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 Post subject: Toothpaste to break in a cube
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:19 pm 
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Hello, all.

This is my first post.

I was curious if anybody ever tried toothpaste to break in a cube. As a trick back in my R/C car days, one would put toothpaste on the gears in the transmission to break it in and make it quieter. After that break-in, grease would then be used on the gears, like usual.

I tried toothpaste on a cube, and it seemed to produce a lot of black particulate, so I believe it worked. Toothpaste contains hydrated silica, so it should work as a simple lapping compound on a cube. I have heard of people suggesting sand in a cube, so this should act similarly, given that silica is essentially sand (or glass, aka silicon dioxide).

If anybody wants to try this, it is kind of messy, so I'd suggest trying it on an unstickered cube, or one that you don't care much about.

I basically put the toothpaste in the cube and worked it until I my arms got tired (fingertricks were out of the question). After this, I rinsed well with warm water, and then tried out the cube.

The cube was almost ready to use without lubrication, but I applied silicon/teflon spray anyways.

Anyways, has anybody else tried this, or think it may be worthwhile? I have been satisfied with results, but I have only been cubing for about 3 weeks, so I can understand that maybe I am overestimating the effects of treating a cube this way. Let me know what you think of treating a cube this way.

- joe


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:05 am 
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hmm... i've never heard of doing this, altho when i lubed my cube i did solve it with water running over/thru it, and it made it a bit quieter. but the only prob is, after about 3 hours it got loud again... did yours do teh same? if not then you might be onto something.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:14 pm 
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The cube seems much better than before, and like I said, I got lots of visible black chunks out of it. Of course I should do a more controlled experiment where the toothpaste is the only factor. I didn't clean off the cube before I tried the toothpaste, so naturally normal wear would be evident as well.

Maybe later tonight I'll wash the cube and then try the toothpaste and see if it can solely produce the black particles.

Like I said, if anybody else wants to try it, feel free to. You have to get used to the idea of getting toothpaste all over your hands (as the excess squeezes out), and your cube smelling minty fresh!

In any case, I'll report my findings once I give it another whirl.

- joe


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm 
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lol, u do that then, and also let me know if it damages ur stickers.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:04 pm 
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ever seen toothpaste a day after you get some on a table top. it gets all crunchy. I don't think it will work

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:25 pm 
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CaptianCrash44 wrote:
ever seen toothpaste a day after you get some on a table top. it gets all crunchy. I don't think it will work


Well, like I said, after you use the toothpaste, you have to rinse it off with water. Basically, here's what I do:

After doing the toothpaste procedure, I take the cube apart, then go through a wash procedure, cubie-by-cubie. I take one cubie, wipe it down with a wet paper towel to get the toothpaste into solution, then dunk the whole cubie under warm, running water to get all of the toothpaste off. If it doesn't all come off, I repeat procedure as necessary. Then I take the cubie and dry it off with the paper towel. It is then set aside to airdry while I work on the other cubies.

I had no problems with the stickers peeling off, and I have the cheap, original Rubik stickers still. The stickers are really beat up from me solving the cube, but the toothpaste and water didn't cause any damage to them or any peeling.

- joe


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:08 am 
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wow, i think you might be onto a great discovery here. and you said it makes the cube turn better?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:39 am 
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Speedy McFastfast wrote:
wow, i think you might be onto a great discovery here. and you said it makes the cube turn better?


Well, if you have a cube that is already broken-in pretty well, then I doubt you'll notice a huge difference. I can tell a difference though since my cube is still relatively new. I think it would be a good tactic to speed up the breaking in of a new cube. It may also be relatively useless on a DIY cube with a loose tension. Seeing as I don't own one though, that is just speculation.


Now, last night I did indeed try this again.

I noticed several things, since I tried to pay more attention this time:

1.) The teflon/silicone spray I use for lubrication makes the plastic waterproof. I did an initial clean with just water, and the water beaded on the cubes afterwards. After doing the toothpaste technique and rinsing clean, the cubes no longer beaded. Since I doubt there is a solvent for that spray present in toothpaste, I conclude that it wore away plastic.

2.) More importantly, after finishing the toothpaste procedure and disassembling the cube, the toothpaste was grey, and reminded me of molybdenum grease by its color and texture. Logically it follows that since my cube's plastic is black, and the toothpaste is white, that the black plastic that was worn off combined with the toothpaste to make a grey mixture.

3.) I also got some visible black specks, but many less than last time I attempted this.

I tried the cube without lube and it seemed marginally better than it was before without lube. With lube, it seems much better though, and I barely have to flick it anymore to turn a face. Of course, that could be due to a fresh application of lubricant.

This time with the toothpaste, I did the following protocol:

I disassembled and washed the cube with water, then put it 2/3 back together, leaving the red side cubies aside while I applied toothpaste to the exposed edges on the partially assembled cube. I then finished assembly of the cube and worked the cube a couple solves. After this, I took off the orange side and repeated as said for the red side. I repeated for opposite sides, yellow, then white, then green, then blue. After going through that cycle, I worked the cube for another hour, then did the cleanup as I mentioned in a previous post.

A few things to note before I wrap up. This will get toothpaste on the core of the cube, so this is probably best for cheaper cubes like mine where I don't worry about getting toothpaste there. It primarily sticks to the back side of the center cubes, and never got farther than that, but I'm assuming it could spread elsewhere if you applied the toothpaste too heavily.

Alright, this is a long rant. I'm going to try to pick up a new cube at the store next week, so I will try this technique on a brand-new cube and see what happens. It may take me awhile to post back on my findings since I go in for surgery next week (getting my wisdom teeth yanked out), but I'll certainly report anything I find.

- joe


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:15 pm 
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wow

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:42 pm 
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The only thing I wonder about this method is if you are perhaps roughing up parts of the cube that would otherwise be just fine.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:35 am 
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blogan wrote:
The only thing I wonder about this method is if you are perhaps roughing up parts of the cube that would otherwise be just fine.


Perhaps, but after you take the thing apart, you can tell where the toothpaste has been, since it is thick and stays where it was when you take it apart. I do have a fairly basic cube, it being a store bought one from years ago with flat centers. I'm not sure how this technique will work on other cubes. Obviously if it got into the spring area or the like, that could be problematic, but I haven't found this to be the case. It hangs around on the cubies.

I'm still not sure if the reward would be worth the time to most people, but I knew from experience that it made the plastic gears of R/C car gearboxes quiet, so perhaps it would work here. To me it seems to make a positive difference that I can notice.

I've heard of sand being suggested to break in a cube, so I think this is basically the same thing, but with smaller "grains of sand." You can tell where it polished down the cubies by the change in luster, and I can tell right away that the cube feels smoother to use after doing this.

Again, whether or not it has some negative side-effect that I'm not aware of, that awaits to be seen. If my cube falls apart tomorrow, then maybe I'd rethink this. So far though it seems to be working fine.

- joe


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:49 pm 
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lol, let is know if it happens to fall apart. i don't think i'm going to try this quite yet... my cube is good as it is, lol.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:44 pm 
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Speedy McFastfast wrote:
lol, let is know if it happens to fall apart. i don't think i'm going to try this quite yet... my cube is good as it is, lol.


I will certainly let you know if it falls apart. And yeah, by no means go risking a good cube by trying this if it is performing how you want it to. I think this mostly would be good for breaking in a new cube faster than otherwise possible, as opposed to improving a cube that is already performing well.

By the way, I picked up a new cube at Target today, and it moves pretty good out of the box. It is more noisy than my "toothpasted" cube though, but as an experiment, I'll still try giving it the toothpaste treatment to see if that helps it work even better. I'll let you know how things go later this week probably after I recover from that surgery thing I'm having done tomorrow.

- joe


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:04 pm 
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surgery? may i ask what for?

and hope u feel better man, keep on cubing lol (that should keep you busy)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:10 pm 
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Speedy McFastfast wrote:
surgery? may i ask what for?

and hope u feel better man, keep on cubing lol (that should keep you busy)


Well, I'm getting all of my wisdom teeth extracted. Maybe I should be using my toothpaste on my teeth instead of my cube. :wink:

Seriously though, I never had them taken out about 10 years ago when I should have, and now they are becoming a problem, so I'm getting them all taken out.

So yeah, nothing serious like a triple bypass or anything. I should recover pretty quickly, and I'll be sure to cube on my downtime.

- joe


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:48 pm 
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lol, have fun. just gotta support a fellow from PA, lol.

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