Which graphite products and recipes do you use?

EnZedRacing Wednesday, 2/15/2023

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Quick answers to a simple question: what graphite do you all use?

Do you have a secret recipe?

Use an expensive brand?

Or just straight off the shelf from your local hardware store? 


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dr_dodge 2/15/23

I picked up some for pinewood cars at hobby lobby.
seems pretty chunky, though

can you mix graphite with a fluid to help get it in the axles better?
alcohol maybe? 
just seems hard to get it to go down into the wheel

  • I think I have the same issue. Not sure if diluting it with alcohol will work (??) — EnZedRacing
  • I made a video on using isopropyl alcohol mixed 2-1 with graphite. Works great at applying graphite. Everything else in the build is up to you. https://youtu.be/U2awNyyiFt0 — FeralPatrick
  • Locksmith turned me on to Teflon suspended in IPA couple years ago, worked ok for a liquid but didn't test it extensively. — Redline_Salvage_Inc
  • That’s the same graphite I use,personally I got 2 tubes and so far I’m still on my first and I believe it’s working fine — Kingjester
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redlinederby 2/15/23
Site manager

I've always just used what I can get at the hobby store or even Hobby Lobby. It's the pinewood derby stuff. I've never had any of it be "chunky" or anything...all nice and fine, works great.

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FeralPatrick 2/15/23

Here's a little video I made using isopropyl alcohol and graphite. The brand I use is in the video. This is literally my only advice I can give builders and feel confident about it. lol


  • thanks for that, I will make some up and do it that way — dr_dodge
  • FYI - The iso will remove the chrome from wheels. — FeralPatrick
  • I stumbled upon this video about a month ago and I've been trying it out on various cars. So far, its been working great. It's also been working great with my Johnny Lightnings. Applying out to the backside of the wheels. ; been working great — ChaseFamilyRacing
  • That's awesome, Endcount. — FeralPatrick
  • What a good idea! Loved the video, straight forward and easy to understand. — EnZedRacing
  • I really like this idea. Seems like it moves the graphite quite a bit further into the areas that need it, including the wheel to chassis contact point. We used something similar in the military called Neolube. — TheMakersBox
  • Awesome video! Thanks! — Stickdog
  • and vodka — dr_dodge
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GspeedR 2/15/23

"XL8R Ultra Graphite" by PineCar is much finer (more powder-like) than the regular stuff. Easier to fill those tiny axle gaps.

Science! Well a microscope at least. :P Pile on left is Hobby Lobby pinewood derby stuff, works great for pw cars. On right is finer grind but more pricey. I use a blend of the two. Technically you can make the finer stuff out of the cheaper large grind stuff, but can be super messy.

  • Neat! — redlinederby
  • A porcelain mortar & pestle could be used to minimize the mess — GspeedR
  • Good idea, porcelain would work, cheapo coffee grinder would prolly work too. — Redline_Salvage_Inc
  • The pile on the left looks like what I use. Right hand side is what I'm thinking would be easier to use? — EnZedRacing
  • Much closer tolerances in the 1/64 wheels/axles, finer stuff goes down axle tunnel, bigger stuff mostly stays in the axle head "cup" of wheel. Need lube in both. — Redline_Salvage_Inc
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Spirit_Of_64 2/15/23

The only thing I know for sure is DON'T use the stuff from the hardware store and stick to the hobby grade graphite. I watched a DXP video and he was adamant about that. I reckon I should defer to his expertise on that.

  • I bought a can if the spray, and the solvent (smelled like acetone) made the wheels soft (good reason to always test on something you don't need) and hardened back after it evaporated, leaving a big hard thumbprint in the wheel — dr_dodge

I use Pinewood Pro hobby grade graphite, but recently been experimenting with mixes.

Pinewood Pro is neat, it's in a blue bottle (shown below)and the neat thing about it is the micro-plastic beads they put in it, which can help reduce friction...at least from what we've tested, anyways. This stuff works, it's a solid choice.

just be carful it doesn't always come with an accurate opening so it will get EVERYWHERE.

edit: "sub-micron molybdenum disulfide." That's apparently what it is called.

  • I use this stuff too, I like it. — Numbskull
  • It’s solid stuff, but the only issue is it’s inconsistency. Large chunks and small power both. Trying to see if there’s anything It can be mixed with to improve consistency. — 0utsiders_Street_Racing
  • thats why I said it was chunky, powder, and lump coal...lol — dr_dodge
  • Yeah Monster Motorsports has a great vid about how to tap it into the wheel and really set it in there, actually he has a couple of ‘em. We here at the 0utsiders use toothpicks though. Literally shove it down in there, then grind it in. — 0utsiders_Street_Racing
  • This is what I've always used, never had any issues — redlinederby
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redlinederby 2/15/23
Site manager

Here's a tried-n-true guide for some modding including the graphite: www.redlinederby.com/topic/more-modding-tips-tricks/3313

I've always followed the process outline in there...car sidewars, put the graphite on the end and then use a fine paint brush to push it in the all the cracks and crevices. 

  • A fine paintbrush....never thought of doing that either. I usually tap the wheel gently with a chopstick: time to buy a small paintbrush I feel — EnZedRacing

I heard a rumor that "Black Ice" is Molybendium Disulfide suspended in IPA. I can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of this statement.

  • I use IPA daily. — Numbskull
  • Now this is starting to sound like a drug deal (insert laughing emoji thingy here) — EnZedRacing
  • lol — dr_dodge
  • I just tried Moly disulfide mixed with iso yesterday and it literally made no difference from stock to lube. I compared to graphite and it's no contest. But I'll try it dry next time to see if the iso affected it. I'll also apply graphite after the moly to see if a 2-step process works. My graphite hasy moly in it already, so maybe using straight moly is unnecessary...? Maybe it's the brand...? I also just tried graphene, with no improvement. But I'll keep experimenting. :) — FeralPatrick

I've always used "Maximum Velocity" graphite. Lasts quite a while. Lately, I have been trying what I saw on FeralMods Youtube channel and its been working well. It also works great for lubing wheels on Johnny Lightning cars by applying to the backside of the wheels. 

I see people mentioning "IPA". What is that?

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EnZedRacing 2/16/23

This is great guys!! A lot of valuable advice and reading "don't use hardware store graphite" makes me realise I should've researched this better years ago.

Also thank you to Redline for changing the title of this thread...sounds a lot better now  :)

  • One issue you will have in Australia, is availability, and price. You certainly don't get the wide range of specialist graphites here as they do in the States. Most wont post to Aus either. If you wish, drop me a line and I can tell you what is reasonably available etc. Cheers mate. — CutRock_R_Marc_D

Here's the graphite we use:

Maximum Velocity Premium Pinewood Car Graphite Powder | Easy Application tip for Derby Car Wheels & Axles | Graphite Lubricant for Pine Derby Car Kits a.co/d/du8KRnH

I was a pretty experienced pinewood derby car builder (5 kids + an adult category for many years). Graphite is definitely your friend! Lots of good advice already shared here!

  • That's the brand I use, too. I began with cheaper stuff, then tried this. No contest. — FeralPatrick
  • ordered yesterday from the death star (amazon) — dr_dodge
  • used moly, graphite, and vodka to make a lube, wow, works good (on slot cars, too) — dr_dodge

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