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How to Solve a Rubix Cube with the Layer Method---LBL

2010-11-11

How to Solve a Rubik's Cube with the Layer Method---LBL

The Rubix Cube can be very frustrating and may seem next to impossible to restore to its original configuration. However, once you know a few algorithms, it is very easy to solve.

The method described in this article is the layer method: we first solve one face of the cube (first layer), then the middle layer, and finally the last layer.
This is a beginners' guide to solving the three layers cube layer-by-layer. It is relatively easy to understand conceptually and it minimizes the need to memorize long sequences of moves. A benefit of the layer method is that it provides a smooth transition to the Fridrich speed cubing method, which consistently produces times under 20 seconds in competition. With enough patience and determination, you too can conquer rubix infuriating puzzle.

Steps:
1>Become familiar with the terms used in this article. Look at the coding section. It's critical to understand these terms so that the following steps can be followed.
F=front face, B=Back face, L=Left face, R=Right face, U=up/top face, D=Down face.

2>Form a cross (+):
*Turn the cube so the white center is on the U face, it will stay this way until Step 5. The goal is to put the white edge pieces around the white center, so it forms a 'plus sign' on the white face. There are so many ways for the cube to be scrambled that it's nearly impossible to write detailed instructions. Here are some hints instead:
*Find a white edge first, then find a way to get it to the top. Don't just rotate faces randomly and hope for it to happen.
*White edges in the middle layer can be brought to the top in one 90-degree rotation. Just make sure it doesn't take the place of a white edge already in place.
*White edges on the D face can be brought to the top in one 180-degree rotation. Rotate the D face until the edge piece is directly under an empty edge slot in the U face.
*Keep white on the U face. This is the most common mistake on this and subsequent steps

3>Extend the cross into the middle layer centers:
*Rotate the U face until exactly two of the white edge pieces (two arms of the cross) line up with the colors of the centers in the middle layer. Two should be correct, two should be incorrect. If they are all correct, move on to Step 4.
*Turn the whole cube so one of the incorrect edges is on the front face, then apply F2. One white edge should now be on the D face (look at it). Note the other color of that white edge; this color is X (it could be red, green, orange, or blue).
*Now rotate the D face until the X part of the edge piece is directly beneath the X center; then rotate the X face 180 degrees.Now the white/X edge should have returned to the U face and another edge piece should be on the D face (look at it). The edge piece should have white on the bottom, then the color connected to it is called color Y. Now rotate the D face until the Y edge piece is directly beneath the Y center, then rotate the Y face 180 degrees.
*You should now have a white plus sign on the top, and all the edge pieces are above centers of the same color. Don't forget to keep white on the U face.

4>Complete the top layer:
*Find a corner piece on the bottom layer that has white in it. Note the three colors of the corner piece. They should be white, then two other colors, colors X and Y. Now rotate the D face until the white/X/Y corner piece is between the X and Y center pieces (note that we move it between the X and Y centers because the colors of the piece are X and Y). Turn the cube so the white/X/Y corner piece is in the DFR position.
*From here there are three possibilities for the corner piece:
--The white square is in the FRD position, apply F D F'.
--The white square is in the RFD position, apply R' D' R.
--The white square is in the DFR position, apply F D2 F' D' F D F'.
*Repeat 4x.
*If a white corner happens to be in the U face, turn the cube so the corner is in the UFR position, then apply F D F'. Now it is in the D face so you can put it in using the combinations above.
*After you have put in all four corners, the first layer of the cube should be complete and the colors should match up with the middle layer centers.

5>Complete the middle layer:
*Find an edge piece in the D face that does NOT have yellow in it. Look at the square on this edge piece that is on the D face; this is color X. Note the other color of the edge piece and label it color Y. Turn the whole cube on its vertical axis (like a globe spins) so your color X center comes to the front face. Now rotate the D face until the X/Y edge piece is in the DB position.
*From here there are two possibilities:
--If color Y matches the center of the R face, apply F D F' D' R' D' R.
--If color Y matches the center of the L face, apply F' D' F D L D L'.
*If an edge is in the right place but flip-flopped, turn the cube so the edge piece is in the FR position while still keeping the white face on top; apply F D F' D' R' D' R (this is the same as the first possibility above). Now you can put it in using the above combinations.
*Repeat this step until the top two layers look completely restored.

6>Make a plus sign on the yellow face:
*First, turn the cube over so yellow is on the U face; it will stay this way until the cube is solved. Note the number of yellow edges on the U face. From here there are four possibilities:
--Two opposite edges. Rotate the U face until the two edges are in the UL and UR positions, making a horizontal line. Apply B L U L' U' B'.
--Two adjacent edges. Rotate the U face until the two edges are in the UR and UF positions, making an arrow that points to the back-left. Apply B U L U' L' B'.
--No edges. Apply one of the above combinations to kick two edges to the top, then use the other combination to put the other two edges in place.
--Four edges. You're done. Go to the next step.
*At the end of this step, you should have a yellow plus sign, just like the white one made in the first step.

7>Complete the yellow face:
*For this step, blue is going to be your front face. A finished corner is one with yellow already on the U face; unfinished is one without yellow on the U face. Rotate the U face until an unfinished corner comes to the UFR position.
*There are two possibilities for the corner:
--It needs to be rotated clockwise (yellow is on the F face), apply F D F' D' F D F' D'.
--It needs to be rotated counter-clockwise (yellow is on the right side), apply D F D' F' D F D' F'.
*After you've corrected one corner, the cube is going to look screwed up. Don't worry. It will fix itself later.
*Keeping blue as your front face, rotate the U face to bring another unfinished corner to the UFR position, then repeat as many times as necessary.
*After this step is over, the entire yellow face will be finished.

8>Position the remaining edge pieces:
*Rotate the U face until exactly one edge piece matches the color of the center it touches. (If this is not possible, apply R2 D' R' L F2 L' R U2 D R2 and try again. Note that this is the same combination as below.) If you can line up all four edge pieces with their respective centers, do so and skip to step 9
*Turn the cube so this matching edge is on the left face. Now make sure the front edge matches the right center. If it doesn't, then apply U2 and turn the whole cube counter-clockwise 90 degrees.
*Double check that the left edge matches the left center, and the front edge matches the right center.
*Apply R2 D' R' L F2 L' R U2 D R2.
*At this point, the cube should be finished except for the corners.

9>Complete the cube:
*Usually there is already one corner in the correct spot. If there are no correct corners, apply the below combination randomly. Then you should have one correct corner.
*Turn the cube so this correct corner is in the FUR position. Apply L2 B2 L' F' L B2 L' F L' . This combination may need to be applied twice.
*Great you're done! Scramble it and start over!

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