Machinery oil

I'd like to start a little discussion here on a topic that plagues a lot of us, specifically, the proper oil to use on our machines. Sure, it is easy
to say "way oil" or "spindle oil," but what, exactly, do these terms mean? I can go into my friendly local tool supply and they will have what perports to be "way oil"... in five gallon containers. Can I buy a quart of the equivalent down at the local auto parts store?
And what do various folks use to protect their machines from rust, both metal working and woodworking machines.
Yes, like a lot of us, I've been around long enough to know the answers to some of this. And I'm not sure that all the "answers" I know are necessarily the best.
Keep in mind that many people have their shop in a basement or an unheated garage where it might get a little damp now and then. And that many (most?) of us use our machines intermittantly. They might get run pretty heavy for a few days and then sit for a month. This is, of course, also true of a lot of professional machine shops. I know a guy who has a couple CNC machining centers and a couple Bridgeports. And I know at least one of the Bridgeports hasn't run in a year and a half (he keeps one trammed square and uses the other for "oddball" jobs and I know he's used it when I see the head sitting at some different cattywhampus angle from the way he left it after the last time...).
Yes, I know that occasionally a lubricant for a specific purpose gets discussed, but what I'd like to see is some general advice from some of our many experts.
Maybe a good compilation would be a good addition to the FAQs...
Jerry
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No. You can go to a lubricant distributor and get a brand name way oil for a few bucks less than at a typical machinery supply, but they also sell it in five gallon containers. I think some of the catalog outfits offer lower quantities. The major oil companies have tech helplines, some of them are pretty good. There's apparently a little more involved than viscosity.......

LPS 3. I looked into some cosmolene type equivalents but they sold either in 5 gallon or 55 gallon quantities. A little bit cheaper than LPS-3 per gallon, but IIRC 5 gallons was about $130.
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On Thu, 3 Mar 2005 22:43:13 -0500, the inscrutable "ATP*"

I was getting my oil changed at the local Wally World last month and spied 5 gal. buckets of hydraulic oil there. That surprised me even though I'm getting used to living in a farming community.

Johnson's Paste Wax (which I use), Boeshield, Top Cote, SLIPIT, paraffin wax dissolved in kerosene, etc. (DAGS for more.)
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The local autoparts store (not a chain) was able to cross reference the oils in my manual and get me the way oil and headstock/gear box oil I needed. It was still in 5 gallon containers but was 1/2 the cost. $32.00 for each 5 gallon pail. I have more than I will need for a long time but it was better than paying $12.00 plus shipping for a gallon. Both oils in my case are R&O oils, I think thats Rust&Oxidation, they are hydro oils.

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What are the thoughts on using hydraulic oil? Some benefits are : takes high temp, high press., anti-corrosion inhibitors

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Here are some thoughts from an engineering perspective - I'm less than an amatuer at the actual lathe stuff.
Hydraulic oils are probably not approriate for lubrication applications. The lubricity of the aircraft hydraulic oils I have worked with is listed as just a little better than water. There is also the mater of seal compatability. I doubt that you would be using phosphate esters hydraulic oils, but even some formulations of mineral based hydraulic oils may cause unacceptable swelling of elastomeric seals in the gearboxes and such. Some hydraulic oils are also hydroscopic, meaning they will absorb moisture.
My lathe (import) reccommended non-detergent SAE 20 motor oil for all applications (ways, screws, gearbox) and I was able to purchase some at the local NAPA store. On reflection, I believe any non-detergent motor oil (viscosity from 10 to 30) would be fine. I have considered getting some SAE 60 to 90 EP (extreme pressure) turbine or gearbox oil for the ways next time. The EP additive allows the oil to support a much higher load before the film breaks down, thus helping ensure that metal to metal contact does not occur. The other side of this is that the contact stress between the way components is so low that regular motor oil is probably fine.
I will avoid additives such as detergents and corrosion inhibiters for the gearbox because as the oil breaks down (time, temperature, shearing action of the oil) the additives sometimes form acids which promote corrosion or even precipitate out as "sludge".
Hope this helps

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@NOSPAMnetlane.com says...

I'd be comfortable with it for general use as long as you don't require EP additives and can get the viscosity you need. Hydraulic oils are at the low end of the viscosity range.
Ned Simmons
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Ned Simmons wrote:

Speaking of which: Would some petroleum engineer ( or someone who plays one on TV ) explain what constituents make a lubricant EP ? Thanks. ...lew...
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

I'm afraid I don't qualify as either, but here's a pretty good explanation I found here...
http://xcelplus.com/educational/definitions.htm
"EP additive: lubricant additive that prevents sliding metal surfaces from seizing under conditions of extreme pressure (EP). At the high local temperatures associated with metal-to-metal contact, an EP additive combines chemically with the metal to form a surface film that prevents the welding of opposing asperities, and the consequent scoring that is destructive to sliding surfaces under high loads. Reactive compounds of sulfur, chlorine, or phosphorus are used to form these inorganic films."
I'm aware of a couple things to be careful of when using EP lubes. First some EP additives are not compatible with copper alloys, which is a concern in any gearbox that has bronze or brass components. If a specific lube is comapatible the data sheet oil will usually say so. Second, most EP additives form toxic and/or corrosive compounds at elevated temperatures, so they are not used, for example, in motor oils.
Ned Simmons
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Keywords:

For small quantities of way oil, I've used two approaches. There's a mail order place (Cardinal or Century?) that sells small quantities. An even nicer dodge is if you can find a large shop with Hardinge lathes. They ship with 1 pint cans, which frequently don't get used because they buy it in bulk. Good machinists are pack rats, and hang onto the cans, but will frequently be happy to give them away to a good home.
Doug White
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