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swordriff

Lubricating the axis

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The axis in your printer need lubricating, the recommended substance is “sewing machine oil”.

Now, where to get that, and is it really the right oil?

The idea is that the oil must not attack any of the materials in your printer,

and STAY FLUID for a long time.

These requirements are met by Ballistol. It is a multipurpose lubricant which in Norway

is sold in weapons shops. The gun geeks use it to preserve the action. One guy told me he had oiled his gun and put it away in his safe for 15 years. After taking it out, it was like yesterday’s oil!

It is easy to find in Europe, you can also look it up on the web.

I use it personally when restoring sliders in old synthesizers, which have been treated with absolutely

the wrong material in Japan and USA long ago. The wrong oil has turned into vax.. or cheese.

USE VERY SPARINGLY:

Do not spray into your printer. You do not want it on the belts (they wont break, on the contrary, but they will get slippery, and you really do not want that), you only want oil on the axis.

Spray 1 sec into a piece of kleenex or similar. Wipe onto all the axis.

After next prints there will be forming a little ring of dust and excess oil at the axis endpoints, wipe it with paper or cotton.

You will have perfectly lubricated axis!

Repeat after 3-6 months.

Take care..

 

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I think the term "sewing machine oil" comes from german, where it is common. I don't think this is a common term in english but I'm no native english speaker...

Sewing machine oil is actually common "general purpose oil" (correct english term: mineral oil). It's almost colorless, odorless and very liquid. When put on the UM, it can have a brownish tint and will over time create brown rings near the end of the axes like swordriff already said.

I bought mine in the DIY store, car department. It says "univeral oil for lubrication and protection of hinges, springs, moving parts on cars, bikes, tools, machines, household devices and so on".

The important thing is that you don't use Silicone grease or any other kind of grease (except for the Z leadscrew which came with its specific grease). And I wouldn't recommend using any oil from asian hobby suppliers like Hobbyking or Airsoft stuff (which is usually silicone based).

Be very careful with gun grease! Ballistol is actually a mineral oil, so it should be fine. But for example the grease used for the Swiss Army assault rifle is very aggressive and must not be used for anything else than that specific rifle.

The important term here is "grease". Do NOT use any kind of grease for the UM axes! Use mineral oil. Brand won't matter (I guess Ballistol is expensive?).

/edit:

Also, I recommend using a simple "pouring" oil, not a spray. No need to lubricate the whole machine, you only need to hit the axes ;)

/edit2:

Also, don't use WD40. First, it sprays all over the machine (see above) and second, WD40 is more than just oil. It's also a powerful solvent to clean away rust and dirt. Both is not necessary on the UM. But it shouldn't do any damage so don't worry if you are already using WD40.

/edit3:

By the way, using a special oil that can preserve over many years is futile. The constant movement in your printer will make it necessary to re-apply oil every few months or so. The preserving effect of Ballistol is only of value if you want to store the printer away for 10 years (who does such an evil thing?).

 

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I looked into this too a while back, here in the states I couldn't find sewing machine oil, instead I found a sewer who used 3 in 1 oil (3-1). So far (3 months) it's been treating me well on my UM1. I think just about every hardware store over here carries the stuff. Also I would never use it on the z axis screw, I think that might require something special.

Lets see what the more experienced minds around here will recommend.

 

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Totally agree with Jonny :)

Oh also I only use a single drop on the x and y axis rods (the ones with the pulleys attached).

I don't use them on the linear bearings on the actual print head, I might have heard somewhere that that oils can jam up those linear bearings.

Is there a maintenance page on the assembly wiki about this? If not maybe some of the more seasoned ultimaker users here could help put one together to guide us?

 

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yes! No oil on Z axis, only the supplied grease, sparingly!

Ballistol is cheap.

The "preserving" effect has, as rightly mentioned, not much of an impact for our current use,

it only helps documenting that it is totally non-aggressive, which does have an impact..

Correct like JonnyBishof writes, pouring oil is better, but Ballistol is more commonly available

on a spray, which is why it is important to SPRAY ONTO KLEENEX first, then wipe rods.

Do not apply to the Z axis, the rear vertical screw, since sewing machine oil, Ballistol or whatever

will be to "dry" and have a too thin film for the Z axis screw.

And yes, I mean no, I do not get any commission from the 100 year old Ballistol company,

and one small can will last you until you have an Ultimaker X.

 

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Hi I am in the process of getting some lubricant for the Z-screw and came upon this interesting thread. Sewing machine oil is indeed part of the English landscape, it is used for oiling sewing machines J. Now I am no expert on the subject but I have always understood sewing machine oil to be a very specific oil with a low viscosity. I do not think in England that it is considered general purpose such as 3in 1. I use it for lubricating the four X/Y axis rods and the Z-screw and uprights.

I saw last night an interesting article on this subject on the RepRap forum. It was recommending Super Lube, an American range of products, but so far I have failed to track it down in the UK. They do a synthetic oil with high viscosity and PTFE which potentially could be ideal for the Z-stage and maybe the x/y rods too.

Anyway just wondering what people are using. on their Z stage.

For the bearings I am going to use a very light bearing oil which I use for the roller bearings in RC race cars where freedom of movement is paramount.

 

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technique for applying oil: drop some on the end of a q-tip, 1 or 2 drops should do, then twirl the q-tip on the end of the oil applicator tip to make sure there are no little fuzzy hairs. run the q-tip back and forth along the rods while printing to lubricate.

 

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/edit2:

Also, don't use WD40. First, it sprays all over the machine (see above) and second, WD40 is more than just oil. It's also a powerful solvent to clean away rust and dirt. Both is not necessary on the UM. But it shouldn't do any damage so don't worry if you are already using WD40.

 

+1

After a while WD40 will also solidify into a nasty sticky goo.

 

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Got Ballistol and applied as you indicate.

Funny that as soon as I applied it, the printer became a tad more silent. Some little noises just disappeared.

Thanks for sharing the Ballistol info, most useful

 

yes! No oil on Z axis, only the supplied grease, sparingly!

Ballistol is cheap.

The "preserving" effect has, as rightly mentioned, not much of an impact for our current use,

it only helps documenting that it is totally non-aggressive, which does have an impact..

Correct like JonnyBishof writes, pouring oil is better, but Ballistol is more commonly available

on a spray, which is why it is important to SPRAY ONTO KLEENEX first, then wipe rods.

Do not apply to the Z axis, the rear vertical screw, since sewing machine oil, Ballistol or whatever

will be to "dry" and have a too thin film for the Z axis screw.

And yes, I mean no, I do not get any commission from the 100 year old Ballistol company,

and one small can will last you until you have an Ultimaker X.

 

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I lubricate the X-Y axes with molybdenum disulfide. I use a type that's carried in a light oil. Marked improvement in axes freeness and also much longer lubrication intervals.

I haven't found the Z needed any re-lubrication from the little package of whatever it was called provided by UM (this is on a UMO) in three years. But I guess if I were to re-do that I'd use MoS2 there.

As for the recirculating ball bearings, they're supposed to be sealed for life but their seals gave up the ghost after a couple of years. Haven't added lube but not sure how long they'll last - I suspect that to be a throwaway job when the time comes as I don't really have confidence in their quality anyway.

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