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View Full Version : We need to design a better grease gun!



Black Forest
08-14-2010, 11:08 AM
With all the knowledge available on this forum I bet you all could design a better grease gun. I hate grease guns. I have at least 10 different styles and designs of grease guns. Expensive, cheap, air operated with compressed air, built in air pump as well as the standard spring type to push the grease to the pump. I have never ever put in a grease cartridge and pumped it all out with out having to fiddle with the gun. Unscrew the end and do something to it.

I think they need to have a better plunger. Mine all have just some rubber/plastic piston that always seems to get twisted and then it won't push the grease up to the pump. Why wouldn't some arrangement similar to a hydraulic piston work? It would be heavier and longer but I think something along those lines would be a big improvement.

Anyone else ever experience these problems with grease guns? I want to build the ultimate grease gun. Machined to perfection!

digger_doug
08-14-2010, 11:23 AM
I think they need to have a better plunger. Mine all have just some rubber/plastic piston that always seems to get twisted and then it won't push the grease up to the pump. Why wouldn't some arrangement similar to a hydraulic piston work? It would be heavier and longer but I think something along those lines would be a big improvement.

Anyone else ever experience these problems with grease guns? I want to build the ultimate grease gun. Machined to perfection!

If you've got air at the handle for a powered version, why not eliminate
the spring (below the cartrigde) and make a aluminum piston, powered
with air on the backside, get rid of that narly spring, and supply constant
force all the way to the end of the cartridge.

One of the problems I see, in making a better fitting plunger is the fact that
the plunger interfaces with a disposable (low tolerance) cardboard
tube. The caulking industry I see, has mostly changed over to nice plastic
tubes, which if done by the grease industry, would go a long way
to help this problem (which will probably never happen)

Lew Hartswick
08-14-2010, 11:24 AM
I think your problem stems from the cartridge. What with mfg.
tolleances and different mfgrs. etc. A properly made gun will undoubtly
work if everything is is just so. I haven't used the old bulk filled ones
but wonder if that method would be better. Anyone that has????
...lew...

Black Forest
08-14-2010, 11:31 AM
all my grease cartridges are plastic not cardboard. I wouldn't even mind emptying the cartridge into a gun that doesn't use cartridges if I could find one.

I don't always have compressed air available when I have to grease some machines. So it would be better to have a self contained gun.

Carld
08-14-2010, 11:57 AM
I have several grease guns and the one I use now is a cartridge type but I don't use the cartridge. I plunge the open end of the tube into the grease bucket and pull the handle up and lock it in place in the notch at the end of the tube. Then I fill the remaining open end with grease and screw the head on the tube.

Be very careful you don't knock the plunger out of the notch before you screw the end on, :eek: it makes a big mess if you do.

The biggest problem with grease guns is air in the grease. Even the ones that sit in top a barrel will get air and quit pumping grease.

Keep working on a design and let us know how it goes.

wierdscience
08-14-2010, 01:01 PM
I got one of these,costs a good bit,but it's easy to use,one handed no less and it cleans the tube,only ever need a paper shop towel to cleanup after a tube change.

http://www.lincolnindustrial.com/asp/products/greaseguns/12v.asp

saltmine
08-14-2010, 01:11 PM
I never have any trouble with my grease gun. I always take it with me whenever I have my car serviced.


http://i643.photobucket.com/albums/uu155/saltmine_album/greasegun.jpg

Thruthefence
08-14-2010, 01:14 PM
I am 62 years old, and have been a gear head all my life. You know, in all that time, I don't think I have ever picked one off the rack to use, that hasn't required tinkering with to use.

I did, however work for a shop, that had a rig that clamped onto a 5 pound can of grease, that had a spring loaded plunger, that you forced down, (required quite a push) and this fed a remote 'gun' that actually pressurized the grease. I can't remember the manufacturer, but it came with a large assortment of fittings, needle point, long 90 degree adapters, ect. It actually worked pretty well.

mcskipper
08-14-2010, 04:45 PM
And I thought I was the only one!

The problem for me is almost always air at the pump inlet.
I drilled and tapped a 4-40 at the input side if the pump if I need it let the air out.

How about making a two section pump, one for the grease and one for air to move the piston. Make a pop-off valve for the air side to prevent over pressure.

Willy
08-14-2010, 06:07 PM
It's been about 45 years since I first started servicing equipment on a serious basis and I too thought...there's gotta be a better way!
Well 45 years have come and gone and there hasn't been a whole helluva lot of new developments in the technology of greasing equipment.

But after having gone through literally thousands of tubes of grease during the ensuing years I have found what I think are some techniques that have made my days easier.

Fist off I think most will agree that air pockets are probably the biggest source of frustration. When I service some of the trucks or equipment that I operate I typically go through 3-6 tubes of grease per session so minimizing those air pockets is a priority.
When the gun runs out of grease, stop pumping immediately. Unscrew the head without pulling the plunger up, after the head is off pull the plunger up and remove the spent tube. Insert the new tube of grease, screw the head on 1-1 1/2 turns max, release the plunger give it a twist so that it is solid, apply as much pressure to the plunger as possible, (I usually hold it against my body while holding onto the grease gun with both hands and pulling it towards me) then drop the plunger into the cartridge and screw the gun head on the rest of the way.

This procedure while sounding rather convoluted is intended to minimize and release air pockets.
However another source of air pockets are those from the facility that packages the lubricant. I have found some suppliers of grease that have absolutely zero air pocket inclusions and yet other suppliers have products which are consistently riddled with air inclusions and of course frustration.

Also my weapon of choice is a nice Lincoln gun with a quality 36" high pressure hose between it and the coupler. The 36'" hose allows me to access grease fittings more easily as I can leave the gun in a handy spot rather than trying to hold it, the coupler, and pumping at the same time. I find the long hose gives more freedom of movement especially to some of those almost inaccessible fittings that are found all to often.

I have tried air and electric operated guns and don't much care for either as they are not only cumbersome but also lack the pressure capabilities of a good lever operated gun. Perhaps they work in applications where one can just walk by and grease fittings that are easily accessed, I haven't been blessed with that kind of luck.

Lastly, remember that while greasing maybe a pain at times, it's still a lot easier and cheaper than replacing pins, bushings, bearing, u-joints, etc., etc.

Boucher
08-14-2010, 06:49 PM
A good Lincoln will work if you do your part. Lincoln also makes some cheapies that don't work very good. The good ones cost significantly more than the cheapies. One of my suppliers had the cheapies on sale and I bought several. They work OK for greasing wheel bearings on boat trailers. I had one of the Air type systems that set on about a 30 gallon drum. I put a flex hose on it and it worked very well. It should it was expensive. The old bulk guns that filled from a five gallon can could be converted to cartridges by reversing the plunger diaphram. In the old days the grease cans had a follower plate with a center hole a little larger than the gun. You stuck the gun into the grease thru that hole and pulled the plunger filling the gun. There was allways some grease to wipe up after filling but that system worked real good. The last couple of buckets of grease that I have bought don't have the follower plate. Sure is nice to be retired and not have to start the day greasing the drilling rig. Now if I could figure some way out of having to sweep the swarf out of the shop that would be even nicer.

Carld
08-14-2010, 09:08 PM
My grease gun of choice is the same as saltmine's and I should have bought one it the late fifty's when they were cheap. Of course when I read the subject of this thread the first thing I thought of was the grease gun of WW II and a mighty fine grease gun it is. I was wondering how in the world you could improve the grease gun.

darryl
08-14-2010, 09:27 PM
Grease guns- I always have thought there should be a better way. One I have now is laying on newspaper, slowly oozing its slickness all over itself and the newspaper.

I had an idea for a better gun, but first of all, how much pressure is required from a grease gun? Likely to be more than could be supplied by a typical shop air system I suppose- otherwise we could have all manner of air pressurized holding tanks and dispensing guns. I wouldn't mind having the gun connected to the tank via a hose, as long as the whole thing is easily portable and quick to wrap up and store.

I would go for a decent sized tank, maybe 20 lbs or so, and make it non tippable. Give it a vacuum port, or figure out a way to spin it to de-air the contents.

rollin45
08-14-2010, 10:06 PM
Grease guns- I always have thought there should be a better way. One I have now is laying on newspaper, slowly oozing its slickness all over itself and the newspaper.

I had an idea for a better gun, but first of all, how much pressure is required from a grease gun? Likely to be more than could be supplied by a typical shop air system I suppose- otherwise we could have all manner of air pressurized holding tanks and dispensing guns. I wouldn't mind having the gun connected to the tank via a hose, as long as the whole thing is easily portable and quick to wrap up and store.

I would go for a decent sized tank, maybe 20 lbs or so, and make it non tippable. Give it a vacuum port, or figure out a way to spin it to de-air the contents.


I welded up the grease piping for a vehicle maintenance building for the military, it was all sched 80 seamless pipe and socket weld fittings. The officer in charge wanted it hydro-tested at 5000 psi, ... I pointed out the fittings were good for 3000 psi, he allowed us to test at that pressure. I'm not sure how indicative this is of the pressures needed, but clearly they get pretty high.

rollin'

Greg Menke
08-14-2010, 10:30 PM
A couple years ago I got an Alemite grease gun from mcmaster, they don't seem to be selling it at the moment- but its been remarkably free of air pocket issues. It has a vent which does a nice job of clearing most of the air after putting in a new tube. The pump hasn't had any trouble with air-locking like my el-cheapo 3oz gun does. Haven't had to mess around with adjusting the tip either.

Greg

A.K. Boomer
08-14-2010, 10:51 PM
BF's right -- grease guns on the average suck hind tit...


There is the air issue - and the leaking, But to me its like you need 3 hands to use the good ones and the ones that only need 2 to operate are those crap single hand sqweeze pumps. (I hate those things)

I like the lever action but I have to use one hand to hold the nozzle on the zirk and one to hold the gun and try to pull back on lever - then press gun against frame of car and then push lever into gun...:rolleyes:

U know what im thinking?

A lever action with an aux. chamber that has a Piston with O-ring and a massive heavy duty spring on the other side,,, say five pump sub-charge then you place hose fitting on zirk (with one hand) and pull a release trigger(with the other)..:cool:

J. R. Williams
08-14-2010, 11:03 PM
One big problem with a grease gun is in the way grease is formed. Typically it is a mixture of lube oil and a base such as soap or a fine clay. Pressure on the mixture, such as found by the spring and cup in the barrel will cause the oil to separate. A good gun would pump the grease without this bias pressure and meter a small quantity to the part being lubricated. One full stroke from a typical gun is too much grease. I have seen small electric motors pumped so full of grease that they would not run. But they were lubricated on a formal schedule.

JRW

JS
08-15-2010, 12:07 AM
All of you would get a kick out of the "grease gun" I built at the last company. It was for grease packed vertical trash pump oil tube & shafting. I could empty a 14 oz cartridge in less then 45 seconds, but it wasn't for pressure just filling oil tube with grease. Usually a short couple pump would require up to 2 cases of grease.

oldtiffie
08-15-2010, 12:39 AM
Here is my air-powered grease-gun:

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Welders%20and%20air%20tools/Grease-gun1.jpg

Never a minutes trouble. I've had it for years. I think its Chinese. It is very compact and only needs two hands to hold it and engage the grease nipple, and after that its all one-handed.

I use 450 gm (1/2 pound) cartridges which are never a problem to load and bleed any air from.

I run it at about 70psi. It can pump as quick as I can pull the trigger - one "shot" per press of the trigger and there is plenty of pressure there.

It is as you see it as it is after the last greasing a couple of weeks ago. It is still under spring pressure and not a drop of grease leakage out or air in.

I'd suggest that any who have a grease gun that leaks to ease the compression tension and to load it up again when greasing.

I have never noticed any separation of the grease into its separate components.

Willy
08-15-2010, 01:34 AM
As J.R.Williams pointed out the soaps and clay, etc. in grease are just a carrier for the oil which is ultimately the actual lubricant.
Most people, myself included only use a small portion of a 14 oz. tube and then it sits for a couple of months or more.
Thats when it starts to bleed the oil out of the carrier. That's just the nature of the beast. Use a tube or ten a week it's not a problem.:)

As far as the volume per stroke, well another one of life's compromises.
For some applications one stroke is too much, then you're left with the lever half stroke, so unless you've got another small shot to give you may as well waste it cause otherwise it'll just end up on the floor or your leg.

However in an industrial application that I'm used to, one slip yoke for a drive shaft may take 30-40 strokes, so yeah it's a trade off.

As far as pressures go, air and electric units usually put out around 6,000 psi, more than enough for regularly maintained applications.
Manual lever type guns put out at least 8,000 psi, and the heavy duty ones put out around 15,000 psi, I know they will pop a good hydraulic hose that I usually like to use between the gun and the coupler.
Sometimes you have to lean on em' when you inherit a piece of equipment from another yard that hasn't seen a lot of TLC.;)

In those situations where it just won't take grease readily, what I find works for me is to evacuate as much old grease out of the grease cavity as possible and then pump in as much solvent or penetrating oil as possible either with a squirt can or another grease gun, and then,with a grease gun, leave it under as much pressure as possible. Come back in 15 min. and it's usually cleared itself. If not it's R & R time.

A.K. Boomer
08-15-2010, 08:52 AM
Here is my air-powered grease-gun:

Never a minutes trouble. I've had it for years. I think its Chinese. It is very compact and only needs two hands to hold it and engage the grease nipple, and after that its all one-handed.

I use 450 gm (1/2 pound) cartridges which are never a problem to load and bleed any air from.

I run it at about 70psi. It can pump as quick as I can pull the trigger - one "shot" per press of the trigger and there is plenty of pressure there.

It is as you see it as it is after the last greasing a couple of weeks ago. It is still under spring pressure and not a drop of grease leakage out or air in.

I'd suggest that any who have a grease gun that leaks to ease the compression tension and to load it up again when greasing.

I have never noticed any separation of the grease into its separate components.

That's handy Tiffer but I also work out in the field on heavy equipment...


There's no real reason why a pre-chamber would not work, might build me something cuz they are a PITA...

Herb W
08-15-2010, 12:19 PM
I've had my fair share of battles with poor quality grease guns. Have a couple of the cheapo lincolns - one started leaking grease past the piston shortly after I got it. Pull the piston back to load a new cartridge & it would shoot grease out the back end past the piston rod... converted that one into an oil gun. Other lincoln - works, but (pistol grip) lever sticks in every time...
I remember as a kid, filling guns from bulk pails. Always ended up with some air in the gun, but never had the follower plate that Boucher mentioned... I think that would have made it easier.
Anyway, +1 for alemite - bought one of their guns a couple of years ago and it's the best I've used so far...

http://www.alemite.com/catalog/details.aspx?identifier=guns_pistol

Greebe
08-15-2010, 02:24 PM
I have one of the more expensive Ingersoll Rand grease guns and the dang thing leaks all over the place. I forget the grease I have in there but it was some sort of red grease that I used for replacing the bearings on one of our trailers. Ticks me off. The grease leaks out from every where. I need a better option one of these days.

carlquib
08-15-2010, 07:59 PM
Anyone know of a valve that could be used to relieve pressure when you get a zirk that won't take grease? I have ruined more tips and zirks than I care to remember. Hmmm won't take grease at 6000psi well get out the big guns and run it up to 15000 still won't take? Can almost guarantee that I will ruin the tip trying to get the gun back off. I have used the method that Willy mentioned but usually not until I have gotten a gun stuck. I have to vote for the lincolns too. I have a battery version that is great for volume jobs, and pistol grips that easily gets to 10,000, then the air powered greaser that will go to 15,000. I have worn out a bunch of guns over the years but right now the Lincolns seems to have the best bang for the buck, at least the more expensive Lincolns.

Willy
08-15-2010, 11:05 PM
Brian I usually get in that situation once in a while myself.:o

Although it's a bit of a pain in the a$$, I just unscrew the hose from the gun. Yeah a little messy but it doesn't take much grease to relieve the pressure, hey my hands are dirty anyway.:D

oldtiffie
08-15-2010, 11:15 PM
Anyone know of a valve that could be used to relieve pressure when you get a zirk that won't take grease? I have ruined more tips and zirks than I care to remember. Hmmm won't take grease at 6000psi well get out the big guns and run it up to 15000 still won't take? Can almost guarantee that I will ruin the tip trying to get the gun back off. I have used the method that Willy mentioned but usually not until I have gotten a gun stuck. I have to vote for the lincolns too. I have a battery version that is great for volume jobs, and pistol grips that easily gets to 10,000, then the air powered greaser that will go to 15,000. I have worn out a bunch of guns over the years but right now the Lincolns seems to have the best bang for the buck, at least the more expensive Lincolns.

Brian.

If its that hard to grease, why not remove the grease nipple at the first sign of "heavy going" and see if the problem is with the nipple? If it is - fix or replace it. If not - look further.

I know its a PITA but its a "judgment call" anyway.

carlquib
08-16-2010, 02:12 AM
Thanks Willy that is what I usually do, either that or unscrew the tip halves and release the petals. The trouble is when you have crawled into a piece of equipment and it is a pain to get out and get wrenches either that or it is tight enough that it is difficult to turn the gun.

I don't know how much greasing you do Tiffie, but at 12 tubes a day I get more than my share of stuck guns. At least I think it is more than my share. The problem with the judgement call is that you don't know you are stuck until you are stuck. Most will break loose and take grease once you get the pressure up but that one out of 20 that doesn't drives me crazy. It is worse when things get wet and muddy. The truck suspensions give me a lot of grief, even when the intervals are shortened because of severe duty. It is usually the ones that are getting close to needing a rebuild anyway, but it takes far too long to properly remedy the situation. Plus even screwing the gun off the tip I usually bend them a little so they don't hold well on worn zirks.

I also use a tool that is filled with penetrating oil, my favorite at the moment is PB blaster, and then the plunger is struck with a hammer. If you have removed as much grease as you can and then fill with penetrating oil and then use the impactor they will usuallly brake loose with a little patience.

Willy
08-16-2010, 09:06 AM
Thanks Willy that is what I usually do, either that or unscrew the tip halves and release the petals. The trouble is when you have crawled into a piece of equipment and it is a pain to get out and get wrenches either that or it is tight enough that it is difficult to turn the gun..............

Brian, this sounds like a page out of my book
Let me take a guess. Flat on your back, in between the diffs, reaching up to do the rear spring bushings? Walking beam cross bar in the way, inter-axle driveshaft in the way, crawl out of there, get wrenches, and crawl back into that little hell hole in order to flop that gun around in your face!

Yeah there's gotta be a better way. Trouble is I've seen some very nice alternatives in the shop but nothing portable enough for out in the field, especially for when one finds himself in a very confined space.

Only good thing about it is it's only temporary.
After about 40 years of that BS I've pretty well hung up my hat, now I just do it for fun.:D

carlquib
08-17-2010, 02:25 AM
Yep, I've only been doing it for 25 years so I have 20 more to go. I keep telling myself I am going to hire a new kid to do this stuff, but every time I do they break more than they are worth and I end up in the hell hole fixing the stuff they broke. You were exactly right on one of the spots. I get stuck up between the diff, the drive line and the walking beam pivot bar. One of these days I am going to get a lift to I can stand under them and work. I finally bought one for vehicles to 10,000 lbs, can't believe what a difference it makes to service that way. Now I need one of the four post ones that go to 80,000.

I think if I can't find a valve that will do what I want, I will try and make something this winter. It would make life much easier to just be able to open, dump pressure and remove the gun. Seems like there ought to be something out there that would do what I want though.

Black Forest
08-24-2010, 10:58 AM
Here is my favourite grease gun so far. It is by far the best I have used. The blue tube at the end of the cylinder is the air pump. All you have to do is pump it about six times and it pushes the grease up to the top. It works most of the time really well. But I have still had the internal piston get twisted inside. I think I will try to make an aluminum piston with rings for the inside.
http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab91/burnandreturn/greasegun.jpg

Too_Many_Tools
08-24-2010, 02:04 PM
Has anyone found SMALL clip on ends for grease guns?

I am finding more and more zerks that are recessed so the clip on end will not even attach.

TMT

DickDastardly40
08-24-2010, 02:18 PM
I never met a grease gun I liked; they always seem to ooze when left unattended and drip when being carried between jobs.

I have 2 different flavours of grease and 2 guns of each in use periodically and stow them in large ziplock bags when not in use to prevent drippage in between uses and zip tie the handles down to prevent inadvertant pumping when carrying.