How to Properly Oil a Pneumatic Tool

Just like virtually every other thing in life, your air tools require a certain degree of maintenance to perform at their peak, a little bit of premeditated tenderness to keep them operating smoothly. Fortunately, though, despite the overwhelming importance of oiling our pneumatic tools, the lubricating process is surprisingly simple.

Before I spill all the beans, though, let me say a few words about why properly oiling your air tools is so important. First, and as you know, pneumatic tools are built around a beautifully intricate system of gears, rotors, pistons, o-rings and so forth, that are designed to work together to convert compressed air into raw working energy. However, when you convert this air into that energy, condensation, or moisture, is produced within the tool which, in turn, mingles with the oil already existing within the tool. Together they become, essentially, a mess. The oil becomes gloopy and gummy causing more violent metal upon metal impacts inside the tool, this also generates more heat and invites the ever tragic reality slaps of premature wear and tear.

Ultimately, unless properly maintained, the action of doing exactly what it’s designed to do, attacks the overall performance and efficiency of our pneumatic tools. It’s a sad lot, but this wear and tear, or, really, component erosion, is easily and entirely preventable. Simply oil it, and your pneumatic tool will continue building, creating, finishing, and etc for all the live-long day.

To oil the thing, simply wipe-down the tool (it is always good practice to keep your tools clean) and, either before or after each use, plop in just a couple drops of air tool oil; keep in mind that sometimes even just one drop is perfectly enough to lube-up your tool. If you use the tool heavily, it is advised to oil it periodically throughout the work-day, or once every (approximately) 3,000 shots. Whether you oil-up your air tools before or after using them is entirely up to you – many crafters, however, prefer to oil at the end of a work-day as the extra oil will protect the tools interior metal components from any residual moisture produced during the day’s use.

While oiling, though, ensure the oil doesn’t get all over everything else, and if it does, make sure you clean up after yourself. While it is important for some components to be lubricated, it is equally important that some components stay dry.

It is also extremely important that you don’t over-oil your tools. Over-oiling can cause nearly as much damage as under-oiling rendering the tool’s innards sludgy and under-performing. So remember, despite the need to oil your air tools often (every day or with every use) they never require more than a few tiny drops to stay lubed.