TiTi Twister lube

fyrstormer

fyrstormer

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I have a lot of titanium lights. All but one has screw threads. Most of their screw threads are titanium-on-titanium, and that has to be one of the most difficult-to-lubricate metal interfaces in the world. Titanium oxidizes instantly on exposure to air, and for reasons I still don't entirely understand, titanium's oxide layer repels lubrication with the greatest of ease. Since I usually end up twisting the threads on my lights the way some people fiddle with pens or rub on a worry stone while they're thinking, I became quite concerned with how all that fiddling was wearing out the threads on my lights.

I went through the process of trying all the various pre-packaged "Ti-Friendly" lubricants on the suggested here on CPF, and ultimately I didn't like any of them, so a couple years ago I started working on my own. A few months later, I came up with a formulation I called TiTi Twister 1. TiTi Twister 1 is made from hydrocarbon oil, partially gelled with Teflon powder, and doped with molybdenum di-sulfide as a rolling agent. The base oil itself is doped with climbing agents that help it overcome titanium's tendency to shed lubrication. I've used it on most of my lights ever since; it worked very well at taming even the grittiest-feeling Ti threads.

TiTi Twister 1 works great for most of my lights, but there is one downside; it's quite sticky when pressed into a thin film between threads and O-rings, and makes some twisty lights hard to operate one-handed. Recently I came up with another formulation I've decided to call TiTi Twister 2, which solves that problem nicely. TTT2 is essentially the same as TTT1, except it uses a fluorocarbon oil instead of a hydrocarbon oil. (you've heard of fluorocarbon oil before; it's normally called "Krytox".) I never liked Krytox by itself, but when combined with Teflon and molybdenum di-sulfide, it works very nicely. Its film isn't as sticky as TTT1, which I think reduces its lubricating ability slightly, but it also makes it easier to operate a twisty light one-handed.

Here's a picture of TTT1 and TTT2 side-by-side:

CIMG5128b.png


The purpose of this thread is not just to brag about spending a couple hundred hours of my evenings and weekends messing around in my kitchen with bottles of stuff that are decidedly not edible. It's not a sale thread either; since I have only my own personal use as evidence of their effectiveness, I doubt I could get anyone to pay for the stuff. Rather, I'd like to know if there's anyone who would like a sample of either TTT1 or TTT2 to test on their own lights.

TTT1 is safe for nitrile, silicone, and Viton O-rings, and TTT2 is safe for all O-rings including EPDM. TTT1 has a hint of a sulfur smell to it, but it's only noticeable when you open the light to change the battery. TTT2 doesn't smell like anything as far as I can tell. TTT2 is also easier to use on a light that has already been lubricated with Krytox, as there isn't as much of a need to clean every last trace of the old Krytox off the threads. I still think TTT1 provides better lubrication all-around though, if a thorough pre-cleaning and a little whiff of chemicals when you open your light doesn't bother you.

PM me if you'd like a sample of either or both. Post questions here though, so I can answer them publicly.
 
G

gravelrash

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Wow, amazing work. I don't have a lot lot of Ti on Ti lights (just the V10r) but I must say I'm impressed. Just when I think I'm obsessed about flashlights along comes something like this to remind me I'm a noob.

Since I usually end up twisting the threads on my lights the way some people fiddle with pens or rub on a worry stone while they're thinking

Now that I can relate to. Taking apart quality lights and putting them back together is a tactile pleasure!
 
I

islw2863

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I have one Ti on Ti flashlight, an Itp A3 used for keychain duty.

I like this light very much EXCEPT for the feel of titanium on titanium threads: It is uniquely gritty and unpleasant. I have tried several light and medium oils on the threads but the nasty gritty feel remains pretty much unchanged.

The gritty feel is so unpleasant I don't think I will ever buy another Ti on Ti twisty flashlight (unless this problem can be solved). If this lubricant formulation you have created solves this problem I would LOVE to try it.

You can send my sample (light or medium) to:

(PM sent)

lubricants I have tried:
[FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot]Rem Oil[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Mobil 1 10W50[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Break Free CLP[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Outers Nitro solvent Gun Cleaner[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Moly-Lithium wheel bearing grease (stinky ! )[/FONT]
 
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fyrstormer

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Wow, amazing work. I don't have a lot lot of Ti on Ti lights (just the V10r) but I must say I'm impressed. Just when I think I'm obsessed about flashlights along comes something like this to remind me I'm a noob.
Heh, thanks. Well, you know, when you spend $400 on a flashlight, then two, then three...until you end up with enough to stock one side of a chess board, you start to get worried about protecting that investment. :whistle: It's about more than flashlights, though; tribology (the study of friction) has intrigued me since childhood; titanium flashlights just happen to be where several of my interests converge at a single point.

The V10R Ti is a nice light, I used to have one. Since that light is a clicky and you don't use the threads often enough for a bit of stickiness to matter, and since that light only has a couple rings of threads, I'd recommend the TTT1 to use on them. Let me know if you want a sample of one or the other to try.
 
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fyrstormer

fyrstormer

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I have one Ti on Ti flashlight, an Itp A3 used for keychain duty.

I like this light very much EXCEPT for the feel of titanium on titanium threads: It is uniquely gritty and unpleasant. I have tried several light and medium oils on the threads but the nasty gritty feel remains pretty much unchanged.

The gritty feel is so unpleasant I don't think I will ever buy another Ti on Ti twisty flashlight (unless this problem can be solved). If this lubricant formulation you have created solves this problem I would LOVE to try it.
As I mentioned in my reply to your PM, there will always be some roughness in the feel of titanium threads, but there is a distinct difference between the sensation of tiny lubricant flakes sliding past each other vs. the sensation of little bits of titanium grinding off the threads. After trying the commercially-available lubricants, I concluded that titanium threads are only really happy when they have a rolling agent (whether MoS2, copper, baking soda as some have recommended, or just a bunch of ground-up Ti shavings) keeping the threads from scrubbing against each other. Given the choice, I'd rather use a lube that has the rolling agent added ahead of time, to save the threads the trouble of making their own "additives". ;)

Since the iTP A3 is an AAA light and it has a narrow diameter, the TTT2 is probably a better fit since it's not as sticky. Since you already gave me your address, I'll send some your way as soon as I've mixed up another batch of the stuff.
 
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Beamhead

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Interesting name, I have my own mix I call purple nurple slurple. :p
I have used Krytox grease with great success but perhaps you have improved upon it?
 
fyrstormer

fyrstormer

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Heh. The name was inspired by the ridiculous names for the various oils and greases used on bicycles; names like Gorilla Snot, Weasel Fat, redruM, etc. I think "TiTi Twister" does a decent job of conveying its intended use while also being funny.

I think I've improved on the standard 50:50 Krytox blend with the TTT2, yes. It works quite well on the few lights I have that the TTT1 was too sticky for. Whether it works for anyone else is something I'll get to find out when the samples go out to the people who've PMed me.
 
BVH

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Heh. The name was inspired by the ridiculous names for the various oils and greases used on bicycles; names like Gorilla Snot, Weasel Fat, redruM, etc. I think "TiTi Twister" does a decent job of conveying its intended use while also being funny.

Hey! Gorilla Snot was actually Yellow Peril, AKA 3M yellow adhesive.
 
dingo1799

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As I mentioned in my reply to your PM, there will always be some roughness in the feel of titanium threads, but there is a distinct difference between the sensation of tiny lubricant flakes sliding past each other vs. the sensation of little bits of titanium grinding off the threads. After trying the commercially-available lubricants, I concluded that titanium threads are only really happy when they have a rolling agent (whether MoS2, copper, baking soda as some have recommended, or just a bunch of ground-up Ti shavings) keeping the threads from scrubbing against each other. Given the choice, I'd rather use a lube that has the rolling agent added ahead of time, to save the threads the trouble of making their own "additives". ;)

Since the iTP A3 is an AAA light and it has a narrow diameter, the TTT2 is probably a better fit since it's not as sticky. Since you already gave me your address, I'll send some your way as soon as I've mixed up another batch of the stuff.


i have a couple new ti lights inbound, and also worry about thread feel, i have several special lubes im going to try, if you're interested in getting some feedback, i'll give your stuff a whirl :D
 
fyrstormer

fyrstormer

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Sounds good, I'll add you to the list.

Speaking of which, here's a list of people who've asked for samples (and in some cases, sent me money for shipping and gratuities) thus far:
- stoli67
- islw2863
- turboBB
- legtu
- zipplet
- dingo1799
- sionnach
- gravelrash
- KuKu427
- awenta
(limit of 10 for the time being; I can only afford to give out so much of the stuff for free)

I figure to make things easier I'll just include both samples in each package.
 
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sionnach

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I'm interested in samples as well.
Let me know PayPal address and I'll send $ for shipping. Thanks!
 
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gravelrash

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I'll take you up on your offer. PM Sent. What can I send you in return? I'd be happy to send you some cash or ???
 
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awenta

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Ive been looking for something good too. Wouldn't mind trying this stuff out. +1 for spending so much time and giving back to us. Maybe it'll get big. Best of luck.
 
xith

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I'll try some bud.. if there's available. I'll gladly toss you a few bux for shipping and time spent.

-Xith
 
DM51

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If there is any further demand for (or supply of) samples, whether sold or provided free, this will have to transfer to the MP as a sale thread.
 

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