Lubrication Engineering Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, October 19 at noon Pacific for the Lubrication Engineering Hack Chat with Rafe Britton!

You know the old joke: if it moves when it shouldn’t, fix it with duct tape, and if it doesn’t move but it should, fix it with WD-40. For a lot of us, that’s about as far as our expertise on lubricants — and adhesives — goes. That’s a shame, because with hundreds of years of petrochemical engineering expertise behind us, not to mention millennia more of ad hoc experience with natural substances, just reaching for that trusty blue and yellow can for a spritz is perhaps a wasted opportunity. Sure, it’ll work — maybe — but is it really the right tool for the job?

Modern lubricants are extremely complex and highly engineered materials, often built atom by atom to perform a specific job under specific, often extremely challenging, conditions. Oils and greases are much more than just the slippery stuff that keeps our mechanical systems running, and while you might not need to know all the details of how they’re made to put them to use, a little inside information could go a long way in making sure your mechanism lasts.

join-hack-chatWe’ve invited Rafe Britton on the Hack Chat to talk about all aspects of lubrication engineering. With degrees in engineering and physics, Rafe runs Lubrication Expert and the Lubrication Explained channel on YouTube to help his clients figure out what they don’t know about lubrication, and how to put that knowledge to use in the real world. Be sure to bring your questions and concerns about lubrication, as well as your lubrication success stories and failures — especially the failures!

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, October 19 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

27 thoughts on “Lubrication Engineering Hack Chat

    1. Ugh if it doesn’t move it wants a light oil, or an axle grease, or some dry ‘lock lube’ made of graphite.

      After years of WD-40 on door hinges I have switched to axle grease applied with a toothpick. Best if you can give the pin a little too. It lasts a lot longer.

      Dry lube is best if you don’t need whatever it is holding dirt and making an impromptu grinding compound.

      1. WD40 is good for cleaning off that “impromptu grinding compound”. Wipe it up good afterward, let it sit and dry or perhaps hit it with some compressed air. Then add your grease or graphite.

    2. “if it moves when it shouldn’t, fix it with duct tape”
      Bad advice for parents and teachers.

      “if it doesn’t move but it should, fix it with WD-40”
      Bad advice for the constipated.

      1. Jokes aside, one of the most inferior tapes (possibly the worst possible tape for ductwork) combined with one of the most inferior lubricants (it’s really meant more as a penetrating and cleaning agent)

  1. Engine maintenace is 300 bucks. Usually the car is pretty much high on jack, to really get accessed, and I have this long latex glove that goes all the way up to my armpit. Then I put on a surgical latex glove up to my wrist. Just lube it up. It’s a long process to get your whole arm up there. But its an intense feeling for the engine block, I think for myself too. You go to places that even though it’s physical with your hand, for some reason it’s also more emotional. It’s more psychological too. We both reach the same place, it’s really strange at the same time. And I found with a session like that it’s really exhausting.

    1. According to manufacturer it is:

      “WD-40 Multi-Use Product protects metal from rust and corrosion, penetrates stuck parts, displaces moisture and lubricates almost anything” source:

      “WD-40® Multi-Use Product lubricates moving parts such as hinges, wheels, rollers, chains, and gears” source: WD-40 technical data sheet

      “Product Use: Lubricant, Penetrant, Drives Out Moisture, Removes and Protects Surfaces From Corrosion” source: WD-40 MSDS

      I would never use it as lubricant but it is clearly advertised as a lubricant.

  2. I am doing the service of my MTB forks myself, bought the whole range of fluids from 0W, 5W, 7.5W,10W to be able to service different forks. Some FOX fork from 2010 required 3 different type of oil.

    Some people mentioned you could use cheaper motor oil, but apparently there is some anti-foam addition special for forks.

  3. regular WD-40 is not a lubricant, it’s a penetrating oil and rust inhibitor, it will dry as its primary ingredient os fish oil. it’s name means Water Displacement formula #40, so great at getting things unstuck, bit then if you don’t want it wearing out prematurely use an actual lubricant

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.