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Helicoid lube question
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:
Lloydy wrote:
It's probably perfectly good, but it's expensive and there's no tech' spec' on it at all.. I suspect some sellers have a huge drum of general purpose grease and just spoons it into small pots and sells it as helicoid grease for a huge profit, but I'm a well know cynic.... Rolling Eyes


I have a friend who started doing this (not with grease lube) and made an absolute killing. I mean you would not believe how successful he is.


Oh I believe... Rolling Eyes I've seen it done on a grand scale. I was a maintenance engineer working on pumps and machinery in the sewage treatment industry for most of my working life, and we had 4 drums of MOBIL grease in the workshop that covered everything we did, and the machinery was working in horrible conditions.
Along came a Technical Representative from a new lube company and sold our manager, not an engineer, 9 new drums of various greases at a cost of nearly 2000 a drum! Each of the grease was a slightly different shade of blue, instead of the usual brown colour grease usually is.
A short time later the Rep from MOBIL came around on his regular visit to see if we were running low on anything and told us that MOBIL was selling grease to this new company and all they did was add food dye and a 90% markup. Rolling Eyes


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What i would say was that i have ordered a set of these lubricants, (In #10 and #30, see http://www.ebay.de/itm/252257484726), as I supposed that they were OK. To me it seems that they ar similar to those sold by German seller Micro Tools, about who I have never heard anything bad.
When I recieved it # 10 had seperated, the plastic bag was oily all over at the inside.
I wrote a complaint as follows:

"Denmark calling.

I received this set of greases today, but was very disappointed, as the inside of the bag and the outside of bucket of the S-10 was totally oiled all over, the glue on the tape was almost dissolved and the S-10 label had loosened.
This should not be possible for grease meant to be used inside a photographic lens!
These lubricants must not separate nor evaporate.
Unfortunately I had to wipe it off so that I could open it to be able to feel the viscosity, and only the tape is greasy for now, and is the most greasy thing that could be returned.
But, the shipping time will exceed the 14 day's rule, and the shipping cost will exceed the value of the item, so I won't return it.
In short: I will keep it, but not recomend other to buy this stuff."

Later I got this reply:

Thank you for your inquiry.
We are very sorry to hear that.
We have sold so many #10 and no problem but It rely on air pressure in air craft.
Please understand that situation.
We will ship # 10 again with other package.
Please wait a little more.

Later I recieved # 10, (But double amount in a packing like the one from Micro Tools):

http://www.micro-tools.de/OEle-Fette/Grease-Helical-10-Light-8ml.html

I opened it last week, and guess what? SEPERATED !! Clear oil on the top of the lovely white grease, so avoid this stuff !!!


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the 'helicoid grease', with no technical specification given, on ebay is $48 or 38 for a 8ml tub shipped to Europe. Or, you could buy a 5Kg bucket of branded, with tech' spec', multipurpose grease from Amazon for 36 - 92, with free UK delivery. That's 5000 small tubs Rolling Eyes

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Genuine-Fuchs-Renolit-Workshop-Accessories/dp/B00KQ2SWJS/ref=sr_1_70?ie=UTF8&qid=1469202133&sr=8-70&keywords=general+purpose+grease


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My friend actually provides a valuable service - he buys stuff that can only be obtained in 200 L barrels and repacks it for regular consumers. But yes, he is mindful of who his customers are, so he goes an extra mile to get nice bottles, prints colorful labels and his markups are huge.


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well.. so let's just stick to the cheap general ones, which are probably the same as though super expensive ones. Or wait, did we just find a way to get rich? Wink


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wikipedia page on 'Grease (Lubricant) is interesting, and not over technical.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grease_(lubricant)

There are different types, with various additives, and they have been developed for different applications - usually extreme applications.
The high pressure greases keep the moving metal components apart under mechanical pressure. And then of course there is operating temperature, a high melting point grease degrades at 190 to 220 C (350 to 400 F) By that point a lens has melted, and the pressures on a helicoid are never going to force the grease completely out of the friction points. So you have to ask, do we need high spec' lubrication, or are we actually better off with a general purpose lube?

I'm not an expert or even a highly academic engineer, I'm a practical hands on engineer who has worked with a huge variety of moving machinery in very challenging applications, and my experience is that there is no benefit from using a lubricant that is over specified for the job. Conversely it rarely does any harm, although in my experience the extreme pressure and high temperature greases, such as the molybdenum disulphide greases, do have a greater tendency to separate ( oil from the soap base ) than 'general purpose' greases. If they are being used in the environment they were designed for they work exactly as they should, which is also what a general purpose grease does. If it's good enough for your car wheel bearings and your bicycle pedal crank, I really can't imagine greater stresses, loads and temperatures being exerted on a lens helicoid.

But, as ever, this is just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. Wink


PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another interesting thing, someone has pointed out that many old lenses, when taken apart, have grease that is obviously laden with aluminium that has worn off the two parts of the helicoid. This is something that I have seen many times

A few weeks ago I was talking to a very highly educated and experienced engineer who's company make components for medical spectrometers , scientific instruments and even the CERN Large Hadron Collider.
The company obviously work to the highest standards imaginable, and have to use materials of the same standard. The aluminium they use is all date stamped and certificated, and has to be machined and then sealed, within that date. It's a matter of weeks. Apparently the problem is that aluminium degrades in the atmosphere, it's incredibly slow but it happens. I wonder if this is as much a cause of the trace of aluminium we see in old helicoid lube as wear from metal to metal contact?


PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About aluminium Cool , years ago I took a corrosion course and one of the things I recall from it was that aluminum oxidizes extremely rapidly -- I mean, practially as soon as it's exposed to the atmosphere, it oxidizes. BUT! This oxidation actually forms a very thin layer that becomes very durable, in effect, preventing any further significant oxidation from occurring.

Now, Lloydy, I'm sure this company you mention has to work to incredibly high standards and one of these standards is likely an attempt to avoid any corrosion from occurring at all -- which must be a real challenge all by itself. This incredibly slow degradation of aluminum in the atmosphere you mention is probably in agreement with what I was taught -- namely the "rind" if you will, acting as a barrier against further corrosion. So I would agree -- it seems to me that this outer layer of oxidation will contact any surface first, so if there is wear, it will be against this outer "protective" layer of oxidized aluminum.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The oxides on the surface are very abrasive, and easily flake off the aluminium. Use a hand file on some old aluminium and the first few strokes will skate across the surface, it only cuts once the scale is penetrated. Ideally the lube on a helicoid will keep air away from the bare metal surface of the thread, maybe lack of use over a long period of time and crappy grease allows air to get through?


PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, grease and oil are very slippery subjects (sorry for the pun Embarassed).
The lubricant manufacturers like to claim wonders of their products, but I am convinced one third of what they say is true; the other two thirds are pure marketing. Unfortunately it is not easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The recent D600 fiasco shows that even manufacturers with great technological expertise don't know very well how lubricants work. The lubricants technology is relatively recent and everyone seems to still be learning its secrets. Even great companies have committed big mistakes in the use of lubricants. See, for example, the case of Zeiss that used whale oil in the shutter of cameras Zeiss Contax:

Zeiss used marine (whale) based lubricants when the shutters were manufactured. These lubricants, with the exception of antique clock and watch lubricants, are not available today. It is important to understand two things. Firstly, all liquid lubricants have the property of covering all surfaces over time.
This means that over time, the oil in the shutter will migrate over all of its surfaces, and then it will migrate out to cover all of the camera internal and external surfaces. All old Contax cameras are uniformly coated with a layer of oxidized oil. This film is very thin, and almost transparent. This is why the range finder lenses and windows are clouded and the chrome is dull.
….
The inner and outer surfaces of all the lens component lenses get coated with the same layer of oxidized oil that coats the camera. Contrary to popular belief, the lens is full of grease. It was put in when the lens was manufactured to damp the operation of the aperture ring. This damping grease is more prone to deterioration and separation than is the lubrication grease used in the camera body.

(from: http://zeisscamera.com/articles_explain.shtml)

A point that draws the attention of many people is that lubricants can be very cheap or extremely expensive. You can buy, for example, a liter of basic automotive grease for a few dollars, but will need to spend $272 for only 10ml Moebius Synthetic Grease 9500, i.e., the cost of 1 liter of Moebius Synthetic Grease 9500 would be $27,200!

http://www.ofrei.com/page246.html#3437

I will comment later about the grease sold by micro-tools.com.


PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me now talk about the Helical #10 grease mentioned above by dutch_dk:

dutch_dk wrote:
What i would say was que i have ordered a set of These lubricants, (In # 10 and # 30, see http://www.ebay.de/itm/252257484726), the I supposed que They Were OK. To me it seems que They air similar to Those sold by German seller Micro Tools, about who I have never heard anything bad.
When I recieved it # 10 had seperated, the plastic bag was oily at all over the inside.
I wrote a complaint as follows:

"Denmark calling.

I received this set of greases today, but was very disappointed, the the inside of the bag and the outside of bucket of the S-10 was totally oiled all over, the glue on the tape was almost dissolved and the S-10 label had loosened.
This should not be possible for grease meant to be used inside the lens photographic!
These lubricants must not separate nor evaporate.


Before commenting on the Helical #10, I must say that I have used the Lubimax-XP grease to re-lubricate most of my lenses:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HELIMAX-XP-Camera-Telescope-Optical-Instrument-Focusing-Helicoid-Grease-w-PTFE-/271211561097?hash=item3f25780089:g:A-4AAMXQCgpRnsCG

In my opinion, the quality of the Lubimax-XP is excellent, the price is right, but for some lenses with tight helicoids I felt that a softer grease would be better. For those cases I ordered the Helical #10 grease from Micro-Tools. My experience was similar to the dutch_dk: I also noticed some oil separation in Helical #10! Sad

Oil separation:


dutch_dk wrote:
Clear oil on the top of the lovely white grease, so avoid this stuff !!!

I perfectly understand dutch_dk's frustration. How is possible that an expensive grease like the Helical #10 suffers from oil separation? Wouldn't it be a rip-off?

To be honest, I must say I don't have a conclusive position about that grease, but I would hesitate to reject so strongly the Helical #10, as dutch_dk did. On the other hand I don't intend to defend the Helical greases because I am not an expert in grease. My interest here is only trying to better understand what is a realistic expectation of greases when used in lens helicoids.

Some facts:
1) The helical greases are manufactured in Japan and sold by Japan Hobby Tool, which I want to think is a serious company:
https://translate.google.com.br/translate?hl=pt-BR&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fjapanhobbytool.co.jp%2F


2) The various Helical greases are fully specified, as shown in the table printed on the package.
Helical greases specifications:


3) Unfortunately I cannot read Japanese, but it is possible to infer the meaning of the values in the table.

The first column shows the values of Worked Penetration at 25 ºC. Work Penetration is basically a measurement of the consistency of the grease, as explained here:
https://www.kyodoyushi.co.jp/english/knowledge/grease/penetration/

I'm not sure, but I think the second column presents the Work Penetration (consistency) values for some low temperature. The third column gives the torques to turn a standard ball bearing lubricated with the grease. You can see that the Helical #10 produces a drag approximately half the drag of the Helimax-XP.

The figure below shows the classification of the Helical #10 and Helimax-XP greases. Note that the Helical # 10 has grade 00 (very soft) and Helimax-XP has grade 1 in both the JIS (Japan) as in NLGI (USA) standard.

JIS vs NLGI standards:


4) To be fair, Japan Hobby Tool never claimed that the Helical greases do not suffer absolutely from oil separation (oil bleed). What Japan Hobby Tool claims is only "less bleeding":

"Optical helicoid grease (helical grease) lubricating resistance, cold and heat resistance, less bleeding, it is a special grease to clear the stringent demands of such, harmless to resins"
https://translate.google.com.br/translate?hl=pt-BR&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fjapanhobbytool.co.jp%2F


About grease oil bleed:
This Mobil's article "Grease Oil Bleed - An Essential Characteristic" is very enlightening:
http://www.pmarkevicius.lt/uploads/images/Turinys/PDF/RU-plastiniai/05-alyvos_istekejimas_is_tepalo_angl.pdf

This passage is particularly interesting:

"Can grease be formulated to prevent oil separation during storage?

Few types of grease are designed not to release oil except under very high stress, such as Mobil grease XTC used in ultra high speed couplings. For most other applications, greases are developed to readily release oil at expected operating stresses to provide proper lubrication. Unavoidably this also leads to static oil bleed during storage although at a reduced rate."


My understanding is that some grease oil bleed is virtually unavoidable in certain situations. Perhaps this is especially true for very soft greases which use very thin oils, like the Helical #10. As they say, "the proof of the pudding is the eating", I have not had problems of oil migration with Helical #10, but I must confess that I have used this grease in a few cases to lubricate the lens helicoid with the tiniest amount of grease.

Finally, I would like to say that I didn't notice any visible oil bleed for the Helimax-XP, but I feel some very, very subtle odor from the Helimax-XP, what indicates some evaporation. On the other hand, I couldn't feel any odor from the Helical #10.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Embarassed


PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again.

Reading the repair manual for Vivitar Series 1 28-90 2.8-3.5 zoom (Thank you Boggy!). On page 10 I see they recomend "Lubricant A (Losoid 33DK)".

Asking Google to find information about this stuff, they returns at least these two interesting links:

#1 http://www.losimol.de/index.php/de/produkte
Apparently sold by:
#2 http://casamodularsystems.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=299_366

Lubricants for every taste!!


PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting........the barrels of general purpose grease ( 4 different grades I think ) we had in out workshop were regularly used, we filled grease guns just about daily, so separation of the oils would be less apparent. I do however have smaller containers of these greases in my workshop at home that I rarely have the need to use and there's no separation on them, other than the moly grease

Quote:
This passage is particularly interesting:

"Can grease be formulated to prevent oil separation during storage?

Few types of grease are designed not to release oil except under very high stress, such as Mobil grease XTC used in ultra high speed couplings. For most other applications, greases are developed to readily release oil at expected operating stresses to provide proper lubrication. Unavoidably this also leads to static oil bleed during storage although at a reduced rate."


Yes it is interesting - "For most other applications, greases are developed to readily release oil at expected operating stresses" - so what stresses are we dealing with? nothing extreme for sure. And there has been a trend, more apparent on other forums, for people to believe that the most expensive and highest specification grease must be the best. But a grease made to withstand the stresses of a shaft running at 10,000 rpm at 80 degrees is overkill, and probably unsuitable. All we want is something slippery at low stresses, that doesn't separate!

I like the look of the LOSIMOL products though, it's hard to argue with testimonials such as theirs.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, once again.

Thoughts about the Losoid 33DK.

Woke up this morning, and "Bling" it said in my head: "Why do I have to degrease these, very greasy, aperture blades in this zoom?"
Answer: "The Losoid 33DK must have found its way to the aperture"
Question: Was Losoid 33DK an excelent grease back in the eighties? (Serialnr.: 2820****)
At the end of the day, is the "Japan Hobby Tool nr. 10" a better choise today??

After I calmed down, I ended up using my #10 for another lens, using grease from the lid, as I presumed that the already separated oil has dripped off, so chances for harming the lens was minimized a bit.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good findings, dutch_dk! Like 1 small

I don't know which grease is better, but certainly the Losoid is cheaper than the Japan Hobby Tool. To be honest, I found the Losimol site a bit confusing, especially the Technical Data section. For example, they provide the specifications for the Losoid 33 B, but not for the Losoid 33 and 33 D/K.

That said, I found the data for Spreading Behavior to be very interesting. If I understand correctly, Spreading Behavior is a measure of grease oil separation. In fact, DIN 58397-2 standard says the following:

"The method according to this standard is intended for assessing the oil retention of lubricating grease during applications for which it can be expected that the discharge of oil, under the influence of temperature, time, gravity, viscosity, capillary and/or interfacial forces can spread over such locations where they cause functional disturbances, for example, on optically or electrically effective components."
http://www.din.de/en/getting-involved/standards-committees/nafuo/standards/wdc-beuth:din21:1485667

Now, take a look at the table below that contains the data for the grease 33 B and other "Special Lubricants". Note that the higher the Penetration index, the softer the grease; and the higher the Spreading index, the greater the separation of oil.

http://www.losimol.de/index.php/en/special-lubricants1

Note that only the 460 A/E grease has "not detectable" Spreading Behavior. It is a relatively hard grease. All the other greases suffer from "oil separation" to a greater or lesser extent, confirming that oil separation is almost inevitable, especially in soft greases. In practice, to prevent that oil separation and subsequent oil migration becomes a serious problem, we must use the least amount of grease enough to lubricate the helicoids of a lens.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in the exact same situation like Gerald. Im using Helimax-XP but it seems that its too thick for some lenses. For example Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8 now needs a lot more torque to focus. Also, im not sure if its bad but the Helimax grease becomes grey almost immediately after 2-3 tests on the helicoid.
Then i bought the S10 from the link above which arrived yesterday. Its still not opened because i planed to repair a 135mm pentacon tonight. Well, now i know what to expect Smile


PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost always use light grease for Nikkors, and for that small helicoid in the front portion of 55/2.8 - the lightest.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, my S10 is separated too Smile i hope it wont spill on the blades..


PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used S-10 for maybe 10 years, the same small tub. I guess it separates since the ziploc bag is always "oily". I haven't had any oil on aperture blades yet. I opened two of my lenses which I greased 10 years ago (one got sand inside, other I thought I could do a better job this time since it had some play when switching focusing direction) and they were both fine.

I used S-10 in Ai 35/1.4, K 50/1.4, 5cm S f/2, Ai 50/1.2, Ai-s 85/1.4, K 135/2, Ai-S 135/2.

The 50/1.2 has still some tiny play when switching direction between infinity and 2m. Luckily that is the only problem left now.The helicoid stop "pieces" are hard to get just right. If they are tilted even slightly or there is too much gap or wrong grease the small 1x1mm contact areas have poor contact and the lens feels like crap. I perhaps made a mistake by opening both of them.

K 135/2 is not as nice as Ai-S 135/2. Maybe the issue is also with the helicoid stop. Or maybe the sand did its job... It is good enough though.

5cm f/2 felt fine before inserting the lens package. Then it felt like crap and I could not figure out yet how to make it feel better. I need to take the helicoid stop out and try it again.

S-30 doesn't work in any nikon helicoids I have. Too thick. It works in some helicoid stops like with 35/1.4 it seems.

I use FC-4 auto focus grease in CRC element threads and other threads which dont need dampening. Seems to work fine with them.

I'd like to try the japan hobby tool greases too, but are they better or worse than the S-10 or S-30? Any idea what JHT grade # the S-10 and S-30 correspond?

The greases are expensive but even the tiny S-10 grease is enough for 10-30 lenses I guess depending on how big the helicoids are. So it's 1-3€/lens for materials.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use S10 and S30 from Microtools. Never had a problem with either. I just checked my S10 and no separation. I don't store mine in ziplock bags, just in a drawer. Would that make a difference?


PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.ebay.es/itm/Helicoid-Grease-Telescope-Camera-Optical-Instrument-w-PTFE-NEW/184108250538

Anybody used this grease before? It seems this s a litium grease , isn't it?


PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kiddo wrote:
https://www.ebay.es/itm/Helicoid-Grease-Telescope-Camera-Optical-Instrument-w-PTFE-NEW/184108250538

Anybody used this grease before? It seems this s a litium grease , isn't it?


This is the one I use recommended by I don't know who on this forum:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HELIMAX-XP-Camera-Telescope-Optical-Instrument-Focusing-Helicoid-Grease-w-PTFE/271194713421?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649


PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently the 8ml S10 and S30 greases from micro-tools I bought ages ago are a "duo kit" of Japan Hobby Tool #10 and #30 greases. I found the old packaging and it had the same japanese text and image as Japan Hobby Tool helical greases.

You can see the "S-10 and S-30" duo kit from Japan Hobby tools in here: https://japanhobbytool.co.jp/shopdetail/000000000117/
https://japanhobbytool.co.jp/shopdetail/000000000116/

Anyways you can get the nearly 2x larger 15ml tubs for the same price as micro-tools from other shops. Maybe some other grease is better for Nikkor lenses than the JHT #10. I have no idea what that grease would be, and since the results with JHT #10 have been so nice, I don't have need to try other greases. I can't imagine any other grease would give a noticeably better result.