My brother mentioned that he had read of using mineral oil instead of air in a pneumatics circuit. But I cannot find any examples or information on it.
His reasoning was that my application would be a light duty hydraulic system. The mineral oil certainly has some advantages.
Since air is easily compressed, his thinking was that if the cylinder rod encountered more resistance for a bit (like a knot in the wood), the rate of travel could slow and then jump forward when the resistance was passed. At the least the wood would burn. At the worse, the entire set-up could let loose with dangerous results.
Oil does not compress so this scenario doesn't play out. He claims that the pneumatic cylinders and solenoids would not be harmed using oil.
Other reasons included built-in lubrication, less likelihood of leaks as oil molecules are much bigger than air molecules, no rust, the relative inexpensiveness of the mineral oil, and fewer components in the system. Added to this is the fact of Arizona's dryness. Seals in an oil environment are less likely to dry out.
An inexpensive RV water pump (fixed 43 PSI) could provide the pressure to the system, as opposed to an air compressor. The supply reservoir would be a small "tank" made of 4" PVC capped at both ends, but vented to the atmosphere. (ala Joe Woodworker's vacuum pump systems.)
So there is compelling reason to explore this.
"Real" hydraulics are ruled out of my project due to overkill with regard to power and the much, much higher cost of components.
Also, 'real' hydraulics systems operate at a much, much higher PSI than pneumatics. Those high pressures are way unnecessary to my project.
Thus far Mr. Google has failed me in finding if this has been done before. I probably don't know exactly what to ask.
What does the collective trust know about this?