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Using a depth gauge for cube tensioning

Joined
Feb 20, 2017
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Thread starter #1
I picked up a depth gauge (iGaging 0-4" Electronic Digital Depth Gauge SnapDepth 0.0005" Inch/Metric/Fractions Tire Tread Gage) on Amazon and just used it to adjust tensions on my Huanglong 3x3 - has anyone tried this? It worked well!

Usage was simple - I had already assembled, lubed, and tensioned the cube manually - I had all my screws aligned and (I thought) at the same tension.

I went around the cube measuring the distance between the screw head and the outer surface of the puzzle. As it turned out, a few of the screws were a little tighter than the rest. I adjusted all screws to be essentially the same distance using quarter turns, and now the cube feels exactly tensioned on all sides.

You just zero it, then push it down to get a reading - simple. Cost about $15 but you can probably find them cheaper.

61Z5GmUJE8L._SL1000_.jpg

Here's how I used it.

First, I zero the gauge on the top of the cube. This pushes the probe all the way up into the device, and sets it to zero. The gauge will now measure depth, proportional to how much the spring loaded probe is sticking out from the bottom:

IMG_3551.jpg

After that, I remove the center cap and align the probe onto the top of the screw:

IMG_3552.jpg

Push the gauge down so its flush with the top of the cube, and take a reading:

IMG_3553.jpg

It's hard to see the reading but this is showing me that the screw is tightened down so its 5.31mm LOWER than the top of the cube.

If I go around the rest of the cube now they're all tightened to essentially the same depth - 5.30, 5.32, 5.31... much closer to equal than I could get the tensions just by using my eye.

Hopefully this makes sense!

Unfortunately the probe itself is a little too wide to fit comfortably between the center tiles of my Wuque 4x4. the tip unscrews (so you can make the gauge longer) so its possible to make a thinner attachment that threads on. I'm going to see about finding or making something that will allow me to take measurements in more confined situations like on a 4x4.

I also adjusted tensions on my cyclone boys skewb. Here I'm measuring how far the screw is tightened with the lip of the surrounding piece internal as the reference point. This measurement was a little harder because the diameter of the piece internal is so small and the tool isn't totally flat there - you can kind of see this in the picture. I need to get a straightedge I can use in a situation like this to get a level surface that is wide enough to seat the tool on if that makes sense. Nonetheless with a little care I was able to get all the screws adjusted - some were off by up to 1.5 turns:

IMG_3554.jpg

Update: did my chuwen as well - the 2x2s with the rounded edges are easy to tension using the gauge. Once again, one of my screws was off even though it looked fine to my eye.

I realized that for doing 4x4s etc, I can probably just tape a paperclip or something similar to the probe to 'extend it'. It just needs to stay put during measurement. I'll try it later and report in the thread if it works - a permanent attachment would be nicer of course but that will take some time to develop.
 
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Feb 20, 2017
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Thread starter #4
Was just chatting with DMCubing, he shows this technique in one of his videos (need to track it down) and I think you can use a regular digital caliper for this! I think this is the right tool for the job, plus you can use it for measuring plastic thickness.

Just ordered this one:

61FUoTB00AL._SL1100_.jpg

The little part sticking out from the bottom can be used to measure depth - simple as that! And easier to use with 4x4 cubes for example.

UPDATE:

Man DMCubing is an awesome resource for cube setup and refinement - his videos got me into magnetization of cubes and really just into cubing in general. He's been using this technique for a few years, here's a good pic of his using a regular digital caliper with a depth gauge to check tensions on a 5x5. This is better than the tool I posted I think- you get a solid reference line on the bottom of the caliper and the probe is a lot thinner. For the most consistent measurements you'll want to make sure that the bottom of the tool is squarely against the surface of the cube:

IMG_4833.JPG
 
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Feb 19, 2017
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Shreveport, LA
#5
Was just chatting with DMCubing, he shows this technique in one of his videos (need to track it down) and I think you can use a regular digital caliper for this! I think this is the right tool for the job, plus you can use it for measuring plastic thickness.

Just ordered this one:

View attachment 9122

The little part sticking out from the bottom can be used to measure depth - simple as that! And easier to use with 4x4 cubes for example.

UPDATE:

Man DMCubing is an awesome resource for cube setup and refinement - his videos got me into magnetization of cubes and really just into cubing in general. He's been using this technique for a few years, here's a good pic of his using a regular digital caliper with a depth gauge to check tensions on a 5x5. This is better than the tool I posted I think- you get a solid reference line on the bottom of the caliper and the probe is a lot thinner. For the most consistent measurements you'll want to make sure that the bottom of the tool is squarely against the surface of the cube:

View attachment 9128
You're too kind. You certainly don't have to credit me though. It's cool you came up with a similar system. And you're so right about using the tool flat and squarely against the cube. That's important.
I've done it this way for a couple of years. But on some cubes, like the GTS2M, I eyeball the threaded portion of the axial screw and adjust each to where it is in just at the end of the angled portion (before the threads start) and back up just a hair. It's backed out ever so slightly more than where the factory sets them.
 
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Feb 20, 2017
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Thread starter #6
Few updates here:

I grabbed two out of the box MF3RS2s and did an experiment. I used the digital depth gauge and zeroed it to one side, then checked the deviation in tensions on the other sides. What I found was a little surprising to me: all sides were tensioned within a half turn of each other. 3 were essentially the same, 2 were a quarter turn off, and one was a half turn off, approximately. Also, between the two cubes, both were tensioned very similarly - same breakdown in deviations. Pretty cool - I'd love to know how they tension these in the factory.

I got a caliper like the one DMCubing uses, and will post pics explaining usage. If you only want one tool I think this is the one to get - a caliper has more functions and you can use it on 2kx2k big cubes unlike the digital depth gauge. I find the digital depth gauge easier to use however - its spring loaded so you can quickly push it down onto a cube to check tensions, and the flat is wider making it easier to align when taking a measurement. If you can, get both.

I have a bunch of factory xuxin big cubes as well as some custom cubes, look forward to checking the tensions on those and will share results.
 
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