Archive for the Cubing Category

New 4×4 Record! Sub-2 Minutes!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, High Scores/Accomplishments on March 1, 2021 by slateman

I haven’t done any speed solving in quite some time, but after ordering a treasure trove of puzzles for Christmas, I was enjoying my 4×4 MoYu Meilong and its magnets. I realized just how quickly it turned and I thought a new record could be in sight. After an impressive 2:04 – an eight-second improvement on my existing personal best, I busted out my very first sub-2-minute run! Clocking in at 1:54.10, this was my first new record in over a year. I am certain I could improve upon it – but I don’t feel any burning need to do so. The 2-minute threshold is satisfying enough! Pretty psyched and this year marks my 10-year cubing anniversary.

Mixup Cube Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on January 17, 2021 by slateman

This puzzle was a curious one and I required a helpful tutorial to solve it. Just some quick algorithms to help me solve this cool cube.

Step 1: Return to a cube

First, you’ll get offset centers lined up with an edge piece sloped downward above it. Here, you move the center piece 45° to the right, then perform a R, U’, R’ before returning the center. You then keep repeating this process. If you’re stuck with a flipped edge, just bring it down to make it a center and repeat.

Step 2: Restore centers

Just prep centers. This will swap front and right centers. When you have a pair to exchange, move your center 45° to the right, then R2 and return. Super easy.

Step 3: Solve F2L

Solve the first two layers are you would on a normal 3×3.

Step 4: Last-Layer Parities

If you get the classic 4×4 parity, you can bring down your front edge 45° (an M slice). Then F2, an E (turn left as you look at it), F2, and return the E and return M’.

This will mess up three layer 2 edges which can be fixed easily apparently. Place the proper piece on bottom/back and whip out a: B2 M B2 M. This should fix it.

If you get a parity where your final two edges are swapped, place the flipped edge in front. A M’ here is a 45° upward.

M’, R, U, R’, U’
M’, U, R, U’, R’

I’m finding a problem where this doesn’t necessarily solve it all. But for now, it’s a good start. Perhaps I’ll edit this again in the future.

Clover Pyraminx Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on January 15, 2021 by slateman

This puzzle looks cool, turns wonderfully and appears simple enough. While it’s effectively just a 3×3 shape mod, I simply cannot visualize it as such. This tutorial helped me whittle the whole thing down to something digestible.

Step 1: Solve two-colored edges

As jumbled as this can get, remember that sometimes the solved position is on another plane.

First, flatten each petal. If they’re beside one another, turn the layer that includes both down (it’ll be on the right side), then left down, up, up. This should fix it all.

If they’re not on the same face, turn the top face one down (using a left turn), the front/right face 180° and the top back up. Should fix it.

Step 2: Solve all Petals

This will take a three-cycle. It’s intuitive which this will change. Hold pyramid tip at you, this swaps far left, top center and far right. Do 180° flips between the two layers (DDUU – L2, R2, L2, R2)

If you’re stuck w/ a two-cycle you can’t fix, do a 90° turn, keeping a flat layer on the bottom. This will look like a person w/ glasses looking at you. Do the same three-cycle (Move them clockwise or CCW based on how you turn) to do a cycle of top left to bottom to top right to top left. Then return the 90° turn. Pics of this may help.

Step 3: Solve Centers/Corners

If these pieces are inverted (jutting out), there will be a hidden center piece somewhere. Find it. Then h old it facing you (the top of the pyramid) with the piece it’ll flip with on top. You’ll do this as an UUDD using your right hand. It’ll also swap the centers of the two ‘down’ faces too. R, L’, R’, L (x3)

Step 4: Swap Centers

Now that everything is flat, we can swap centers.

You don’t want to kick out those centers for those jutting out pieces, of course. So, to swap a L & a R (like you did above), turn that TOP piece 90° so that this algorithm will swap inside pieces & not mess up other centers.

Petal Pyraminx Guide

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on January 1, 2021 by slateman

This little puzzle isn’t altogether too difficult, but it’s a good-enough challenge. As always, I need a little help to push myself through these and I will inevitably forget it all. For the sake of posterity, here are the instructions I’ve worked with, alongside some help from this tutorial. There are only four major steps: two on the Pyraminx portion and two on the inner circles. I sometimes struggle with step 2, but it’s the usual L’, R, L, R’ (or reverse) like all ‘Minx and Skewb puzzles.

  1. Situate tri-color tips so they’re all aligned.
  2. Solve the 6 two-sided edges to match those tips.
  3. Solve small inner-circle triangles.
  4. Solve large inner-circle triangles.

The tutorial shows how to swap those large triangles around. It’s not super intuitive for me and this is the hardest step for me. Here’s the timestamp in the video where he discusses this, but he places the swapped large triangles on the top of the front layer, and on the left of the top. You’ll perform this using the right layer of the side facing you. When you do it, this must bring the large triangle you want to swap up with it. If not, something is wrong and it won’t work. In this photo, the triangle is positioned properly.

Up, Circle Right
Down, Circle Left
Up, Circle Right
Down, Circle Right
Up, Circle Left, Down

All the circle rotations are done on the top layer, FYI. Good luck!!!

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!