PK Design Lab
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Graphite Powder

  1. #1

    Default Graphite Powder

    Has anyone tried using dry graphite powder as lube for flashlights?

    I had a tailcap that was feeling gritty, and couldn't find the silicone grease I'd been using. Came across an old tube of dry graphite powder, and thought, "Why not?"

    Used just a tiny amount spread across the length of the aluminum body threads, and after tightening and loosening the tailcap several times to work it in, I'm impressed.

    Turns much easier now, and feels very smooth. I expect it'll last longer than silicone grease, too.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Humid Florida , USA
    Posts
    3,076

    Lightbulb Re: Graphite Powder



    I might try that

    I also wondered about clear....100% pure silicone spray in a can

    Would ArmorAll for car interiors and door seals hurt O-rings


    ....................... TMG..
    .
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Corvallis (OSU)
    Posts
    822

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyGizmos


    I might try that

    I also wondered about clear....100% pure silicone spray in a can

    Would ArmorAll for car interiors and door seals hurt O-rings


    ....................... TMG..
    .
    Most likely yes, Armor All has a way of drying out what it's supposed to be protecting. So I wouldn't trust it for O-rings.

  4. #4
    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Central Florida, USA
    Posts
    12,692

    Thinking Re: Graphite Powder

    silicone grease is supposedly for both as a lubricant and as a way to effectively waterproof the pores between the o-ring surface and the aluminum surface. i am uncertain about graphite's characteristics in dealing with water entry...

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Flash_Gordon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NC USA
    Posts
    1,246

    Post Re: Graphite Powder

    Graphite powder is not a great choice for this use.

    Graphite is conductive. This is OK if it stays on a surface where conductivity is wanted. It is very fine and tends to migrate. You can end up with very conductive powder causing problems where you don't want it.

    It is inferior against water intrusion.

    From a practical standpoint, the stuff is nasty and staining. When it comes time to clean threads or o-rings, you will have a black mess.

    Why reinvent the wheel? Every manufacturer that I am aware of recommends pure silicone. It works!

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash_Gordon
    Graphite powder is not a great choice for this use...Graphite is conductive. This is OK if it stays on a surface where conductivity is wanted...It is inferior against water intrusion...the stuff is nasty and staining. When it comes time to clean threads or o-rings,
    you will have a black mess.Mark
    Thanks, Flash_Gordon.
    Thanks, Illum_the_nation.

    So far, it seems to be staying in the threads where it was applied. If it does migrate and cause problems with the light, I'll give it up as a failed experiment.

    Graphite has a flat, hexagonal crystal structure. Its crystals are like tiny, thin, six-sided plates. The little plates slide across each other easily, which is why graphite has low shear strength.

    Although graphite won't cohere, i.e. resist shearing forces, very well, it will adhere to other substances. A graphite rod rubbed across paper will shear crystals off its end and deposit them on the paper, where they adhere quite well. Once on the paper, the crystals are fairly hard to remove.

    After squirting the graphite powder into the aluminum threads, I tightened then loosened the tailcap several times. This ground the fine graphite powder even finer, and caused it to adhere to the aluminum along the load-bearing surfaces inside of the threads. Finally, I removed the tailcap and blew away the remaining, loose graphite.

    Although graphite is somewhat conductive, it appears to be acting as an insulator between the tailcap and body of the light I applied it too. Before applying the graphite, the tailcap wouldn't function as a lockout switch, but now it does. Kinda strange...

    I agree on the water intrusion issue: wouldn't advise using dry graphite powder on a light likely to be submerged.

    However, there are lubricants available that consist of graphite crystals suspended in a liquid carrier, oil or silicone, which might be OK for waterproofing.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Land of the Bean and the Cod
    Posts
    1,796

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    I have some vague memory that graphite and aluminum don't mix well - some kind of dielectric reaction or something like that?
    MD3 | M6CB | Gladius/SSCP4 | A2-HA-WH | A2-HA-YG | A2-BK-WH | Z3/KT2 | M2 | C2 | 6Z | 6P | U2A | K2MS | E2e/KL4 BK | E2DL | E2D | E2L | L2 | Milky ML1/SSCP4 USWOH McR18j | L1-BK-RD | L1-HA-WH | L1-HA-WH Cree | L1-HA-RD | 3P | E1B | E1L | E1E-HA-BK | E1W | 618FA | G2

  8. #8
    Flashaholic David_Web's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Sweden, JKPG
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Remember that while graphite is conductive it has a lot of resistance. It is even used in some resistors for that pourpuse.
    I would find a better way in any case.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by JNewell
    I have some vague memory that graphite and aluminum don't mix well - some kind of dielectric reaction or something like that?
    Back when I used to make airplanes the use of graphite pencils was strictly forbidden for marking on the structure. There is a dielectric process that will greatly accelerate corrosion on aluminium surfaces. I advise that graphite be kept away from aluminium flashlights.
    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here.. This is the war room!!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by Macaw
    Back when I used to make airplanes the use of graphite pencils was strictly forbidden for marking on the structure. There is a dielectric process that will greatly accelerate corrosion on aluminium surfaces. I advise that graphite be kept away from aluminium flashlights.
    Thanks JNewell.
    Thanks Macaw.

    Oh-Oh! I wasn't aware of any issues with corrosion.

    I'll look into it. If it is indeed a problem, I'll abandon the experiment of using graphite for lube.

    Thanks again, guys, for pointing this out.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Humid Florida , USA
    Posts
    3,076

    Arrow Re: Graphite Powder



    ........ But ..... what about opinions on my first suggestion and wonderment ????

    If we're not so concerned about water entry - and just mainly want buttery smooth opperating threads ...........

    Then what about clear....100% pure silicone spray in a can ????

    After all - isn't it the duty of the O-ring itself to prevent water entry , and not the duty of the lubricating grease ??

    I just want smooth , non-binding threads .


    ........... TMG/
    .
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Anglepoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    1,536

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by TooManyGizmos


    I just want smooth , non-binding threads .

    .
    Then try 100% Teflon grease. There is NOTHING that will make the threads smoother.

    I get mine from Here
    David............................................. "A few of my Home Built lights"

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Humid Florida , USA
    Posts
    3,076

    Question Re: Graphite Powder

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglepoise
    Then try 100% Teflon grease. There is NOTHING that will make the threads smoother.

    I get mine from Here
    I have both versions of grease from Lighthound .

    To me ...... it is not smooth ...... it is sticky .

    Graphite powder and silicone spray between your fingers , rubbed together , is slippery/smooth/and frictionless.

    Unlike sticky silicone grease ........... I just don't like sticky ! ........ sorry ..

    I expected silicone grease to be more like Vasaline and even less sticky.

    This stuff feels like silicone bathtub caulk .

    And just as messy at batt. change time as graphite powder .

    Maybe I Do need to try some of that bearing grease in your link. Where is it commonly sold ????
    You should have told me B-4 I spent $18 for 2 tubes at LightHound .(Nyogel 759G,779ZC)

    I know I'm ODD, you don't have to tell me, it's a personality DIS-order.. the drugs are not working !

    ................ TMG/
    .
    Last edited by TooManyGizmos; 09-09-2006 at 04:20 PM.
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  14. #14

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    I did some quick research on the corrosion issue.

    There is a possibility of galvanic corrosion of aluminum being induced by dry graphite lube in the presence of moisture. The corrosion would be enhanced by the addition of chloride, one of the elements of common salt found in sea water, or in air near the sea.

    Apparently, American soldiers in Iraq have been lubricating firearms with dry graphite to avoid problems with sand and dust sticking to liquid lubricants. Colt and Armalite have issued recommendations against using dry graphite lube on any weapon with aluminum components. Graphite is OK for steel parts, but not aluminum.

    So, even though dry graphite lube makes for a smoother-turning tailcap, I must recommend against using it on aluminum flashlights. My experiment with it is over.

    Thanks again to JNewell and Macaw for pointing out this issue.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Graphite Powder

    Armor All is great for destroying vinyl. I was told this by a company that had to replace my car upholstery.
    I wouldn't use it on anything that I didn't want to destroy.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •