WD-40 and Graphotype Machines – NO, NO, NO, well maybe?

WD-40® is a great product and does have it’s place in every Graphotypist’s tool box but WD-40® is NOT to be used as a lubricant for Graphotype machines.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people tell me  . . .

I lubricated the whole machine . . .
I used a whole can of WD-40®

Folks – I cannot stress enough WD-40® is NOT a LUBRICANT!

Let me say this again – WD-40® is NOT a lubricant! WD-40® is not a lubricant by any stretch of the imagination and definitely not by the definition of a lubricant as used with Graphotype machines.  So if WD-40® is not a true lubricant, what is it?  It is a great product manufactured by the WD-40® Company that does great things such as clean, preserve and penetrate it also has many wonderful properties that make it an essential in almost any well rounded tool box, but a true lubricant WD-40® is NOT!

Clearly stated on WD-40®’s own web site is these words:

Did you know . . .

  • WD-40® can clean your bike & tools, remove grease, and lubricate locks, hinges & all moving parts
  • WD-40® removes paint, gum, rubber cement, stickers and other adhesives
  • WD-40® loosens and penetrates rusted or stuck bolts and plumbing joints

A great CLEANER, penetrating oil and light preservative: This is what WD-40® is; but a true lubricant it is not.  In the world of “Graphotype Machines,” WD-40® has its place in every Graphotypist’s tool box but NOT as the primary source of lubricant for these machines.

On the WD-40 web site they state: “WD-40® is the ultimate multi-purpose problem solver. WD-40® cleans/degreases, penetrates to loosen up stuck parts, prevents corrosion and is a light lubricant.”

The WD-40® Company does make two different products that we as Graphotypist’s indeed consider to be true lubricants.  These true lubricants that will interest Graphotypist’s are:

  • 3-IN-ONE® Multi-Purpose Oil
  • 3-IN-ONE® Motor Oil

On the WD-40® web site they define 3-in-one oil® as: “3-IN-ONE®, with it’s special drip spout, enables you to lubricate without any overspray or splatter. 3-IN-ONE® is ideal to use on tools, rollers, hinges, in-line skates, wheels…nearly everything that moves.”

If WD-40® is not a lubricant what purpose does it have being in my tool box if I am working on or maintaining Graphotype machines?

When you come to possess a new machine with an unknown maintenance history, are restoring a machine or just need to clean an existing machine in your inventory, WD-40® can be an essential tool to help you clean and properly maintain a Graphotype machine.  Improperly applied or over applied lubricants over time collect dust, dirt and grime as well as become thick and sluggish gumming up the workings of a Graphotype machine.  To clean gummy and thickened lubricants, rust, dirt and grime from your Graphotype WD-40® is great and GRAPHOTYPE.net recommends this product for cleaning.

Graphotype machines that sit idle will corrode, rust and gum up.  The keyboard gates and the gate ring on the Class 6300 Graphotypes seems to be particularly susceptible to sticking and corrosion.  The keyboard what and what kind of ring – I don’t know what you are talking about?  If you remove the cast iron cover just above the keyboard on a Class 6300 machine you will see a horizontal platen that has a round ring with cut outs around the circumference of the ring.  The cut outs are slots for gates that slide up and down transferring the keyboard selection to the die carousel so the desired character is imprinted.

We will be blogging about this ring at a later date and how to care for and maintain this ring at that time but for the purpose of this post we will use this ring as an example.  If your keyboard is stuck, or difficult to operate you might take a look at the gate ring as a starting place.

If the gate ring has visible corrosion, dirt or grime then it is time to clean the gate ring.  We would recommend using WD-40® on the gate ring allowing it to soak into the gates and saturate the metal.  After a good soaking and the proper manipulation of the keyboard to ensure that everything is working correctly, it is time to clean the WD-40® off the machine.

We recommend cleaning the WD-40® from the machine with rags and paper towels. Once the WD-40® has been removed as much as possible it is time to actually lubricate the gates and gate ring.  We recommend that you actually take a true lubricant such as the 3-in-one® oil and lubricate each gate with ½ a drop of oil per side of gate.  The gates only need the slightest layer of lubricant on them to function properly.  Over lubricating the gates can cause problems just as much as not lubricating the gates.

3-IN-ONE® Multi-Purpose Oil

This oil is fine but it is not recommended by GRAPHOTYPE.net as your primary lubricant.  Being a Multi-Purpose oil this formulation has some addatives that are not needed for Graphotype machines.  If no other oil is avaliable then use this oil as an emergency alternative until you can locate some proper lubricant.

See our BLOG about DURO-VIS for the correct lubricant for Graphotype machines.  If you cannot find DURO-VIS then use 3-in-one® Motor Oil (for electric motors – in the blue and white can) as an alternative until you can find DURO-VIS.

Legal: 3-in-one® and WD-40® are registered trade marks of the WD-40 Company.  More information may be obtained directly from their web sites www.3inone.com and www.wd40.com.

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