Choosing CNC Lubricant and Maintaining Oiling Systems

Here's advice on choosing the proper lubricant so your oiling lines won't clog, and on unclogging the lines if need be. September 8, 2014

Is the type of oil dictated by the oil delivery systems or the type of rack/rail used? Are there any specific lubricants to CNC machines that are better than what you find from an auto parts store?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor C:
Yes there are. We use a Mobil EPO on our auto systems for the Rovers.

From contributor D:
Huge difference. I don't know specifically what automotive lubricant that you are referring to, but general purpose auto grease has solids in it. This grease will harden and clog the small grease delivery lines on a CNC and it is a huge pain to get them clear. I know, I learned the hard way by allowing a production manager to talk me into saving a few bucks. The Mobil Lux epo that BVC sells is a zero weight grease with no solids and will not harden over time. Mobil doesn't sell it in a grease gun insert because it will run out.

From Contributor B:
Iím interested to know how to go about unclogging the oil tubes, I have some blockages.

From contributor D:
Unplugging is tuff. The lines are too long to push out old grease in one piece. I got connectors for the grease lines and cut them at in the middle. I then set up the grease gun so I could connect it directly to the line with a push connection. You canít get a seal using just the zirc fittings. This connection gives you a sealed connection and you can slowly push the old grease out. Go very slow or the line will burst (wisdom learned). To help expedite the process I hit bearing blocks and other spots of known blockage with a heat gun to soften grease. Be patient as it takes a while. When done we reconnected the lines we cut with inline push connectors.

From Contributor B:
Your response came just in time as I have the tech from SCM coming tomorrow! While we are on the subject, I have a manual central lubrication system that works with a pump lever. Before I bought the machine (NBM from SCM) I was told the only difference between automatic and manual lubrication is the pump lever. I had no idea that I would have to guess/estimate the 8 hours of running time between lubrications. 50 for the main spindle, 20 hours for the tool holders, 6 months for the drill bank, and so on. To my disbelief and disappointment, the guys from SCM say there is no internal timer on this wonderful computerized machine that counts running time! If there's anyone reading this and looking to buy a new machine, this piece of information is valuable! Either get auto lube, or at least there should be a built in callout for lubrication, for every item that requires it. I am going to find out if it is possible to switch the system to auto.