A lubricant (or sometimes called a lube) is a material which can be put in a puzzle to make it easier to turn or smoother, or even slower(usually used in puzzles that are too fast for someone's liking). 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 most important part of speedcubing, known to halve times for many people.
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.
Choose the right lube, or it will make it worse. The right lube depends on player and cube. There is no single agreed-on recommendation.
A mixture of lubricants may suit your needs. Experiment in a rational manner, trying to solve specific problems. If a cube becomes dirty or extremely gummy, it may be necessary to disassemble it and clean the pieces with soapy water and a toothbrush before attempting to relube.
- 1 Silicon-Based
- 1.1 Cubicle Silicone Lube
- 1.2 Lubicle Silicone Lube
- 1.3 Lubix Cube
- 1.4 Rubik's Lube
- 1.5 Cubesmith Lube
- 1.6 Jig-A-Loo
- 1.7 CRC Silicone Spray
- 1.8 Tableau Dry Lube
- 1.9 Shock Oil
- 1.10 Differential Oil
- 1.11 Maplin Silicone Grease with PTFE
- 1.12 Armour All original protectant
- 1.13 Other silicone lubricants
- 2 Water-Based
- 3 PFPE-Based
- 4 Petroleum-Based
- 5 Miscellaneous Other Lubricants
- 6 External links
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.
Cubicle Silicone Lube
There is a wide range of lubes from 5cc to 25cc, from Weight 5 to Weight 1. The heavier lube is better for the core (Weight 5,4,3) and the lighter lube is better for the pieces (Weight 3,2,1). TheCubicle Silicone Lube
Lubicle Silicone Lube
Now there are Lubicle lubes: speedy, normal, gummy, and others, like 1, silk and black.
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.
This is the lube that comes in a syringe-like container when you order from Rubiks.com.
Before Cubesmith wasn't no longer available again, Cubesmith used to sell low and high viscosity lube here. Each syringe contained 5 cc of lube. It did not melt plastic like Jig-A-Loo, CRC, and vaseline can. If you were gonna use it, avoiding getting the lube on the stickers, as it may compromise the adhesive. Each order also came with 2 Cubesmith logo stickers.
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
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).
- Speedsolving.com : What type of Shock 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
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
- 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.
- Bicycle chain lube - some contain silicone oils, but are not recommended as they are in a petroleum-based carrier which will damage the plastic pieces.
Water based lubricants can make a puzzle very fast and smooth. They have a reputation for quickly losing their effectiveness. Some manufacturers have created formulations that improve their longevity. They should only be used on the surfaces of the plastic pieces. Using them on metal pieces such as screws and springs will cause corrosion problems.
Cubicle Labs DNM-37
This lube contains hyrophilic substances that draw moisture from the air to improve longevity.
Angstrom makes two water based lubricants:
- Compound X is designed for making puzzles slower without making them gummy.
- Compound V is designed for making puzzles faster.
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 period. Very Cheap and lasts for over 3 months per bottle. Maru Lube at Lightake
Video sharing sites such as YouTube host many how-to videos by people making their own water-based lubricants. These are made with common household items such as:
- Olive Oil
- Dish Soap
- Hand Soap
- Skin Moisturizer
You should experiment with these on a puzzle which you do not care about very much. Expect to relube frequently.
Perfluoropolyethers are a class of synthetic oils invented by DuPont. They are mainly used in the aerospace industry for their exceptional resistance to degrading by chemical attack and high temperatures. Its use in speed cubing provides the non-damaging benefits of silicone-based oils but with the added advantage of lasting much longer due to the material's very low evaporation rate.
T-Minus One Speed Cube Oil comes with a 5ml bottle of PFPE and molybdenum disulfide core grease in a syringe. Sold on Amazon
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.
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.
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
This lube from The Cubicle is plant-based, made from Aloe. They recommend using within a year, as it will spoil.
Trader Joe's also sells an aloe vera gel which you might experiment with.
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.
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.
A dry, oil-free solution. Reduces the 'sticky' feeling, but causes cube to turn less smoothly.
- YouTube: Comparasion of Cubicle Lubes - a good video about the types
- YouTube: How to lubricate a Rubik's cube - standard method (by Jh543)
- YouTube: How to Lube Your Rubik's Cube - standard method, inc 4x4x4 (by VanquishSDude)
- YouTube: How to Lube Your Cube - disassembling the cube (by biggajigga721)
- YouTube: Rubik's Cube Lubrication experiment (by badmephisto)
- Speedsolving.com: Which silicone lubricant to use, and where to get?
- Speedsolving.com: Jigaloo Vs Crc
- Speedsolving.com: What Lube and Where to get it from? (UK Lube)
- Speedsolving.com: UK Cubing Lubricant
- Speedsolving.com: Shock Oil
- Speedsolving.com: Lubricant Other than Silicone Spray
- Speedsolving.com: Shock Oil VS. CRC Silicone Spray
- Speedsolving.com: Survey