Author Topic: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?  (Read 25245 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Hyde

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 2643
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
  • White Tofu Extraordinaire
Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« on: Sun, 22 September 2013, 12:12:02 »
http://www.homedepot.ca/product/jig-a-loo-super-white-lithium-grease/902322

So I've bought this white lithium grease a long time ago to lube my Costar stabilizers on my Filco.

Do you guys know if white lithium grease dries up or it just looks dry but it should be ok.  In terms of feel I can't notice any huge difference to know if it's working properly or not.  My stabilizers never squeak in the first place and I kinda just lube it just because.

Also if anyone know if this will be an better choice instead?  http://elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=access,misc&pid=mechlube

I heard this is more sticky so applying too much will actually slow things down, but otherwise it doesn't sound like this one dries up.

A long time ago I heard people recommend Super Lube as another option but there isn't any simple way to acquire that in Canada and it's kind of why I end up looking at the top 2 choices.

Archiss ProgresTouch Retro - Gateron Yellow  |  Topre Realforce 104UW - 45g Silent  |  Topre Type Heaven  |  Beige Filco Ninja 104 - MX Red  |  Das Keyboard - MX Brown  |  Poker II - MX Red  |  Race II - MX Brown  |  Matias Quiet Pro - Matias Dampened ALPS  |  Logitech K840 - Romer G  |  Cherry MX Board 2.0 - MX Red  |  Cherry G84-4100 - ML  |  IBM Model M
Roccat Kone Pure  |  Logitech G203  |  Logitech G303  |  Logitech G302  |  Razer Naga  |  CM Storm Xornet  |  Razer Goliathus Mobile Stealth  |  Razer Goliathus Control  |  Artisan Hien  |  Artisan Hayate  |  Artisan Shiden

Offline elitekeyboards

  • * Commercial Vendor
  • Posts: 99
    • http://elitekeyboards.com
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 22 September 2013, 23:41:33 »
Hi Hyde,

Many formulations of Lithium grease use carrier oils that will evaporate over time, leaving a dry chunky paste, which is intended for tight fitting parts, but not great for stabilizers. Also, some of the oil carriers used for off the shelf lithium grease can be harmful to some plastics and surfaces.

The original Mechlube you've linked is a high-viscosity grease that we recommend for Costar stabilizers primarily for their tendency to rattle, but it takes care of squeaks too. As long as you're only applying it to the white mounting clips on the underside of the keycap, you shouldn't notice any slowing. And you're correct, it won't dry up.

Super lube will work fine too, though it isn't as viscous.

Offline Lu_e

  • Posts: 643
  • Location: NWUSA
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 01:06:02 »
You have to use a lot of the mechlube to slow anything down. I did because I wanted NO chance of rattle, & the extreme slowing effect went away after like 10 - 20 mins of typing. & I still have no noticeable rattle after over 2 months of use.
MX

Offline rootwyrm

  • Posts: 829
  • The Hands of Steel
    • My Website!
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 01:54:05 »
Lithium grease is a multi-component chemical lubricant. It doesn't dry out - it chemically separates. When that happens, it looks and feels like it's dried out. And recombining the elements effectively is pretty much impossible. What happens is the petroleum base and lithium components separate, which leaves you with the dry lithium base (which often is actually lithium soap) and the petroleum distillates or whatever they used to make it. Generally separation really only occurs in the container - the friction and such of applied grease keeps the bond from breaking down for some reason. (Go ask a chemist!)
It's kind of like if you've ever left Gojo around a long time and you get the liquid layer on top of the pumice layer - same chemical concept or process or whichever it is. (I'm not a chemist!) But if you regularly use it, it doesn't separate.

So, no, one is not better than the other, really. Both silicone grease and lithium grease are used extensively in cars - and sometimes interchangeably. If you want to see where they aren't interchangeable but both being used, pop open the door of your car. The black gaskets are coated in silicone grease (to prevent them from freezing to the door frame and to provide a watertight but not airtight seal) while the hinges are always heavy duty lithium grease.
When it comes to keyboards, neither is better than the other. It's purely a matter of personal preference, which means a question of viscosity. (And both silicone and lithium come in high and low viscosity.)

EDIT: Oh hey, here's a basic viscosity guide to give you some basis for comparison. Here's some typical automotive lithium grease - which is 325CPS. And here's some silicone based grease which ranges from 100-60,000CPS.
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 September 2013, 02:04:13 by rootwyrm »
"I remain convinced I am the only person alive who has successfully worn out an IBM Model M mechanically."
Daily Drivers: Adesso 625 (NPKC PBT / Kailh Blue), Rosewill RK9000V2 (KC PBT / MX Brown), 1994 Model M13, Sun Type4, and the rare IBM 1394540.

Offline mkawa

  •  No Marketplace Access
  • Posts: 6562
  • (ツ)@@@. crankypants
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 02:08:46 »
the hydrocarbon portion is highly volatile, especially in really cheap lithium spray grease (the very low viscosity stuff), so it can actually dry up completely into just white lithium soap. because of this, the white lithium that eg honda vends for greasing joints in their cars and as a dieletric uses a thick silicone base iirc and is really viscous. for anything that actually needs to be lubricated, they point you towards their high temperature urea grease, which is also highly viscous, but doesn't degrade and is cheap enough to fill rubber boots with.

now that i've had enough experience with the various non-exotic krytox formulations, my feeling is that polymer oils in a ptfe matrix are the only way to go for small parts and in particular for linear motion. and i mean for everything except for ultra high temperature applications that will degrade the polymers or for situations like ball joints where you the joint is jacketed, needs to be packed, and needs to be refilled fairly often.

that said, there are a lot of terrible polymer lubricants out there. for small parts, my feeling is PFPE or bust. since dupont is the only one making a full line of PFPE lubes at the moment, that's what we buy here, on the korean forums, etc. superlube is often vended in place of krytox where there's price sensitivity, or solid ptfe is used, but solid ptfe doesn't have the abrasion resistance and lubridicity alone that pfpe gives it, and superlube is, excuse my french, le merde.

as for other bases, silicone is best used as a dieletric and elastomer component, and most hydrocarbons damage pretty much everything, in addition to being ridiculously volatile.

to all the brilliant friends who have left us, and all the students who climb on their shoulders.

Offline Austin Powers

  • Posts: 40
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 02:24:27 »
Hi Hyde,

Many formulations of Lithium grease use carrier oils that will evaporate over time, leaving a dry chunky paste, which is intended for tight fitting parts, but not great for stabilizers. Also, some of the oil carriers used for off the shelf lithium grease can be harmful to some plastics and surfaces.

The original Mechlube you've linked is a high-viscosity grease that we recommend for Costar stabilizers primarily for their tendency to rattle, but it takes care of squeaks too. As long as you're only applying it to the white mounting clips on the underside of the keycap, you shouldn't notice any slowing. And you're correct, it won't dry up.

Super lube will work fine too, though it isn't as viscous.

What's the difference between mechlube 1 and 2? I know its 3ml more compared to the mechlube 1 and low viscosity. Any other effects in the keys and costar stabilizer for mechlube 2 compared to mechlube 1?

Offline Hyde

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 2643
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
  • White Tofu Extraordinaire
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 08:41:04 »
Thanks for the replies guys !!!  Some parts are a little confusing (too much science lol) but I understand how it works now for the most part.

I think I'll just leave my white lithium grease on my Filco for now since it sounds like it's not better/worse to use either it's just different.  I've also checked the label to make sure it's plastic safe so it should be ok.

Though next time I purchase something from EK I'll definitely pick up some mechlube to test it out.  :P

What's the difference between mechlube 1 and 2? I know its 3ml more compared to the mechlube 1 and low viscosity. Any other effects in the keys and costar stabilizer for mechlube 2 compared to mechlube 1?

From my understanding I think Mechlube 1 is meant for stabilizers to prevent rattle.  Mechlube 2 is meant to be used inside the Cherry MX switches for smoother key presses (i.e. when people mentioned lubed switches they mean this).

Cheers !

Archiss ProgresTouch Retro - Gateron Yellow  |  Topre Realforce 104UW - 45g Silent  |  Topre Type Heaven  |  Beige Filco Ninja 104 - MX Red  |  Das Keyboard - MX Brown  |  Poker II - MX Red  |  Race II - MX Brown  |  Matias Quiet Pro - Matias Dampened ALPS  |  Logitech K840 - Romer G  |  Cherry MX Board 2.0 - MX Red  |  Cherry G84-4100 - ML  |  IBM Model M
Roccat Kone Pure  |  Logitech G203  |  Logitech G303  |  Logitech G302  |  Razer Naga  |  CM Storm Xornet  |  Razer Goliathus Mobile Stealth  |  Razer Goliathus Control  |  Artisan Hien  |  Artisan Hayate  |  Artisan Shiden

Offline Austin Powers

  • Posts: 40
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 09:31:19 »
Well, I just leave it here

Offline rootwyrm

  • Posts: 829
  • The Hands of Steel
    • My Website!
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 13:33:06 »
the hydrocarbon portion is highly volatile, especially in really cheap lithium spray grease (the very low viscosity stuff), so it can actually dry up completely into just white lithium soap. because of this, the white lithium that eg honda vends for greasing joints in their cars and as a dieletric uses a thick silicone base iirc and is really viscous. for anything that actually needs to be lubricated, they point you towards their high temperature urea grease, which is also highly viscous, but doesn't degrade and is cheap enough to fill rubber boots with.

Well that's because Honda ships garbage, plain and simple. There's a reason I only use a few of the spray greases and tend toward GM / Mopar. (They both source same manufacturer, or used to at least.) The good stuff has a much higher initial viscosity and is much more resistant to chemical separation / migration. The good stuff is the stuff that turns the hideous shade of yellow. Honda just sells cheap crap and charges you for the name.

Quote
now that i've had enough experience with the various non-exotic krytox formulations, my feeling is that polymer oils in a ptfe matrix are the only way to go for small parts and in particular for linear motion. and i mean for everything except for ultra high temperature applications that will degrade the polymers or for situations like ball joints where you the joint is jacketed, needs to be packed, and needs to be refilled fairly often.

They aren't. If stuff that was cheaper worked just as well or better, every car manufacturer on earth would be dogpiling on to use it for all the small part lubrication they could. And there are a LOT of parts that would use it - turn signal stalks, HVAC controls, buttons, glovebox doors, window switches, you get the idea. It isn't - Krytox(PFPE) is only being used as a limited silicone replacement, specifically 105 in convertible top seals. (So it compares to spray-on silicone greases.)

Look. PTFE == Teflon. That's what it is. PFPE (Krytox) is a Teflon relative. DuPont also makes a PTFE-base lithium grease. And if that's what you prefer, well hey, that's your preference. But Dow Corning silicone grease is every bit as effective, as is quality lithium grease. Period. They all have various levels of corrosion prevention, none of them are going to melt plastic, and unless your keyboard operates at a few hundred volts they have more than sufficient dielectric resistance.

Some of my favorite greases for various applications are Dow Corning 33 Molykote silicone grease, Permatex 81981 mid-viscosity white lithium grease (specifically indicated for metal-plastic interaction,) and Genuine DuPont 205 which is the thicker Krytox formulation. You might take note of the price - PFPE ain't cheap. Any one of these is fine for use in stabilizers.
And you should never use Krytox 105 in a keyboard. That's just an application fact. The difference between 105 and 205 is that 105 is specifically designed to soak into synthetic rubber, whereas 205 is intended for use in hinges and such. They're both Krytox, and the specs are about the same. Not a chemist, so you'd have to ask one to elaborate on why that is. All I know is that DuPont says 105 for seal lubrication and 205 for hinge.

As with most things keyboard, there is no 'correct' answer or objectively superior lubricant, period. It's all personal preference.
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 September 2013, 13:38:57 by rootwyrm »
"I remain convinced I am the only person alive who has successfully worn out an IBM Model M mechanically."
Daily Drivers: Adesso 625 (NPKC PBT / Kailh Blue), Rosewill RK9000V2 (KC PBT / MX Brown), 1994 Model M13, Sun Type4, and the rare IBM 1394540.

Offline Lu_e

  • Posts: 643
  • Location: NWUSA
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 16:51:08 »
Well, I just leave it here

You do see 'stabilizers' in the mechlube 1 description right?

mechlube 1 is highly viscous... its what you want for costar stabilizers. Opposed to the lower viscosity of mechlube 2
MX

Offline elitekeyboards

  • * Commercial Vendor
  • Posts: 99
    • http://elitekeyboards.com
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:24:26 »
Hi Hyde,

Many formulations of Lithium grease use carrier oils that will evaporate over time, leaving a dry chunky paste, which is intended for tight fitting parts, but not great for stabilizers. Also, some of the oil carriers used for off the shelf lithium grease can be harmful to some plastics and surfaces.

The original Mechlube you've linked is a high-viscosity grease that we recommend for Costar stabilizers primarily for their tendency to rattle, but it takes care of squeaks too. As long as you're only applying it to the white mounting clips on the underside of the keycap, you shouldn't notice any slowing. And you're correct, it won't dry up.

Super lube will work fine too, though it isn't as viscous.

What's the difference between mechlube 1 and 2? I know its 3ml more compared to the mechlube 1 and low viscosity. Any other effects in the keys and costar stabilizer for mechlube 2 compared to mechlube 1?

Mechlube 1 AKA "Mechlube" is high-viscosity grease and was initially offered for squeaking or rattling Costar stabilizers, but it can help with rattle on other stabilizer types too. However, it is so viscous (like peanut butter), that too much can get you into trouble with Cherry stabilizers. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way in terms of functionality and longetivity.

Mechlube 2 is low-viscosity grease and was made for tight fitting plastic parts and hinges, such as Cherry and Topre stabilizers, Topre Plungers, Cherry keystems, and other plastic on plastic switch guides. We offer it in a higher volume than the original Mechlube, because if you were going to lubricate a whole board of Topre plungers, or Cherry keystems, then you'll need quite a bit.

You then might ask: Will Mechlube 2 work on Costar stabilizers?
Yes, ML2 will eliminate squeak on pretty much any stabilizer, but it doesn't have enough viscosity to help much with rattle.

Offline mkawa

  •  No Marketplace Access
  • Posts: 6562
  • (ツ)@@@. crankypants
Re: Does White Lithium Grease Dry Up?
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:53:02 »
Quote from: me
now that i've had enough experience with the various non-exotic krytox formulations, my feeling is that polymer oils in a ptfe matrix are the only way to go for small parts and in particular for linear motion. and i mean for everything except for ultra high temperature applications that will degrade the polymers or for situations like ball joints where you the joint is jacketed, needs to be packed, and needs to be refilled fairly often.
They aren't. If stuff that was cheaper worked just as well or better, every car manufacturer on earth would be dogpiling on to use it for all the small part lubrication they could. And there are a LOT of parts that would use it - turn signal stalks, HVAC controls, buttons, glovebox doors, window switches, you get the idea. It isn't - Krytox(PFPE) is only being used as a limited silicone replacement, specifically 105 in convertible top seals. (So it compares to spray-on silicone greases.)
[/quote]no, this is because of cost. you can't use a 400$/kg grease to lube gloveboxes. you don't even lube gloveboxes these days. you you use a pp hinge and be done with it. notice also that i said LINEAR MOTION. the other application is high temperature (and generally high temperature is the major applcation) rotary motion. its most used application is as a bearing grease. LINEAR AND ROTARY MOTION AT HIGH TEMPERATURES IN SMALL PARTS IS WHAT IT EXCELS AT PLEASE READ THIS AND IF YOU DON'T, DON'T RESPOND.

Quote
Look. PTFE == Teflon.
are you trying to A = A me? teflon is dupont's trade name for ptfe.

Quote
That's what it is. PFPE (Krytox) is a Teflon relative.
only in that they're both polymers. ptfe is a homopolymer, pfpe is a flourine endcapped copolymer. sure they're both flourinated polymers, but they're really really different in like every other way. in fact, they aren't chemically compatible at all, and the unique thing about PFPE (which is NOT krytox, by the way, again a trade name for a family of lubricants which involve not only PTFE, PFPE oil but many other polymers and polymer additives and distillations of.)

and no, PFPE does not "soak into rubber". again, DEFINITIONS. what do you mean by rubber, and what do you mean by soak in? if you're talking about some kind of porous material and an oil whose components are smaller than the pores YES THAT COMPOUND WILL PENETRATE THE POROUS MATERIAL. and yes you could use PFPE oil alone in keyboards alone if you wanted to. i have covered in other posts why i chose the combination of 206 and 1506 VPF for keyboards, but frankly there isn't a huge amount of performance difference between them for keyboard use. the major issue with the oils alone is their viscosity at room temperature and volatility (the lower model numbered pfpe greases are still somewhat volatile, whereas the higher numbers are increasingly non-volatile and the VPF is so wildly inert it somewhat boggles the mind.

as for "silicone plus ptfe" or "lithium plus ptfe" there are so many different "silicone" formulations and so many different lithium plus X formulations that unless you have some specific knowledge of the chemistry involved in an application and the compound itself you're best just leaving things alone. anyway, no one asked about GM molykote so please stop it with this. you do this all the time, and it's a huge disservice to other posters when you don't read what they write and then write back novels of dubiously sourced information along with humble bragging, outright bragging and barrages of things you claim are facts but may or may not be true in any way at all.
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 September 2013, 18:57:24 by mkawa »

to all the brilliant friends who have left us, and all the students who climb on their shoulders.