone too deep.
 

Roxy13

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They go through bone really fast too! I make a mark on the nut where I want to stop with the saws and then go to my nut files from that point on.
 

LtDave32

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yes, they are crazy-efficient.
 

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