Welcome to The Rubik Zone

Welcome to The Rubik Zone, a site for all things related to the famous Cube of Erno Rube.

I got my first rubik’s cube as a gift from my uncle. It looked cute and innocent – a bunch of brightly colored squares. A few twists later, and it was messed beyong repair, and stayed that way for months.

Now,  more than 20 years on, The Rubik Zone is here. Check out the menus to see what we have.

On the original packaging of the first Rubik’s cubes sold, the distributor boasted

More than 3 billion combinations!

This has been compared with McDonalds boasting

Over a hundred and twenty hamburgers sold!

In actual fact, there are over 43 billion billion combinations. This is a number just a bit too big for most people to grasp. But it’s actually not as big as you might think.

For example, it’s the cost of only 70,000 Iraq Wars, measured in Iraqi Dinars.  Now 70000 is a number I can wrap my head around.

Alternatively, imagine

  • you start buying Rubik’s cubes, messing them up, and posting them off to other people.
  • Suppose you kept doing this until you had posted a cube to every single man woman and child on earth.
  • Suppose also you persuaded everybody else to start doing the same.
At the end of this, there would be just over 43 billion billion cubes lying around. And guess what? There’d be about a 2 in 5 chance that one of those cubes was actually solved, by pure chance.
So it’s not as impossible as you might have thought!
Unfortunately, all those cubes would cover the earth’s land mass to a depth of 15 kilometres. I suppose we could live on top of them and not worry about global warming any more (it’s pretty chilly 15 km above sea level).
Or, we could ship them off to space. We could build a stack of them, 8 cubes wide and 8 cubes long, reaching clear to Alpha Centauri.
Or just let them collapse into a big ball, 250 km across. Just imagine, a new, Rubik moon! It would have its own gravity – not strong, admittedly, but strong enough that a visitor couldn’t just jump off. The only problem would be that if it fell back to earth, the shock wave would flatten 90% of the trees and buildings on the entire planet.
Anyway, check out the menus to find out how to solve the rubik’s cube – or cheat at solving it – or see what patterns you can make, or how to solve a cube of any size at all!

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Number Of Combinations

How many combinations does the Rubik’s cube have? It’s easy to find out how many the 3x3x3 has, but when I looked, there were precious few pages that showed the number of combinations for all the sizes from 2x2x2 to 7x7x7. So, I made this page, listing the numbers of combinations for various sized cubes. There’s also a javascript calculator in case you want to figure it out for larger sizes.

  • The 2x2x2 Rubik’s cube (called the Pocket Cube) has 3674160 combinations. This is a manageable number. If you fiddle with the 2x2x2 cube randomly, eight hours a day continuously, you’ll solve it by pure chance roughly two or three times per year. Assuming your cube – or your wrist – doesn’t break in the meantime. Mind you, four months to solve the 2×2 cube is somewhat slower than the world record.
  • The original 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube has 43 252 003 274 489 856 000 combinations, or 43 quintillion. Again, as pointed out on this website’s main page, this is a manageably imaginable number. It’s a little less than the square of the earth’s population, for example.
  • The 4x4x4 Rubik’s cube (called the Master Cube, or Rubik’s Revenge – not sure who he was avenging, I must say) has 7 401 196 841 564 901 869 874 093 974 498 574 336 000 000 000 combinations (that is, 7.4 quattuordecillion, if you really wanted to know). To understand how big this number is, imagine you had this many teaspoons of sugar (say you’re planning a really big tea party). The sugar would fill the solar system out to about 3.5 times the orbit of Pluto. It would also weigh about 70 times as much as our galaxy, and instantly collapse into a black hole with an explosion that would wipe out the Milky way, the Magellanic clouds, and probably wake up some sleepy Andromedans as well. Think about that next time you twist the 4×4.
  • As if that’s not enough, the 5x5x5 Rubik’s cube (called the Professor’s Cube) has 282 870 942 277 741 856 536 180 333 107 150 328 293 127 731 985 672 134 721 536 000 000 000 000 000 combinations (aka 283 trevigintillion). This is getting uncomfortably close to the number of atoms in the known universe.
  • Recently, a Greek engineer Panagiotis Verdes figured out how to make 6×6 and 7×7 cubes. The V-Cube 6 (a 6x6x6 Rubik’s cube) has 157 152 858 401 024 063 281 013 959 519 483 771 508 510 790 313 968 742 344 694 684 829 502 629 887 168 573 442 107 637 760 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 combinations. This is a ridiculously humungous number, of course, but…
  • The 7x7x7 Rubik’s cube (the V-Cube 7) has 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 combinations. As I point out in this movie, that’s more combinations than eight independent 3x3x3 cubes. And yet, some people can still solve the 7x7x7 in just a few minutes. Amazing!

Nobody’s built and marketed any larger cube than that, although Panagiotis Verdes promises that some larger ones are in the pipeline. In the meantime, there are software programs that will let you play with any sized cube. These larger sizes are no harder to solve than the 6×6 and 7×7, just more tedious.

  • An 8x8x8 cube would have 35 173 780 923 109 452 777 509 592 367 006 557 398 539 936 328 978 098 352 427 605 879 843 998 663 990 903 628 634 874 024 098 344 287 402 504 043 608 416 113 016 679 717 941 937 308 041 012 307 368 528 117 622 006 727 311 360 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 combinations.
  • A 9x9x9 cube would have 14 170 392 390 542 612 915 246 393 916 889 970 752 732 946 384 514 830 589 276 833 655 387 444 667 609 821 068 034 079 045 039 617 216 635 075 219 765 012 566 330 942 990 302 517 903 971 787 699 783 519 265 329 288 048 603 083 134 861 573 075 573 092 224 082 416 866 010 882 486 829 056 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 combinations.
  • A 10x10x10 cube would have 82 983 598 512 782 362 708 769 381 780 036 344 745 129 162 094 677 382 883 567 691 311 764 021 348 095 163 778 336 143 207 042 993 152 056 079 271 030 423 741 110 902 768 732 457 008 486 832 096 777 758 106 509 177 169 197 894 747 758 859 723 340 177 608 764 906 985 646 389 382 047 319 811 227 549 112 086 753 524 742 719 830 990 076 805 422 479 380 054 016 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 combinations. Youch!

If you want to find the number of combinations for a larger-sized cube, you can do so using the form below. I should warn you that if you type in a ridiculous size for the cube (say more than about 30), it will bog down your computer, not mine.

Note – due to bugs in Internet Explorer, you may need to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to get this form to fix – until I can figure out a way to work around the bugs. Anyway, Chrome and Firefox are much better than IE, so it’d be a mistake for you not to get them.

Enter N :


7 thoughts on “Number Of Combinations”

  1. I think the math is off on this. The puzzle is not a 3x3x3 puzzle. It’s 8 corner pieces that can change positions and be oriented 3 ways combined with an independent 10 side piece puzzle that can be oriented in 2 ways. I don’t understand why, but part of the geometry of the puzzle dictates that no piece can rotate independently – any piece that does must rotate another piece. I think this effectively cuts the number of possibilities in half.

    To simplify this down to the 2×2 puzzle, you have 8 pieces to make up the puzzle. Each puzzle piece can have 3 orientations. So the answer is the number of different places to put the puzzle pieces times the number of different combinations of orientations that the pieces can have (divided by 2 because of the rotation dependency).

    I’m still struggling with the right math, but I think this it. There are 8! different ways to arrange the 8 corner pieces. Each piece can have 3 orientations, which is 3^8 different ways to combine them. So, I get a much larger number at 40320 * 6561 / 2 = 132,269,760 different positions that the 2×2 puzzle can have.

    Expanding this to the 3×3 is actually the 2×2 puzzle times a 10 side piece / 2 orientation puzzle calculated the same and still with the same rotation dependency. So that is the 2×2 answer * (3,628,800 * 1024 / 2) which is 245,750,018,605,056,000 (245.75 quadrillion), significantly less than a 3x3x3 grid answer. But still really big.

    Not 100% sure on this, but my best guess – I know the 3x3x3 is out because that isn’t how the cube is made up.

    1. Well, for the 2x2x2, the eight corner pieces can’t be all independently rotated – you can choose an arbitrary rotation for seven of them, and then the 8th is determined. So that’s 8! x 3^7.

      And for the 3x3x3, why do you say there are ten edge pieces? Surely you mean twelve?

  2. A commonly asked question is “How many ways can a 3 x 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube be arranged” and the answer is usually given as 43,252,003,274,489,856,000. I should like to put the question in a different way, “Given a Rubik’s cube in its solved position, in how many ways can you scramble it?”

    The cube has six faces and so there are 6! ways of choosing the order in which to twist the faces. Each face has four positions, so I get 6! x 4^6 = 2,949,120 ways of scrambling the cube. I feel that this should be an upper limit to the number of legal combinations of the squares, since the only way to get a legal combination is by twisting the faces.

    1. You’ve assumed you can only twist each face once – but that’s not the case. After you do your first twists, you can do more on faces already twisted to access even more combinations.

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The V-Cube 6 and 7

This has got to be the greatest thing since sliced bread! Or at least since the original Rubik’s cube… A Greek engineer, Verdes Panagotis, has figured out how to make puzzle cubes of arbitrary size! Yes, real physical, get-your-hands-on-and-start-twisting Rubik’s cubes of any size at all! Now, not all sizes are available yet. So far, “just” a 5x5x5, two kinds of 6x6x6, and… wait for it…. a 7x7x7!

Check out this video…

Each size up until now adds a new dimension to a Rubik’s-type puzzle…. As well as bazillions more combinations!

  • The 2x2x2 is just a twisty puzzle of 8 corner pieces.
  • The 3x3x3 adds the new dimension of edge pieces to the mix
  • Then, the 4x4x4 let you mix up centre pieces, and you had to bring pairs of edge pieces together
  • The 5x5x5 added a new type of movable centre piece – the ones next to the absolute centres
  • In the 6x6x6, there are yet more different types of centre piece
  • The 7x7x7 has every different type of piece found in any sized cube!

Not just that, but each size cube has more and more combinations. The number of combinations of the V-Cube 7 has 161 digits. It makes the 3x3x3 cube seem trivially simple.

Nonetheless, the V-Cube 7 is not much more difficult than the 3x3x3. Learn a couple of extra tricks, and you’re done. I’ve made a series of videos to show my method.

First, I get the centre pieces all done. This video shows how to do the first four…

The next shows how to do the last two centre pieces…


Finally, I fix up the edges and solve the cube!


Verdes Panayotis has been careful to protect his wonderful invention. The box lists an armful of patents, granted and applied. Judging from some of the patent numbers, he invented these cubes over a decade years ago (I quote : Patent Pending … Australia : 2004241790 … China : 200480013109.3 … Mexico : PA/a/2005/011887…) and has only now revealed them to the world. You can buy v-cubes of many different sizes from Amazon.com. The small ones look so cute! Like a kitten!

Having patented his invention, he’ll gets the sole rights to choose who can make V-Cubes – and these rights will last him well into his retirement.

If you want to see how it’s put together, you don’t have to break yours apart – there’s already YouTube videos on the topic! See for example…3h_zXSA_MBo

… and the video responses to it.

The V-Cube 6 (the 6x6x6) is less well constructed than the V-Cube 7 (the 7x7x7). It is stiffer to turn, and there are reports of bits popping out as people play with it. The V-Cube 7 is very smooth. I love it! However, there is now a V-Cube 6 with curvy faces like the 7. Perhaps the curvy one is better?

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Rubik’s Cube Patterns

One of the nicest things about solving (or “differently solving” ) the cube is this – you get to make patterns!

Rubik’s Cube Patterns are arrangements of the cube that have some nice symmetry to them. There are two kinds.

  • Some rubik’s cube patterns can be made by repeating the same moves over and over. So they are not only a pattern of pieces, but a pattern of moves. One example is the “Six Dots” pattern.
  • Other patterns can’t be made by any obvious pattern of moves, but they still look very nice. An example is the “Cube in a Cube” Rubik’s cube pattern.

Of course, you can also have

  • Positions that are made by repeating the same moves over and over, or by apparently random sequence of moves, but otherwise don’t look that nice.

Among cube experts, this third kind of pattern is called “all messed up”.

Below, I’ve listed a few of my favourite Rubik’s cube patterns. For each pattern, The link to each page contains a bigger picture, and also a movie showing how to make it.

The Checkerboard

One of the classic Rubik’s Cube patterns, and one of the easiest to make, too.
rubik's cube six X pattern
rubik's cube fish pattern The Fish Pattern

Here’s a nice simple pattern, with a fish on the top and bottom faces. It’s also easy to make.

Six Spots

Another classic Rubik’s Cube Pattern, also known as six dots or snake eyes.

six dots rubik's cube pattern
Rubik's Cube Pattern - Zig Zag Zig Zag

This easy-to-make pattern paints a zig-zag stripe around the sides of the cube

Four Crosses

This pattern is closely related to the Zig Zag, and is almost as easy to make.

Four Crosses Rubik's Cube Pattern
Anaconda/Snake Rubik's Cube Pattern Anaconda/Snake

This pattern has a wiggly curve that passes through all six faces

I’ll be adding more patterns to this list, so come back soon!

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Rubik’s Cube Anaconda Pattern

The ‘Anaconda’ or ‘Snake’ pattern has a path, winding from face to face until it overs all six faces of the cube. I like it for two reasons. One – it has this nice unusual symmetry. Two – it’s hard to make.

'anaconda' or 'snake' rubik's cube pattern

The video below shows the simplest method of doing it. You do a sequence of apparently random moves, turn the whole cube over, then ‘undo’ the sequence. Enjoy!



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Rubik’s Cube Four Cross Pattern

Here’s a nice pattern that’s closely related to the Rubik’s Cube Zig Zag Pattern. It has four ‘plus’ signs going around the sides of the cube, the top and bottom faces are plain coloured.  If you are lucky enough to have your white and red stickers opposite each other, one side of your cube would have the Swiss flag, the other the logo of the International Red Cross.

rubik's cube four cross pattern

This pattern is related to the Zig Zag pattern, because if you make a zig zag pattern, then turn the cube and make it again, you end up with this pattern. The movie below will show more details!


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Rubik’s Cube Zig Zag Pattern

This pattern is one of my personal favourites. It’s very easy to make, too. It looks like a zig-zag stripe running all the way round the side of the cube, with the top and bottom faces plain. Perhaps it reminds you of a drum?

rubik's cube zig-zag pattern

What’s more, the pattern is ridiculously easy to make. Turn opposite faces in opposite directions, 90 degrees. Then turn the whole cube. Do this six times. The movie below shows what I mean.

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Rubik’s Cube Six X Pattern

You might also call this a chessboard or checkerboard pattern. It’s also one of the easiest patterns to make.

rubik's cube six X's, or checkerboard pattern

As you’ll see in the video below, you just need to turn each pair of opposite faces by 180 degrees.

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Rubik’s Cube Six Dots Pattern

This is one of the classic Rubik’s Cube pattern, sometimes also called “Snake Eyes”. It’s as if the central frame of the cube has been rotated by 120 degrees, around one of the corner pieces.

rubik's cube six dots pattern

This pattern is not so difficult to make. Just repeat this four times : Pull the central slice towards you, and turn the whole cube ninety degrees. Watch the video below, and it should become clear enough!

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