Is there a colorant (dye) for lube oils?
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    Default Is there a colorant (dye) for lube oils?

    Here is my problem. I have an older Harrison 10AA (Chipmaster) lathe that takes a thin spindle oil, that is almost as transparent as water. I am currently using Mobil Velocite No 6. The issue is that the clear oil is almost impossible to see in the old sight glass. And the machine being of a certain lineage (British) it tends to leak, a little?

    So my thought was to colur the oil to make it easier to see the level in the sight glass. Any ideas?

    John

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    A quick google search shows a multitude of available dyes for all sorts of lubricants for almost every application. The brands I bothered to click the link for were all RFQ so I can’t give you any clue as to where to get it from but yes, you can get dyes for the oil in your machine. Google it and look around till you find one that fits your application or submit an RFQ with one of the big manufacturers with your requirements and see if they’ll give you the time of day to respond. Expect most direct suppliers to only supply to industry in quantity. You may have a hard time finding someone selling small quantities for specific applications.

    That said, any oil based liquid pigment (in very small quantities) should be fine to be put in your machine. You’ll only need a couple drops to get enough tint to be able to see the level in the sight glass. Go to a local paint supplier and ask nicely for a small sample of the liquid pigment they use in their mixers (if they use oil base) and test how it reacts with the Velocite. That or contact Mobil and see if they can suggest something you could use. Lastly, just order some oil based food coloring on amazon. It comes as a gel so you’ll need to mix it with a small amount of oil to water it down before adding it to your reservoir.

    Really just depends how much you’re willing to spend to not have to check your oil level (which you should do regardless). Something to keep in mind: over time any colorant is likely to dye your sight glass slightly.

    Just my thoughts, others might have more helpful or direct suggestions. Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Allan View Post
    Here is my problem. I have an older Harrison 10AA (Chipmaster) lathe that takes a thin spindle oil, that is almost as transparent as water. I am currently using Mobil Velocite No 6. The issue is that the clear oil is almost impossible to see in the old sight glass. And the machine being of a certain lineage (British) it tends to leak, a little?

    So my thought was to colur the oil to make it easier to see the level in the sight glass. Any ideas?

    John
    Did the same research, same exact reason, several years ago. Pterodactychemical industry has MANY colours as can be had as a chemical dye (no "pigment" or particles larger than a complex molecule).

    These are what they use themselves to make a lubes and fuels red, green, blue, yellow, purple, etc. so are known to not separate, settle-out, react with the major component, not bother motors or bearings.

    That said, "a little bit goes a long way" as they use these to colourize thousands to millions of gallons at a go. Read: "don't expect to find them in TINY, affordable, amounts."

    It turned out cheaper to keep a stable of small, powerful LED flashlights to-hand.

    Rumour has it that "FD&C" (Food, Drug, and Cosmetic) AKA "food colouring" dyes may be miscible and -hopefully - harmless to bearings? FD&C red #60, perhaps?

    Another possibility:

    Dychem hi-spot blue (red, white, etc) ARE "pigmented". EG: DO have particles.

    But.... I don't know if their layout dyes are pigmented or not.

    LED's being good enough, I'm off the case... other fish to electrocute, etc.

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    I'd run a test with a little engineer blue (hi spot or the like) say a drop of oil and bit of blue in a glass jar - mix n shake it up and leave it to settle.

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    Refrigeration repair techs have it.

    Have you rang up the LÜÜB Mobil tech line ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    I'd run a test with a little engineer blue (hi spot or the like) say a drop of oil and bit of blue in a glass jar - mix n shake it up and leave it to settle.
    We already KNOW it is a pigment. Why bother?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Refrigeration repair techs have it.

    Have you rang up the LÜÜB Mobil tech line ?
    Guess all we need is to use a UV light to check the sight-glases, then?


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    We already KNOW it is a pigment. Why bother?
    To see how long it takes to settle out - etc etc etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Guess all we need is to use a UV light to check the sight-glases, then?

    And this is somehow a Bad thing ?

    Need something for all those "black light posters" hanging up in the shop eh ?

    FWIW some of the dyes I have seen sold at the auto parts store are "good enough" without black light. Granted they work better with black light, but are adequate without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    To see how long it takes to settle out - etc etc etc.
    Ah, well, yes, but there is more.. take Stuarts Micrometer. ...in red.

    "Rouge" AKA red Iron oxide. Widely used fine abrasive, polishing media & such.

    The blue more commonly used? "Prussian Blue". AKA Ferrous Ferrocycanide. Also an Iron compound, and a fine abrasive. "Egyptian blue" = Calcium copper Silicate. Silicates are abrasives. The yellow pigments are generally Chromium compounds...

    It goes on. Orange. Black...etc. at least "mild" abrasives, the lot of them.

    Coloring a fuel or lube needs a dye.

    Still "matter", not imagination, as even pure water, oil, or alcohols can be "abrading" or degrading to a surface at flow rates that hit them with a high-velocity stream of molecules, but still.

    Really major differences between dyes and pigments as to potential for abrasive damage:

    Definitions of a dye and a pigment | Colour Index

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    Okay, so I'm a fucking idiot - what's your problem?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Okay, so I'm a fucking idiot - what's your problem?
    Whomever told you that was mistaken.



    Which problem?

    If I have to take a number meself, why should you be privileged to jump the queue?

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    Auto parts store, leak detector dye. Lime green color, works best with black light, but I use it without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PocoLoco View Post
    Auto parts store, leak detector dye. Lime green color, works best with black light, but I use it without.
    Clever folks, those Nicarauguanese...


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    What about the dye used in diesel fuel to differentiate between household heating fuel from truck fuel?

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    Automatic transmission fluid has a lot of red dye in it. You would not have to add much to your oil to tint it red.

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    Try a biological dye for coloring fats/lipids/triglycerides, e.g. Sudan III or Sudan IV — red diazo dyes, or Sudan I — an orange azo dye.

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    Mr Thermite, Sir --

    Can't speak of the High Spot Blue that sold by today's ITW Dykem, but the original High Spot Blue produced by the Dyestuffs and Chemicals Company of St. Louis, Mo was colored with a dye.

    Dykem Hi Spot Patent

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Garner View Post
    Mr Thermite, Sir --

    Can't speak of the High Spot Blue that sold by today's ITW Dykem, but the original High Spot Blue produced by the Dyestuffs and Chemicals Company of St. Louis, Mo was colored with a dye.

    Dykem Hi Spot Patent

    John
    Read that thread a while back - good one.

    Have to take the word of others word for it. The oldest tube still under-roof - lost in the back of a drawer by accident - is "Permatex" branded, mebbe 1960's? Still flexible and usable, but needs thinning. each go. So mostly it DOESN'T. Go. Anywhere! Mebbe the NEXT fifty.. ah.. not likely..



    I have new stock bought more recently, but have gone-over to Stuart's Micrometer blended with a bit of oil to suit.

    If nothing else, their red just seems easier to clean-up, afterwards.

    Mind - I NEED less of it in fifty years than a pro might use in fifty HOURS or even fifty MINUTES prepping for a large and long SE transfer!

    Then, too Herr Pelz taught scraping markup exactly backwards from the younger German who taught Herman King.

    - We don't dirty the SP, nor necessarily even HAVE one to-hand.

    - We don't transfer to an SE, nor necessarily even HAVE a heavy camelback in the zone.

    We prep the target surface, use even a heavy steel rule to drag for high spots, attack those, measure, repeat.

    Might not get yah below a half-thou, but nobody NEEDED that to get a Mercedes six aero engine into the air, World War One when it was going to be shot-down long before it wore-out anyway!

    Two other drivers were that Pelz and his team were all scrawny guys as hadn't had the best of nutrition before the war, and got less as it dragged-on.

    Neither were tools and transfer blue ever in surplus, a blockaded Kaiser's Germany not so much bombed that go as it was starved.

    No time nor energy for toting heavy SE's about, even if they had them.

    Needless to say, that reduced-effort wartime-desperation "good enough" approach is a lot more welcome to me when all I need to do is "improve" Old iron to decent usability, not make it beat OEM factory specs.


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    Thought I would post an update on what I found, trying to color spindle oils.

    Tried an experiment today. Put 150 ml of spindle oil in a glass beaker. Took red food coloring die and put in the smallest drop that I could. Maybe the size of a 1/16 dia ball bearing. It just sank to the bottom and stuck to the glass. No mixing at all.

    Next I tried Red Dykem. Another tiny drop. And this time it just dispersed floating on top of the oil. Like you see when you pour "oil on water".

    I called Mobil tech support and got a lead on "dies for lubricants" and will report back when I know more. Thanks for the ideas guys.
    John


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