So much depends on the application ! Other rubbers can work for some
light-duty work, but will wear out quickly with more demanding jobs.
Cheap urethane can also wear out prematurely ; Bonny Doon has a
formula that is meant for pressing. You could look in the MSC
(Industrail Supply) catalog for other rubbers, and they have cheaper
urethane (‘polyurethane’ in the catalog), and a briefing on
Basically, harder material is needed for picking up detal and even
surface texture. I do embossing in solid plastics like
Lexan/Polycarbonate (NOT acrylic/plexiglas, because it will
shatter), Delrin (acetyl), and Polyethylene, Nylon, and hard
urethane. Softer material is used for shaping with more volume.
Using wood in the press is a terrible idea ; hard wood can shatter,
and softer wood will just get crushed. Containment is also
essentialin some situations. I generallyuse pads 1/2" thick, or less,
so I don’t need containment often. I have exploded a nylon block that
I was using as a dapping block in the press. Bad idea ! I still do
it, but only at lowpressures. I thought that when Nylon failed, it
would just crack and fall apart, but it blew up, loudly. Everybody
using a hydraulic press needs to readup some on safety and basics of
forming, if they haven’y already. There’s a bleepinggood reason they
have containment boxes and cans for this kind of work, and why they
sell urethane. .