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How to Solve Rubik's Puzzles- Including the Cube

Updated on February 21, 2016
The Author!
The Author!

Rubik's Puzzles - How Many and How to Solve Them

Everybody knows the Rubik's cube, it was the bane of my existence in the 1980s as everyone tried to solve it and then the geekiest kid in our class found a book that showed him how it was done and this precipitated weeks of torment as he got faster and faster at solving the puzzle and we got more and more bored at being only able to solve one side.

That was always going to end in tears with a large group of 14yo boys (it did and it is amazing the number of pieces you can smash one of these cubes in to), but rather than have the whole Rubik's phenomenon disappear into the ether, more and more Rubik's puzzles hit the scene.

Only yesterday I was reminded of this when a friend gave me a Rubik's clock puzzle and a solution book, both of which I have looked at and the puzzle which I have now scrambled. Will I ever sit down and read the solution and unscramble the clock?

Probably not, as it brings to many painful memories of geek torment. But it had raised my interest as to how many Rubik's puzzles actually came into existence after that first, now revered, cube.

Intro Photo: Me with an 80's hairstyle, 3D glasses and the Rubik's clock... and Solution! All others: amazon products.

Rubiks Clock
Rubiks Clock

Rubik's Clock

Thanks Stacey

My new 'toy', the Rubik's clock wasn't actually invented by Erno Rubik, he actually bought the patent from two other inventors and marketed the clock under his name.

A two sided puzzle that consists of 9 clock faces and 4 buttons, the position of each button determines which clock turns when you rotate one of the four wheels on the puzzle. The object of the puzzle is to get every clock face on both sides of the puzzle pointing to 12 o'clock.

The current world record for this exercise is 5.27 seconds.

Solving the Clock

Get Your own Clock Puzzle!

LingAo Magic Clock Puzzle
LingAo Magic Clock Puzzle

Solve your own Magic Clock Puzzle.

 
Rubik's cube
Rubik's cube

Rubik's Cube

Arguably the worlds most purchased toy

The puzzle that made Erno Rubik famous. brought to life by the Hungarian architect in 1974, the cube went on to sweep the world with its cunning ease of use, portability and simple premise. Just get the 6 sides of the cube all showing the same colour. A cinch.

Ok, so it didn't quite turn out that way for me, but there is a whole counter culture still in existence and growing nearly 40 years later with events held around the world and even a World Cube Association formed in 2003.

The perfect solution, or as it is humbly known, 'The God Number' is 20. This is the least number of moves required for a completely scrambled cube. The current world record for solving it is 5.66 seconds, which sadly occurred in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

The above record is for a 3x3x3 cube, but there is now a plethora of different combinations of cube ranging from 2x2x2 through to the absolutely crazy 17x17x17 cube.

A Simple Way to Solve the Cube

Rubik's Cubes - Apparently Bigger is Better

ShengShou 5x 5 x 5 V III Speed Cube Puzzle, 6.5 cm, White
ShengShou 5x 5 x 5 V III Speed Cube Puzzle, 6.5 cm, White

Apparently the 3x3x3 cube is far too easy for the genuine Rubik's cube enthusiast. So how can you make it exponentially more difficult? Add four more layers to the basic cube and create a 7x7x7 monster. What are the permutations for solving this beast of a cube? 19 500 551 183 731 307 835 329 126 754 019 748 794 904 992 692 043 434 567 152 132 912 323 232 706 135 469 180 065 278 712 755 853 360 682 328 551 719 137 311 299 993 600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 (roughly 19,501 sexvigintillion), so enjoy!

The world record is 2min 41.63s.

 
Rubik's Void (Vortex)
Rubik's Void (Vortex)

Rubik's Void

Sometimes referred to as the Vortex

Rubik's Void seems like a simple enough concept. Take a normal 3x3 cube and just remove the centre squares, thus leaving a doughnut hole in the middle. Yet by removing the centre the puzzle becomes fiendishly hard. Most solutions to the 3x3 rely on the centre square, so once it is missing, life becomes a little more complex.

Experienced cubists recommend learning the ropes on the basic cube before trying Rubik's Void. Though if you are a sucker for punishment then go right ahead and jump in the deep end.

To quote Obi Wan, Good luck Master Luke!

Into the Void... and Its Solution.. Just Ignore the Yellow is Opposite Yellow (White!!)

Get Yourself a Rubik's Void - Challenge Yourself

Rubik’s Void Puzzle w/ Free Storage Bag
Rubik’s Void Puzzle w/ Free Storage Bag

Comes complete with a carry bag to protect your half completed puzzle.

 

Olympics

Should speed cubing be an Olympic Sport?

Rubik's Spiral
Rubik's Spiral

Rubik's Spiral Challenge

Even a jigsaw in the hands of Erno Rubik can turn in to a fiendish puzzle. There are only 55 pieces to this jigsaw, but due to the shape and layout of the puzzle as well as the difficult to follow subject matter (a vortex of joined Rubik's Cubes) this simple jumble of pieces has over 1.8 million ways to be assembled.... 1.799999 million of them are incorrect.

Already comes in pieces so even the hammer option is lost on this Rubik puzzle.

Rubik's Spiral Puzzle

Rubik's Rubik's: Spiral Challenge
Rubik's Rubik's: Spiral Challenge

Combining the torment that Rubik is known for in the well known format of a jigsaw puzzle. This one wont be done in one sitting!

 

Rubik's 360

Pursuing his apparent lifelong passion to continue to create puzzle toys Erno Rubik released the 360 puzzle on an unsuspecting world in 2009. The basic premise is to get 6 coloured balls through 3 spheres so they fall into the six coloured coded compartments on the outer of the third sphere.

Sadly for people like me you can't pull this one apart! (Though a hammer has been known to complete a similar action if used on the 360 in an appropriate manner!)

The current world record is 37.02 seconds.

Solving Rubik's 360 Ball Puzzle

Rubiks Magic
Rubiks Magic

Rubik's Magic

A simple puzzle of 8 squares that have a black background and three multi coloured rings. The object of the puzzle is to get it in to the shape of a love heart with all three rings intertwined (just like it is in the picture).

Mr Rubik must have been having a mildly off day in the puzzle invention field when he popped this one out, as the world record for solving Rubik's Magic is an astounding 0.69 seconds. Probably not quite the easy challenge that Mr Rubik was thinking of when he invented it.

A Little Rubik's Magic

Jumbo - Rubik's Magic
Jumbo - Rubik's Magic

A little Rubiks Magic of your own.

 
Rubiks snake
Rubiks snake

Rubik's Snake

Not so much a puzzle with one right answer like a lot of Rubik's other teasers, the snake is 24 hinged wedges that can be manipulated into many recognisable shapes. Cats, dogs and just about anything your imagination can conjure up can be built with this simple contraption.

More of a puzzle for those with vivid imaginations and busy hands.

Rubik's Favourite

What is your favourite Rubik's puzzle?

See results
Rubik's UFO
Rubik's UFO

Rubik's UFO

Pretty similar to Rubik's Cube, the UFO consists of 2 disks and 6 segments which can be rotated and twisted.

The object is to get all the coloured shapes on the segments lined up. The possible combinations are 39,916,800, so it will keep you amused for a while!

Solving the UFO

Rubiks Tangram
Rubiks Tangram

Rubik's Tangram

As a Tangram was the Rubik's Cube of its day it is quite appropriate that Erno Rubik put his name to a version of the puzzle.

A modern version of the Chinese puzzle that has kept generations amused for over a 100 years, the object of the puzzle is to form the pieces into a predetermined recognisable shape, e.g. a dog. Can be fiendishly difficult!

A Variety of Tangrams to Play With!

Rubik's race
Rubik's race

Rubik's Race

Not content with just tormenting yourself with a Rubik's puzzle. Is racing against the clock no longer a challenge? Then the Rubik's puzzle is for you.

Shake the small cube to get your target arrangement and the first player to get the centre squares of their puzzle matching the little shaker cube wins. The perfect torment for two.

Rubik's Race - Amaze (and beat) Your Friends

Rubik's Race

What Rubik's Puzzle do you own?

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    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 3 years ago

      @Charito1962: He was a very busy chap ;-)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Hi! I didn't know that Rubik's had other puzzles. I'm only familiar with the cube. Thanks for sharing.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      I had a Rubik's cube keychain when I was younger. I ended up getting frustrated and peeling the stickers off, then putting them back in the proper place. It didn't turn out well since they were all sort of "half peeled off" for ever afterwards.

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @Tonto Murray: Ahh sadly, life can be just summed up as a mathematical problem ;-)

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @ChimpWithKeyboard: LOL..great comment..almost as good as socks as a present!

    • shewins profile image

      shewins 4 years ago

      I have a cheap knock-off. Sometimes it's really hard to turn the way you want it to go. I just recently solved the cube, with the help of instructions including pictures. Even with the instructions, it was hard. One wrong move and you're all mixed up again.

    • ChimpWithKeyboard profile image

      ChimpWithKeyboard 4 years ago from East coast of England in the county of Suffolk

      Still got the original cube. Also the pyramid and a mini-snake. Plus a whole load of non-Rubik puzzles, because despite having got fed up with puzzles about two decades earlier, family members still keep getting me more. I'm hard to buy presents for, but they "know" I like puzzles so when they see a new one, they think "a-ha, that's the perfect present! He likes puzzles! He must do, he has so many!"

    • Tonto Murray profile image

      Tonto Murray 4 years ago

      Great lens, although I am a bit disappointed that solving it is a simple mathematical formula

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 4 years ago

      I had several Rubik's cubes and the snake back in the 1980's. I found out how to solve it from a book when it first became popular.

    • eightieschild profile image

      eightieschild 4 years ago

      I was shown the secret to solving a Rubik's cube many years ago, but it still took me a few weeks to really master. If I really concentrate hard, I can still solve one in under 2 mins.I had completely forgotten about so many other Rubiks themed toys though. As a child, I had the Rubik's Clock, the Rubik's Missing Link and the Rubiks Magic, but had completely forgotten they existed until just now.Thank you SO much for bringing back some great childhood memories. :)

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @Rosetta Slone: Yep..that's me too ;-)

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 4 years ago

      I have some knock off ones. I think I have a Badgers one right now. I used to have a Chuck E Cheese one, I loved that one and I used to have the snake and the pyramid. I think we even have a little tiny cube around the house too. But I do have to say, there's something really special about the feel of a real Rubik's cube that's been well played with.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I have to admit I am so impatient that I prefer to peel off and restick on every single coloured square rather than solve a Rubik's cube. I really enjoyed all the info you've compiled here.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 4 years ago

      I have some knock off ones. I think I have a Badgers one right now. I used to have a Chuck E Cheese one, I loved that one and I used to have the snake and the pyramid. I think we even have a little tiny cube around the house too. But I do have to say, there's something really special about the feel of a real Rubik's cube that's been well played with.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      We just have more of the basic cubes. I love the fun cubes you have here. Pinned.

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @knitstricken: After all these years I can still only get one side done! Glad it's not just me ;-)

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      we have a 2x2, a 3x3, actually a few of those :o), a 4x4, and a couple of those triangles. My 14yo son is the master around here, but I can still get a slice (one side), and I do find that relaxing.

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @tedwritesstuff24: Actually I now know that Rubik's Race dates back to 1982! Though it has been renamed a few times over the years. ;-)

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow the man is insatiable! I'll have to find out about it!! Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey I saw a new one in the Australian Geograhic store...its called the Rubik's race and its for two people! Seems like good ole Rubik has kept up with the times too...there's a Rubik's race App for the IPhone, Ipod or IPad...

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image
      Author

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      @deforst: I find them all fiendish!

    • deforst profile image

      deforst 4 years ago

      I had a Rubik's magic so no surprise my favourite puzzle is the magic...though that could also be because I found the Rubik's cube so fiendishly difficult! ;-D