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Author Topic: Lubrication for ball links?  (Read 1143 times)

Offline Scott Richlen

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Lubrication for ball links?
« on: March 18, 2021, 02:56:24 PM »
I noticed the ball link in the new wing I am building has seemed to have stiffened up.  What do you use to lubricate the ball link that won't attack the plastic?

Offline John Rist

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2021, 03:57:33 PM »
I have never had the problem.  The only thing that comes to mind would be powered graphite. 
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Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2021, 04:15:03 PM »
    Do a search on ball links locking up, this has been discussed before, with guys loosing models or not being able to fly models any more after the ball links got real stuff or locked up. If you try any oil, make sure it's plastic compatible. Just a touch of some sort of silicone lube might work also. What ever you try, make like Brill Cream, and just a little dab will do ya!! If it is the type of ball link that has a clamp, you may not want to use that type or make sure it's loose enough and put a dab od glue on the nut to make sure it can't tighten up with vibration.
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Offline Trostle

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2021, 04:27:29 PM »
My experience with DuBro ball links, the small ones, is --- do not use them.  There are other alternatives.  As Dan said, this has been discussed before.

Keith

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2021, 05:04:51 PM »
I have Dubro ball links on several planes, never put anything on them and never had a problem with any of them. Is there some common thing between the people that had them lock up? Plane left in hot car?

What are the alternatives? I've used the metal ball links for RC cars they have on eBay. They need rework (set the cap and glue it in), they're metric and don't last forever. I couldn't find aircraft quality ball links in 4-40.


Motorman 8)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 05:30:03 PM by Motorman »
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Offline kenneth cook

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2021, 05:19:56 PM »
            I've only experienced some tightness with one ball link. I used the Triflow for it and it freed up perfectly and to this day is fine not picking up dirt as well.  My friend owns a bicycle shop and I use two lubricants I get from him. Triflow is one which will penetrate deep.  I prefer the version in the little squeeze bottle and pin point applicator. The spray while it smells the same it doesn't apply like the bottle. Finish line dry lube is the other one. These two products have a multitude of uses and the Finish line product goes a long way. It goes on wet and dries.

Offline Scott Richlen

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2021, 07:37:39 PM »
These are just the regular ball-links that I got from Tom Morris and then Oakie Air.  I've never had any problem with them previously in any of my other planes, so am quite surprised by this happening.  The ball-link was free when I installed it, but when I tried to move it the other day, was very sticky.  I've moved it around a bunch but still isn't as free as when I installed it.

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2021, 08:32:16 PM »
Is there a chance it got castor oil in it?
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2021, 09:23:39 PM »
I use only the 4-40 ball links now.  So far no problem, of course I don't fly as much as some of you. D>K
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Online Fred Underwood

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2021, 09:40:38 PM »
The fix for ball links by Paul Walker.

http://flyinglines.org/pw.ballinks.html

I've used a slightly different tubing stack and the Great Planes and or Dubro links.  I thought I had decent ball links, but many failed as soon as I tightened the ball.  The ball was pivoting on the bolt, not the nylon on the ball.  Sorry, the fix may not be practical on links that need to be replaced.
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Offline Steve_Pollock

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2021, 10:10:29 PM »
Scott, there are a number of dry Teflon or PTFE lubricants at model shops and gun shops, and Walmart is supposed to carry a duPont dry lube spray.   Bicycle shops carry dry spray chain lubes, too.  Maybe worth a look.

Offline Peter in Fairfax, VA

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 10:15:38 PM »
Tri-flow was my first thought.

Offline Scott Richlen

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2021, 05:35:22 AM »
Quote
Is there a chance it got castor oil in it?

Quote
in the new wing I am building

Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2021, 07:36:28 AM »
The fix for ball links by Paul Walker.

http://flyinglines.org/pw.ballinks.html

I've used a slightly different tubing stack and the Great Planes and or Dubro links.  I thought I had decent ball links, but many failed as soon as I tightened the ball.  The ball was pivoting on the bolt, not the nylon on the ball.  Sorry, the fix may not be practical on links that need to be replaced.

   So, if I understand this correctly, it is no longer a ball link, but becomes a closed end clevis, so to speak. It has to be aligned correctly and can no longer self center. If the problem is really the hole in the ball tightening up on the bolt that holds it to the control arm, maybe you just need to drill out the ball a bit then before you install it??  Or am I not understanding the problem?
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Online Fred Underwood

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2021, 01:41:32 PM »
Dan,
I may not understand what you are suggesting.  The ball is held in clamp by a thru bolt.  If I don't clamp it firmly, then the ball can turn on the bolt, but in one direction/plane.  At least in my use, the ball is normally clamped, so a larger thru hole will not help.  Some ball links seem to work for a while with clamped and multiplane pivoting occurs around the ball by the nylon.  Some seemed to work and later tightened, thus this thread for a solution.  Most of my applications need pivot in one direction and work well when converted with brass tubing, but your description of clevis type action may be correct.  There is minimal slop between the tubes and that will allow a minor bit of out of plane articulation such as at the flap horn from the bellcrank. 

Again, Paul's article is referenced as it is his solution.  I had some of the smaller, standard 4-40 ball links and used the same method, just a different stack of tubing.

Fred
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Offline RandySmith

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2021, 01:55:07 PM »
Use  plastic  lubricants, Tamiya  sells a tube of plastic  lube,or  plastic grease . Never use  anything  that has  petroleum products on them.  I have also used  copier lube which is  clear  pure  silicone  gel
I have also  been told that  super  lube  works well
https://www.grainger.com/product/45NA65?ef_id=Cj0KCQjwl9GCBhDvARIsAFunhsl9z0kvUR-Uxa4G7f4OzigxvWiyDPIuQKP64m-LH1ftv7g7HVce0PsaAhm1EALw_wcB:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!281698275522!!!g!472466693935!&gucid=N:N:PS:Paid:GGL:CSM-2295:4P7A1P:20501231&gclid=Cj0KCQjwl9GCBhDvARIsAFunhsl9z0kvUR-Uxa4G7f4OzigxvWiyDPIuQKP64m-LH1ftv7g7HVce0PsaAhm1EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Offline Kim Doherty

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2021, 05:57:20 PM »
I noticed the ball link in the new wing I am building has seemed to have stiffened up.  What do you use to lubricate the ball link that won't attack the plastic?


Copied from a 2009 post.
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Re: Howard Rush's flaps
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2009, 11:40:29 PM »

Quote from: Howard Rush on July 31, 2009, 07:55:28 PM
I replaced the balls.  Two were tight.  This is the first plane I've built with ball joints, and I never checked them for friction.  Could be the friction was there from the get-go as a result of the threads going in too far, pinching the balls, or it could have crept in later.  Dan Rutherford told me the trick of squeezing the socket perpendicular to the pushrod axis to free a sticky ball.   

My response:

OK, I confess, I have been to the dark side and I like it. My name is Kim Doherty and I fly R/C helicopters. There, I've said it and I feel so much pressure has been lifted from my being.

I have been using ball links for a fairly long time. If you are going to use ball links you will most likely need to adjust them as well. You will need two tools for this. The first are ball link pliers to remove the link from the ball and reinstall it afterward. The second is a ball link resizer of the appropriate diameter to adjust the amount of friction present in the link. The resizing tool is adjustable in diameter to enable you to remove just the right amount of material. You will only need to rotate the tool a couple of times before you retry the ball. In helicopters we do not want a sloppy head but we do want it to be silky smooth. Both of these tools can be purchased at almost any hobby shop.

Kim



Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2021, 06:22:02 PM »
   Hi Kim;
    There are, as you probably know, different kinds of ball links. The kind you are referring to where the cup pops on and off the ball, are not generally used for stunt model linkages. On a helicopter you can get to all of your linkages relatively easily also. Not always on a stunt model if it's a built up fuselage.
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Offline Kim Doherty

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2021, 08:54:17 AM »
   Hi Kim;
    There are, as you probably know, different kinds of ball links. The kind you are referring to where the cup pops on and off the ball, are not generally used for stunt model linkages. On a helicopter you can get to all of your linkages relatively easily also. Not always on a stunt model if it's a built up fuselage.
  Type at you later,
   Dan McEntee

Hi Dan,
I agree, there are two types of ball links. Tight ones and lose ones. Otherwise all the same.
Five minutes ago I went into my shop and popped the ball off of a standard Rocket City ball link which had been attached to an elevator inside a fully built up fuselage. I then placed the sizing tool inside it and removed it. Then I put the tail linkage back together. It is something I have been doing for over thirty years. I can “get at” anything and everything in any of my models. I am not sure why you would spend hundreds of hours building something then install an inherently adjustable type of linkage and then render it virtually useless by enclosing it with no provision for access. All of my models are full take apart. Not just because I might have to travel with them but perhaps most importantly so I can work on and adjust them as is needed. From my perspective the control system in its entirety must be accessible.
I only offered the suggestion as the original poster might have found it helpful.

Kim

Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2021, 09:29:24 AM »
Hi Dan,
I agree, there are two types of ball links. Tight ones and lose ones. Otherwise all the same.
Five minutes ago I went into my shop and popped the ball off of a standard Rocket City ball link which had been attached to an elevator inside a fully built up fuselage. I then placed the sizing tool inside it and removed it. Then I put the tail linkage back together. It is something I have been doing for over thirty years. I can “get at” anything and everything in any of my models. I am not sure why you would spend hundreds of hours building something then install an inherently adjustable type of linkage and then render it virtually useless by enclosing it with no provision for access. All of my models are full take apart. Not just because I might have to travel with them but perhaps most importantly so I can work on and adjust them as is needed. From my perspective the control system in its entirety must be accessible.
I only offered the suggestion as the original poster might have found it helpful.

Kim

    Oh I whole heartedly agree, but some do not build that way, or can't think through the process for allowing that. The "pop on/off" types of links can pop off in a sharp shock also. Again, if you have access, then you can inspect it and replace it. But that isn't always possible for many reasons. That's why some think the captured ball link is better and these get tight for some reason. My guess is that if you crank the anchoring bolt too tight, it may spread the ball a bit and cause it to tighten up over time, and maybe that is caused because the plastic shroud shrinks. If I use ball links at all it's only where I can get to them if I for some reason can't or don't want to build an access cover.  I just feel that they do have their limitations and if you don't understand that or can deal with it, that causes trouble.
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Online Motorman

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2021, 10:06:55 AM »
In the Paul Walker article he says he eliminated the problem except for the elevator horn. Does that mean he doesn't use ball links for 1, 2&3? I guess it's an "S" bend in wire for bellcrank and flap horn?

Those Rocket City ball links are the one piece plastic ones right? Doesn't the pocket get deformed when you pop the ball in and out so many times for resizing?


Motorman 8) 
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Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2021, 10:46:30 AM »
In the Paul Walker article he says he eliminated the problem except for the elevator horn. Does that mean he doesn't use ball links for 1, 2&3? I guess it's an "S" bend in wire for bellcrank and flap horn?

Those Rocket City ball links are the one piece plastic ones right? Doesn't the pocket get deformed when you pop the ball in and out so many times for resizing?


Motorman 8)

      The captured type are not really meant to be "popped on/off", they are a ball link primarily to allow a slight misalignment and for smoothness  of operation. That has been my experience with them using them and selling them. In my mind, if you replace the ball with a glued in piece of brass tubing, it becomes a closed end clevis and is not a ball link any longer. The will still give you length adjustment, but very little if any alignment allowance. If you plan for that, no problem.
   Type at you later,
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Offline Scott Richlen

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2021, 11:19:12 AM »
Quote
ball link resizer of the appropriate diameter

Kim:

I found a ball link sizer that looks exactly like the one you pictured but it doesn't specify its size.  I notice from other manufacturers that there are a number of different sizes.  The add for Oakie Air say 3 MM but I notice many start at 4MM and go up from there.  Which is the correct one?

Thanks

Offline Kim Doherty

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Re: Lubrication for ball links?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2021, 04:27:53 PM »
Kim:

I found a ball link sizer that looks exactly like the one you pictured but it doesn't specify its size.  I notice from other manufacturers that there are a number of different sizes.  The add for Oakie Air say 3 MM but I notice many start at 4MM and go up from there.  Which is the correct one?

Thanks

Hi Scott,

Just measure the ball with your vernier and buy the reamer just fractionally larger. For example, the ball I was using measured 4.74mm the reamer/sizer measured 4.79 (standard size 4.8 ) with the adjusting screw fully retracted. You want the the sizer to have a firm but moveable fit. You should try just turning the sizer without tightening the adjusting screw. Then if still tight adjust the screw by tightening it just till it is snug rotating the sizer two to three times, try again and repeat till the ball is just smooth but not at all lose. For reference .01mm =.0004”. We are not looking to remove much at all. Go slow and you will have silky smooth controls. And no, ball links don’t just pop off.

Note: a full set of 4 sizers is only ~  $35.00, shipping will be probably the same for one or four. Any decent hobby shop will carry these.

Hope this helps,

Kim


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