Monday, December 07, 2009

In my mind of Cube

I'm taking a fast detour to write an article about the Rubix Cube. The cube is something I flip around while I'm reading or looking at different topics.

Rubix Cube Info

This article is for me to consolidate what I know about the Rubik Cube, in particular towards solution theories along with a few tangents. I've found there are two major theories in solving cubes (without disassemble), the layer and the block. In reality, as I look for other ways to improve my timing, I continue to look for other routes of speed. Currently my time averages 110 second with 2 errors in the solution. This may not sound like much but, my time without errors is about 90 seconds, almost without thought. When my time comes to speed cubing, I'm slow. So why do I want to be faster? It's not so much about being faster but, about learning. I am one who seeks to learn new things about things I already know. The cube is one of those things I had as a kid and solved by disassembly. A while ago work slowed down enough for conversations so one of my coworkers began showing another how to solve it. This slow period began my current interest in the cube. I challenged myself not only to learn it but to teach others as well. Initially, I began solving per included instructions which is a simplified layer method. I've gone on to learn the 4x Revenge and 5x Professor. I am struggling with the 2x Pocket Cube. Once the basics are learned with the 3x, finding solutions to the big cubes will not be much of a problem.

If you're here because you want cube info please head to the Rubix Wiki. I am not an expert, just a coffee shop solver. No worries, I don't drive n solve.

Of the major methods is the Patrus Method, often referred to as the Block Method, is toted as the fastest solution method according to Wiki. The easiest way to learn this method is to sit in front of the computer with a cube. I have yet to find printable or mobile pages. I do understand that with this method once the basics are learned and one sees a head that this is the quickest method. I have studied it but, have yet to figure it out enough to use effectively for timed solving. Lars Patrus developed his method which uses a combination of Group Theory and Edge Theory. The benefit to using his system is one can eliminate a lot of moves as the solution progresses.

The Layer Method is the easiest to learn, personally, with the memorization of a few patterns and repetitions. The layer also has the most number of patterns to memorize. I carried cheat sheets based on Jasmine Lee's Layer Method for a while. The Layer Method is often touted by the various manufactures and websites as thee method to learn. The downside to this method is that it involves messing up and resolving the other layers to get a piece in place. Another draw back is as the solution progresses more moves are required for completion, which can lead to errors. If one is in a distracting environment or where one cannot dedicate time to completing the layer this may not be the method to learn first. If the cube is put down while the algorithm is in process the place or pace may be lost.

The other systems that I am finding I'll classify as Pattern to Solution based. These are based on getting the pieces into a recognized pattern then solving. Adam Cheyer claims that he solved regularly in 26 seconds at his most practiced timings with the corner's first system. He uses an arrow symbol system that is easy to follow.

The slowest system that I've come across is by far the slowest is corner/edge. I've since lost the web page where the author reveals only two algorithms for the solution. Philip Marshall gives a good over view of a variation of this method. Personally, it is also one of the most puzzling because one needs to look a head just enough to recognize it may take 2 or more repetitions to get a piece into place. This repetition of the same pattern over and over may confuse the impatient.

If one wants to practice solving the cube without having a physical cube in front of them head to one of the many cube simulators. Ryan Heise's simulator gives the opportunity not only for open practice but, also to see how various cube solution systems work. Those without continuous web access but, who do have administrative access to their computers can download a simple program from VanGestel.

When it all is said and learned, the ultimate solution is the one that works the best per individual. I find that in the process of learning I need multiple inputs. I have found when one learns just one system without getting other view points they limit themselves and those around them. I could make major detours here but, let's just say there are many paths along the way from issue messed up to issue resolved.

Once solutions were thoroughly in place and practiced beyond dreaming about them, my next phase of learning took me to the patterns. Many are the pages for patterns. Walter Randelshofer has probably the most complete compilation of patterns in one place. Patterns are great to learn, not only to impress friends but, also to improve on speed. I've gone many a session without accurately memorizing a pattern leading thus to starting over. If it takes me an average of a minute and a half these sessions can get pretty long hence for the need for speed.

If you are interested in how I solve the big cubes, I use a similar method to the layer method incorporating many of the 3x algorithms. When I get stuck, I clean up the cube before proceeding. Consolidating the centers and edges tend to help me visually solve the rest. The theories involved in solving the big cubes do include center's first, layers (a branch of 3x), pairs/lines, and block. Matthew Monroe and Dan Harris give some easy to follow instructions on how to solve the cubes and the many variations of them.

I hope you find the information a little useful. Now instead of reading, grab a cube, and go show someone how to solve it, even if that person is yourself.


Current of Dec 6, 2009

These are currently in order of appearance.

  • Rubix's Wiki:
  • Wiki Book:
  • Speed Cubing:
  • Lars Petrus:
  • Jessica Fridich:
  • Jasmine Lee:
  • Adam Cheyer:
  • Cube Simulator:
  • Philip Marshall:
  • Matthew Monroe:
  • Ryan's Cube Simulator:
  • Fam VanGestel, download simulator:


  • Walter Randelshofer:

Printable Algorithms

  • Dan Harris, current:
  • Dan Harris, old:
Dan's printable algorithm pages may be tricky to find. Refer to his old page and they do surface. These are two of the most useful printable pages.

Directory of Links


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