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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers about popping

So that the individual cubelets of the twisty puzzle can be rotated in all directions, they are not firmly connected to the core of the cube but are clamped inside of the cube. When individual pieces fall out of the cube, it is called popping or pops.
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What are the reasons for popping?


The following reasons could be responsible for pops on your cube:

  • The tension of your speed cube is not optimal. Your cube is too flexible. This can lead to pops at high rotation speeds.

  • You are turning the cube too forcefully or too fast. It can cause the cubelets of individual layers to get caught on each other. The result: popping.

  • Your corner cutting is too aggressive. Your chosen angle doesn’t work, and the cube pieces are ripped out.

You see, due to the mechanisms inside the cube, popping is a natural occurrence in every magic cube and is caused by a combination of different factors. No worries, you don’t have to say goodbye to your favourite twisty puzzle just because popping happens. In most cases, it is enough to tighten the tensioning system to prevent or reduce future pops. Manufacturers continuously improve their speed cubes and add an anti-pop system to their products. Better plastic quality and integrated magnets also cause fewer pops.

How do I put a magic cube back together again?

The individual cube pieces can easily be pushed back into the cube. You will need a suitable screwdriver and the pieces that have fallen out. Depending on the manufacturer, a separate tool for adjusting the spring tension may be included in the delivery.
The design of 3x3 magic cubes differs from that of cubes with a larger number of layers. That’s why you have to proceed differently when assembling the cubes.
Please note: The tutorials we show you do not apply to the speed cubes from GAN. The cubes of this brand have a slightly different system inside.


So that you know what we are talking about

The individual cube pieces of your speed cube all have their own names. We will explain them to you so that you can identify which cube piece is referred to in the tutorial:

These are the centre pieces, edge pieces and corner pieces.
Centre pieces, edge pieces and corner pieces using the Pyraminx as an example


  1. Centre piece: The middle pieces are called centre pieces. The 3x3 magic cube has a single centre piece per cube face which is permanently connected to the cube. The middle of a 4x4 magic cube face and those of cubes with even more layers, for example, consists of four centre pieces.

  2. Edge piece: Cubelets along the edge of the cube are called edge pieces. The 3x3 magic cube has only one edge piece per edge. In turn, cubes with more layers have more edge pieces.

  3. Corner piece: This is the name for the pieces sitting at the corners of the cube. Each cube face always has four corner pieces, no matter how many layers the magic cube has.

How to reassemble your 3x3 magic cube

In 3x3 cubes, the middle pieces are permanently installed and therefore cannot pop out. This means that with this cube size, you only have to deal with the edge pieces and corner pieces.

To put the 3x3 speed cube back together, proceed as follows:

  1. If the cubelets are difficult or impossible to push back into the cube, you will have to first loosen the tensioning system of the cube. Remove the centre cap to get to the screw of the tension system.
    Tip: When loosening the screws, make a note of how many turns you have made so that you can retighten them exactly the same way at the end.

  2. If several pieces popped out, start with the corner pieces. Turn the affected layer by 45 degrees so that you can work more easily. Now push the corner pieces into the corners of the cube.
    Tip: To have more room to manoeuver, you can slightly push down on the edge piece of the layer below. This will expand the opening for coupling the cube pieces a little more.

  3. Pull the two corner pieces apart and hook the edge piece onto the corner pieces with a twisting motion.

  4. Repeat until your cube has been completely reassembled.

  5. Tighten the screws of the tensioning system so that the speed cube is comfortable to turn. If you only loosened one side, retighten the spring the same number of turns as you loosened it.

  6. Push the centre cap back onto the centre piece.

Don’t panic if your cube completely disintegrates

It can be very annoying if your speed cube falls apart completely while you are trying to solve it. But even in this case, the cube is not defective and can be put back together again.
The video shows you how to reassemble all cube pieces should your 3x3 cube come apart completely. Tip: Combine the rebuild with the cleaning of the cubelets. Then that’s out of the way too. You can find more information on cleaning your twisty puzzle in our FAQ 'Cleaning and maintaining speed cubes'.

How to reassemble magic cubes with a larger number of layers

In contrast to the 3x3 cube, cubes starting at the size of a 4x4 magic cube no longer have fixed centre pieces. The middle of your speed cube now consists of four or more cubelets per layer and they can pop out too. You now also have several edge pieces per edge that you will need to reassemble.

To put larger speed cubes back together, proceed as follows:

  1. If the cubelets are difficult or impossible to push back into the cube, you will have to first loosen the tensioning system of the cube. Remove the centre cap where the screw of the tension system is hidden underneath. Tip: When loosening the screws, make a note of how many turns you have made so that you can retighten them exactly the same way at the end.

  2. Turn the affected layer by 45 degrees so that you can work more easily. If more than one piece fell out, start with the centre pieces. It will give you more room to reattach the cube pieces.
    If only the centre pieces popped out, it is best to first remove the corresponding edge pieces so you can insert the middle pieces more easily.

  3. Continue with the corner pieces. Push them into the corners of the cube.

  4. Pull the two corner pieces apart and hook the edge piece onto the corner pieces with a twisting motion. If more than one edge piece popped out, we recommend you first put the edge pieces together and reinsert them into the cube as “one edge piece”. If the inner edge piece also fell out, put it back into its assigned spot first.

  5. Repeat these steps until your speed cube has been completely reassembled.

  6. Tighten the screws of the tensioning system so that the speed cube is comfortable to turn. If you only loosened one side, retighten the spring the same number of turns as you loosened it.

  7. Push the centre cap back onto the centre piece with the tensioning system.

Now your speed cube is once again ready for action.

Turn the loose cube pieces back into a magic cube

When pops occur, naturally, the risk of complete disintegration also exists for larger speed cubes. Should it happen, we recommend that you use this opportunity to clean your cube before putting it back together again. You can find more information on cleaning your cube in our FAQ about cleaning and maintaining speed cubes.
In the video, using a 4x4 magic cube as an example, you can see step-by-step how to reassemble it.

As you can see, putting your magic cube back together after a pop is not that difficult, it just needs a little skill. And for cubes with even more layers, the Big Cubes, the assembly is similar as well.

Is popping also possible with Shape Mods?

Pops can happen with shape mods and other twisty puzzles as well. Since no two shape mods are alike, it would go beyond the scope of our website to provide reassembly tutorials for all of them. However, you can find step-by-step instructions for the most common shapes on YouTube.


You think your pops were bad? Then take a look at these popping fails!

Popping happens even for the best pro cubers. Especially annoying are pops at speedcubing tournaments, as valuable time is lost. And putting the Big Cubes back together again will also take time.

How long do you think will this cuber need for his huge black cube (timestamp 0:36 min in the video)? We think that perhaps in this case a new purchase would be appropriate.