AL60 Solve Response – 35 seconds (Arghhhh!)

Yesterday, AL60Ri7HMi57 posted a quick video with new lighting and a clean 22-second solve. In the comments, she wrote, “Do the scramble and post your time in the comments below!” So, I figured I’d give it a shot. I had my camcorder charging on my desk, so I haphazardly aimed it, flipped it on, scrambled, and solved. 35.65 seconds. Not great. But, in all honesty, right about where I am. At least on video. I’m about 5-7 seconds faster off video, without the inexplicable nervousness of being on-cam.

The Video and Initial Observations

My first reaction was to ignore the solve and move on. Rarely one to miss an opportunity for self-examination, though, I decided to learn from it. So, for better or worse, here’s the video.

(music: String Cheese Incident, ¡Bam! (March 23, 2002); cube: black Zhanchi w/ Cube Specialists fitted bright stickers and modded Cubesmith grey stickers for U face)

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Eppur Si Muove (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dyed Cubes)

Yes, I know this is a LONG post. It really needs the backstory to contextualize (and justify) the cube-dying project. If you’re here for the DIY only, skip to the jump.

Backstory — The Force Cube

I’ve been cubing for about seven months now, and, in so doing, have gotten four friends to take up cubing. The five of us have spent our fair share of time on and comparing notes, and have each come to favor Dayan Zhanchis as our go-to speed cubes. No real surprise there; many consider Zhanchis the gold standard. The surprise is more subtle. Of the three varieties of Zhanchis (black, white, multi-colored unstickered), we each rank them in exactly the same order: first, the unstickered; second, white; third, black. There’s just something “softer,” smoother yet clickier, more controllable about the unstickered cubes. We guessed that the matching preferences were the result of either small differences in the plastics or a shared placebic hallucination.

Slightly confounded, I found validation in this thread about the “Force Cube.” Turns out another cuber, AL60RI7HMIS7, also had a hankering for stickerless Zhanchis. Realizing that they weren’t competition legal (the piece edges reveal the color of a face pointing away from you), she came up with a clever solution: Buy six stickerless Zhanchis, disassemble, and then reassemble, creating six different Zhanchis — each of a single color of plastic (read: competition-legal), and each made of the stickerless plastic that many some cubers prefer. Those solid colored cubes could then be stickered like any other cube. BRILLIANT! The only rub was that six Zhanchis would generate only one white cube, with five “byproduct” cubes in undesirable colors. Of course, none of the six were black.

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