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3×3 Rubik’s Cube

*NOTE* blocks of text with X—- —-X around them are still being edited and may not be accurate to the 3×3. Because the structure of the articles on the different types of Rubik’s Cubes is so similar, the 5×5 article is being used as a template for the other articles.

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The Basics

The 3×3(x3) Rubik’s Cube (most people just say 3 by 3) is so named for the 3 “cubelets” it has on each side. And if you’re looking to solve it, you’re in luck! It’s not that hard to get the hang of, but think of people’s faces when you pull this one out! This Rubik’s Cube is a good place to start solving, along with the 2×2, which is much simpler. After this, the 4×4 and 5×5 are deceptively easy.

Why the 3×3?

People learn to solve and use the Rubik’s Cube for the challenge it brings and the talent it shows. Ever been in an awkward position with nothing to do, people around or not? Bam, pull out a 5×5. Are you ever feeling like you’re not the coolest person in the room? The solution to that problem should be evident. It’s no surprise that puzzles like these can teach you loads of skills needed in life; problem-solving, short-term memory, skill acquisition, the list goes on and on.

Now for a more specific question, why the 3×3 above other Rubik’s Cubes? The 3×3 offers a few unique things. First of all, it’s the classic! You gotta have the one cube that started it all. It’s also the perfect complexity to pick up as a new puzzle as well; not to big, not too small. And it also bears to keep in mind that there are going to be a lot more resources to learn the most popular cube on the market than an 8 by 8 for example.


X—- World records for Rubik’s Cubes are all over the place, and always improving. The current record for the fastest solve of a 5×5 is 34.92 seconds, set in 2020! The record time to solve a 5×5 blindfolded is currently 2 minutes, 21.62 seconds. – world record —-X

X—-,same%20day%20in%20Ann%20Arbor. —-X

Solving a 3×3

X—- As someone starting out, you’ll solve the 5×5 using something called the reduction method. This method works by pairing all like pieces on the edges and middle, making it work much like a 3×3. From there, it’s totally possible to follow a good 3×3 guide to finish things up. Content related to actually solving a 5×5 hopefully is coming soon; for now, J Perm’s video is a great place to look, and cubeskills’s tutorial is a good one as well. —-X


X—- Rubik’s Cube notation is a way of recording algorithms, or ways to solve or scramble, a Rubik’s Cube. It works by referring to parts of the cube and recording how they should move. The 5×5 is a big beast to tackle because of its size but becomes intuitive pretty easily. This is a shorter explanation, you’ll find a more in-depth one with a simple search. —-X

X—- You’ll see people refer to the outside faces of the cube as “U” for up, “R” for right, etc. “M”, “E”, and “S” represent the middle rows. And finally “u” will represent the row between the middle row and “U”; “r” is for the row right next to “R”, and so on. Lastly in identifying what to move, some people like to move 2 or 3 rows at once. You’ll find that recorded as Rw (Right Wide) for rows r and R, or just as Rr. For 3 rows, you’ll see something to the effect of 3wR, or RrM if they’re feeling funny. One last thing, the direction of rotation. If someone writes “R”, it means rotate that face clockwise. An R with an apostrophe ‘ next to it means rotate that face counterclockwise. Lastly, R2 means rotate that face counterclockwise twice. —-X

X—- That’s all you need to know. To wrap up, let’s look at an algorithm for the 5×5: “U2 R’ u Rw’ “. To follow it, rotate the “Up” face (the face on top) clockwise twice (a U-turn in all senses). Then rotate the right face counterclockwise. The row inside from the top face you’ll rotate clockwise. Finally, the right face and its neighbor rotate counterclockwise. If your cube now looks like a scrambled mess, well done! If this just ruined a perfect cube it’s ok, you can do it backwards! It’s “Rw u’ R U2”. —-X

Where to Buy

X—- Amazon and Walmart are actually pretty good places to get cheap speed cubes, as far as starting out goes. There are also plenty of cubing devoted stores, like and that sell multiple brands. A few good name brand names to check out are GAN, MoYu, and QiYi. —-X

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