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To Lube or not to Lube, That is the Question!

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  • To Lube or not to Lube, That is the Question!

    My threee jaw chuck was getting hard to turn and finally it "locked up" and wouldn't adjust. I took it apart, probably the first time it has been disassemblied in its 60 plus years of existance. I got a sizable pile of chips out of the inside and from the threads.

    Now that is reassembly time, do I lubricate the ring gear and pinions or leave them dry? Keeping them dry would prevent chips from collecting in the lubricant but then the lubrication will make the gears run smoother.

    Since I'm in a quandry, I will ask the advice of the sages of this network. Thanks for advice in advance.


    Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

    Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

  • #2
    I oil my chucks with motor oil as I reassemble them. JIM


    • #3
      For the ring gear and pinions, I use a good coating of a thick black, moly based disk brake grease. It stays in place with minimal sling off over time, just a slight oozing around the pinions. For the scroll, I use way lube but others prefer either a lighter oil or graphite. After oiling, I run it for a few minutes at several thousand RPM to sling out whatever excess is present. Den


      • #4
        No brainer for people with rough acting chucks. When they get sticky and hard to operate, take it apart and clean it up. It aint rocket science. A chuck has only a half dozen or a dozen parts and will go together only one way. Lightly stone if need be. Pick out imbeded debris with a scribe.

        For lube, use a clear oil you don't mind being sprayed with (a chuck is an excellent centrifugal sprayer). Any oil is preferable to no oil. Grease is sticky. It will pick up chips and hold them forever so the scroll can grind them into the body clearance.
        Last edited by Forrest Addy; 08-09-2007, 08:37 PM.


        • #5
          my 3 jaw has a grease fitting. so i guess it is suppose to have a shot of grease now and then and that is what it gets.


          • #6
            I do exactly what nheng does. It works very well, and does NOT pick up chips, nor sling out anything. The only stuff slung is cutting oil off the workpieces.

            Chucks should be taken apart every so often and cleaned out.

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan


            • #7
              I use Gold Chuck Lube from WorldWide Chuck Services. It's basically an NGLI 2 grease that's heavily loaded with molybdenum disulfide and a ton of tackifiers.
              So although it's a grease, it absolutely doesn't sling, but it still provides rust protection (which graphite and pure moly doesn't). It sounds a lot like Nheng's
              disk grease, but it's specific for lathe chucks.

              Kitagawa will actually extend the manufacturer's warranty if you use this grease on their chucks.
              Last edited by lazlo; 08-10-2007, 12:04 AM.
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


              • #8
                I took apart my Cushman on my 1950's Clausing 6300. The chuck probably came with it. The chuck was very stiff to operate. There was a silver colored grease inside. I cleaned it up and used some thing else to lube it. It was easy to turn after that.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike W
                  .....a silver colored grease inside.....
                  Possibly someone thought Never-seize would make a good lubricant.
                  Paying Attention Is Not That Expensive.


                  • #10
                    Motorcycle chain lube in a spray can is good. It's designed not to sling off.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                    • #11
                      Its almost like the more you take care of the lube "slinging out" of the chuck you create another problem, You used something really "tacky", this means that it will stay put --- along with any chip that it comes in contact with, but even a dry chuck can hold chips just do to the centrifugal force constantly packing them into the scroll and jaws,,, I change my jaws from outer to inner and back enough that anytime I do so I also rotate the scroll and use a big blast of compressed air at them (not at where they mate to the chuck base though)
                      I use mobile one synthetic grease, just a light coating every once in awhile, I think at least with this topic its not as much what you use because whatever it is its kinda a double edge sword, its how clean you keep your chuck...

                      There is a Molly D that goes on wet and drys to form a tough non tacky film, it would keep the chip build up to a minimum but would have to be aplied allot more often.

                      There are also some really tacky lubes, but so tacky that when you go to blow out the chips they wont want to leave....

                      Even if you rarely lube you will be hard pressed to get a chuck to "run dry"
                      They will always have a thin layer of oil on them even if its mixed in with cutting fluid, the galling that takes place usually isnt from lack of lube as much as its from munching up hardened chips between the two surfaces...

                      Think what a chuck would look like if all you ever did was plastic with it (but still kept it lubed once in a great while ((or all the time with clean cutting fluid even though thats not the practice with plastic)), and although your clamping pressure is most likely going to be lower you would have a chuck that would last forever without any wear to speak of.
                      Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 08-10-2007, 10:26 AM.


                      • #12
                        Try a dry gun lube.


                        • #13
                          They make a "chuck grease". Not tacky, but more like a sort of pipe dope type stuff. Never used it, but seen it recommended.

                          I've tried several different, often messy solutions. White Lith seems to work well when used sparingly. Lately, I just assembly with Vactra on the scroll (or screws) and wipe away most of the excess so it does not sling too terribly. And I use white lith behind the scroll and on the pinions of 2 jaws. Probably not "the best", but works well enough it seems.

                          I bought some "dry slide" specifically for chucks, but then never used it for chucks. <shrug>
                          Master Floor Sweeper


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BadDog
                            They make a "chuck grease". Not tacky, but more like a sort of pipe dope type stuff. Never used it, but seen it recommended.
                            Read 6 posts up BadDog


                            It's extremely tacky, by the way...
                            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                            • #15
                              Hmm, ok, maybe I misunderstood. I was under the impression it was very cohesive but not tacky, specifically designed for use in the scroll and not supposed to add to chip retention. Basically, the stuff I was talking about was explained to me as something that was dry(ish) to the touch and would stay in place, went on thin (and dried/set?) more from mechanical properties rather than tac. No idea how that works, if it exists, the guy explained it wrong or didn't understand, or perhaps I didn't understand/remember correctly. But my recollection is that it was not like a regular grease and was very low tac. <shrug> But that's why I said "seen recommended", as I have absolutely no personal experience with such stuff (if it exists).
                              Master Floor Sweeper