The Most Spectacular, Stupendous, Sweeping, Slick, Straightforward Rubik’s Cube Tutorial the Web Has Ever Known (and Likely Ever Will Know) – Part 3 (Complete Top Face)

Beginner’s Guide
Table of Contents

STEP 3: Orienting the Last Layer (OLL)

So, you’ve pored over my Cross and First Two Layer tutorials, and have successfully made your cube look like this?  Well done!  Believe it or not, you’ve done the hardest parts.  The next steps of completing the top face (OLL) and then correctly permuting the pieces to complete the top layer (PLL) are significantly easier.  They require a bit more memorization.  But don’t be intimidated.  I had thought that I’d never memorize these algorithms.  Now, just three months later, they are so much a part of my muscle memory that it was actually hard for me to slow down to transcribe them.

With the bottom face all white and next two layers solved, we know all of the pieces in the top layer will have yellow on them.  In this step, we’ll first orient the top layer pieces so that the yellow is facing up — thereby solving the top face.  We’ll do that in two stages: first, orienting the edges by forming a yellow cross; second, orienting the corners.

STEP 3a: Orienting the Yellow Edges (Yellow Cross)

As mentioned, the goal here is to create a yellow cross in the top face, as shown to the right.  Ignore the corners.  In other words, don’t get confused if you happen to end up with some yellow corners in the top face as well.  Really try to think of those corners as irrelevant or “gray” for this step.

algorithm: F   U   R   U’   R’   F’

mnemonicFollow The Road TRubik’s Fame (T=Top=Up)

positioning: yellow face up and…
– if no yellow edges, any face can be front
– if yellow bar, place bar horizontally so bar is parallel to front face
– if L formed by two edges and center, place L in upper-left of top face

Rob’s video: here

You may need to apply the algorithm up to three times to complete this step, depending on your beginning state.  Each application of the algorithm will advance through the following sequence:

Remember: Before performing the algorithm at each step of the sequence, be sure to re-orient the cube to the positions shown above.  You’re done when you get a yellow cross (with or without any solved corners).

STEP 3b: Orienting the Yellow Corners (Completed Top Face)

After creating the yellow cross, you’ll complete the top face by orienting the four corners so that each has yellow facing up.  Remember that some of those corners may already have yellow facing up; we simply ignored those corners in the previous step.  Unless all four are already facing up (in which rare case you can skip to the next step), you will need to apply the below algorithm at least once (and possibly up to three times in a row).  As with the previous step, you’ll need to orient the cube to the right position before applying the algorithm.

algorithm: R   U   R’   U   R   U2   R’

positioning: yellow face up and…
– if no yellow corners on top, yellow in upper-right corner of left face
– if one yellow corner on top, yellow in bottom-left corner of top face
– if two yellow corners on top, yellow in upper-left corner of front face

Rob’s video: here

The below chart illustrates the various states in which you’ll find the top face, the proper orientation of the cube before applying the algorithm, and the expected result from performing the algorithm.   Applying the algorithm only once will complete the top face when, pre-algorithm, there is (a) only one yellow facing up and (b) placing that yellow in bottom-left of the top face, the front face upper-right corner has a yellow facing out.  In all other instances, you’ll need to apply the algorithm at least one additional time.  Be sure to re-orient the cube to the correct position before applying the algorithm again.

# Up-Facing Yellow Corners Top Face Solving Orientation Result
4 N/A proceed to next step

Once the top face is completely yellow, the bottom face completely white, and the bottom and middle layers solved you’re ready to move on to the next and final stage of permuting the last layer (PLL).


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