[Beowulf] Re: What is the right lubricant for computer rack sliding rails?

Bob Drzyzgula bob at drzyzgula.org
Fri Feb 6 10:12:38 EST 2009


One thing that Gus didn't explain to us was what sort of
rails he's talking about. If they are ball-bearing slides,
or even the kind with small wheels, it is actually kind of
surprising that they would need any lubrication at all. Is
it possible that these are just metal-on-metal telescoping
slides without any sort of sophisticated bearing system? I
know those can get pretty sticky. In any event I'll
join those who say a light application of some sort of
non-volatile grease would be best. Among other issues,
any oil or aerosol is too likely to get into the general
environment and on other surfaces in the vicinity of the
rack, and will likely will not do well after long periods
of disuse at the modertately warm temperatures and high
airflow of a machine rack.

I will also especially join those who argue against
WD-40. To the extent that it acts as a lubricant, this is
almost a side effect. I think that it used to be that they
wouldn't even call it a lubricant -- the word certainly
didn't used to be listed on the can -- but I see from
their website that they do now use the word "lubricates",
in number 4 (out of 5) on the list of things that it can
be used for.  The downsides -- especially its volatility
-- pretty well outweigh its advantages for something
like this.

--Bob

On 05/02/09 11:49 -0500, Gus Correa wrote:
> Dear Beowulfers
>
> A mundane question:
>
> What is the right lubricant for computer rack sliding rails?
> Silicone, paraffin, graphite, WD-40, machine oil, grease, other?
>
> Thank you,
> Gus Correa
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Gustavo Correa
> Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University
> Palisades, NY, 10964-8000 - USA
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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