I'll bet you have a number of different lubricants around your shop. But which one should you use keep your E3 or E4 operating at its best? Two things affect the best choice first, the reason for using the lubricant and second, the environment in which it will be used. The basic goal of any lubricant is to reduce friction and to protect the coated parts from corrosion. However, when you factor in the amount of dust generated by a CNC Router some lubricants must be avoided.
Back in the late 1800s, George Cole formulated a lubricant for bicycle chains. He called it 3 in 1 and considered it the one product everyone needed to “clean, lubricate and protect” metal machine parts. Another phenomenally popular product is WD-40. The name literally stands for "Water Displacement, 40th formula." Chemist, Norm Larsen, created it while developing a product that would prevent corrosion by displacing water. Mineral oil another petroleum distillate has long been used for everything from oiling sewing machines to protecting baby’s bottoms.
However, all the products mentioned about have one major drawback, they attract dust. Using products like these on your Z-Rod threads will eventually cause them to become gunked-up with sawdust. While silicon does not technically attract and hold dust like petroleum distillates our customers have noted silicone treated threads eventually fill up sawdust that has to be removed with a wire brush.
Therefore, we recommend using PTFE (Teflon®). PTFE is considered a “dry” lubricant. When applied as an aerosol the spray goes on wet but once the solvent dries a thin coating of PTFE (the same product used to make nonstick frying pans) adheres to the surface, protecting and lubricating the threads. The main advantage is dust doesn’t stick to it. This makes it a great lube for dusty environments like your shop. Some of our customers prefer graphite. But at the shop we use PTFE.