FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Feel free to fill in the answers. Link to posts or sites you feel are relevant or provide your own original content.

Do *not* copy other people's content from their sites and simply paste it in here. That's called plagiarism and it's stealing.

Cubes

What is the best cube?

It really depends on your personal preference. For speedcubing, the most common cubes among the worlds best are QiYi cubes (Valk 3, Thunderclap), Yuxin cubes (Yuxin 3x3, Water), Moyu cubes (AoLong V1 and V2, Weilong), Gans III V3. DIY cubes can be better, but it changes.

For more information, see the Cube Hardware page.

Where can I buy cubes?

You can try Cubezz, Cubes4Speed SpeedCubeShop TheCubicle, Rubikfans, 9spuzzles, puzl.co.uk , Cube4You, Cubefan's, or other places such as ebay. Cubefans and Cube4You are the same store, it's just that Cube4You works best on Internet Explorer. For specialty products, try Meffert's and the V Cube shop. Also, it's a good idea to check some garage sales or flea markets, as puzzles have been found for much cheaper than actual value.

Be aware that buying "knock-offs" (illegal copies of currently patented puzzles) is frowned upon by many forum members. A "knock-off policy" is currently under discussion.

@ See speedsolving.com discussion

How do I lubricate my cube?

You can either take a piece or two out and spray the lubricant in directly, or disassemble and fully spray the lubricant on every piece with sweeps. There are many tutorials in youtube if you need help. Also, check youtube for techniques to lubricate big cubes.

The best lubricants tend to be silicone based. Products like Jig-a-Loo and CRC Heavy Duty Silicone spray are very popular among cubers. There is a lubricant made specially for cubing which can be bought at Puzzleproz. You can also use Lubix, which is also very popular. You should never use WD-40 lube on your cube as it contains petroleum distillates which can damage the plastic. Some people do use petroleum jelly to break in really stiff cubes such as storeboughts, but it should never be used as lube.

For more info on lubricants see the lubrication page.

How do I keep my screws from unscrewing when I turn the Cube?

Several options:

  1. Replace the core
  2. Replace the screws
  3. Glue or locktite them in place

Textured or Smooth Tiles?

Both of them are durable, so if you are looking for a more permanent replacement for your stickers, this is the way to go.

As for which type, it's all in your preference. Textured will have more of a grip which can help if you have sweaty, oily, moist, etc. hands since it will keep it from slipping too much.

Smooth, however, does still have texture. It just so happens to have a little bit less, so if you don't want something quite as bumpy, get the smooth tiles.

Notation

What does <insert some notation here> mean?

The official notation of the World Cube Association can be found here: [1]

Wikipedia also has a description of the notation in a different format: [2]

There are many other references on the Net, try googling "rubik cube notation" if you don't like either of the above. Here's a page with pictures: http://www.cubewhiz.com/notation.html

The notation I'm asking about isn't in the WCA regulations, how do I decipher how to turn it?

Some older notation used "w" for a wide turn, so Rw would be the same as r in WCA notation. (This topic can be added to)

The notation I'm asking about came from a Japanese cuber site, how do I decipher these also?

Japanese cubers commonly use a different notation for cube rotations. (r) means to rotate the entire cube in the direction you would make an R turn. Similarly, (u') would be the same as a y' rotation.

Timers

Where can I buy a timer like they use in competition?

It's also possible to make your own timer [3].

@ see related threads on forum here and here.

Are there timers on the Internet?

Yes.

Try qqTimer, Cubetimer, Rubetimer, or look for other timers. Also, Cubemania is a site that times and keeps track of all the solves you submit. The Web-based Software Wiki page also has up-to-date info on online timers.

Can I download a timer for my computer/phone/PSP?

CCT (CALCubeTimer) in JAVA (jar file), here. Is very popular with many features like being able to connect a speedstacks timer with a data port to the computer and use it with CCT. Last update is version 0.9.5 (nov/2010). No longer maintained.

Prisma Puzzle Timer (PPT), also in JAVA (jar file), here here. This timer gives graphs, and other data charts for sessions. The forum discussion here.

Another great timer is JNet Cube. The forum discussion here.

iPhone and iPod touch, iiTimer (a port of qqTimer that works very well).

Android, jjTimer and JustInTime are both good options. Other with many features is Sune Timer (scrambles, algorithms for CFOP, WCA Regulation, etc!)


Note that for solves that take more than 15 seconds, a simple analog clock will work just fine if you don't need precise timing.

Where can I find a scramble generator?

Most speedcubing timers include scrambler generators. If your timer does not have scrambles, you can use this page to find a scramble generator for your puzzle. The Web-based Software Wiki page also has up-to-date info on online scramblers.

What is standard deviation?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation In probability theory and statistics, standard deviation is a measure of the variability or dispersion of a population, a data set, or a probability distribution. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the same value (the mean), while high standard deviation indicates that the data are spread out over a large range of values.

Competitions

Where are the rules for WCA competitions?

On the WCA site of course!

How fast do I need to be to compete?

There's no requirement for speed to participate in most competitions. Even high level competitions like the US Nationals are open to all, if you see a time listed for "prequalification", this is a time that allows you to skip the qualifying round. If you are slower than that time you will still be allowed to take part in the qualifications.

If you have the opportunity to attend a competition, even if you're not very fast, most experienced competitors would advise you to go for the social interaction and experience.

Methods

What is the fastest method?

There is no ultimate method, its really down to personal preference. The most popular speedcubing method is currently Fridrich, although other methods such as Petrus, Roux and ZZ are rising in popularity. Fridrich is currently used by many of the top speedcubers, and is as such believed to be the fastest method. However, others attribute this to its popularity. The most obvious/natural progression from the beginner LBL method is Fridrich, which may explain its popularity. Being the most popular means it gains the most support and development, and is also more likely to be adopted by a talented cuber. More info can be found in the speedsolving forums, where this often comes up as topic of debate.

What is the easiest method?

The easiest method to learn is probably the beginner's layer-by-layer (LBL) method in which you solve the first, second, and the finally the last layer one by one. It's pretty basic, therefore easy to learn. However, this method however is relatively inefficient and is hard to achieve good times with. Other beginner methods exist, focusing on lower numbers of algorithms and/or more intuitive solving. Compared to the others, the LBL method has the easiest transition to the popular Fridrich speedcubing method.

What is the method that uses the fewest moves?

The most popular method for Fewest Moves solving is the Petrus method. Although it is designed for speed, it tends to have a very good move efficiency compared to other methods. The Heise method is another method that was designed specifically for move efficiency rather than speed. It is highly intuitive and very difficult to master. Other methods can be still be made efficient if you plan your moves carefully. More info on FM can be found on the Fewest Moves page.

Should I learn algorithms for F2L or learn it intuitively?

That is entirely your choice. Learning the algs isn't entirely hard since most cases can be seen and understood by practicing the algorithms, and it won't take as much thinking when solving. If you do it intuitively, it will take practice to be able to do with speed and efficiency.

Most people choose to learn intuitively and with some practice, it can be just as fast. Intuitive F2L may take more time to master but it is generally preferred because it allows for the use of advanced speed-reducing techniques such as multislotting and the use of empty slots.

How can I get faster?

Practice, practice, practice. That is the key way to get speed. Normally, with some work, your times will gradually drop without you doing anything. (If you are around 1 minute with LBL method than you should learn a faster method.)

If you haven't, try learning an advanced method. That should help you lower your times considerably.

Work on lowering your move count, look ahead and experiment with tricks.

Learn new algorithms.

Unglue your eyes from your computer screen, pick up your puzzle, and try to get faster.

It is also helpful if you do slow solves in order to train your look ahead.

Also, don't ever use Rubik's brand for speedcubing.

I think I invented a new method, did I?

Probably not. If you haven't studied and don't fully understand the concepts behind all the major solving methods (CFOP, Petrus, Roux, ZZ, Waterman) and know the basic philosophy of the advanced variations (MGLS, ZB, Heise) then don't even bother asking.

Miscellaneous

Should I make a new web site about cubing?

Probably not unless you're actually going to provide something fresh and new and not just rehash the information already available on the 'net. @see the Wiki list of cubing sites

What does AUF mean?

Adjust U Face

What does XXX mean?

Are listed almoust all of them here: Category:Acronyms, or more general Category:Terminology

Also we have a thread in our forum: Guide-for-Cubing-Abbreviations

Finally, Macky created a great glossary of cubing terms. This is a great first stop if you see a term or abbrevation you don't understand cubefreak.net

See also