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Thread: Cube care and Lubrication

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    Cube care and Lubrication

    What type of grease is recommended for lubricating the Cube? Mine (recently purchased) does not have any lubrication on the worm gears. What parts of the Cube are recommended to be lubricated?

    Victor

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    just did mine;
    first blow off any dust and grit.

    the drive gears and racks can use a bit, also any sliding surfaces: move all the way to one extreme, put on a light shine of grease, then the other extreme, more grease, move through the range a few times, wipe off the excess. lots of sliding surfaces to get at

    i'm using a Lubriplate 1200-2, a bit heavy duty, but not drippy, applies with a small brush or Q-tip
    Last edited by jlm; 1st May 2015 at 13:38.
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Really appreciate your response.... I was going to use Gitzo lube that comes with the tripods but I'll see where I can find what you have recommended. The grease that is on my Cube is VERY viscous - much more than anything I have at my disposal.

    Victor

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    What type of grease is recommended for lubricating the Cube? Mine (recently purchased) does not have any lubrication on the worm gears. What parts of the Cube are recommended to be lubricated?

    Victor
    Might it be better to use a bit of pencil lead as grease will pick up all sorts of crap which may damage the gears..

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Yes..... I have thought about that. I was recently in Canyonlands and the tiny bits of sand blowing around got into everything - including the originally greased parts of the Cube. The slide sections are the most difficult to clean as debris can get into areas that cannot be accessed. The gears are exposed and easily cleaned (if lubricated). I chose to lubricate my gears and will see how this works out. The entire unit is very exposed to the elements and it may be best to keep it away from extreme conditions.

    Victor
    Last edited by vjbelle; 6th May 2015 at 13:35.

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Has anyone thought of using mountain bike dry chain lube?

    E.g.: http://www.amazon.com/Squirt-Lasting...uirt+bike+lube

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    The Squirt lube is labled as "Wax-based"---paraffin? I think that's what I recall being told was used long long ago...

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    At first you wrote "Mine (recently purchased) does not have any lubrication on the worm gears.", then "The grease that is on my Cube is VERY viscous - much more than anything I have at my disposal."

    Is your cube lubricated or not? If your cube is already lubricated, I would not add an unknown lubricant. Some greases are not compatible with one another.

    If there is no lubricant, you can use pure graphite (which is better than pencil lead, which also contains abrasive materials). You could also grease designed for worm gears, but it will bind dust.

    "Mountain bike dry chain lube" appears to be beeswax or paraffin with a solvent. That would work too.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    The main area that needs lubrication (on mine at least - as examined by Mr Milich) was not necessarily the gears, which were lubricated with a grease by Precision Camera Works when they serviced it, but actually the larger flat friction slides either side of the main gear track. On my cube at least, it's dry and looks like it would benefit from a graphite type of lubricant. The main gears look like they have plenty of capacity to handle any dust on the grease.

    When it comes to lubricating my Cube, if John Milich says use dried monkey sweat, crushed beetle larve, lithium grease, silicon lubricant or graphite hand chipped from a burned mahogany coal - then that's what I'll use
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 6th May 2015 at 17:38.
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Rather than guess at the proper grease, I would contact Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works, or contact Arca-Swiss directly.

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    In my opinion, gears that don't move with any speed or great load like in the Cube are best to be lube free and clean than lubed up but full of atmospheric crap in a sticky grease (dry or regular).

    For me, regular cleaning maintenance is more important than lubrication with the open nature of the Cube.

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    In my opinion, gears that don't move with any speed or great load like in the Cube are best to be lube free and clean than lubed up but full of atmospheric crap in a sticky grease (dry or regular).

    For me, regular cleaning maintenance is more important than lubrication with the open nature of the Cube.
    I agree - in my case the cube is very lightly lubed overall. The friction pads make more difference than the gears.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by jerome_m View Post
    At first you wrote "Mine (recently purchased) does not have any lubrication on the worm gears.", then "The grease that is on my Cube is VERY viscous - much more than anything I have at my disposal."

    Is your cube lubricated or not? If your cube is already lubricated, I would not add an unknown lubricant. Some greases are not compatible with one another.

    If there is no lubricant, you can use pure graphite (which is better than pencil lead, which also contains abrasive materials). You could also grease designed for worm gears, but it will bind dust.

    "Mountain bike dry chain lube" appears to be beeswax or paraffin with a solvent. That would work too.
    My OP stated that the worm gears were not lubricated. The plates do have a very viscous grease applied...... different parts. I've decided to apply a very small amount of lithium grease on all parts and will see how things work out.

    Victor

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Maybe Rod Lukas has some thoughts? My problem is the little lever that locks the top mounting assembly in place won’t grip tight enough any longer. I’m not sure how to adjust it.
    wayne
    My gallery

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    wayne:

    i'm not satisfied with my little lever locks either. plus after a liberal greasing of all the sliding surfaces and working through the movements, the action is not ideal...too much "stiction"
    i may open it up for a better understanding

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    wayne:

    i'm not satisfied with my little lever locks either. plus after a liberal greasing of all the sliding surfaces and working through the movements, the action is not ideal...too much "stiction"
    i may open it up for a better understanding
    I have the same issue with my lateral adjustment. Fore and Aft is much smoother.... this is with the Cube on the tripod with the levels towards the user. Taking apart the bottom portion of the Cube seems much easier than the top although I don't know if I would attempt it even though I have a lot of confidence in my mechanical skills.

    Victor

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    After 4 years of use and some occasional accidental bounces off cement etc, I sent my cube to Precision Camera works. It came back brand new at a very reasonable price
    Stanley
    Last edited by stngoldberg; 8th May 2015 at 08:00. Reason: Spelling

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    started the dismantle; you can get pretty far with a 2mm allen key, all screws have a bit of loctite (a good thing, and the product they used is a releasing type)

    found this:

    the arc rotation is entirely guided by arc'd slots and edges machined into the stage (about a .115" x .150" section). no shimming, no adjustment. it is the as machined and anodized fit tolerance of these and the lubrication of these that affect the geared movement.

    the friction/brake mechanism is separate: an arc'd nylon rubbing block that fits from side to side presses on the larger flat arc'd surface. the pressure is by a fixed spring on one side and the knurled adjuster and spring on the opposite side; rotating the knurled adjuster bypasses the spring and forces the nylon more tightly against the mating surface on that one side.

    i am going to thoroughly clean all the bits and see how it moves; so far my opinion is that the arc'd groove fit is a bit too tight, and may need some careful hand burnishing to get it right. and a dry slide lube might be the ticket here (moly D powder, for example) this fitup is where the stiction comes from

    i think the nylon rubbing surface should have no lube. (probably why one user's cube locked up when he sprayed it with silicone lube; the solvent interacting with the nylon negatively. nylon is a naturally lubricated material)
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    finished the first stage: what a difference; creamy action, no sticking.

    with only the sliding parts fully assembled (gears disconnected, turning it sideways), the upper portion will slide under it's own weight!! with no shake

    had to abrade off about .0005" (ha!) -about the thickness of the anodizing layer- with very, very light abrasive and finish mirror polish, checking dry fit as it goes.

    used my fave lubriplate, the dry moly powder didn't do it

    Arca (or whoever machined this...?) was trying to achieve a near impossible fit: a curved male part fitting in a curved female track/slot, then anodized. basically impossible to get it perfect without some final tweaking.
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    lower stage a PIA:
    can't separate the sliding parts without screw access;
    two screws blocked by the large tilt rotation device on the bottom;
    have to remove two tiny e-clips from the stop arms and push out the pins;
    pins won't push out without removing the knobs or the gear shaft
    knobs held on with tiny allen setscrews and way tight *&^%^$
    gear shaft held on with very tight phillips screws, also way too tight *&%^

    will have to heat the bugger up and see if the screws lighten up

    like working on Stephen's hot rod model A, in a bottle
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    finished up me cube and can pass along some info:

    i completely dismantled mine, (not so easy, as arca took some design shortcuts making assembly easier than dis-assembly) i added a few holes so some buried screws are now accessible and replaced some pesky little e-clips with a setscrew to retain two tiny little shafts. my cube was an early model with slippery knobs using 2 O-rings on each knob for grip. i replaced those with homemade knurled knobs...

    tweaked the fit of all the arc'd sliding parts and applied a thin grease to only those areas and the bearing areas for the drive shafts (left the actual gear rack dry, as i don't want grease there to collect grit.)

    also to the base tilt mechanism sliding surfaces, which slides back and forth as you add the major base tilt

    the friction wheels now work perfectly; turning them to the (-) direction simply disengages any additional braking. turning to the (+) direction all the way starts to put pressure on the nylon brake shoe which presses on the 1/2" wide arc'd surface, eventually enough pressure to hold it as a lock. no lubrication on the braking surfaces!
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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    never got around to posting a picture of my highly modded cube:
    special bubble levels, much more precise
    rotation top plane dead square to levels for 360 degrees;
    bronze knurled and patinaed knobs never slippery, no rubber bits;
    completely dismantled, all guideways lapped in and lubed;
    tension +/- knobs now work: the action is so good, that when loose, with a firm movement, you can push through the arcs, spinning the knobs as it goes. then you can tighten the tension gripper as you see fit.

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Those adjustment knobs look a lot better functionally than the rubber covered ones on my Cube. I had one of the ribbed rubber grips break on mine and I'm currently awaiting delivery of a replacement (Contact Rod klukas / Precision Camera Works for replacements).
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    i have had a couple of requests for cube modding, so pm me if interested

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    Re: Cube care and Lubrication

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i have had a couple of requests for cube modding, so pm me if interested
    I'd trust you more to do a tune-up and pimp out my Cube than the factory alternative

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