Ti threads - to lube or not to lube?

Wurkkos

precisionworks

Flashaholic
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,623
Location
Benton Illinois
I've used and carried the LS20 for some time, mostly activating by twisting the head. It's always been a smooth and easy one hand twist. Don states (somewhere) that Ti threads will never have the silky smooth feel of Al threads, but my LS20 is as nice & smooth as the Nautilus/Ion/Aeon - which is to say warm butter smooth:thumbsup:

Always wanting to improve on perfection, a small gob of Super Lube PTFE grease was worked into the internal & external threads, with just a touch on the O-ring. Bad move, as the head required much more force to turn & seemed less smooth. After a few scrubbings with a clean toothbrush, and chasing the threads with a new toothpick, both internal & external threads were wiped with a clean cloth. The silky smooth action returned.

This seems contrary to logic, as the PTFE grease improves most everything it touches. Any thoughts from the experts?
 

knifebright

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 23, 2004
Messages
740
Location
sanfran by way of boston
I'm no expert by any means but I do have many Ti lights. I recomend (as would Don) the Krytox 50/50 from the sandwich shop. It works wonders on the threads and o-rings. However that said, it seems that small amounts are better than large.
when i re-lube threads/o-rings on my Ti Gizmo lights, I clean up the threads first, followed by a small amount of Krytox. Then work it in with twisting the head a few round and a final wipe of the blackend krytox. I find that works best for me. have fun!
Jimmy
 

StarHalo

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
10,932
Location
California Republic
Krytox can be mysterious stuff; if, after lubing, the action is a little stiff when you leave the light sitting unused for a period of time, give it a few days before adding more, it sometimes takes a little time to "set in".
 

octaf

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
1,268
I've used and carried the LS20 for some time, mostly activating by twisting the head. It's always been a smooth and easy one hand twist. Don states (somewhere) that Ti threads will never have the silky smooth feel of Al threads, but my LS20 is as nice & smooth as the Nautilus/Ion/Aeon - which is to say warm butter smooth:thumbsup:

Always wanting to improve on perfection, a small gob of Super Lube PTFE grease was worked into the internal & external threads, with just a touch on the O-ring. Bad move, as the head required much more force to turn & seemed less smooth. After a few scrubbings with a clean toothbrush, and chasing the threads with a new toothpick, both internal & external threads were wiped with a clean cloth. The silky smooth action returned.

This seems contrary to logic, as the PTFE grease improves most everything it touches. Any thoughts from the experts?


I've got the similar experience.
I have A19 host, very tight thread.
Oring was OK un-lubed.
Later, super lube greese applied, got worse and Orings torn away.
:confused:
 

McGizmo

Flashaholic
Joined
May 1, 2002
Messages
17,275
Location
Maui
My guess is that the teflon itself, is OK. It seems to me that many of the oils or greases develop a stiction problem. It might be interesting to experiment with the thread lubes in a case where you don't have a sealed chamber like these lights. As you screw the head on or off, you are increasing or decreasing the pressure inside relative to outside. This pressure certainly works on the O-ring and may add some to its unwillingness to move.

I have tried all kinds of lubes and been tempted into buying stuff by others comments here on CPF. I know what I have found works best for me but can't tell you why that is the case. :shrug:
 

pezdragon

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
59
Location
Bay Area, Ca.
I was having fits with my LS27 after first recieving it. I felt that the threads were galling/eating themselves alive while twisting. After cleaning I looked at them thru a microscope at work and sure enough there were signs of galling i.e. dug out pieces of the thread face that were rolling into the action and causing more of the same. I tried everything I could find , Molys, high vis microscope grease, light oils with moly etc. I finialy found that a super high vis Grease (Rocol Kilopoise 0031.s) mixed with "Sentry Hi-Slip" moly solved the gritty feel at the expence of giving up one handed use. It now has a smooth (highly damped) action that now takes two hands to use. Don't get me wrong here , I really love this light, in fact I bought a second from a seller on this forum and It's action is as smooth and light as butter(one handed use) with the stock grease.
I know for a fact that like metalic materials do not like, in general, to be mated in bearing fashion under high pressure, which is in fact, a thread condition. Ti to Ti can be very risky combo. The slightest inperfection of surfaces in contact can start a hard to stop slide to failure. I no longer clean and replace the lube on my primary LS27 as It seems it goes thru a new fit before it smooths down again.
I wrote Don about this a while back and of he was completely behind me as a customer and willing to do what was right to make me happy. I have come to really love my "high damp" LS27 and won't bother him with any more concerns about this subject.
Rod

p.s. sorry for the bad (no paragraphs) format but my replys just don't seem to let those happen....
 

yaesumofo

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
3,698
Location
Eastern Pacific, LAX DM03 sw actual
I definitely subscribe to the less is more theory.
I have tried just about every concoction under the sun and can't explain why But I have settled on MagnaLube as the one that works the best for me for the most part.
I keep a couple tubes of 2 different types of nyogel 759G and 779zc, Between the three lubes I have found these to be the most effective.
With Don's titanium lights I have had a mixed bag of experience. some were definitely smoother than others. Recently I have acquired 2 each of the lunasol flashlights and have found them to be amazingly smooth out of the box and they continue to be smooth. The machine work on these seemed to me to be a whole level better than prior offerings from Don.
And lets face it older titanium lights made by Don were and are fantastic lights.
IN any event a complete cleaning and very light application of lube as well as a day or so of break in and the lights remain as smooth as ever.
Yaesumofo
 

octaf

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
1,268
My guess is that the teflon itself, is OK. It seems to me that many of the oils or greases develop a stiction problem.


So, Don.
Are you suggesting that thin oil is better than thick Greese?
 

starfiretoo

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
1,265
Location
KAUAI
i've been using Krytox exclusively for these Ti twisty lights. i avoid lubing the o-ring itself and lube the inside barrel area where the o-ring rides. This includes not lubing the piston o-ring and lightly greasing the inside of the outer barrel.

Some oils will cause the o-ring to swell and increase effort. At which point i throw it away and put in a clean new one free of what ever lube.

i got the Krytox from one of the member's here on CPF. Can't remember but i believe it is the straight unblended stuff.:shrug:
 

TranquillityBase

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 12, 2005
Messages
3,738
Plus 1 for the straight Krytox...McMaster sells Dupont Krytox grease, in too many flavors:confused:...I have been using the GPL205.

I'm suprised to see the prices have remained the same from 18 months ago, when I purchased a tube of GPL205.:twothumbs
 

precisionworks

Flashaholic
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
6,623
Location
Benton Illinois
Threaded fits are always interesting, especially in a twist activated light. On some machine tools (larger lathes, horizontal boring mills, etc.) replacement leadscrews & feed nuts are purchased as a matched set. The leadscrew is normally ground to final profile + a few millionths (up to 50 millionths, which is half a tenth), and the feed nut is machine finished to minus a few millionths. The nut & screw are hand lapped to achieve final fit. Machines, at least the best ones in the world today, cannot achieve the same level of fit as hand lapping. The final fit is better than Class 3A/3B. If you want more info on this, http://www.engineersedge.com/ is a site I often use for thread fits, shaft fits, beam loading, etc.

Don's lights have well finished threads, much like the threads in a leadscrew/feed nut. The twisting action (on a highly finished surface) can act the same way that lapping does, which is to knock off the microscopic projections that can cause drag or roughness. I'd never thought about lapping my LS20, since it has been smooth from the start, but it might be an option on a less smooth light.

As you screw the head on or off, you are increasing or decreasing the pressure inside relative to outside. This pressure certainly works on the O-ring and may add some to its unwillingness to move.
Interesting point, & one I would have missed.
 
Last edited:

McGizmo

Flashaholic
Joined
May 1, 2002
Messages
17,275
Location
Maui
So, Don.
Are you suggesting that thin oil is better than thick Greese?

I don't see where I have made this suggestion. The lube situation is as much a mystery to me as it is most of you.

Going back a few years, initially I used Nyelube on the merits of SF endorcement. I found that after a light sat for a few days, the lube was very resistant to rotation of the parts; major "stiction". I then moved to pure silicone grease which had much less of a tendency to bind up after sitting for a while and this is the grease used on all under water housings and camera gear. A friend had given me a tube of a special bike lube which sat on my shelf until the time I had some real thread issues with some chrome plated PD's. I found that this bike lube did wonders. Upon investigation, it was no longer available but boasted being Krytox based. Upon further investigation, I found that MaryKate had a similar lube packaged for salt water fishing reels and gear. Cool! Well cool until I realized that MaryKate had recently changed ownership and the new owners did not maintain the agreement with Dupont and this lube was discontinued.

At that point, I found a distributor for the full line of Krytox oils and greases and started buying various weights of oil and grease, looking for a solution. After many trials and errors and over $1000 spent on lube, I came to a combination of I believe it is 101 oil (thinest oil) and 201 grease (thinest grease) which best mimicked the lubes of the Bike and Fishing lubes that had been packaged by Dupont. The combo is really weird to mix and prone to separation. However, it is the best I have tried to date. Since then I have wasted more money on tips and testimonials from CPF members but have yet to find a lube that performs, for me, better or even on par with the Krytox concoction. :shrug:

Dupont also has a liquid teflon with a highly evaporative delivery fluid which quickly leaves you with a dry and teflon coated part. This would seem ideal for the metal surfaces as it should make them more slippery and yet not dust and debris magnets. I believe it does improve the friction in the threads and say on the piston and sleeve surfaces but I still get the best results with the Krytox.

Quite candidly, it remains a mystery to me and I am not comfortable making any recommendations based on anything beyond experience that has little basis of understanding or "theory". In a similar thread not too long ago, I left it to the experts among you and many come off as quite knowledgeable about the various lubes.

Some time ago, I spoke to a guy who had a lot of machining and practical experience with Ti threaded parts. We were discussing the propensity of Ti to gall when significantly loaded and then moved relative to loaded surfaces (like threads). He said he always used a little bee's wax and never had a problem provided he used the wax. Jeff Hong (Mr. Ted Bear) reported some time back that he found a certain expensive car wax provided a good dry lube for his Ti lights.

I don't know the answer and I have learned what works for me as well as have a good healthy skepticism for any claims to some new solution or snake oil offered up by someone else.
 

TranquillityBase

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 12, 2005
Messages
3,738
Looks like Dupont has a GPL100 oil, and a GPL200 grease that is thinner than the 101/201 'mix'.....The 205 I'm using is pretty thick in comparison to the 201
 

StarHalo

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
10,932
Location
California Republic
I believe it is 101 oil (thinest oil) and 201 grease (thinest grease) which best mimicked the lubes of the Bike and Fishing lubes that had been packaged by Dupont. The combo is really weird to mix and prone to separation. However, it is the best I have tried to date.

That's interesting since Sandwich Shoppe Krytox 50/50 is touted as being a blend of Krytox and "grease", and in my experience is also somewhat prone to separation. Have you compared SS' formula to your own?
 

McGizmo

Flashaholic
Joined
May 1, 2002
Messages
17,275
Location
Maui
That's interesting since Sandwich Shoppe Krytox 50/50 is touted as being a blend of Krytox and "grease", and in my experience is also somewhat prone to separation. Have you compared SS' formula to your own?

Wayne did his own independent investigation and investment in the Krytox line. I believe he ended up going with the same mix as I;101/201.
 

McGizmo

Flashaholic
Joined
May 1, 2002
Messages
17,275
Location
Maui
Don, have you tried the Dupont Krytox 100 oil, or the 200 grease?

No I haven't. I wonder if it is a new addition to the lineup. As I recall, once I figured out which was thinest of the oils and greases, that is what I went for. Perhaps the distributor I dealt with didn't have the 100 or 200. :shrug:
 

Latest posts

Top