Lubrication

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A lubricant (or lube) is a material which can be put in a puzzle to make it easier to turn or smoother. This page contains descriptions of different lubricants and specific suggestions for how to use them. In general, to lube a cube, you should apply the lubricant either by removing one piece and spraying it in, or by disassembling the cube completely and coating the pieces in lubricant. After lube is applied, it is usually best to not time a solve immediately, but rather give the lube a few minutes to work in. It is also recommended that you do not apply lube to very stiff cubes, as this can sometimes make them even harder to turn; instead, try putting vaseline in the cube, then after a week or two, clean it out and then lubricate it.


The following two general terms are used to characterise the friction effects of a lubricant:

  • Static Friction - force required to initiate a turn.
  • Dynamic Friction - resistance felt during the turn.

The range of lubricants available affect each of these aspects in differing degrees. For example, silicone oils tend to reduce static friction, while increasing dynamic friction.

Contents

Silicon-Based

Silicon-based lubricants are a highly popular and effective way to lubricate cubes. Silicone sprays leave a smooth coat of lube over the cube's plastic to make it glide smoothly over other surfaces, thus making your cube turn smoother.

Lubix Cube

A high viscosity pure silicone oil fluid. Very Effective and has risen to one of the most popular lubricants on sale. The lubricant is a little expensive but only very little is needed and it is said to last a very long time.

The same silicone oil (dimethylsiloxane fluid) could be found at most local hobby stores with a much cheaper price, though missing Lubix's syringe.

Rubik's Lube

This is the lube that comes in a syringe-like container when you order from Rubiks.com.

3x3 4x4 5x5 PVC

Maru Lubricant

A white, milk like liquid. Works very well and is very popular. Huge performance increase on the spot even with only 1 or 2 drops.The lubricant tends to dry out quickly during a weeks peroid. Very Cheap and lasts for over 3 months per bottle. Maru Lube at Lightake

Cubesmith Lube

Cubesmith sells low and high viscosity lube here. Each syringe contains 5 cc of lube. It does not melt plastic like Jig-A-Loo, CRC, and vaseline can. If you are gonna use it, avoiding getting the lube on the stickers, as it may compromise the adhesive. Each order also comes with 2 Cubesmith logo stickers.

Jig-A-Loo

Used by many cubers, this lubricant works very well. However, it can melt plastic temporarily, so it is recommended that you completely disassemble your cube to lubricate it, and that you let the pieces dry well before reassembly. Available in the US and Canada. @see jigaloo.com, Speedsolving.com: The TRUTH about Jig-A-Loo

CRC Silicone Spray

CRC silicon spray has been used by many cubers. This is a very good lubricant to use. It will dry out soon, but works well. It is known to eat cubes too, so use with caution. Available at Wal Mart in the US and Canada. Available at some hardware stores in Australia.

Tableau Dry Lube

A silicone-based spray lubricant, popular in the UK. Cheap to buy and often gets good reviews. eBay.co.uk is usually the best place to buy it online. Like most spray lubricants, its propellant can cause temporary melting of plastic, so it is recommended that the cube is disassembled to allow the lube to dry before use. @see tableauproducts.com

Shock Oil

Available worldwide, this comes in a range of viscosities and is 100% pure silicone oil. Mainly sold for radio controlled car shock absorbers. Available from racingstate.com in wt30 (UK only), or towerhobbies.com in a range of viscosities including wt10, wt20 and wt30 (shipping is expensive, but available worldwide).

Differential Oil

Differential oils of very high viscosity have been used successfully by some cubers. 50,000wt oils such as this one are reported to produce very good results. The right quantity is a small drop per cube, and applying more may make a cube slower and sticky. These oils are available in toy shops as well as on eBay.

Maplin Silicone Grease with PTFE

Works well on DIY cubes, and is easy to find in the UK. Comes in a spray can with extension tube for lazy lubing. @see maplin.co.uk

Armour All original protectant

It is silicone based, and pretty good, but sometimes causes the cube to gunk up when overlubed. It is recommended that you wipe off excess lubricant after using. @see armorall.com

Other silicone lubricants

  • Calvin Puzzles Lube - available from hknowstore.com and puzzleaddictions,com
  • W5 Silicone Oil - available from LIDL stores across Europe
  • 3 in 1 silicone spray - Takes a while to dry. Available in UK hardware stores such as Halfords. It also leaves a very sticky feel to it, even after it has dried.
  • Wynn's Silicone Lube - From 'A1', a UK motoring spares store.
  • Rapide silicone spray - Available from UK stores.
  • Griffon - Available in the Netherlands
  • Prestone
  • Sprayway
  • Gyrolon Universal Silikonspray - Available in the german dicounter ALDI
  • OK/Q8 SILKON SPRAY, avaiable in Sweden, much like CRC but does not dry out as fast.

Petroleum-Based

These include lubricants such as vaseline, WD-40, or Liquid Wrench. It is recommended that you do not use these, but if you really want to, use them with caution, as petroleum and petroleum distillates speed the aging of plastic, and may dissolve the plastic resulting in destruction of the pieces and the internal mechanism. Excessive uses of these lubricants often lead to the center mechanism breaking apart completely. Some, however, have reported success using petroleum based lubricants to speed up breaking in of new cubes. It would be best if you have a tight cube (Rubik's brand) to lube it will a petroleum based jelly for about a month. Then take it all a part and cleaning it and use a silicone base lubricant.

Vaseline

Goopy and well known, this is not the best lube. Being a petroleum based lubricant it will speed the deterioration of the pieces as well as the internal mechanism. Some people recommend using vaseline for a while to wear down the inside of the cube (almost like breaking in the cube) before using other lubricants.

WD-40

Known for damaging cubes by wearing the pieces in and making them harder to turn, this does not actually act as a lubricant for the plastic at all. However, there have been some success stories of WD-40 being used on cubes and making them smoother. It is recommended you do not use this. If you must, however, you should wash or wipe it off after about half an hour.

Liquid Wrench and WD-40 Silicone

Even though Liquid Wrench and WD-40 silicone says Silicone Spray on the can, it still contains petroleum distillates. The lubricants also have a very petroleum-like smell and will stay there. Liquid Wrench and WD-40 silicone sprays are not odorless. Do not use them. It contains less than 5% of silicone.

Miscellaneous Other Lubricants

Cooking No-stick Spray

Yes, PAM. Not necessarily the cleanest or best thing to use, it works nonetheless. It will slowly eat the plastic but not nearly as fast as petroleum based products. It is recommended you clean out your cube frequently if you use this.

White Lithium Grease

There are some mixed results of this lubricant, but it does work fairly well. The cube will have a sticky feeling after using it, though it wears off after some breaking-in.

Furniture Polish

Some furniture polishes such as Mr Sheen and Shine-Up Polish contain silicone and can be a cheap and widely available lubricant. Reviews are mixed with some reporting a positive result, while others aren't convinced.

Graphite Powder

A dry, oil-free solution. Reduces the 'sticky' feeling, but causes cube to turn less smoothly.


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