It's easy when you know how.
The Rubik's Cube can seem almost impossible when you first start playing with it. Getting the first few pieces into place is easy enough but soon you find you can't do anything without stuffing up other areas. When you know the steps, and are armed with the right algorithms it is actually quite easy. On the following pages you'll learn a simple and easy to apply set of algorithms (pre organised steps) which will solve the cube. (The Rubik's Cube is a product created by Rubik's Brand Ltd. This is merely a tutorial on how to solve it and is in no way affiliated with the company.)
This Cube tutorial is divided into 5 sections. The rest of this page introduces you to cube notation and getting to know your cube. The rest of the pages work towards solving the cube.
Keep reading below to get started or skip to one of the following sections.
Each Step of the tutotial lists the algorithms and has detailed explanations. If you don't want to read the explanations, you are perfectly fine skipping them.
Everyone picks up the Rubik's Cube differently. Some people will figure out manipulating the pieces fairly quickly. Others will take a little longer. With practice manipulating the pieces it will get easier and you will start to appreciate how certain moves result in certain outcomes. What at first seems like just blindly following algorithms will start to make sense and you'll start modifying the algorithms to create shortcuts.
Before we begin working on solving the cube it can be beneficial to get a feel for how the cube behaves. A good starting exercise is to work on solving just a single face of the cube. Don't worry if the squares adjoining that face don't line up correctly, just work on solving a single face. You should be able to do this intuitively (that is without using predefined algorithms). Doing this helps to build an understanding of how the pieces move around and how pieces can be put into place without affecting others. You should practice holding the cube in two hands whilst doing this and manipulating the cube with both hands. For extra challenge, see if you can solve the cube face one handed.
Corner pieces - There are 8 corner pieces. They have 3 panels and can each be in any of 3 orientations in each position. | |
Edge pieces - There are 12 edge pieces. They have 2 panels and can each be in any of 2 orientations. | |
Center pieces - There are 6 center pieces. They each have only one panel so can be in a single orientation. These pieces also identify the six faces of the cube. eg. the face with the blue center piece is the blue face. |
All up this makes for 26 pieces making up the cube with a total of 54 panels on those pieces. This leads to a staggering 43, 252, 003, 274, 489, 856, 000 possible combinations. Despite this large number, a group or researchers with a heap of spare computing time actually worked out the optimal solve for each of these combinations working out that the maximum required number of moves (see below) to solve any cube is 20 moves. Virtually all of these combinations required a different algorithm in order to sovle optimally and we are not going to propose you try to remember that many combinations and corresponding algorithms.
Instead we are going to introduce you to the beginner algorithms. They do involve more than 20 moves but they are guaranteed to solve any combination. This is the power of well thought out algorithms, they can be very flexible in what they can solve. This is also why this Rubiks cube tutorial is on a website with IT tutorials. Learning to solve the Rubiks cube is a great way to explore how we can effectively set up processes in order to take a wide range of possible inputs and reliably transform them into given outputs.
Solving the cube involves following a set of algorithms. To illustrate the algorithms we will use cube notation as listed below. (There are several variations on cube notation but once you know one, adjusting to others is fairly easy.)
Each of these moves is a 90 degree turn of the relevant pieces. Each move also has a corresponding opposite move which is denoted with an apostrophe ( ' ).
Don't worry about trying to remember all of these. The images as well as a simulation will be used along with the notation when explaining the algorithms.
Often seeing the moves makes it easier to understand them so here is a cube where you can see each of the moves in action.
Now you're ready. You can dive into Step 1 - Solving the white cross, or keep reading below if you're interested.
It's not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed when first starting out with learning to solve the Rubik's Cube. With time and practice this will quickly subside. Here are some tips and advice to help you on your journey to cube mastery.
To begin with, you'll take quite a bit of time to solve the Rubik's cube. With practice it is possible to get this down well under a minute. Here are a few tips to help with this:
The standard Rubik's Cube can easily become quite stiff and difficult to turn the pieces. This can disrupt your flow and make working through the algorithms need a lot more concentration. There are many Cube's by other brands on the market many of which are marketed as Speed Cubes. The Rubiks brand sells one of these also. These often have pieces with rounded edges which make for much smoother piece turning. You can get a good speed cube for very cheap also. My advice is to get one of these for a much better experience. I won't list any specific websites to buy them from. Do a Google Search and you will find many retailers selling them.