MGN Rails lubrication

Discussion in 'Ask Team Openbeam' started by Chipsa, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Chipsa

    Chipsa New Member


    I remember reading a post on the OpenBeam blog which mentioned how to properly lubricate the MGN carriages.

    here is the post

    The thing is that the rails come with some preservation oil which should probably be removed and re-greased using a proper (like lithium) grease.

    The post mentions a how-to video, but there is no video or link actually present.

    So the question is - how are you guys lubricating the rails/carriages? do you have any "jig" for that?

    I would appreciate any help,

  2. Terence Tam

    Terence Tam Mr. OpenBeam Staff Member Vendor


    We've found that it's actually a real pain for an end user to do the lubrication, so we have a custom designed fixture that applies the lube. It works by rolling the ball bearings while the carriage is slid over a section that looks just like a rail, and internal holes squirt the lubrication grease into the ball races as the ball bearings roll by. We currently sell our bearings pre-greased on Amazon (well, we are temporarily out of stock; we are busy fulfilling kickstarter rewards at this time).

    If you have purchased a set from us that weren't lubricated, we'd be happy to exchange them for a lubricated set. Just send us the Amazon purchase transaction ID.

    -=- Terence
  3. Chipsa

    Chipsa New Member

    Hi Terence,

    thanks for you reply. I got the rails elsewhere. Any chance of posting the video which shows the procedure? I remember the video was mentioned on your blog but with no actual link to the video.

  4. Terence Tam

    Terence Tam Mr. OpenBeam Staff Member Vendor

    We actually never finished the video. It was too difficult with our photo gear and macro lens to get a good clear shot with enough DOF and we ended up designing the lube fixture and supplying the rails pre-lubricated.
  5. isaax

    isaax New Member

    Thank you for answering this. I was also unsure if my set from your Amazon store already came pre-lubricated. I purchased them a couple months ago.
  6. Terence Tam

    Terence Tam Mr. OpenBeam Staff Member Vendor

    If the package didn't come with a bamboo toothpick and a jar of grease in a sealed bag, it is pre-lubricated. The rails would have been packed individually with zip ties on each end, individually bagged.

    We've had some quality control issues even with the lubrication fixture. This is not a easy problem to solve, as inspection currently is pretty subjective. We've had 2 returns on about 40 sets of rails we sold, which is way more than I'd like. We've root caused the problem to insufficient lubrication, and found that the grease gun had ran dry (it's very hard for the operator to tell whether there is still grease in the gun). We are going to do secondary inspection on the kickstarter rails, and that is the reason why we have not released additional rails onto our Amazon webstore yet.

    Long term, I may have to look for another supplier. The current supplier is very inexpensive (ie, we can make a margin, make it worth while, and cover the occasional replacement). It remains to be seen how much automation of the fixture and inspection can get our yield numbers to. The move from a generic Chinese rail to a HiWin (which is considered a low end Taiwanese clone of the real IKO bearing) would result in a 2x jump in price on what is already the 3rd most expensive component on the printer (after the CNC machined aluminum vertex kit and the Brainwave Pro controller board).

    If your rails have issues, please let us know and we will make it right. This is one advantage of buying from us over random Aliexpress sellers.

    -=- Terence
  7. isaax

    isaax New Member

    @Terence Tam

    My set didnt have a toothpick or jar of grease so I guess i'm good to go. I haven't installed them yet, but I did pull them out the day I received them to check how they glide. I noticed a dark lubricant on the rails after gliding and was not sure at the time if that was just rust inhibitor for shipping or not. Your description above saved me a ton of time figuring out how to initially lubricate these things.

    FWIW I would've been more than willing to pay the extra money for a HiWin option if it was available in your Amazon store. None of the vendors on Amazon carry it (at least for Prime). Maybe something to consider in the future to possibly carry both with your current set being the budget option.
  8. (apologies for the necro)

    I'm not sure that the "rigidity" conferred by the rails is really all it's cracked up to be, especially considering their weight and the fact they don't run the full length anyways (still assembling mine though).

    And the smoothness is not quite what one would hope for.

    Between those two, I think the question is whether to continue using these linear rails at all.

    Johann's 3d printed recirculating ball bearing seems worth investigating.

    And there's also a Solidus Labs version:

    Maybe combined with something like the XT carriage: SteveGraber/posts/KvaizNohbgw

    I kind of think it would be beneficial to be able to ditch the still expensive, greasy, and heavy rails and their associated 69 screws, 69 lock washers, 69 nuts, and a pile of laser cut spacers that leave soot everywhere.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015

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