Good lubricant for a squeaky printer?
September 27, 2007 6:29 PM   Subscribe

I have a really squeaky printer. I tried WD-40, but the squeakiness comes back. One of my engineering friends suggested that I needed something similar to sewing machine oil, but perhaps a little thicker, since the gears are plastic. Any ideas on what kind of lubricant I should get? And where I could get it? Aside from the squeakiness, this REALLY is a good printer (Canon MP130), and I really don't want to get another one.
posted by ssnickerer to Technology (14 answers total)
WDC40 evaporates, so maybe that isn't the right stuff.

You can get silicone spray lube. This may be a better solution, or perhaps some sort of teflon spray. most hardware/automotive shops sell some sort of option in that area.
posted by Brockles at 6:46 PM on September 27, 2007

3 in 1 oil. It comes in that funny little red and white tin. See your local hardware store; the old man behind the counter will agree.
posted by rentalkarma at 6:51 PM on September 27, 2007

Yes, WD-40 is great for getting rid of moisture and moving seized-up parts, but it does evaporate.

ssnickerer, what parts are rubbing to make the squeak? Rubber? Metal? Some lubricants to be suggested might alter the properties of your materials.

That said, my favorites are 3-in-One oil and white lithium grease.
posted by bonobo at 6:55 PM on September 27, 2007

Upon review, I see that the parts in question are plastic...3-in-One oil with its clever extending applicator should make the squeak go away.
posted by bonobo at 6:59 PM on September 27, 2007

Is this a new printer? Most of the calls that Canon gets involving a squeaky printer usually consist of someone not removing all of the tape or packaging Styrofoam inside the unit.
posted by sephira at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2007

FWIW, a garage door repairman recommended using white lithium grease to keep the plastic gears in our door opener well lubricated.
posted by jaimev at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2007

For plastic, use white lithium grease.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

WD40 is terrible stuff - it washes existing lubricant away, then evaporates.

Anyway, what you want for gears like that is not oil, but grease. Specifically, white grease - basically, thick vaseline (which you can also use at a pinch).

Lithium white grease is the real thing. You can probably buy a tin with about 20,000x as much as you need at a decent hardware store, or a tiny little tube at an exorbitant price from a R/C hobby shop.

(Yes, I know in theory nylon and some other plastics are self-lubricating, and you shouldn't use oil or grease on them. Even so, grease is used to stop them squeaking...)
posted by Pinback at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2007

I'll agree with those who mentioned white lithium grease as the ideal choice. Most printers which use nylon or plastic gear assemblies use this from the manufacturer. (I know Okidata and HP do, not sure about Canon)

3-in-1 will probably work however it's best not to use petroleum based lubricants on plastic parts when possible.
posted by ninepin at 8:14 PM on September 27, 2007

For plastic, use silicone. Lithium is acceptable but petroleum-based lubricants are only appropriate for metal-to-metal applications.
posted by Myself at 9:13 PM on September 27, 2007

Don't use a spray, it'll just make a mess. In this case, you are probably looking at careful application with a toothpick.

Really very few tasks are well suited to sprays..
posted by Chuckles at 10:48 PM on September 27, 2007

If you're lazy like me and don't want to take the printer apart, mineral oil will work its way in from where you apply it in much the same way as WD-40 but won't evaporate. I tried it on my ancient printer that ain't worth much so I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. Now I'm still using that old thing (now that it no longer wakes the dead.)

(If you DO want to take the printer apart, ignore this post and use white grease as previously stated)
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 8:00 AM on September 28, 2007

Radio Shack's best product, in my opinion, is their synthetic lube gel: teflon-based, non-toxic, odor-free, stable to 650F, and ~$2.50 per tube last time I purchased it.
posted by jamjam at 8:31 AM on September 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! The next chance I get, I'll try some of these options (probably this weekend). I'll report back on what works. =)

Thanks again!!
posted by ssnickerer at 1:44 PM on October 2, 2007

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