Wood bearing surfaces

Guys, as my stuff gets more complex, I’m looking at making things move. Things that are too light and disposable for real bearings.
As a kid, we always used either bar soap or candle wax to create a low-friction sleeve, and of course, there is always Delran, but I’m looking for your input as I know we have a lot of experts here.



I’m pretty sure @bill.m.davis did not use bearings for his clocks.


Just like before there were bearing drawer glides, my first thought was parafin or the soap trick.
Is the movement linear or circular?


The imitate use case is circular but linear is a possible future use.


For rotary things I’ve used delrin (laser cut by me) or nylon washers (purchased).

I’ve also used UHMW “slick tape” with good success, especially if it’s in a situation where I don’t have a central hub or spindle that can keep washers on track.


For the 3-axis toy I put in the catalog, candle wax or crayon works great and seems to last forever.


Hadn’t thought of crayon,good add.

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The mention of crayons made me think that surely there must be a commercial solution, sure enough.


What you need for lubrication depends on the load and how fast the bearing surfaces are going to be moving relative to each other, not so much whether it’s a radial or linear bearing surface.

For light loads, wood-on-wood with a heavy grease can be very durable.

If the loads are high, provided the loads aren’t outrageous, Delrin makes an excellent unlubricated bearing surface. And your laser cutter will cut Delrin just fine (just make sure you’re well ventilated since it produces Formaldehyde when it burns).

Depending on what you’re designing, embedding an actual bearing in to the object might not be too hard. For example, you could capture the bearing in a larger pocket in an inner layer, captured between two outer layers with holes only large enough for the axle that runs through the bearing.


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