Archive for the Cubing Category

New 7×7 Records! 16:15!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records on February 9, 2019 by slateman

Sometime last year, my son dropped my V-Cube 7 on the floor. It shattered, that dreaded CHSSSSSSSS sound only cubers can recognize. I’ve tried to rebuild it, but I’m not so good with the tiny pieces and just gave up. I never really liked the puzzle anyway.

For Christmas, funnily enough seven years to the date since I got my original 7×7, my son got me a new one: an MF7S. This is a smaller cube (69mm vs 75mm) with bright stickers and while it doesn’t fit aesthetically into the collection, the puzzle kicks ass!!! It turns like a dream and is solid and reliable. Since I never liked the V-Cube puzzles (6×6 and 7×7), I only really tried speedsolving them a few times. With the new cube, why not try it? Last week I nailed a 19:33 time, then this morning got that down to 18 and change and then just now 16:15.72! Wow! That’s almost as fast as my 6×6 record (again though, that’s a V-Cube…urgh!)

So, while I don’t really go for times, it’s nice to get this solve done quickly. I’ll soon hit a ceiling, but I think as is, it’s an impressive time! I’ve updated my cubing records page accordingly, of course. Not bad for an almost-43-year-old! :D

Skewb Ultimate Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on December 13, 2018 by slateman

I grabbed this little guy while in New York and, it being a Skewb variation, I quickly ran into troubles. Not quire sure what’s up with these friggin’ things, but my brain breaks a little bit, particularly this dumb dodecahedron. It didn’t help that after getting a few steps in, I kept getting confused by orientation and the tutorials out there leave a bit to be desired. Not knocking their content – but they’re not too organized. Anyhow, here’s my solution, which will likely require some tweaking before I forget how it’s all done. That’s kinda silly though, as it only really requires the same one algorithm all Skewbs need. R’, L, R, L’. You can reverse it (L, R’, L’, R) for step 2.

Step 1: Solve an X
This isn’t so bad, though sometimes moving an item out of the way takes a second. This should really be intuitive, but worst case, you might have the piece in the correct spot but not oriented.

If so, move it up to the opposite side. If moved to the right, rotate counter-clockwise, if on the left, CW. Then bring it down and fix the initial turn. Note, if the color you want is facing up when starting this, you’ll have to do this step twice. You can situate all four without breaking one another.

Step 2: Position remaining centers
This will swap the top and front centers as well as the left and the right. If you’re smart enough, you can plan this out. I, on the other hand, just keep bringing the top piece down to its correct spot (and messing up the rest in the process) until everything is right. Don’t worry about orientation – just getting them in the right spot. You’ll know which algorithm to use based on its upper-level orientation. If the piece you need is on the left face, start with a R’ to bring it to its position. If on the right, start with L. This takes a few tries, but it’s easy.

Step 3: Orient top-layer X
This can be a pain. Figure out the top-layer colors (here they’re pink and green) and you want there to be two on one face. In this photo these stickers are close, but it could be on the other side where they are farther apart. These can be any combination of those colors too. G,G/P,P or how it is here, one of each. You’ll put these on the left side and rotate the puzzle up so your algorithm is done adjacent to your bottom layer. Doubled algorithm this time: R’, L, R, L’ (x2).

If you have no doubles, which is likely, find one sticker you want. If it’s on the left, start with the R’ version of the algorithm and vice versa. I believe this should consistently give you a usable pair.

Step 4: Orient remaining centers
The very same algorithm will be used to rotate centers. This will flip four centers: U, F, L and R. If you only have two, you’ll be doing this algorithm twice – by fixing one and breaking three others (3+1=4).

Get the four centers U, F, L and R as mentioned and rotate up slightly. You will be performing this algorithm on a properly-oriented side as shown here. Do the same algorithm 6x. Every so often you will have four mis-oriented centers in a row and not a plus pattern. Despite having four, your goal, you still have to perform this step repeatedly. Use your intuition to figure out which to fix so to prep yourself for a proper final step.

Good luck!

Master Pyraminx Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on November 19, 2018 by slateman

When I first moved to Sweden, I purchased the new flat-edged Master Pyraminx. The puzzle looks great and I solved it a number of times. Then, I forgot how.

It’s strange; I can still solve the rest of my puzzles, or at least I think I can. In recent months, I’ve returned to the puzzle each time frustrated by my lack of memory and the unclear tutorials online. Today I checked again and hobbled together a solution. As always, for my own purposes, here are the steps I used to finally remember this solve!

Step 1: Solve One Face

Well, of course, get tips matching their adjacent sides first and get all three corners properly aligned. Then, pick one face to solve. This requires some intuitive positioning but it shouldn’t prove too difficult. Get those three center edges and then fill in the remaining six middle-edge pieces.

Step 2: Flip Middle Edges

Sometimes you’ll have all these middle pieces placed correctly. If not, however, two will be placed correctly, but oriented in reverse. In this case, move the correct piece to the back. Then you perform this algorithm, using intuition for replacing the bottom layer.

LD, RD, LU, RU
U’, L’, U, L

Step 3: Finish Second Layer

Here we bring the red piece down, not vice versa. Again we break the bottom layer, but that’s OK, it’s easy to fix! Of course, you can figure out the opposite if mirrored, so use intuition when figuring out what goes where here.

l, R’, l’, R’
Then get the U out of the way (u’)
L’, u, L, u’

Step 4: Centers

There are three possibilities here. Centers are all solved, none are solved or three are out of place. You could solve centers earlier or at the end, but if you have three centers misplaced, the algorithm will make you repeat the final step, so here’s a good time to do this algorithm.

To solve four centers, place opposite centers on top and bottom. It should be an easy one here:

LD, RD, LU, RU (x3).

As I mentioned, when three centers are out, it messes with things. This is sometimes referred to as parity. For this case, place the one properly-placed center on the left side and do the following:

R, U, R’, U (x2).

If this doesn’t swap your centers correctly, do it again. Done!

Step 5: Last-Layer Edges

All that should should remain are last-layer edges. Either these are solved or they need to be permuted. These could go clockwise or counter-clockwise. The algorithm here works opposite of that rotation. But it’s easy enough and can be done twice to accomplish the same result.

R, U, R’, U, R, U

Change that to U’ for a clockwise last-layer spin.

4×4 Windmill Last-Layer Parity

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on August 8, 2018 by slateman

Another quick algorithm update. I saw I had left my awesome MoYu AoSu 4×4 Windmill Cube on the shelf unsolved. That last-layer edge parity (either opposite or adjacent) can’t be fixed by the normal algorithm, as it messes up your centers. “Oh, what was the solution again?” I pondered…To the YouTube!

Ah, that’s simple! OK, so first, rotate the U layer either way and then drop down the white center. Move back the top layer so your parity is properly located for your algorithm and the white/yellow centers are front and back. Do the awesome LL parity algorithm and then just reset the white and yellow faces. Since those two don’t have any orientation, it’s OK if you flip them around.

Quite simple really…until I forget next time, of course!

New 3×3 Record! 29.03!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records, High Scores/Accomplishments on July 28, 2018 by slateman

This one is a few months old, but that’s OK. This isn’t unusual, but every so often I’ll grab my best 3×3 and see if I still have it. A sub-40 average is usually my goal, but my ninth solve on this day was just remarkable. I slammed together that first layer in like 8 seconds. The second layer was average, but I think I had two last-layer skips. It was one of those moments where you just know this is something special. As only my third sub-30, I was utterly thrilled. Anyhow, new record! Oh, and a quick check of my cubing records reveals that this new time came precisely one year after I got my last sub-30 record! I suppose I’ll have to make another go on the 18th of May, 2019!

Cubing Wishlist 2018

Posted in Blog, Cubing, Lists on November 18, 2017 by slateman

I’ve been cubing now for almost seven years, I think, and my collection might seem rather complete. However, as any cubing fan would know, the differences between many of these puzzles is vast. And while I already have a standard Megaminx, that doesn’t mean I need a two-layer one or a five-layer Gigaminx any less! Nay, my collection lacks the four, six and seven! Unfortunately, at this stage in my cubing career, purchasing puzzles is less of a priority and the prices of the ones I “need” continues to rise. Despite this, the collection is quite incomplete in the vast scheme of things and I thought I’d put together a short list of puzzles I would like to add to the display. File this under “Things no one else cares about” which truly is what this blog is all about anyway. I’d say, “Enjoy!” but I’m the only one reading this anyway! :D

Puzzle $$$ Notes
Z-Cube 2x2x1 $ My old one broke
QiYi Clover Cube $$ Half Ivy/Half Curvy Copter?
Z-Cube Penrose Cube $ Just seems curious!
3x3x1 Floppy Ghost Cube $ Just another one for the collection
Any Stickerless 5×5 $$ Something cheap
Replacement 6×6 & 7×7 $$ V-Cube sucks
Redi Cube $ Another curiosity
Heart Curvy Cube $ Same as the Redi/Dino Cube?
4×4 & 5×5 Mastermorphix $$ I have a hard time with these
SS 4×4 Megaminx $$ Then I’d have 2/3/4/5!
SS 6×6 Megaminx $$$ 2/3/4/5/6?
SS 7×7 Megaminx! $$$ Same price as the 6×6
2×2 Windmill Cube $ Just looks cool!
4×4 Octagonal Dipyramid $ Only have one 4×4 shape mod

For now, that’ll have to do though I’m certain I’ve missed some. I may return to this post!

Gear Ball Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on September 3, 2017 by slateman

This ought to be unnecessary. The Gear Cube can be solved with just one algorithm and this has two. However, they’re so simple that I forget them all the time. It’s dumb. And it’s easy to fix! Just make a quick blog entry for it to go along all those other algorithm entries. OK, let’s get to it: First get the corners, which is really quite simple. Then worry about those edges. This algorithm swaps the top-front center and the top-back center. I don’t usually forget that, but the R2, U, R2, U sometimes eludes me. That is enough to solve the Gear Cube, but not the Gear Ball which needs something to move around those pesky inner edges. Here you can move around eight at a time. If all are awry, just do this algorithm twice. If not, you should have one stripe of correctly-placed inner edges. Put that in your M layer, going from left to right and do a R, U, R, U, R, U algorithm. Then of course, just rotating those final edge pieces is a cinch. So, there you go! Easy to remember!

New 4×4 Record!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records, High Scores/Accomplishments with tags on July 27, 2017 by slateman

On the same day that Feliks broke the 7×7 world record, with a 2:08 showing, I managed to shave four seconds off my modest 4×4 personal best. A 2:14+ time may seem quaint to these speedcubers, but it’s the best I’ve ever done. My newest cube, a stickerless QiYi MoFangGe Snow Leopard, isn’t really great. It’s exploded several times and I am pretty sure I lost a record just in trying to keep it from doing so again. However, a parity-free run this morning yielded a pretty good time. While I don’t think a sub-two-minute run is ever to be in the cards, I’ll remain humble with this new record.

New 3×3 Record! First Sub-30! OMFG!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records, High Scores/Accomplishments on May 7, 2017 by slateman

I’ve been waiting for this moment for six years. I had a session yesterday where everything was clicking. My average of 5 was 34.06. Average of 12 was 35.11. Average of 50 was 37.29. I could just see the entire solve more clearly than ever.

And today was the day. A quick cross. Three corners and three second-layer inserts were so fast. I had the yellow cross and corners permuted. Two lightning fast sune algs and a standard three-cycle to finish off and I knew it was coming. Just didn’t know if I could break 30. Let’s face it… 30.00 wouldn’t have been nearly as good. This was utterly thrilling. And while the record could be broken again, I think the greatest success here is the change in average time. I’ll never get too much faster… Not without F2L. But for now I can officially say I’m under 30 seconds. At 41 yrs old, I’ve been waiting since I was 35 to say that. :) \m/

100 Solves. New 3×3 Record!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records on April 28, 2017 by slateman

I don’t cube like I used to. My collection continues to grow, recently an Eitan’s Twist and a 2x2x4 entered the fold, but I don’t go for speed like the old days. (five years ago, heh) After seeing some people using an app called Twisty Timer which tracks your times and charts them, I figured I’d just see how I stood. 100 solves later and my average was just over 41 seconds. My old Average Of 5 record has remained unbroken for over four years, mainly because I don’t really ever challenge it. I was about half a second too slow to challenge that one but…what’s this? Oh right, a new personal best!!! I missed the elusive sub-30 claim by a mere quarter-second, but I’ll take it. 30.25 is my new 3×3 record. Maybe 100 more solves will give me the opportunity to shave off that elusive chunk of a second?