The Way to Go
Choosing Proper Machine Way and Screw Lubrication.
RDS processed a half dozen orders for the new Taig ball-screw micro-mill. A question came to me from one of the customers, about proper lubrication requirement for the ball screws.
I have always used a 20 weight non-detergent oil on all my machine tools, which is packaged in small cans for the lubrication of electric motor bearings. I apply it on the ways as well as the screws and crank bearings. I did not know what Taig recommended for the new ball-screws and bearings.
I contacted Taig and a staff person gave me two options. One was #2 way-lube and the other was automatic transmission oil. The transmission oil was a surprise to me.
I check on the way-lube and discovered most suppliers sold it in 5-gallon pails for a bit over $100. Five gallons on a Taig mill is a lifetime supply. My lifetime anyway. I found a supplier on eBay that was selling it in two one-pint bottles. They are shown in the picture.
In the meantime, I had the transmission oil in my shop so I tried it. It is very slippery and seems to hold a good film. I didn’t test it in long term use. One slight drawback is the unique odor of transmission oil, and this brand was colored red. (That’s so car mechanics can tell by the color what oil is leaking.)
Taig recommends either oil but I think my preference is for the Mobil Vactra No. 2 way-oil. It’s the real thing. The five-gallon pail was a killer amount for me until I found a lower packaged quantity, but more expensive for an equal amount.
I thought of repackaging for my customers, but I am concerned about the shipping regulations. The oil is non-hazardous, but any leakage in shipping might get nasty with the regulators.
You can’t see it in the picture, but my standard Taig CNC mill is now slathered in Vactra No. 2 oil and it is loving it.
I use the pump can for application and it will force the oil through spring ball oil ports found on many of my non-Taig machines. The can holds a half pint, as can be seen it the top picture.