Category Archives: not 3x3x3

AoChuang 5×5 Re-Stickering (Time Lapse)

It’s not easy to make a re-stickering video interesting. So, why make one at all? In this case, it was an excuse to test the iPhone 6 time lapse feature. Here’s about 30 minutes of scraping, cleaning, and stickering a Moyu AoChuang 5×5 reduced to 100 seconds.

(setup: iPhone 6 tripod-mounted with Charger City adapter; music: The New Deal, “Back to the Middle”)

The puzzle and stickers are from The Cubicle in my standard scheme. The cube looks great and performs even better. Easily the best 5×5 out there. Perfectly suited for me, the worst 5×5 solver out there....

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Megaminx Re-Stickering (Cubicle Stickers)

I’m not a big megaminx solver, as you can tell from my walk-through post. But I do find it a fun break from cubic puzzles. I prefer Dayan megaminxes (with ridges). Like all things Dayan, the stickerless version is excellent. I also have a black one at work, but have never liked the look of the cheap OEM stickers — with their darker shades and poor contrast between like colors. The greens, for example, always seemed too similar, as did red and orange. And cream is just a nasty color.

So, when The Cubicle added Megaminx stickers to their totally awesome sticker picker series, I ordered replacements for the OEM stickers Here’s an overproduced video showing the before/after results (complete with explosions!):

(music: Easy Star All Stars, “Any Colour You Like”; puzzle: Dayan Ridged Megaminx)

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Parity or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the 4×4

After painstakingly modding my Shengshou v4s a couple months ago (mod post coming soon), my interest in 4x4s has waxed and waned. On the one hand, I find it a welcome and more challenging distraction from 3x3s; on the other hand, those damn parity algorithms!?! I have finally committed them to muscle memory and am now trotting along at a 2:20 average using the Yau variation of the reduction method. (For more on Yau, and especially the cross-on-right variation that I find easier, check out Cyoubx’ really good Yau intro video.)

For months, parity was my albatross. I finally conquered it, so to speak, not only by finding and learning algorithms that worked for me, but also my learning about the root causes of parity. This was by far my deepest dive into puzzle theory and its associated patois. Keep reading past the jump for much more on the types of cube parity, what causes each, and, most importantly, what we really mean when we sloppily say that a cube has “parity.”

PARITY ALGORITHMS

If you’re just here for the algorithms, look no further:

OLL Parity
4x4-oll-parity

[1] Rw U2 x Rw U2 Rw U2 Rw’ U2 Lw U2
Rw’ U2 Rw U2 Rw’ U2 Rw’

[2] (Rw Lw) U2 Lw’ U2 Rw’ U2′ x’ U2 Rw’ U2′ Rw U2 Rw’ U2′ Rw2 U2

PLL Parity
4x4-pll-parity

Uw2 Rw2 U2 r2 U2 Rw2 Uw2

Here’s a (now muted due to copyright claims) video showing each:

(music: Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues; cubes: Konsta+Florian modded Shengshou v4s with Cube Specialists Bright+ modded stickers)

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Megaminx Beginner’s Walkthrough, ECE Trio Tutorial (no last layer)

I’ve been on a Megaminx kick for the past 10 days. After posting that 10-minute (plus) non-last-layer solve, I practiced a bit more and finally did learn the last layer (beginners’ tutorial coming soon). I’m down to about 6 minutes now for a full solve. With one exception that I’ll point to in my upcoming last layer post, I couldn’t find many good Megaminx tutorials online. Instead, I kept bumping into statements that solving a Megaminx is just like solving a 3×3 — but with a bunch more F2L steps. Yeah, that is basically right. But not entirely.

On a cube there are just 4 F2L slots. Except for some incremental efficiency gains, there’s really no magic to the order in which you fill those slots. On a Megaminx, order does matter — at least, I found that certain face/slot orders flows more smoothly, with a lot less potential for accidentally destroying already-solved portions.

I also found that there will always be one tricky V-shaped slot formed by an edge-corner-edge (ECE) trio. In the end, it turns out that’s it’s not that hard to form and insert the trio without breaking up the solved neighboring faces. I just wish someone would have created a clear tutorial one it, since it’s not entirely intuitive. Having figured out a technique that worked well for me, I decided to do a quick walk-thru video showing the face/slot order I use and then explaining the way I fill that ECE trio:

This is a beginner doing a beginner’s work; there’s some inefficiency and excess hunting throughout. Continue reading

Adventures in ‘Minxing

megaminxA friend and I have a unspoken tradition of buying gag gifts for each other off our Amazon wish-lists, which amounts to us placing a bunch of random stuff on the lists to see what the other orders. Traditionally, it’s been music or movies, but we’ve definitely had some weird things come up — digital home thermostats, drill bits, and the like. Long ago, I placed a stickerless Dayan Megaminx (a dodecahedron shaped puzzle) on my list and forgot about it. I had no real interest in it, had no expectation of ever being able to solve it (I was a 2-minute 3×3 solver at the time), and, more than anything, thought it would be a funny item for the wishlist. Lo and behold, it arrived at my house last December. I messed with a few times, got frustrated, and stashed it on my shelf.

A couple days ago, my 19-month-old brought it over to me, having scrambled it on his way. My OCD thusly challenged, solve it I had to. Which meant learning how to solve it.

I approached it entirely intuitively after realizing through a couple web searches that it’s essentially a complicated 3×3 — with 12 faces (rather than six), each with 5 edges and 5 corners (rather than 4). I experimented a couple times and then, on my third, decided to give it a go on video. Here is the result — a 10-minute solve (excluding the last layer), presented at 3x speed: Continue reading

I Got 5 On It

Go ahead and stream the below as your read this post. It’s my strained attempt to find some topical background music consistent with the post’s forced title. Maybe it’s just the introspection of turning 36, but it’s fun to hear an updated version of a song* that we used to listen to in high school.

* Wick-It Remix of the Luniz' “I Got Five On It,” with the opening minute or so cleaved and a line muted to keep things PG-13 around these parts….

So, I received my Shengshou 5×5 yesterday from amazon. I’m not really into higher order cubes, and certainly not into speed-solving them. But I guess that curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to test my theory that a 5×5 actually would be easier than a 4×4 for want of parity issues. I *hate* 4×4 last layer parity — with its long and confusing algorithms. Two 5×5 solves in, my theory seems mostly right.

shengshou 5x5
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2x2s Revisited

I haven’t spent much time at all on 2x2s. I actually think they’re fun puzzles, but just never really got that into them. I basically got a V-Cube 2×2 a month after getting into cubing, landed a 27-second on-video solve on my first try, got a 16-second solve a few days later, and then shelved it.

2×2 OLL GUIDE HERE: DOWNLOAD

When Crazybadcuber posted his excellent 2×2 tutorial (embedded below) the other day, I decided to order a better 2×2 (a WitTwo Type C v1) and try again. The last time I played with a 2×2, I treated it as a 3×3 with no edges. Which, of course, is right. But applying 3×3 algorithms is not very efficient. For example, I used to treat this 2×2 case like this 3×3 case . Of course, the 3×3 algorithm will work. But it takes 12 QTM moves with a couple D layer moves (which I find hard on a 2×2). By contrast, the 2×2-specific an alternate 3×3 algorithm takes only 6 QTM moves — and is crazy easy: an F turn to setup, a Sexy Move, and a F’ to finish. EDIT: The key is that these three are equivalent: . Once you ignore edges, there are multiple 3×3 OLL cases to choose from for each 2×2 OLL case. Continue reading