How to Solve A 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube – Let’s Find Out

Looking for a quick way to solve a 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we shall show you how to solve the cube in layers, starting with the first layer all the way to the third one.

This is for those who looked at a 3x3x3 cube, thought they could solve it but gave up after 3 hours of no progress. You’re a total beginner? No worries. We shall make it as easy for you as possible.

Before we dive into how to solve the cube, how about we start with some definitions to help understand the cube better?

Understanding the Rubik’s Cube

As you might already know, the 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube is a cube-shaped puzzle that’s made of 6 faces and 26 small cubes called cubelets or cubies. All the faces of the cube can be rotated by a particular angle, and the rotation is known as a move or simply a turn.

How to Solve A 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube – Let’s Find Out

Other facts about the 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube:

  • There are 12 edges (each edge piece has 2 different colors).
  • There are 6 center pieces.
  • There are 8 corner pieces (each corner piece has 3 different colors).

To be able to perform other moves, you’ve got to rotate layers by 90°, 180° 270° (also called -90°) or 0° (also called 360°). The 90° and 270° rotations are termed quarter turns while the 180° rotation is called a double turn.

You will find that some people call the double turn a face turn, as it exchanges a face layer with the face layer of the opposite side (the back). Note that we’re using the term “layer” to refer to a third of the cube (nine cubelets).

Now let’s name the layers on the cube, shall we?

  • Front (labelled F) – this is the layer directly before you.
  • Back (B) – the layer facing directly away from you.
  • Up (U) – the top layer of the cube.
  • Down (D) – the layer that makes the bottom of the cube.
  • Right (R) – the layer to your right.
  • Left (L) – the layer to your left.
  • Middle (M) – the layer between the right and left layers.
  • Equator (E) – the layer between the top and the bottom layers.
  • Standing (S) – the layer between the front and the back.

When defining moves, we shall label them by the symbol of the layer we shall be turning, for instance F, U, B, D, R, L. A lone symbol refers to a clockwise turn, while a symbol followed by an apostrophe (’) denotes a counterclockwise move.

The counterclockwise move is sometimes denoted by “i”. For 180° turns, the symbol is usually followed by “2” or “2”. This method is known as the Singmaster notation, and although there are other methods of labelling moves, it remains the most popular one.

When you make M, E or S moves, that’s known as a slice turn. If you want to make an M move, the direction to follow is up-down, while for M’, it’s down-up. For E, you should turn left-right, while for E’, you should follow right-left. S entails turning clockwise, while S’ involves making an anticlockwise turn.

Here’s an illustration move to help you understand this better:

The move F2 U’ L M’ means: turn the front layer by 180° in whatever direction (the outcome will be the same for a 180° turn regardless of the direction you follow), then turn the up layer anticlockwise by 90°, then rotate the left layer clockwise by 90°, and lastly, move the middle layer down-up by 90°.

Note that when turning sides, you don’t need to rotate the entire cube; you turn a side if it’s facing you. This may not seem very clear to you at first but we’re pretty sure as time progresses, you will realize what it means.

Here’s what we mean – if you keep rotating the whole cube, you will soon lose sense of the side you’re trying to make and you’ll be back to square one. Therefore, we recommend that after you execute each move, you let the cube remain in its original position.

Corners and edges are normally referred to by the color (such as a white-green edge or a red-blue-yellow corner) or by their placement on the cube (such as a UR edge or DL corner).

Now that you understand the Rubik’s cube language, we think it’s time to delve into how to solve a scrambled cube. We shall try to make this as beginner-friendly as possible. Follow the following easy steps to do it quickly.  

Step I: The White Cross

Before you even begin, there are a few things you should keep in mind. On the solved-state Rubik’s cube:

  • White is always opposite yellow.
  • Green is always opposite blue.
  • Red is always opposite orange.

So, the first thing you want to do is create a white cross on the cube’s top. Here’s how you can do that:

Look for a white edge piece on third row with the white sticker/color facing down, then align the piece next to it with a piece of the same color (white). Now turn the layer 180° to take the layer to the top of the cube.

How to Solve A 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube – Let’s Find Out

Step II: Complete the Top

Look for a white corner on the third row and observe what corner it will go to on the top layer. Place it right under the top corner. Now, rotate the face such that the white cubie is still on the 3rd row; rotate the bottom to position the corner properly and rotate the face you turned earlier in the opposite direction.

Note:

  • If white sticker is to the left side, follow the path F’D’F.
  • If the white sticker is on the right side, follow the path FDF’.

Step III: Complete the Second Layer

Look for an edge piece at the bottom that doesn’t have yellow; orientate in such a way that the color on the lower side fixes the theme of that face upon application of the algorithm. In case the color at the bottom of the edge piece was blue, then you’d have to orientate the edge and place it on the opposite side of the blue face but in a way that it’s still on the third row.

The sticker on the same piece on the third layer will have your secondary color. You’ll use it to make out the set of moves to follow. In case your secondary color is at the left, the set of moves will be F’D’FDLDL’.

If, on the other hand, it’s at the right, the algorithm will be FDF’D’R’D’R.

Step IV: Obtain the Bottom Cross

Orientate the cube to make the bottom face the side that faces you. In our illustration, yellow is the face while red is the top side. After that, apply the algorithm ULFL’U’. Be sure to follow that algorithm carefully so you can orient the cube properly.

Step V: Correct the edges

When we talk about correcting the edges, what we mean is that you should ensure that the edge pieces are aligned in such a way that they are adjacent to the correct color.

Remember, yellow is our top face. Now, rotate the yellow face up until you attain 2 correct edges adjacent to each other and 2 incorrect ones next to one another.

Turn the cube so one of the incorrect edges faces you and the other one faces to your right. In our case, green becomes the face, while orange becomes the right side. Now apply the moves: 2L2UDR’L2FRL’D’2L.

Step VI: Place the Corners

In this step, you’re supposed to put pieces in the correct corners, not necessarily in the correct orientations (we shall do that in the next step) but of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting correctly orientated corners by luck.

Here’s the algorithm to follow: L’URU’LUR’U.

As soon as the corners are in the correct spots, proceed to the next step.

Step VII: Rotate the corners

When rotating the corners, you will encounter 2 types of corners – there are the corners with the yellow face and the ones without the yellow stickers/color. Orientate the cube in such a way that the corner to be turned faces you to the left. After fixing one corner, rotate the top alone to put the next piece into place.

If the yellow side is not facing you, follow this algorithm: LDL’D’ – perform the move twice. Or follow LDL’D’LDL’D’ (once).

If the yellow side is facing you, follow this algorithm: DLD’L’DLD’L’ or DLD’L’ (twice).

Final Word

Once you’re done following all these steps, you should have a solved cube. How did you find the process? We can’t wait to hear your opinion. Although this is the easiest guide to solving the 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube on the internet, it takes practice to excel.

Richard B. Torres
 

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