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Slideways oil

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Pete White20/10/2019 13:36:42
55 forum posts
6 photos

Came across the above recently in an ad. Is it worth the bother, normally used motor oil or WD ?

Vic20/10/2019 13:46:27
2298 forum posts
11 photos

I use Slideway 68 on both the lathe and the mill. No idea if it’s any better than motor oil though.

not done it yet20/10/2019 14:03:30
3475 forum posts
15 photos

If you mean WD40, a waste of money - less than a quarter is of lubricating oil - and only a light oil. Some is simply volatiles so evaporates and likely close to 10% is ‘inert’. All this from a quick look-see at wiki. Rest is mostly paraffinitic hydrocarbons, I suspect, so little lubricating properties for the most part.

What you might have come across, recently, is anyone’s guess. Slideways oil adverts could be for anything, and with a wide range of compositions - from good to snake oil.

IanT20/10/2019 14:23:37
1340 forum posts
137 photos

Some sliding surfaces can be quite hard to lubricate well and so 'persistence' seems to be a very useful characteristic Peter. At one time I therefore used to apply chain saw oil to them. I now use a "proper" slideway oil instead (not sure which one off hand) and apply it where it seems to make most sense.

I had to re-adjust my Atlas Shapers vertical feed slide recently and having cleaned it - I reassembled it with a good coating of s/w oil and then re-adjusted it. It's a fairly heavy oil and I'm sure it has all sorts of good properties but I just need a good stiff but free movement that preferably doesn't need constant attention.

Like Vic, I can't tell you if it's actually any better than the chain-saw oil I was using but as I have it, I'm using it.

Of course where I have sliding surfaces designed to be 'total-loss' - for instance the Shapers ram slideways - I'll continue to use a thin oil (SAE 30) there...

Regards,

IanT

Edited By IanT on 20/10/2019 14:25:09

old mart20/10/2019 14:27:00
703 forum posts
60 photos

I have tried slideway oil and semi synthetic engine oil on the drill mill X axis, and it is always hard to move. The Y axis is good as gold. The Tom Senior rebuild has been lubricated exclusively with slideway oil, except for the leadscrews, which have spray chain grease and it is smooth in all its movements. The lathe uses semi synthetic motor oil for everything except the cross slide and compound leadscrews and is none the worse for it.

SillyOldDuffer20/10/2019 14:30:35
4779 forum posts
1011 photos

As NDIY says, WD40's lubricating properties are temporary and using it might even be harmful: I use WD40 to clean oil and grease off and it's a very thin lubricant at best.

Mostly I use old-fashioned 20-40 motor oil because it's cheap and readily available. I avoid modern types like 5W40 because they're designed for hot engines. These oils are thin at low temperatures (which aids winter starting), but thicken up to lubricate properly as the engine heats up. As Lathes don't heat up like engines, they never get the full benefit! Modern oils are also more likely to contain additives which may not be ideal for a lathe.

ISO32 Hydraulic Fluid is good for lubricating machine tools; I buy it when I see it.

Slideway Oil is better than motor oil on machine tools because it's distinctly sticky. Ordinary oils tend to get pushed off slides leaving them dry, making regular squirting on of new oil advisable. Slideway Oil lasts longer between applications and is less likely to run off the vertical slide on a milling machine.

That said any oil is much better than no oil and hobby lathes really aren't fussy.

Dave

Thor20/10/2019 14:37:00
1129 forum posts
31 photos

I use slideway oil on my lathes and milling machines, I was lucky enough to be given a 4L container that will probably last longer than me.

Thor

old mart20/10/2019 14:43:24
703 forum posts
60 photos

Don't be put off by modern synthetic motor oil being thinner, the main reason why these oils contribute so much to engine life is their superior lubricating qualities precisely when the greatest wear is present, when the engine is cold.

mgnbuk20/10/2019 15:13:24
516 forum posts
13 photos

Of course where I have sliding surfaces designed to be 'total-loss' - for instance the Shapers ram slideways - I'll continue to use a thin oil (SAE 30) there...

Why ? Most machine tools have a total loss slideway oiling system & most recommend using slideway oil. I have come across a few that bled hydraulic oil to the slideways from a continuously operating hydraulic system, but most industrial machines recommend using a 68 viscosity slidway oil - heavier machines can use 150 or 220 grades to support greater loads, though. Wierdest one I came across was for Keller copy mills, which wouldn't work properly with anything other than a specific manufacturer's Sperm whale oil based product. Butler used to recommend another specific oil (Germ Dynobear 68 IIRC) for their travelling column milling machines as it substantially reduced stiction compared to "generic" oils in that application.

FWIW I use a 46 viscosity slideway oil on my Super 7, Boxford shaper & FB2 clone milling machine (Millers Oils Millway 3 IIRC) - no point in using a heavy oil on lightly loaded slideways.

While I would agree that any oil is better than no oil at all, if a product is available at a reasonable cost that is optimised for a specific area of operation, why not use it ?

Nigel B

Douglas Johnston20/10/2019 15:59:50
avatar
628 forum posts
32 photos

 

"Mostly I use old-fashioned 20-40 motor oil because it's cheap and readily available. I avoid modern types like 5W40 because they're designed for hot engines. These oils are thin at low temperatures (which aids winter starting), but thicken up to lubricate properly as the engine heats up. As Lathes don't heat up like engines, they never get the full benefit! Modern oils are also more likely to contain additives which may not be ideal for a lathe."

 

I am no expert but I thought that multigrade oils don't thicken at higher temperatures but the rate of thinning is reduced.

Doug

 

 

Edited By Douglas Johnston on 20/10/2019 16:00:40

SillyOldDuffer20/10/2019 16:03:34
4779 forum posts
1011 photos
Posted by old mart on 20/10/2019 14:43:24:

Don't be put off by modern synthetic motor oil being thinner, the main reason why these oils contribute so much to engine life is their superior lubricating qualities precisely when the greatest wear is present, when the engine is cold.

Can you provide a reference to that Old Mart?

I believe the problem addressed by thin oils is making sure the important parts of a cold engine aren't starved of oil whilst the engine slowly gets hot enough for the oil to flow freely at operating pressure. The thin oil doesn't have to be the best lubricant, it just has to get there! It's a bit like the car is being treated for clogged arteries, thin oil rather than blood thinners like Warfarin and Aspirin.

Wasn't able to find anything supporting my understanding, but I don't think I dreamt it! I could be wrong and not for the first time. However, if I'm remembering correctly, winter motor oils will be inferior on a lathe to bog-standard 20/40. All a tad pedantic though, I doubt the reduced slipperyness would make much practical difference on a lightly used machine tool.

Dave

Pete Rimmer20/10/2019 16:05:49
441 forum posts
18 photos

Slideway oil here. Seems folly to use anything else unless I had none. Motor oil is better than nothing but slideway oil is made to maintain it's film under the flat ways without squeezing out, whereas motor oil is designed primarily to be pumped under pressure into tight gaps then run out so more oil can follow..

jimmy b20/10/2019 17:07:12
avatar
521 forum posts
29 photos

I use proper slideway 68, I possibly use a 1ltr a year between two lathes and mill.

Not worth using anything else.

Jim

Pete White20/10/2019 18:00:33
55 forum posts
6 photos

Well,thank you to all for the replies, as every very informative. I will order a litre of slideway oil at about 8 pounds a litre it might as well be done. Not a great great price to pay for peace of mind, will last me longer than a year and can spend that much on beer or wine in a night, .............not big or clever.blush

duncan webster20/10/2019 19:12:18
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2253 forum posts
32 photos
Posted by Pete White on 20/10/2019 18:00:33:

Well,thank you to all for the replies, as every very informative. I will order a litre of slideway oil at about 8 pounds a litre it might as well be done. Not a great great price to pay for peace of mind, will last me longer than a year and can spend that much on beer or wine in a night, .............not big or clever.blush

 

It's a lot cheaper than that from Caldo in St Helens, or at least it was when I last bought some. I use an old paintbrush to get it onto upside down slides

Edited By duncan webster on 20/10/2019 19:13:05

IanT20/10/2019 21:55:45
1340 forum posts
137 photos
Posted by mgnbuk on 20/10/2019 15:13:24:

Of course where I have sliding surfaces designed to be 'total-loss' - for instance the Shapers ram slideways - I'll continue to use a thin oil (SAE 30) there...

Why ? Most machine tools have a total loss slideway oiling system & most recommend using slideway oil.

Nigel B

Well essentially because the Atlas shaper manual advises the use of "a good grade No 10 Motor Oil or its equivalent" - which sounds like a very thin single-weight oil. SAE30 is therefore a bit thicker than Atlas recommend but as I use it for most of my other machinery too and it's what's in my oil cans) - that's what I use. I'm not sure a heavy oil would work as well with the flip-top oiling points fitted either (??).

However, there are certainly a number of other places on my machines & tools where the sliding surfaces can only be lubricated from either end - there being no oil points to get lubrication easily into the moving parts. I have large vices, compound vices (& a table), top slides and a hand shaper that all would all fit this description. It's these areas that I use the slideway oil on (as being 'sticky' ) hopefully the lubrication will work for longer. I use it liberally whenever the parts concerned are dissembled for cleaning.

Anyway - that's what I do (and why). angel

Regards,

IanT

Hopper20/10/2019 22:50:34
avatar
3739 forum posts
76 photos

My old Drummond has been exclusively lubricated with whatever motor oil is lying around the shed for the past 50 years and will still machine to within half a thou if required. But if you can get slideway oil cheap and easily why not?

Kiwi Bloke21/10/2019 01:41:37
261 forum posts
1 photos

Apart from not running off slide surfaces too readily, slideway oil is designed to have better 'stick-slip' properties than most other types of oil. It lubricates well when bearing speeds are very low ('boundary lubrication', IIRC) and there is insufficient film thickness to prevent metal-metal contact. Motor oils, etc, are generally used in hydrodynamic bearings, where a decent film thickness is built up by the relative movement of the bearing surfaces. Depending on dimensions and oil properties, this takes much more speed than slideways generally move at. So slideway oil is designed for the job, other oils aren't. Why use anything else?

A practical example: my Boxford shaper's ram judders horribly, because of the stick-slip phenomenon, unless lubricated with slideway oil. This is a hardly-worn machine, with the ram gib adjusted properly. Some molybdenum disulphide helps on some slideways, sometimes.

Edited By Kiwi Bloke on 21/10/2019 01:48:40

mgnbuk21/10/2019 09:14:41
516 forum posts
13 photos

Well essentially because the Atlas shaper manual advises the use of "a good grade No 10 Motor Oil or its equivalent" - which sounds like a very thin single-weight oil. SAE30 is therefore a bit thicker than Atlas recommend but as I use it for most of my other machinery too and it's what's in my oil cans) - that's what I use. I'm not sure a heavy oil would work as well with the flip-top oiling points fitted either (??).

The usually recommended ISO VG 68 slideway oil would appear to be slightly lower viscosity than SAE 30 engine oil, so hardly a "heavy oil " ?

Nigel B

thaiguzzi21/10/2019 09:33:32
avatar
587 forum posts
131 photos

Not another machine tool oil thread...

Forget the "use anything inc motor oil" brigade.

If you can't get proper ISO 32 or 68 Slideway oil easily (Ebay is a wonderful shop window) or are not prepared to pay the prices (8 quid a litre seems steep), go to your nearest auto factors or agricultural tractor parts shop and get a 5 litre can of hydraulic ISO 32 or 68 for a pittance. It is is virtually identical to slideway oils, just less tacky.

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