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Thread: Graphite lubricant

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Smile Graphite lubricant

    Hi,

    I bought some of this AGS™ Extra Fine Graphite to try it out on my G2's o rings.I washed the whole body with soap and dried it before putting the powder.Kinda messy when applying it as my fingers got blackened by them.I applied until the o ring looked silver in color.They work fine and it's the kinda feel that u get when brand new.Has anyone used this before?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Flash_Gordon's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Graphite lubricant

    Hi Brian-

    While graphite may not do physical harm to your flashlight, there are several reasons why it is not one of the best choices for thread or o-ring lubricant.

    1. It tends to migrate easily. It has almost no properties that will make it stay where you put it. You will notice the lubricating properties disappear fairly quickly with use.

    2. Being elemental carbon, it is conductive. This may be fine on certain areas of a flashlight, but not desirable in others. It can cause a complete circuit where one is not intended or desired.

    3. It is very messy. You have already discovered this to a degree. You will rediscover this as you open your light to change or remove batteries. Evidence is usually in the form of a permanent stain on your shirt.

    Best to stick with recommended lubricants which are generally silicone enhanced. Many recent threads on CPF on this topic.

    Use the graphite in lock cylinders or other similar mechanical things. It is perfect for them.

    Mark

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the info!Looks like i really need to get some proper silicone lube.

    Brian

  4. #4
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    Ooo Re: Graphite lubricant

    I've using silicon grease for sometime and I'm looking for something else. You've no idea how grease attracts dust and dirt! Where did you get that stuff?

    chiphead

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    Flashaholic* TrueBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    I don't know about anyone one else but I like to use a dry film conductive lubricant called NEOLUBE NO. 2 On the bottle is says, "Anti-seize lubricant source of graphite film for nuclear applications, static bleeding of conveyor belts, conductive lubricant for electrical contacts, elimates static from floors, lubricate textile machinery, lubricate all drive chains. NOT an additive for gasoline motors."

    I guess you can add the stuff to nuclear reactors and non gasoline motors.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Flash_Gordon's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Graphite lubricant

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueBlue
    I guess you can add the stuff to nuclear reactors and non gasoline motors.
    Should be excellent for nuclear powered flashlights.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Hi chiphead,

    I bought it at my local ACE hardware store.Bear in mind that applying it will be messy and the graphite is hard to wash off.So far so good,nothing sticks yet.

    Brian

  8. #8
    Flashaholic nighthawk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    a vaseline would be ok too ?
    but from my experience with the maglite, i've applied a few drops of silicone on the o-rings and they' work just fine. just dont use wd40 as it would destroy the o-rings.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Haesslich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Quote Originally Posted by nighthawk
    a vaseline would be ok too ?
    but from my experience with the maglite, i've applied a few drops of silicone on the o-rings and they' work just fine. just dont use wd40 as it would destroy the o-rings.
    Vaseline's petroleium-based - you'll kill your O-rings pretty quickly, and it'll gum up if heated and cooled too often, IIRC. You're better off picking up something at Radio Shack.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    I don't think there's anything wrong with using vaseline. I've been doing it for several years now with NO adverse effects that I can see. In fact, I've even emailed Maglite about using vaseline on the o-rings, and the possible bad effects it may had, and they said vaseline was fine to use. Maybe the o-rings on Mags aren't made of rubber, but some other material.
    O-rings are cheap anyway, so I'll continue to use vaseline.
    Aren't flashlights cool?
    Carry a flashlight, and you'll have a bright future.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Unicorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    The only thing about graphite that scares me is that it's harder than the aluminum light (it is harder right???). The Army put out a memo not to use graphite on weapons because the aluminum slide on the M16/M4 and frame on the M9 were being damaged from the abrasivness of the graphite that people were using. Maybe it was actually from sand, and the graphite was just a good scapegoat though.

    I think that most orings are actually a synthetic of one form or another, and not a natural rubber.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic nighthawk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    from my r/c car racing experience, o-rings have different types of hardness, from soft to hard. i usually get o-rings from McMaster-Carr.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Haesslich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    True, most O-rings these days are Nitrile or a similar polymer... but I still wouldn't use Vaseline in a light, due to the way it gums up when it gets even a LITTLE dirt in there. I've had far better luc with pure silicone lubes, though the PTFE grease will have to be tested when I get a tube.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic kennyj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Actually, O-rings will last longer and work better if they have a lubricant on them that helps them to retain moisture (like PTFE or silicone based, but NOT petroleum based greases.) This also helps to maintain water resistance; shrinking O-rings mean less-effective seals. Lube is meant to serve two functions, and smooth functioning of the light is only one of them. Dry lubes can be useful, but the O-rings really want some grease.

    One of the best options is simply to get some plumber's silicon grease from a hardware store, it's cheap and effective. Depending on your light there's also stuff like Krytox and Nyogel, but they're each useful in different contexts and all carry a higher pricetag than more generic options.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic nighthawk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    or, you may also get a bottle of pure silicone oil that is meant for r/c car racing shock absorbers. it is only less than 4 bucks a bottle that will last a lifetime. here's the link http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LH3577&P=1

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Quote Originally Posted by Unicorn
    The only thing about graphite that scares me is that it's harder than the aluminum light (it is harder right???). .......
    No, it isn't. Graphite is actually one of the softest of naturally occuring materials. And because of its molecular structure, it isn't abrasive to things that are even as soft as it is:

    The bond between layers of graphite are so weak, that layers as little as one "atom" thick peel off easily. That is one reason why it is so messy. Just the pressure of rubbing it between your fingers can "grind" it into such small particles that it penetrates like a dye or ink.

    What may cause confusion is that some of the stuff called graphite isn't pure graphite... or even mostly graphite......

    For instance... As most people know, the "lead" in a pencil isn't actually lead, but graphite; Fewer people are aware that it isn't graphite but graphite mixed with clay and "baked". A pure graphite pencil "lead" would be just about impossible to sharpen, much less write with.

    Industrial graphite like EDM electrodes, high temperature crucibles, glass molding tools, etc. are only partially graphite; They use pitch, coke (Petroleum or coal with the volatile materials burned off in a low oxygen / oxygen free environment) and sometimes also clay.

    Now that kind of "graphite" can be very abrasive.... In fact it '"eats" high speed steel machine tools for breakfast'.....

    Maybe any military regulations against using graphite to lube a weapon are just to make sure that the industrial "pseudo-graphite" don't get used by mistake????
    Last edited by Silviron; 09-23-2005 at 03:33 AM.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Unicorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphite lubricant

    Good point. I knew that pencil "lead" was a mix of graphite and clay. Actually that should have made a connection in my brain (can I blame this on the cancer and radiation treament too or am I past my grace period). If a clay and graphite pencil can write on soft paper, how could it damage the much harder aluminum?
    I'm guessing that the type of graphite the troops were using was the stuff you get at the hardware store for lubing locks. I used it with no probem at NTC, and was going to bring a few tubes when we deployed but read that warning about it. This makes me think even more that it was just a scapegoat and the actual culprit was the sand and dust.

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