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How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

So, you want to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube huh? You stare at the kaleidoscope of colors one late evening after you've hit "send" on that ultimate email to your professor or boss. You feel like you should reward yourself with a minor brain-break. You gingerly fondle the cube between your hands sure that you can figure out how to match all of the colors through narry but your eyesight and your keen ability to recognize patterns. Well, I' sorry my friend, but it isn't that easy. Sure, you can try to twist and turn your way to victory, but you'll probably be sitting at that desk for a while. A REALLY LONG while.

I'll teach you an easier way. By the time we're finished here, you'll be able to effortlessly solve the Rubik's Cube again and again to the amazement of your family, friends, and attractive members of the opposite sex (ok, well...maybe not that).

Before I teach you how to actually solve the Rubik's Cube, my inner minimalist would be remiss if I didn't first show you the EASIEST way to solve the Rubik's Cube...by cheating!!! :D To cheat, rotate the top layer of the Rubik's Cube 45 degrees, place a screwdriver under the edge piece and pry up. From here, simply take apart all of the pieces and reorganize them as necessary. 

Ok, so now that we got that out of the way, it's time for you to officially learn how to solve the Rubik's Cube.

On each face of the Rubik's Cube, there is a center piece which is the piece in the middle,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

four corner pieces,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and four side pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each face of the Rubik's Cube is called by it's center piece color since there is nothing you can do to change the center pieces.

The Rubik's Cube is solved by using algorithms. Don't be alarmed; this isn't the boring type of algorithm from pre-cal. These are useful algorithms you can actually use in everyday life. An algorithm is simply a pattern of movements that when repeated enough times return the cubes to their original position.

There is a top side, a right side, a left side, a front side, a back side, and a down side. If I type "right" or "R" that means to turn the right face of the Rubik's Cube clockwise. If I type "left" or "L", that means to turn the left face of the Rubik's Cube counter-clockwise. If I type "down inverted" or "Di", that means to turn the bottom layer counter-clockwise, and so on.

Step 1 - First, look around at the different sides to find the side that is most complete. We will start with this side.

Step 2 - We need to establish a cross that goes through the center of this side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find the four side pieces and twist them until they are directly underneath where they need to go in the top layer, then flip them up to the top. If the colors are backwards, we will need to use our first algorithm to switch the orientation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This algorithm is Fi, U, Li, Ui. The pieces should now be oriented correctly.

Continue doing this for each of the side pieces until you have formed the cross on the top.

Step 3 - Once you have the cross on the top layer, we will need to solve the four corner pieces. Locate a corner piece with the correct colors and rotate it until it is directly underneath where it needs to be in the top layer. To get it up to the top, place the corner piece on your bottom right and use the algorithm Ri, Di, R, D. Keep doing the algorithm until the colors are oriented corectly.

 

Do this for each of the corner pieces. If the corner piece is already where it needs to be in the top layer, but is in the wrong orientation, perform the algorithm anyway as if it was in the bottom layer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4 - Our next task is to solve the side pieces of the second layer. In order to do this, flip the Rubik's Cube upside down and find a side piece in the top layer that matches the center piece of one of the sides, but NOT the center piece of the top.

If this piece needs to go down and to the left, the algorithm that you will perform will be Ui, Li, U, L, U, F, Ui, Fi

This will move the top side piece to the left hand side.

If the piece needs to go the right hand side, use the following algorithm: U, R, Ui, Ri, Ui, Fi, U, F

This will move the top piece to the right hand side.

Continue this on each of the sides until the entire second row is solved. If the top piece is already where it should be on the second layer on the left, but the colors are backwards, perform the left algorithm a couple of times to correct the orientation. The same applies if the piece is on the right side: use the right algorithm. 

Step 5 - Once you have solved the second layer, we again need to form a cross on the top layer just like in the first step. Look for an "L" shape in the top layer colors. If there is one, position it in the top left corner away from you and perform the following algorithm - F, R, U, Ri, Ui, Fi

After performing this algorithm, a horizontal line should appear. Perform the algorithm again.

After performing it for a second time, you should see a cross.

Step 6 - Rotate the top layer until two of the top side pieces which are next to each other match the center pieces on two of the sides.

Hold one match in your right hand and one match across from you (note: if the two matches are across from each other, hold one in front of you and one across from you). Perform the following algorithm: R, U, Ri, U, R, U, U, Ri

You may have to perform this algorithm a couple times.

Step 7 - Find a top corner piece which is in the correct corner, but not necessarily oriented the right way. Position it so that it is on the bottom right as you hold it (note: if none of the corners are in the right position, perform the following algorithm anyway until one is).

Perform the following algorithm: U, R, Ui, Li, U, Ri, Ui, L

After performing the algorithm several times, the pieces should be in their respective corners and probably oriented the wrong way.

Step 8 - We now need to fix the orientation of one of the corners. Place the corner you would like to work on in the bottom right hand corner towards you. Perform the following algorithm to fix its orientation: Ri, Di, R, D,

Once it's orrientation is correct, rotate ONLY THE TOP LAYER and perform the algorithm on the next corner piece to be fixed.

Continue this process until you have solved the entire top layer and are finished!!

Congratulations. Go ahead and make some popcorn and give yourself three generous pats on the back. You've just solved something which remains and always will remain a mystery to so many people. Feel free to use this page as a resource in the future anytime the need to solve a colored puzzles strikes you. And don't forget to check out some of the other puzzle blogs in the main menu!

Aaron

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