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Which graphite products and recipes do you use?

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$19 for more fine grind (44micron) graphite than you can use in a lifetime. The label says mix 10% by volume to mixed epoxy for "low-friction exterior coatings with increased scuff resistance and durability". Their words not mine. Also can create it's own static charge while mixing and an inhalation hazzard!

  • A low friction exterior coating. I wonder if that would work on car bodies to reduce drag on the sides of my track. I can see I'm gonna have to test this one too! — Chaos_Canyon
  • wonder if you could use a small piano wire and create a "bushed" wheel that way — dr_dodge
  • I have a jar of moly like that, and have been experimenting using on the slot cars, made a paste of moly and Lebelle 107 to lube the gears, and it seems to do well — dr_dodge
  • Any Success with this graphite? — D_Built_Garage
  • Smallest particle size I have found easily available... — Stoopid_Fish_Racing
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Chaos_Canyon 2/17/23

I have two main types of graphite, one from an online shop on TradeMe and one from Hobby City. Both work equally well. 

Very intrigued by the iso idea. Would make getting the graphite down into the wheel a bit easier I suspect. I can see some serious testing in my future.

I also have a can of some spray from bunnings that also works ok for cars that just need a bit of a boost - normally I only use it for cars when testing my track if they're a bit slow etc

  • Yeah, the iso really works. It covers everything it touches with graphite, including the inner wheel hub that rubs on the chassis, and the inner axle channel which is great for stock castings (if the axle happens to be free-spinning).). — FeralPatrick

Great discussion! I've been using three types that have already been mentioned: XLR8, Maximum Velocity, and Hob-E-Lube.

I generally start with Hob-E-Lube on cars while wheel farming, then switch to the others with the long applicators after assembly to get into the wheel hubs easier.

I'm not really convinced that one brand is really better than the other. I think the "Secrete Sauce" is just having a great set of wheels. 

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Spirit_Of_64 2/17/23

It just occurs to me I should maybe link to the video I mentioned earlier IRT hardware store/industrial grade graphite...

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EnZedRacing 4/10/23

Just a follow up ladies and gentlemen.  I bought some extra fine graphite from Ebay and also some isopropal alcohol (?) 

Mixed the fine with the course, also made up a 2-1 ratio with the alcohol and ended up testing 3 different mixes. The IPA 2-1 worked a treat! All 3 cars were exactly the same model with similar 'stock' speed.  The IPA mix was consistently quicker and the mixed blend was the slowest. 

I've sent 3 cars to the 35g tournament (Flips Racing) with all 3 different graphite tests so it will be interesting to see how they go. (The escort has the IPA, the Ford has the ultra fine and the fantasy has the blend of course/fine. Watch this space....

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Numbskull 4/10/23

blood, sweat, and tears.

Awesome thanks for the update. I just made a 2:1 ipa/graphite literally just now and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

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Kingjester 5/19/23

The graphite i use is jsut the standard pinewood derby graphite you can get at hobby lobby,I usually put a bit on the axel that sticks out of the wheel a bit then let it sit for about 5-10 minutes and then repeat with the other side,I've been also getting used to sanding my wheels with sandpaper,i roll my car on it until all wheels have been properly sanded

Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) is one of the slipperiest substances on earth and is commonly used as a dry lubricant where oils and greases are not ideal. Compared to Graphite, another common dry lubricant, Molybdenum Disulfide has a lower coefficient of static friction, better overall lubricating qualities, and will not burn off due its high temperature resistance. Molybdenum Disulfide can also be mixed with non-flammable solvents to produce an aerosol lubricant.

Due to weak van der Waals interactions between the sheets of sulfide atoms, MoS2 has a low coefficient of friction. MoS2 in particle sizes in the range of 1–100 µm is a common dry lubricant. Few alternatives exist that confer high lubricity and stability at up to 350 °C in oxidizing environments.

Sliding friction tests of MoS2 using a pin on disc tester at low loads (0.1–2 N) give friction coefficient values of <0.1

MoS2 is often a component of blends and composites that require low friction. For example, it is added to graphite to improve sticking. A variety of oils and greases are used, because they retain their lubricity even in cases of almost complete oil loss, thus finding a use in critical applications such as aircraft engines. When added to plastics, MoS2 forms a composite with improved strength as well as reduced friction. Polymers that may be filled with MoS include nylon (trade name Nylatron), Teflon and Vespel. Self-lubricating composite coatings for high-temperature applications consist of molybdenum disulfide and titanium nitride, using chemical vapor deposition.

Examples of applications of MoS2-based lubricants include two-stroke engines (such as motorcycle engines), bicycle coaster brakes, automotive CV and universal joints, ski waxes and bullets.

Other layered inorganic materials that exhibit lubricating properties (collectively known as solid lubricants (or dry lubricants)) includes graphite, which requires volatile additives and hexagonal boron nitride.

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SpyDude 10/23/23

I dunno, man ................... all the graphite I been using seems to be expired stuff after it arrives at the host racetrack.

  • hahah! — Stoopid_Fish_Racing
  • lol — dr_dodge
  • Actually Dude, there is something to that! Depending on how long the car sits before the race, the graphite blend could stiffen up some... using IPA could exacerbate the issue as it is hygroscopic, even at higher levels of 91% alchohol. The other 9%, water... water will cause oxidation on your nicely polished axles. IMHO, I don't think it should be used without treating the axle with a moisture barrier before application. — Stoopid_Fish_Racing

My only other comment about graphite is that it is a mined naturally occuring product. It is flaked and ground to whatever grade the manufacturer/vendor agree to. It has variability due to its naturally occuring nature. In a manufacturing process, this type of variability is managed by lot tracking and testing. In several past jobs (I'm old and retired) I had to account for this variabilty in my production equipment. But for these cars, maybe they are not as rigorous in their specifications. So some "chunkyness" and particle size variation is to be expected. 
I was not able to find specs for particle size distribution for most graphite products but a few did discuss the course, medium, fine and ultrafine classifications. If you are playing around in this area, maybe stick with the finest particle size you can find, if only to maximize the flow into the cavity you are trying to lube... a good choice for most of lifes activities!

Smallest particle size I could find readily available... 5 micron


It would seem that a combination of Moly and Graphite would be the way to go as others have mentioned.

I am playing with lubing the wheel prior to installing on the axle and prior to installing in the car. Not always a viable option on builds, but it is helping me to understand the actions in play. I hope to have an interesting video clip to show shortly.


  • I use wet apply/dry lube. I put 2 bbs in the container, and shake it vigorously, and I think it helps with the chunky, then add moly. Straight moly actually bound up wheels at first, then spun in nicely after working them a bit — dr_dodge
  • It would be an awesome move on the diecast manufacturers part to add graphite/moly to the plastic during wheel production! — Stoopid_Fish_Racing
  • BBs in the bottle definitely help cut down on the clogged needle tips on my IPA graphite mix and allow me to use a smaller needle for better control. — Milestone_Racing

I've been experimenting with ceramic graphene. Treating the axles prior to assembly. One of the claimed benefits of using on bare metal is corrosion resistance. And we all hate rusted axles. Will get back with more concrete results soon.

  • I have found that after treating the polished axles with graphite, no graphite actually sticks to the axles... a paper rub test confirms. Maybe graphene has different properties? Graphene is some unique stuff — Stoopid_Fish_Racing

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