Talking about lubing, overlubing, and underlubing

We have an ever-growing menagerie of switches, stock and hybrid, in use in the community. For many of these, we have detailed force plots to understand switch behavior. We have thin and thick lubes, numerous guides for lube application, and anecdotal advice for switch/lube combos. If you step back and look at all of this, it’s really quite awesome.

What we don’t seem to have, though, is a way to clearly communicate what exactly we mean when we say “don’t overlube with 3204” or “lightly lube the housing”. Or at least it seems that way to me, but then again I’m relatively new to the community. Perhaps it’s one of those things that just ‘becomes obvious’ once you’ve tried enough switch/lube combinations and application techniques.

But perhaps it isn’t? I’m wondering if anyone else would find it useful to see more quantitative descriptions of lube application. Something like:

Tribosys 3204 applied to housing rails, slider stem and slider sides (except tactile legs), 1mL per 65 switches
Krytox GPL 104 applied to springs, tub lubed, 1 drop per 7 springs

which, as it happens, is the rate at which I’ve used lube on tactile switches for my last few builds. Is that a heavy coat? A light coat? I don’t know, but at least it should be possible to make a rough comparison with what other people are doing.



It’s really difficult to properly state how lubed or how unlubed a thing is. Generally, from my experience:

Underlubed: The plastic in the switch has very little visible lube, and the texture appears to be mostly plastic instead of the oily slick of lubricant.

Well Lubed: The texture of the plastic is visible, but is clearly coated in a uniform, thin layer of lubricant.

Overlubed: The texture of the plastic is completely lost, and the actual color of the lubricant is shown instead of being an almost-clear coating on top of the plastic.

I overlubed a batch of pretool blacks in a g80-1800 for fun, and it was a bad time. bringing things down to the description of Well Lubed made them much more tolerable and less terrible.
I like your method for actually describing the amount of lubricant and whatnot used, it helps to give a good guide of what people use. Sadly, I don’t have a very consistent amount of numbers for my current amount of switches, but I’ll be keeping it in mind next time I sit down and do a bigger batch. When it comes to describing the amount of lube that’s actually on the switch when the slider hits the pavement, maybe a sliding scale could be used? A 1-5 or 1-10 scale where Underlubed, Well Lubed, and Overlubed descriptions are the start, middle, and end of the scale? Of course, it’s just spitballing because I’m not a genius and i just wanna make something that looks interesting.


I’m curious because I’m don’t have a lot of experience with lubing or linears.
Could you describe how these overlubed switches felt?
It is difficult for me to think of some linears being “too smooth” if you know what I mean :thinking:


An overlubed linear doesn’t feel too smooth - it feels almost muddy. Imagine wet mud - it’s slick and slippery, but also very thick and tough to get through. In particular, the upstroke felt slower, and it was not a pleasant experience in the slightest.


Worst is I think when a dab of lube gets inside the stem tube. Feels like plunger and makes similar sucking sound too. Micro-plumber at your service.


Times like that are when the word “squidgy” is deployed.


That is the worst! I do lube inside the stem guide on my switches. So I always give
a freshly lubed switch a bunch of presses with it right next to my ear to make sure it isn’t doing that before it goes into the build pile.


I agree with @Lesbian on this, The descriptions in their post are a good starting point. The other way is just experience. For the most part, I’ve not had an overlubing problem. I usually use a small paintbrush for the stems and housings and if I lube springs, they get done in a bag.

I don’t think we would ever need to know just how many drops per x number of springs.

Part of the other problem too is that, since we’re in the subjective area of feels, my perfectly lubed might not be the same as yours or someone else’s. Theirs might be too little for you, mine might be too much, etc. I do think that the descriptions Lesbian made are a good starting point. I tend to go for a nice even coating, or in the case of rails, tend to lube the top of the rails a little more knowing that there’s gonna be motion there and it will fill in and some will come out of the top, however minimum.

I could safely say that I tend to aim for the “well lubed” description, and I think that’s a good spot.

I also try to keep the switches in my mod station until at least a row of them is done so I can fiddle with them and actuate them a bit before they go into the done bin.


I’ve tried thin silicone lubricants, oils and thick ball bearing grease, little and a lot, and I’m kind of skeptic to lubing overall because to my ear the scratchy shuffling noise is still there.
Perhaps I’m not doing it right (l keep that option open…) just wanted to raise my experience.

I’ve done that to a set of Tealios. It’s not a good experience.

In my view, not worth the time and effort for the results achieved. Many switches, like Gat Yellows and Zealios V2 62G are perfect right out of the box.

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Interesting - and a good example of exactly why I started this topic. For me, Zealios V2 62g were good out of the box, but were definitely improved with a light application of 3204 (none on the legs). Is that just because we have different preferences, or is it because we are lubing very differently, or both?

I think it’s personal preference - and why there are so many darn switches already. Plus it gives you something additional to do with this insane hobby! :slight_smile:

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LOL. " Feels like a plunger and makes similar sucking sound too".

You may have hit on a new type of switch. ‘Sexy Switches’ - the sound of sex while you type!

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I had to try some more, there are so many people lubing they got to be onto something…
So I tested with two Zilents 62g v2, one got lubed and then one by one I listened to them 1 cm from my ear canal.
It was super easy to hear a reverbing metallic sound from the spring in the unlubed switch and in the lubed switch that metallic sound was completely gone.
Both still had the same amount of low pitched shuffle sound tough.
For reference I also had an unlubed MX red, retooled. Nearly identical metallic reverbing spring sound but with a coarser and louder shuffle noise.

I get too frustrated with bad switches. Lubing helps but lubing to the point of all friction being removed just trashes the switch for me.

Lately, I’ve been lubing the springs with 3204 (fairly heavily around the bottom) and then putting a dab of 3204 on the side railing of the top housing, where the stem hits on rebound. I’m personally annoyed by the noisy sound most switches (especially polycarb top) make on the way back up. You can really hear the difference when slightly tapping on the keycaps or running your fingers back and forth without depressing the keys. A tiny bit of lube on the top housing side rails puts an end to most of the rattle without affecting the feel of the switch.

If the switch still feels and sounds bad, I move on to a different switch.


I think experimenting with liquid latex may prove fruitful. problem is finding one with viscosity low enough to allow very thin coating, thin enough to reduce noise without reducing key travel. I fear switches with tactile bump at top is sensitive to even slight change in key travel.

I think it would be cool to have a dampened Cherry/clone switch where the dampener is only on the top of the slider, not on the bottom, achieving a similar effect to a Topre switch with Hyperspheres.

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