Solving a Rubiks Cube

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Adam_S, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

    Feb 8, 2001
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    I just solved my first Rubiks Cube.

    I cheated, the internet helped me.

    The first thing I noticed was that all the information is about algorithms.

    It was very useful to have it pointed out that the faces' color is determined by the center block, not by the majority of color on a face.

    there are center pieces, corners and edge pieces, so four corners per color, four edges, and one center.

    The first thing you do is 'find the cross. which means to choose a color, and twist the cube around until you get all the edges on the same face as the center, forming a solid cross.

    Then you work the cube around until you get the corners in place one by one keeping an eye out that the right corner lines up to all three right color faces (color of a face is defined by the center. Once you get that you should have a solid face and the first 'layer' done. Meaning on all four sides surrounding the solid face you should have a solid row of that face's color.

    Now here's where I got really confused, 'solving the second layer', the middle section of the cube is basically getting the four edge pieces into exactly the right spot. There are algorithms for this, but I really think they're patterns of movement, algorithm is just a fancy name, you use a pattern to reposition a piece and then you put it back in place and use the pattern again on another piece. There's also the mirror pattern where you do each positioning stage in the opposite direction, this lets you position both left and right sides of a face.

    I couldn't understand/follow the algorithm notation so I found a rubiks cube solver that let me put in all the piece positions on my cube and then would show the next step. This gave me the hands on experience to understand how the pattern manipulates a particular piece to get it into place. My brain could wrap around the pictoral and physical demonstration of following the steps much better than the algorithm notation could hope to. I used this to solve through the rest of the rubiks cube, but I'm looking forward to solving it again, now that my brain and hands are famililar with how things are supposed to go I'm hoping to puzzle the next one out with minimal aid.

    has anyone ever solved one these on their own?

  2. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

    Dec 2, 2001
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    Yeah, I solved my first one when I was 15-16 way back when they first came out (early 80's). I had figured out the first layer as you described, but was stuck there for a long time. What helped me past was essentially two "algorithms" that I happened along accidentally.

    The first was one that helped me get the bottom corners in place while retaining the position of the top corners. That was just simply doing a 90 degree turn on the right side then turning the whole cube in my hands 90 degrees to the right and then turning the side 90 degrees again then turning the cube, etc. I did this until the top corners came back to position. But at that point the bottom corners had shifted around. Once I noticed that, it didn't take long to get the bottom corners too. A couple of times through the algorithm was enough to eventually get the bottom corners - by noticing the behaviour, you could figure out how to position the cube before you started spinning the sides in order to get all the corners in place.

    At that point I could do the top and bottom layers complete, but had trouble with the remaining four middle side pieces. Again, some experimentation with different algorithms and patterns produced a method of spinning a couple of the middle pieces but retaining the rest in place. From there, I could solve...

    Not an efficient methodology at all, but I could get my solving time down under 2 minutes on a regular basis (I think a minute and twenty seconds may have been my quickest).

    There was a nifty booklet available at the time as well that had a totally different method. It looked "smarter", but I could never quite do it as fast as with my own method.

    Scientific American had a really cool article around that time as well that not only gave some neat patterns, but also related the spins of the corners to quarks and antiquarks at the atomic level.
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    I had one when I was a freshmen in high school, I solve it by doing the 1st layer, then the middle layer, and then the bottom layer. On a well-lubed cube, I can usually solve it under a minute (personal best was a lucky 18 seconds or so, but 45 seconds was my average in my youth), but I can't anywhere near the insane times of 11-20 seconds. I brought a tattered cube to work, and one of the guys bought me a new one because the other one had faded colors on it now, and looked pretty pitiful.

    I have my own set of moves to move pieces around for each layer, so it's easy for me to move pieces to around to achieve cool patterns once I'm done solving it.

    The 4x4x4 is a more complex beast, never solved it under 3:30 minutes. I wish I could find an inexpensive one without breaking the bank.

    The real hard one is the dodecahedron (12-sided) Megaminx by Tomy. I could solve that one, but it took forever to solve it.
  4. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

    Aug 14, 2000
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    I used the Patrick Bossert method from his booklet "You Can Do the Cube". To this day 25 years later, I still have the solution memorized except for the four bottom edge pieces, but I can usually stumble my way through those eventually.
  5. Paul__A

    Paul__A Extra

    Jun 14, 2002
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    When I was a kid I had a globe rubiks "cube" where the countries of the world are present instead of the 6 colors. I gave up when I got the countries correct but not the oceans.
  6. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

    Sep 20, 2002
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    I had the same thing, and never solved it. I also never solved the standard cube, nor the the larger version (I think it was called Rubiks Max and was 4x4). I did however solve Rubiks Magic (the weird flat puzzle) as well as "Rubiks Linx", which had a multi colored chain motiff that you could slide as well as turn (I could never solve them constistantly though). I guess I was and still am a bit of a knuckle head with these puzzles.

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