Wetten, dass..? vom 5. November

A while ago I started to turn a normal Eastsheen 5x5 into a "super 5x5". On a normal 5x5, there are lots of pieces that look the same and when you solve the 5x5 they can be swapped because you can't tell them apart. To solve a super 5x5, every single piece has to be returned to the exact initial position and orientation. Even the centers have to be placed correctly. My way of making this visible is to cut and swap parts of the stickers:

Update: Chris (the man behind cubesmith.com) now produces professional stickers with this design, taking it even further and making restickering a lot easier and better.

solved super 5x5 scrambled super 5x5

Since the "normal" stickers already peel off easily and I had cut them into even smaller pieces, I decided to protect them somehow. I tried this on smaller cubes, though (mainly on tiny Eastsheen 2x2's). The major "test" I tried was to rub two protected stickers against each other, which should not feel sticky at all. First I tried two kinds of nailpolish. Even after several weeks they didn't pass my test. I tried putting them under a lamp (normal and infrared) and in the sun to make it warm, but it didn't help much (well, I scorched a cube ;-). Afterwards I tried two kinds of painting varnishes. One of them was ok after waiting a few weeks, but still not great. Then a woman in a painting store suggested using boat varnish because that's superstrong. So I went to a home improvement store to get some, but everybody told me (and it was indeed written on them) that they're no good for plastic. So finally I arrived at glues. First I tried a "normal" strong glue, which looked good but then turned out to be easy to rub off. Then I tried super glue, with which I'm extremely happy now. The one I used has some integrated brush which makes applying it very easy. It's from Henkel, the name is "Blitzpinsel" (German for "Lightningbrush"), solvent-free and contains cyanacrylat (my dad even says it's the only ingredient), amount is 5g. I painted all stickers, but very thin. Always two opposite faces at a time. It's somewhat dry after a few minutes and after a day (probably a lot earlier) it's completely dry. And it's rock hard. If I really try to and use a sharp knife, I could damage the stickers. But if I just play with it normally then I think they're 100% protected. On the left picture you can see the brush and the green and blue faces after they were painted. I've put adhesive tape upside down on CD shells, this way I can let the pieces stay straight so that the faces are perfectly horizontal. I put a piece on it *after* painting it, though. On the right picture you can see the different stuff I tried, in chronological order.

painting pieces with glue various glues

A wonderful side effect is that the stickers are a little glittering now. Not enough to be disturbing, just a little bit. Like on the left picture. I looove it. The right picture was taken under strange lighting, only to make the texture more visible.

slight glittering strong glittering

One day later I lubed my new baby. Took almost two hours, since I like to silicone-paint each cubie separately using a paintbrush. Overall it took many hours cutting/moving the stickers, making new orange stickers, finding/testing varnishes, glue-painting and lubing. Also the varnishes/glues together cost more than the cube. But it was well-worth the time and money. I would (and probably will) do it again. Now that I know what to do it should be much easier.

Stefan Pochmann
Last modified: March 20 2007, 21:34:12