This guide is aimed at beginners who want to learn how to solve a Rubik's cube using the layered method. Compared with other solutions, this algorithm is relatively simple to understand; it also minimizes the need to memorize long sequences of movements. By training yourself to put it into practice, you will prepare yourself for the next step which involves the use of the Fridrich method, much faster and used by professionals in competitions, since it allows you to solve a Rubik's cube in less than 20 seconds. With enough patience and determination, you will master one of the most famous puzzle games in the world: Erno Rubik's cube. Happy reading and above all have fun!
Part 1 of 5: Learning the Terms
Step 1. Use the correct name to indicate the 3 types of pieces
The Rubik's cube is made up of three fundamental pieces, which take their name based on their position:
- Center piece: they are the pieces (also called faces or facets) that are located in the center of each single main face of the cube and are surrounded by the other 8 elements that complete it. These are pieces that only expose one side to view and cannot be moved.
- Angle: are the pieces that occupy the corners of the cube and are characterized by 3 visible facets.
- Edge: are the pieces between 2 corners. Each of these elements is characterized by 2 visible facets.
- Note: the single pieces that make up a Rubrik's cube can never assume a different typology from the initial one. This means that a corner will always remain a corner.
Step 2. Learn to refer to the 6 main faces of the cube with the correct terminology
The original Rubik's cube is made up of 6 main faces, each of which is characterized by a specific color indicated by its central piece. For example, the "red face" is the main face, whose center piece is red regardless of whether there are red colored pieces on other main faces. Often, however, it is much more useful to refer to the main faces based on the user's point of view, that is, based on the main face being observed. Here is the list of terms that are used by this article:
- F. (from the English "Front" meaning front face): hold the cube at eye level. The main face you are looking at is the front face.
- B. (from the English "Back" ie back face): this is the main face directly opposite (therefore not visible) to the one being observed.
- U (from the English "Upper" ie upper face): this is the main face of the cube facing the ceiling (or the sky if you are outdoors).
- D. (from the English "Down" ie lower face): it is the main face of the cube facing the floor or the ground.
- R. (from the English "Right" ie right face): it is the main face of the cube facing right.
- L (from the English "Left" ie left face): it is the main face of the cube facing left.
Step 3. Learn the meaning of clockwise and counterclockwise rotation
The terms "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" always apply based on the main face being observed. Having this concept very clear in mind, an instruction composed only with the letter that identifies one of the main faces of the cube (for example the command L), indicates to rotate the face in question 90 ° clockwise. The statement characterized by a letter plus the apostrophe, such as L', indicates to rotate the face in question 90 ° counterclockwise. Here are some examples of instructions that will help you understand better:
- F ': indicates to rotate the front face counterclockwise by 90 °.
- R.: indicates to rotate the right face clockwise by 90 °. This means that the right face will become the opposite face to the one in front of your eyes (to check how this movement works in practice, start moving the main front face of the cube clockwise until it becomes the main right face).
- L: indicates to rotate the left main face clockwise by 90 °. This means bringing the left main face in front of your eyes.
- U ': indicates to rotate the upper face counterclockwise by 90 ° on the horizontal axis. This means that the top face will become the main face opposite to the one you are looking at.
- B.: indicates to rotate the main face opposite to the one you are observing 90 ° clockwise with respect to itself. Be careful not to get confused in this step; in other words, it means rotating the front face 90 ° counterclockwise.
Step 4. If the step is to be repeated twice, the relevant instruction will also include the number 2
The number "2" placed after an instruction indicates that you will have to rotate the indicated main face 180 ° instead of 90 °. For example, education D2 indicates to rotate the lower main face 180 ° (or 2/4).
In this case there is no need to specify the direction of rotation (clockwise or counterclockwise) since rotating a main face by 180 ° clockwise or counterclockwise the result will be identical
Step 5. Refer to a specific piece (or facet) of a cube
The instructions for the steps to take can also refer to a single piece of a main face of the Rubik's Cube. This type of instruction indicates the main face where the piece to be moved is located. Here are some examples of such instructions:
- BD: indicates the edge that delimits the main rear and bottom face of the cube.
- UFR: indicates the angle of the Rubik's cube whose facets occupy the main upper, front and right face.
Note: If the instructions refer to a single piece or veneer (i.e. to a single colored face that is part of a main face of the cube), the first letter indicates the main face of the cube where the piece is located. Eg:
- Locate the veneer or piece LFD: start by identifying the angle that is part of the main left, front and bottom face. Starting from this piece, refer to the square facet placed on the left main face (since the first letter of the instruction indicates this face of the cube).
Part 2 of 5: Solving the Top Main Face
Step 1. Rotate the cube until the white main face occupies the U (top) face
You will need to hold the cube in this position until you encounter an instruction indicating otherwise. The goal of this section of the article is to position all the white edges around the central piece they belong to, so as to form a cross or the "+" sign on the main white face of the cube.
- The instructions in this section regarding the movements to be performed refer to a standard Rubik's cube, where the main face in white is opposite to the one in yellow. If you have an older version of the Rubik's Cube, following the instructions in this section may be difficult.
- Remember that, until proven otherwise, the white center piece must occupy the top face of the cube. Changing this configuration is the most common mistake made during this part of the process.
Step 2. Move the white edges to the top main face to form the cross
Since there are so many possible initial cube configurations, it is not possible to give a precise sequence of instructions to solve this first part of the puzzle, but the steps listed below should help you:
- If there is a white edge in the last layer of the main face L or B, rotate it once to bring the white piece into the middle layer. Proceed by reading the next point.
- If there is a white edge in the middle layer of the main face R or L, rotate face F or B to match the one that is near the white piece. Continue the rotation until the white square face is on the lower main face. Proceed by reading the next point.
- If there is a white edge on the main bottom face, rotate it until the piece in question occupies an empty corner (that is, it is not already occupied by a white piece) of the top face. Rotate the entire cube so that the "empty space" in question moves to the UF position (edge shared by the top main face and the front face). Perform an F2 rotation (rotate the front face 180 ° clockwise) to bring the white square face into the UF position.
- Repeat the sequence of steps for each white edge, until they all occupy the top main face.
Step 3. Complete the white cross so that the edges match the colors of the adjacent main faces
Look at the edges of the top layer (those in common with the main top face) of the main faces F, R, B and L. The goal is for each of them to match the color of their respective center piece. For example, if the square facet FU (the edge of the front main face adjacent to the top) is orange, the center piece of face F should also be orange. Here's how to solve this step for each of the main faces involved:
- Rotate the U face until at least 2 of the main faces listed have the top edge of the same color as their center piece (if all four main faces match, you can go directly to the next step).
- Rotate the entire cube so that one of the edges not yet in the correct position is on face F (keeping the white cross on face U).
- Rotate F2 and check that one of the white edges has moved to face D. Check the other colors of the piece in question (in position FD). In our example, the square face under consideration is red.
- Rotate face D until the red square face is directly below the red center piece.
- Rotate the red face 180 degrees. At this point the white edge should have returned to its correct position on the U face.
- Check for the presence of a new white edge on face D. Also in this case check the colors of the other facets of the piece in question. In our example, the color is green.
- Rotate face D until the green facet lines up directly below the green center piece.
- Rotate the green face 180 degrees. Now, the white cross should have regained its place on the U face. The F, R, B and L faces should all have the center piece and top edge of the same color.
Step 4. Complete the white face with the respective corners
This step is complex, so read the instructions very carefully. At the end of this step, the white face of the cube which now has only the central cross should be completed with the addition of the 4 corners.
- Find the corner of face D that has a white piece. The corner under consideration is characterized by three facets of different colors. In this article we will call them white, X and Y (at this point the white facet may not be on the main face D).
- Rotate face D until the white / X / Y angle is between the face of color X and that of color Y (remember that face "X" is the one whose center piece is color X).
- Rotate the entire cube so that the white / X / Y corner is in the DFR position, without worrying about the exact position of each color in this piece. The center pieces of face F and R should correspond to the colors X and Y. Note that the top face must always be the white one.
At this point, the angle under examination may have assumed one of these 3 configurations:
- If the white face is on the front main face (in FRD position), perform the movements F D F '.
- If the white facet is on the right main face (in the RFD position), perform the R 'D' R motions.
- If the white face is on the lower main face (in the DFR position), perform the movements F D2 F 'D' F D F '.
Step 5. Repeat the procedure for the remaining corners
Use the same sequence of steps to bring the 3 remaining corners to the correct place within the white main face. At the end of this step, you should have successfully completed the white top main face. The faces F, R, B and L should have all the pieces of the top layer the same color as that of the respective center piece.
Sometimes it can happen that a white corner already occupies face U, but in a wrong position, such that the colors of the other two facets that compose them do not match that of the face to which they refer. If this is your case, rotate the cube so that the angle under consideration occupies the UFR position, then apply the movements F D F '. The white corner facet should now be on face D, so you are able to move it to the correct position by following the instructions described above
Part 3 of 5: Complete the Middle Layer
Step 1. Find an edge of face D whose facets are not yellow
The main face of white color continues to occupy the upper face U, while the yellow face, still incomplete, occupies the lower face D. Check face D to find an edge that does not contain the yellow color. Take note of the color of the 2 facets of the corner in question:
- The color of face D we call X.
- We call the color of the other edge facet Y.
- Remember that the piece must necessarily be an edge. Don't start from a corner piece.
Step 2. Rotate the entire cube until the center piece of color X is on the front face F
Rotate the whole cube on its vertical axis (as if you were to rotate a globe). Stop the movement when the center piece of color X occupies the front face F.
During rotation, the U and D faces should keep their original positions
Step 3. Rotate face D
Rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise until the edge with the X / Y colors takes the DB position. The face of color X should be on the main face D, while the one of color Y should occupy face B.
Step 4. Modify the cube according to the position occupied by the main face of color Y
The sequence of movements to be performed varies according to the position taken by the central piece in color Y:
- If facet Y coincides with the color of the central piece of face R, perform the sequence of movements: F D F 'D' R 'D' R.
- If the Y facet coincides with the color of the central piece of the L face, perform the sequence of movements: F 'D' F D L D L '.
Step 5. Repeat this step until the top two layers of the cube are complete
Find a new edge on face D whose facets are not yellow (if none of the edges have these characteristics go directly to the next step). Repeat the steps in this section described earlier to move the edge under consideration to its correct position. When finished, the middle and top layers of faces F, R, B, and L should be complete.
Step 6. If all edges of face D have yellow facets, make the necessary changes
Make sure you have carefully checked all 4 edges of the D face. Each is made up of 2 colored facets. For the instructions in this step to work, none of the edge facets must be yellow. If in your case all the requirements described are met (and the two upper layers are not yet complete), make the following changes:
- Choose an edge that contains a yellow facet.
- Rotate the entire cube so that the chosen edge is in the FR position. The white face must always occupy the upper face U (do not rotate any of the individual faces, just rotate the entire cube).
- Do the following movements: F D F 'D' R 'D' R.
- Now an edge without yellow facets should be on face D. At this point, you can go back to the beginning of this section and repeat the above procedure.
Part 4 of 5: Complete the Yellow Face
Step 1. Rotate the entire cube so that the yellow center piece occupies the U face
From now on, this will be the new position taken by the cube until it reaches its completion.
Step 2. Create the cross or "+" sign on the yellow U face
Note the number of yellow edges on the top U face (remember that the corners are not edges). Starting from this point, you can have 4 possible configurations:
- If 2 of the opposite edges of the upper face U are yellow, perform these movements: rotate face U until the 2 edges in question occupy the position UL and UR. At this point, apply the following sequence of movements: B L U L 'U' B '.
- If the UF and UR positions of the U face are occupied by 2 adjacent yellow pieces in the correct position (as if drawing an arrow pointing to the rear left corner of the cube), perform this sequence of movements: BULU 'L' B '.
- If there are no yellow edges, you can choose to apply one of the two motion sequences listed above. In this way you will move 2 yellow edges on the upper face U. Now repeat the step and, according to the position occupied by the yellow edges, apply the relative sequence of movements.
- If all 4 yellow edges are present, it means that you have finished this phase of the work and can move on to the next step.
Step 3. Move a yellow corner to the top U face
Rotate the entire cube until the blue face occupies the front face F while the yellow face remains in the upper position U. Move the yellow corners to their position by following these instructions:
- Rotate the U face until the UFR corner has the yellow color on the top bezel.
Now the corner piece under examination can assume two configurations:
- If the corner has the yellow facet on the main front face F, perform this sequence of movements: F D F 'D' F D F 'D'.
- If the piece has a yellow face on the main right face R, perform this sequence of movements: D F D 'F' D F D 'F'.
at this point, the cube will seem a bit rambling. Don't worry, soon everything will fall into place as if by magic.
Step 4. Repeat the previous steps with the remaining yellow corners
Remember to keep the blue face as the front face F of the cube and rotate the top face U to bring another angle into the UFR potion. Now you can repeat the steps described above to move the yellow corner to the top U face. Repeat the process until you have completed the top U face with the yellow color.
Part 5 of 5: Complete the Rubik's Cube
Step 1. Rotate the top U face until the front face color of one edge matches the color of the adjacent center piece
For example, if the front face F has a blue center piece, you need to rotate the top face U until the face above the blue center piece is the same color. At this point you need to have only one edge that is in position correct, i.e. whose color is the same as that of the adjacent center piece, e Not two or three.
- If you can correctly align all four edges with the center piece of the same color, do so and proceed directly to the last step of this section.
- If that is not possible do this movement sequence R2 D 'R' L F2 L 'R U2 D R2, then try again.
Step 2. Place the last remaining edges
After aligning one of the 4 edges correctly, modify the cube as follows:
- Rotate it so that the corner in the correct position occupies the left main face L.
Check that the facet in position FU has the same color as the center piece of the right main face R:
- If so, do the movement sequence R2 D 'R' L F2 L 'R U2 D R2, then go directly to the next step. At this point the cube should be almost finished, excluding the corners.
- If not, perform the movement U2, then rotate the entire cube as if it were a globe, so that the main front face F becomes the right face R. At this point, perform the sequence of movements R2 D 'R' L F2 L 'R U2 D R2.
Step 3. Complete the cube
Now only the corners remain to be placed:
- If a corner is in the correct position, it goes directly to the next point. If none of the corners are in the correct position, perform the movement sequence L2 B2 L 'F' L B2 L 'F L'. Repeat this until one corner is in its correct position.
- Rotate the entire cube so that the corner in the right place does not occupy the FUR position and the facet in the FUR position is the same color as the center piece of the front main face F.
- Perform the sequence of movements L2 B2 L 'F' L B2 L 'F L'.
- If at this point the cube is still not complete, perform the sequence of movements L2 B2 L 'F' L B2 L 'F L' a second time. Congratulations you have successfully completed the famous Rubik's Cube!
- You can make the internal mechanism of the Rubik's Cube move faster. To achieve this, take it apart completely to lubricate each individual internal part or to smooth the internal edges of the cube. Silicone oil is perfect for this purpose, but even a very common cooking oil can do the trick; in this case, however, the lubricating effect will last a little less.
- The application of the procedure described in the article will be much simpler and faster when you can stop thinking about the sequences of movements that you have memorized in terms of letters and numbers and you will begin to perform these movements in a natural way, letting them be your muscles, now trained, to guide you. Obviously, achieving this level of automatism requires a lot of practice.
- Using this method you can solve a Rubik's cube in a variable time between 45 and 60 seconds. When you have learned to complete it in about 90 seconds, you can begin studying the Fridrich method. Try not to be in a hurry as this is a much more difficult solution than the one outlined in the article. As an alternative, you can take advantage of the Petrus, Roux and Waterman methods. The ZB method (from the initials of its creators Zborowski-Bruchem) is the fastest ever, but it is also extremely complex to memorize and implement.
- If you have difficulty memorizing the algorithms, write down the configuration required for the application of each individual algorithm, so always keep the list handy while you train.