It’s been a little while since my last post — that monster parity article that still has my head hurting. I’ve got a couple things in the works, but I put them aside when I got a Maru CX3 the other day. I’m really impressed with the cube, and I found my turn style and speed improving with it. On a whim, I thought I’d give a sub-60 PLL Time Attack another go with the CX3. I came awfully close, at 60.65 seconds. Here’s the video (with apologies for some of the out-of-frameness):
The Cube: Maru CX3
The Maru CX3 is a brand new cube. It was designed by our community’s very own Albert You (Cyoubx on youtube), who 3D printed prototypes that he showcased on his channel. A few months ago, all things CX3 disappeared suddenly from the web, only to be followed by announcements that Maru would mass produce the puzzle in Taiwan. It’s now readily available from online puzzle vendors.
I haven’t done a lot of reviews on here, mostly because I haven’t found cubes better than (or even on par with) Dayan Zhanchis. Until the CX3. I obtained a Fangshi Shuang Ren a couple months ago and, for about a week, thought it was the cat’s meow. I rather liked the scratchy feeling about which others complained, but I just couldn’t get the tensions right. Tight and it was slow and locky; any looser, and my fingers would catch in between pieces. I put the Shuang Ren away once I got a Moyu Weilong, a really great cube. It has a clickier feeling that provides tactile feedback I’ve gotten used to with Zhanchis. The Weilong feels like a Zhanchi that’s been made a bit thicker and blockier. I like it for a while, but realized over time that (at least for my turning style) it locks up more than a Zhanchi. (This video review does an excellent job of methodically analyzing the design of these, and other, newly-released cubes.)
Intrigued by the CX3 and happy to support Cyoubx, I bought a black one as soon as they were released. (I also bought a transparent one as a novelty. I dig transparent cubes.) Out of the box, the cube felt great: smooth, well-tensioned, partially lubed, and bearing decent quality stickers of good color contrast. Zhanchis, by contrast, are a mess out of the box — dry, scratchy, unevenly tensioned, and with crap stickers; it takes a lot of TLC to get them into shape.
Benchmarked against a Zhanchi, the CX3 is considerably louder and clickier. It has a totally different feel — thicker and blockier — but performs very similarly for me. Although I prefer the feel of a Zhanchi, I find the CX3 more controllable, with fewer “slips” of layers I’m not trying to turn. I find that I have to use a looser and less forced turning style with the CX3, which is probably good for me to learn. Other than the yellow center cap popping off with some frequency (seen in the video), I believe that the CX3 is an excellent cube that is on par with a Zhanchi.
The PLL Time Attack
A few months ago, I recorded a 72-second PLL attack. I was happy with it, but wanted to get it down to less than a minute. This one was close. I lost a second when I paused on the transition from the Ra to Z. And I had a couple lockups that together probably contributed 2 seconds: at the beginning of Y, at the end of Ab, and throughout Ub (which I rushed after seeing sub-60 just one perm away). Otherwise, it was a really good run and time for me.
My son adorably commented as soon as I finished. I had asked him to stay quiet during filming, but, knowing that I was targeting 1 minute, he got really excited when I nailed it. I’m really pleased that the mic picked up his proud remarks.
As explained in my other post, a PLL time attack requires performing each of the 21 PLLs in row. There is no particular order required, and you don’t need to end with a solved cube. Up for a challenge, I found an order that not only flowed relatively smoothly but also returned to a solve state 7½ times (the ½ was a solved but not AUF‘d position). Chunking the algorithms into sections also made it a lot easier to memorize the order. Here it is in detail, exactly as executed — with turns-per-second (TPS) calculations and an animated reconstruction:
// yellow up, green front
R U R’ y’ R2 u’ R U’ R’ U R’ u R2 // Gd 
R2′ u’ R U’ R U R’ u R2 y R U’ R’ // Gc  [solved]
R’ U’ R y R2 u R’ U R U’ R u’ R2 // Gb 
R2′ u R’ U R’ U’ R u’ R2 y’ R’ U R // Ga 
// solved [48 moves; 11 seconds; 4.3 TPS]
R’ U2 R U R’ z R2 U R’ D R U’ z’ // Ja 
U // AUF 
R’ U2 R’ D’ R U’ R’ D R U R U’ R’ U’ R // Rb 
x’ R U’ R’ D R U R’ D’ R U R’ D R U’ R’ D’ x // E 
// solved (not AUF’d) [43 moves; 9 seconds; 5.4 TPS]
R U2′ R’ U’ R U2′ L’ U R’ U’ L // Jb 
U // AUF 
R U2 R D R’ U R D’ R’ U’ R’ U R U R’ // Ra 
M2 U M2 U M’ U2 M2 U2 M’ // Z 
// solved [38 moves; 9 seconds; 4.2 TPS]
M2 U M2 U2 M2 U M2 // H 
R’ U’ F’ R U R’ U’ R’ F R2 U’ R’ U’ R U R’ U R // F 
R U R’ U’ R’ F R2 U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ // T 
// solved [40 moves; 8 seconds; 5 TPS]
z D’ R2′ D R2 U R’ D’ R U’ R U R’ D R U’ // V 
D’ R U’ R2′ D R’ U D’ R U’ R2′ D R’ U R // Nb 
D R’ U R2 D’ R D U’ R’ U R2 D’ R U’ R’ z’ // Na 
y’ // rotation 
F R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R’ F R // Y 
// solved [62 moves; 13 seconds; 4.7 TPS]
l’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R l // Aa 
l’ R’ D2 R U R’ D2 R U’ l // Ab 
// solved [20 moves; 6 seconds; 3.3 TPS]
M2 U M U2 M’ U M2 // Ua 
M2 U’ M U2 M’ U’ M2 // Ub 
// solved [15 moves; 4 seconds; 3.8 TPS]
A good effort on a great cube. Onward….