Guides and discussions about building water blasters and other water warfare devices such as water balloon launchers.
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Postby HBWW » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:11 pm

I've finally started doing some well-needed reading on the topic, and found this troublesome piece that explains some of the problems I've had with silicone spray and grease.

Q. "I own a 3" PVC ball valve that has always been very difficult to turn. Is your brand easier to turn?"
A. Of course, we don't know since we don't know what brand we are comparing, but we will say that our larger (2 1/2" and larger) ball valves are very hard to turn. We have found this to be true with all plastic ball valves of all manufacturers that we have seen. Regardless of how difficult to turn your valve is, absolutely do not spray silicone or any other lubricant onto the ball. Most lubricants will harm the ball and will not help the plastic ball valve to turn easier. We have found that most silicones will actually damage the plastic. If all else fails and you can't "live with" how hard it is to turn your large ball valve, try Super Lube. Never use grease, faucet grease or any lubricant not specifically designed for plastics. Our larger brass ball valves are also very hard to turn. When you first get your large valve, you will note how hard it is to turn. Once it is installed on pipe and has water (clean water only) in it, you will find that it will be somewhat easier to turn. But large plastic ball valves are simply not easy to turn.

This is consistent with my experience on excessive silicone causing plastics to grind and get damaged. I was recommended to use silicone at a hardware store (asked for rubber and plastics use), and turns out it doesn't quite work well for many applications.

Enter paintball. Markers are built for easy maintenance, and use their own kind of lube: DOW Molykote 33. The parts being lubed are O-rings on metal/aluminum tubes and have to handle some 120 to 190 PSI of compressed air or CO2. The stuff is expensive, especially when companies take it, rebrand it, and add their markup to it.

I need to look more into it. Based on what I can tell now, silicone works for O-rings, but the spray stuff we commonly use is not good for ball valves and any plastic-on-plastic action.

Perhaps I'll drop some cash on the 33 stuff, both for paintball marker maintenance and for experimentation on water blasters. In particular, I'm curious on how well it works on PVC and other plastic ball valves.

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Re: Lube

Postby scottthewaterwarrior » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:30 pm

Would love to hear more on this, as CA99 knows, my experience with silicon spray on ball valves has been pretty poor. To be fair, most guns I've used it on didn't work to begin with, but I've only had about a 50/50 success rate with it and even then it was only for a limited time. I too might experiment with lubricants, despite the article CA99 quoted saying not to use any type of grease on ball valves, there must be some type that works on plastics because in my research into maintenance for N64 controller joysticks and G scale trains, both recommended using grease and both involve plastic on plastic. I really would like to know a solution to this problem since I have close to a dozen guns that don't work just because of a stuck ball valve.
"If you are wet at the end of a water war, you are doing it wrong"
Van: "What happened?" SEAL: "Scott Happened"

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Re: Lube

Postby marauder » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:29 pm

I read an article saying that this is the only lube that should be used on plastic ball valves - Super Lube. Of course, that should be taken with a grain of salt, because it was written by the same company that manufactures this product.

SEAL wrote:If you ain't bloody and muddy by the end of the day, you went to a Nerf war.

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