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This page gives you instructions for the sixth step of solving a rubik’s cube – getting the corners of the top layer into their correct orientations. In the fourth and fifth steps, the corner pieces were done, so now there’s just five edge pieces to go, and the cube is all done! Instead of 43 bazillion combinations, your cube now only has 960. Easy-peasy pizza-cheesy!
Again, you’ll have to learn a special move – a sequence of twists that gets the job done. The good news is, this third and last move is much easier to remember than the previous ones.
If you follow the steps below, your rubik’s cube will change…
A move is a special sequence of turns that helps immensely in solving the cube. The move on this page has a very simple rhythm to it, so it should be easy to learn. And its effect on the cube? It makes three of the edge pieces play musical chairs – that is, it moves the first into the place of the second, the second into the place of the third, and the third into the place of the first.
These three edge pieces are arranged around a single corner piece. That’s why I don’t fix all the pieces on the middle layer. This move would mess one up. When doing this move, always make sure that the piece messed up on the middle layer is the one that’s already messed up…!
So, let’s go
Let me show you the move, and how it works. Then I’ll explain how to use it to solve the edge pieces of the top layer.
I’m about to do the right handed version of the move. This will solve the cube shown here.
The blue and yellow piece moves to the right, keeping the blue sticker on the top.
The yellow and purple moves down, with a bit of a twist.
The purple and blue moves up, keeping the purple sticker at the front.
So here we go…First, I turn the right hand face away from me
Then, turn the whole cube, so the face just turned (the yellow one) is now at the front.
Then, do these two steps again. That is, turn the right hand face away (green this time), then turn the whole cube.
Then, do these steps a third time… turn the right hand face, then turn the whole cube.
Next, turn the right hand face again. This time, though, don’t turn the whole cube…
… instead, just turn the top face clockwise (the same direction you’ve been turning the whole cube in the last three steps)
Then, you undo all the moves you did on the right hand face,
First, turn the right hand face towards you, and then…
…the whole cube counter-clockwise…
…then again : the right face towards you, and the whole cube counter-clockwise…
…and a third time : turn the right face, and then the whole cube…
…but on the fourth time, just turn the right face, and don’t turn the whole cube.
Then, to complete the move, give the top face a twist back anticlockwise. The three edge pieces have all swapped places, just like we wanted!
Here’s the above steps in movie format
Using the new move
Usually, after finishing the corner pieces, you won’t be so lucky as to have only three edge pieces out of place – especially not in such nice positions. If you are, be sure to email me your favourite lottery numbers.
Instead, there’ll be five edge pieces mixed up. Four on the top layer, and one in the middle layer. The strategy I use is like this.
Use the move to get one of the top-layer edge pieces right. I usually choose one that’s already close to its home, and which lives far away from my mixed up middle layer piece.
Use the move again to get another top-layer edge piece right – specifically, one that lives next to the first one.
Then, you’ll only have three mixed up edge pieces left. These three will all be around one corner (or at least, you can turn the top layer so they are). Then the move can be used for the last time, to finish solving the cube!
Let’s see this in action…
The first edge piece I’m going to solve here is the green and light blue one.It’s a bit hard to see, since it’s way at the back. So is its home.
Let’s bring them to the front…
There! I’ve turned the top face, and both the piece and its home are above my broken middle layer hole.
It looks like I’ll need the left-handed version of the move, since the piece’s home is to its left.
You can see, I’ve also angled the cube, ready to do the left-handed version.
And, a one!
Turn the left face away, then the whole cube back.
And, a two!Turn the left face away, then the whole cube back.
And, a three!Turn the left face away, then the whole cube back.
And, a four!
Turn the left face away, but don’t turn the whole cube this time
Instead, give just the top face a twist anticlockwise
Ready for the second half of the move?
Left face towards you again, and turn the whole cube clockwise…
And on the fourth time, just turn the left face, don’t turn the whole cube.
When you twist the top face a quarter twist clockwise, the move is done. Notice that the green-and-light-blue piece has been shifted from the front face to the left face.
Finally, a twist of the top face puts it back at the back of the cube, where it belongs.
Now there are only four more edge pieces left to solve.
Would you like to see that again? Watch the animation shown here!
A little complication
Next, I’ll choose to solve the light-and-dark-blue piece.
Here, I’ve already turned to top face so the piece is at the front. There’s just one problem.
If I do the move now, the dark blue sticker stays on top. But I want to get the light blue sticker on top!
To solve this problem, I turn the cube over, around this front corner.
Easy does it!!
If I do the move now, the light-and-dark blue piece still moves to the same place. But this time, it gets flipped on the way, and the dark and light blue stickers will be just where I want them.
So, begin!Turn the left face away, then the whole cube back.
And then, turn the left face away from you again, and give the top face (not the whole cube) a quarter-turn anticlockwise.
And back again! Turn the left face back towards you, then turn the whole cube clockwise…
And again once more,
And finally, turn the left face one more time, then turn only the top (not the whole cube) clockwise.As you can see, the light-and-dark blue piece has neatly dropped down between its corner piece friends!
Now, I turn the cube in my hand, so the old top layer is back at the top.
Twisting the top layer around puts the light-and-dark blue pieces where they belong.In fact, you can see in the mirrors that the dark blue face is all done, as is the green face!
The last three pieces can often be solved in just the same way. Then the cube is done! If not, there are tips below to help with the two complications that can come up.
But first, a movie of the above method!
Some things that might go wrong
Even if you do everything correctly, the situations below might sometimes crop up.
Here, all the edge pieces are in the right place, but two of them are flipped over!There are moves that can deal with this problem. However, I’d hate to be guilty of causing anyone a brain overload (Is that a voice I hear, crying “too late! too late!” ?? Nahh!)
It’s easy enough just to do the move on this page twice, once right handed, once left handed, making sure that the two pieces that need flipping get flipped once each.
For example, from this position, I could immediately to the right-handed version (and flip the yellow-blue piece), then do the left-handed version (and flip the yellow-purple piece). Watch the video below if you need more explanation.
Here, the three edge pieces need to be swapped around, but all three need flipping as well!!If I do the right handed version of the move now, I’d have the problem mentioned just above – the pieces all in the right places, but not all facing the right way.
Instead of doing the right-handed version of the move, I can do the left-handed version twice – making sure I flip the same piece both times.
Then, the cube will be all done!
It’s also possible that your ‘out-of-place’ middle-layer piece might accidentally fall into place! If that happens, just carry on as if it hadn’t.
One thought on “Top Layer Edge Pieces”
I would add this footnote, from your side, to your simple and brilliant method of solving the cube, which is the best for beginners that I found after scrounging hundreds of sites and videos on the web.
“Finally, after you can do all moves from memory, stop referring to these notes and practice to solve the cube faster till you have reached your limit with this method. If you wish to improve your timing further, proceed to learn another method called the CFOP speed-cubing method (also referred to as the Fridrich method after Jessica Fridrich), which is followed by most of the competitive speed-cubers today. The CFOP method can solve the cube in fewer number of turns but is almost impossible to grasp before having learnt to solve the cube by an easier method. You will also require an affinity to learn and execute a larger number of ‘algorithms’ (compared to only 3 special ‘moves’ in the method described here). These algorithms are generally expressed symbolically like – y’ (R’ U’ R U) U (R’ U’ R U) (R’ U’ R) – but after sufficient practice these can also be performed from memory.”