Do you need this tool?
This report covers:
- Know this
- Cheap BB
- No hole
- Loading the canister
- Table knife packer
- Drill out the tip
- Why do this?
No this is not BB’s autobiography! Last Friday’s report that was titled What do you need?, caused me to look online for a grease gun that is smaller than the traditional 14-ounce canister type. I have several of those, but to dispense Tune in a Tube (Almagard 3752) after the plastic applicator stops working, a smaller grease gun is handier. Or how about that Red “N” Tacky grease that comes in a tub? There is no applicator for it.
I researched online to find such an applicator. Lo and behold there are several. But watch out, because they do have problems. The biggest is there is no hole in the tip for grease to come out — at least not in the one I bought! I will discuss that in depth today.
I read only the positive reviews — well I read the first one, and it sounded great. Then I got the thing and — no hole for the grease. Now that I know it and it’s all behind me I read several of the other reviews. No hole, no hole, no hole! They don’t hold back. And the strange thing is, even some of the 5-star reviews mentioned the lack of a hole. I guess it just takes more to bother some folks than it does me.
I also discovered that there are 3-ounce grease guns for 3-ounce canisters. Who knew? Not BB. But we aren’t talking about one of those.
What BB needed was a gun that he could just pack loose grease into and then get it working as a handy dispenser. Those also exist, so if you decide this tool is for you, know what you are looking for.
I didn’t want to spend a bundle on this thing. So I bought the cheapest one, after determining from the first and only 5-star review I read that it was a good one. It cost $11.16, plus shipping.
The Astro Pneumatic 100 Mini Grease Gun.
BB’s grease gun.
At this point I didn’t know there wasn’t a hole in the tip of the nozzle. Who would make such a thing, anyway? Why, the Taiwanese, when not given enough money to drill the hole. I don’t have much of a problem with that — well, okay, I do have a problem with it. But why didn’t they at least tell me that in the pictograph instructions?
These are the only directions you get for the gun. They show how to fill the canister and to push up on the moveable plate inside, once the canister is filled.
There is a moveable plate inside the canister that moves up as the grease is dispensed. Although the tool’s title says it is a pneumatic tool, the grease actually flows hydraulically, and it sucks the bottom plate along with it as it goes. This replaces the spring-loaded plate and rod inside a regular canister-type grease gun, and according to the reviews, it works. We shall see.
The last picture in the directions shows pushing on the moveable plate through a hole in the bottom of the canister. Let’s look at that.
Push on the moveable plate to move it against the grease to get it flowing hydraulically. The label says Made in Taiwan.
Loading the canister
To load the canister you unscrew the top portion that contains the nozzle and the pump. The bottom of the canister does not come off. The diagrams show using the fingers to load it, but I used a spoon and knife. Before loading make sure the moveable plate inside the canister is all the way down.
I loaded the canister with a spoon.
Loading went easy for the first couple spoonfuls, then it didn’t. The grease in the canister blocked any new grease from entering. It just squished out the sides when I tried to load more.
When there were a couple spoonfuls of grease in the canister, the grease became harder to load. If I tried, the excess just squished out to the sides.
Table knife packer
This is where the table knife came in. I used it to stir and pack the grease in the canister, to make more room. Loading became a slower process at this point. In the end I did use my fingers to pack the final bit of grease in more effectively. I estimate I filled the canister 3/4 full.
Now I pushed the moveable plate up from the bottom with a screwdriver. Of course the top was not yet screwed onto the canister so the column of grease went up. Then I screwed on the top and started to push the pump plunger. Nothing.
My neighbor Denny was sitting in my garage and he looked at the tip of the nozzle. He said he thought there wasn’t a hole in the tip. I thought surely not! Who would make a grease gun with no way for the grease to come out? Maybe it comes out through osmosis.
So I used the magnifier on my phone and looked with magnification. Nope, no hole! It looked like there was a hole, but it was just a divot in the metal of the tip.
Denny suggested hitting the tip with a fine file to see if we could uncover the hole. At this point in time he and I both thought there had to be a hole in the tip.
Before I did that I tried pushing a straightened paperclip through from the rear (I removed the tip from the spout). No dice!
So Denny hit the tip with a fine file several times and what looked like a hole opened up. So again I tried to pump the grease. Nope!
After Denny lightly filed the tip we looked and what appeared to be a small hole had opened up. But it wasn’t all the way through.
Drill out the tip
Denny and I played with this thing for 15-20 minutes until we both agreed that a 1/16th-inch drill (the smallest drill bit I have) might do the trick. So I chucked the bit in my hand drill and came in from the back side of the tip. I bet I had to go through one-eighth inch of metal before the bit broke through the tip. But then there was a clean hole!
I put the tip on the nozzle and pumped the plunger twice and grease came out! Now the grease gun works as advertised. According to all the reviews of people who have gotten the gun to work, it is sturdy and lasts a long time. It’s mostly used by bicyclists, from what the reviews say, but this one will be used on airguns.
Success! After the tip was drilled out the grease flows perfectly when the pump is pumped.
Why do this?
Did I need to do this — buy and fill this mini grease gun? Not really. If I bought Tune in a Tube, its applicator works fine. I have even reloaded the applicator after using all the grease and continued to use it a couple more times. But eventually the plastic plunger inside wears down and the grease comes out both ends.
Can I apply grease without an applicator? Sure. But I have to disassemble the gun farther to get at the mainspring. If I can find a needle injector that will fit the tip of this mini grease gun I will be in hog heaven. As it is, though, I have a clean way of storing my tacky red grease that is ready at a moment’s notice.
Today’s report is a case of BB researching something while he wrote a different report and seeing there was a better way for him to do things. So he did it, ran into a problem, solved it and recorded everything for all of you. I have to thank reader Alex2no for this. She got me to respond in the first place.
For all the guys who already knew everything I reported today, my apologies. But I didn’t know it, and I suspect there are others who might not know it as well. This one is for them.