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Rubik’s Cubes and other twisty puzzles require regular lubrication so that they can perform well. Lubrication is a significant aspect of speedcubing, known to halve the time of cubers. Poor lubrication means a greater resistance when turning or rotating the Cube, leading to it working poorly and affecting the speedcubers solving speed.
A range of lubricants (lubes) can be used to lubricate the Cube. Some lubricants are more appropriate for the lubrication of the whole Rubik’s Cube, and some are specifically made to lubricate the core. Lube can either make it easier when turning the Rubik’s Cube or allow for smoother turning. Lubes can even be used to slow down the Cube. When choosing a lube, there is no one size fits all as it depends on the Rubik’s Cube being used and the Cuber. Different lubes affect Cubes differently. Lubes differ in the way they affect a Cube’s static and dynamic friction. Lubes used on Cubes include petroleum jelly (also used on skin), silicone oils, shock oil, differential oil, homemade lubes, and water-based oils.
There are two different ways of lubricating a Rubik’s Cube, depending on which part of the Rubik’s Cube needs to be lubricated:
- General lubrication of the whole Rubik’s Cube by removing one piece of the Cube.
- Disassembling all the pieces of a Rubik’s Cube is done when the core needs lubrication.
Caution: It is important to pay attention to the safety information given for the selected lube to take the relevant precautions.
The following items are needed when lubricating a Rubik’s Cube:
- Rubik’s Cube
- A cloth or disposable paper towel
- The appropriate lubricant
- A prying tool (optional)
Method 1: Removing Only One Rubik’s Cube Piece
Step 1: Begin by placing the Rubik’s Cube on a disposable towel to absorb any spillages.
Step 2: Remove an edge piece from the Rubik’s Cube by rotating one side of the Cube 45 degrees to allow for easy removal. The fingers or a prying tool can then be used to push out the chosen edge piece. Removing an edge piece from the Cube can be easy or difficult, depending on the Cube brand.
Step 3: A few drops of lubricant can then be added to the groove created by the edge piece.
Step 4: Next, the edge piece can then be fitted back to the Cube.
Step 5: The Rubik’s Cube can then be rotated and turned to allow for the lubricant to spread throughout the Cube. It should already start to feel smoother or faster.
Step 6: Lastly, the Rubik’s Cube can be wiped down to remove excess lubricant and left to sit for some minutes to allow the lubricant to set before it can be used again.
Method 2: Disassembling the Whole Rubik’s Cube
The second method takes a longer time to execute than the first method as it involves disassembling the Cube.
Step 1: An edge piece is removed in a similar way to the first method by first rotating one side of the Rubik’s Cube 45 degrees and then prying it out either using fingers or a prying tool.
Step 2: After removing the edge piece, the entire Cube has to be disassembled piece by piece. Once a few pieces have been removed, it easily falls apart; the Rubik’s Cube should come apart easily.
Step 3: Once all the pieces have been removed the core can be seen. Lubricant can be applied to each of the screws that connect the centerpieces to the core.
Step 4: The screws can be exposed by slightly pulling the centerpieces away from the core and adding one or two drops of lube. Ensure the lubricant also reaches the springs by pulling the centerpieces in and out.
Step 5: After applying oil to all the parts of the Cube core, the Cube can be carefully reassembled. It is important to note that only a few drops of lube are needed.
Step 6: Any excess lubricant can be wiped off the faces of the Rubik’s Cube using a paper towel.
Lubrication is a big contributor to attaining faster speedsolving times and becoming a successful speedcuber. Cubers need to find the right lubricant for their specific Rubik’s Cube through trial and error as every Cube and its owner are different. It is also important for speedcubers to schedule a regular lubrication routine for their Rubik’s Cube at the correct intervals.
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