Monday, November 26, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—3 Bar Clock

3 Bar Clock

3 Bar
3 Bar was so simple that I guess I didn't even write about it. Just went on to 3 Bar Clock. To this point in the Bandage Kit adventure some form of Corners First has worked well with most of them. Maybe all of them. Even 3 Bar. But not 3 Bar Clock. I had to use the 3x3x2 Corner Piece Series to get the corners. But after getting the corners, then what?!? The middle layer was easy enough but I had to 3-cycle the last 3 edges on top and didn't see how to do that. Well, the answer was obvious. Solve it just like a 3x3x2. Edges first. Then corners. It is a bit more complex because of the 1x2 tile I held on top. But it worked.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—Unbandaged Big Block

Unbandaged Big Block. Problem #1: Everything solved except for 2 edges needing to flip. Problem #2: All edges oriented correctly but two corners needing to swap. Solution: Trash the edge orientation, and mess around until the corners could be solved. Then use setup moves with the unbandaged block to solve the edges.

More observations, discoveries, happy little accidents. :D To cycle 3 edges—UB to UF to DR—do the thing you do when solving corners first and you are getting all X's and there is 1 pair. Then do U2. Then do it all again. To cycle UB to UF to UR, start and end with R2.

That is, to cycle UB to UF to DR do (R2 U R2 U' R2 U R2 U' R2 U2) x 2. This is much easier to execute than the edge 3-cycle figured out while doing Big Block and could be used with Big Block as well as this one.

Think Corners First. You have the upper and lower X's and are going for all X's. If you have stumbled across this page and are not familiar with the Corners First Method, check out the 2x2x2 Cube Solution page.

You have 4 pairs around the bottom. (R' F R F') (R U R') (R U R' U R U2 R') to get 5.

You have 5 pairs, 2 on the left. (R' F R F') (R U R') (R U R' U R U2 R') to get all.

You have 2 pairs, 1 on the upper right, 1 on the lower left. (R' F R F') (R U R') (R U R' U R U2 R') to get 1.

Of course the algorithm can be shortened to R' F R F' R U2 R' U R U2 R' if you are just wanting a shorter algorithm to learn, but I don't see it as an algorithm to learn. I see it as EPS to shake up the corners; URD to put the bottom one back; Sune to reorient the top ones.

Friday, November 23, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—Stalactites and Stalagmites

Stalactites and Stalagmites—another design shared by Burgo on the twistypuzzles forum. It was extremely difficult to scramble it. When it finally looked scrambled a decent amount, it was quite simple to solve, but fun.

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—Stalactites

Stalactites—from the forum thread authored by Burgo. Burgo has had fun not only designing and solving different bandage configurations, but also sharing many of them on the thread and ranking them according to difficulty. My solves so far were all from his "Quite Easy" list. Stalactites is from his "A bit harder" list.

Stalactites should be a simple matter of getting the bandaged pieces, then all the corners, then using a simple edge commutator, and possibly an edge flipper.  I say should be because I sometimes have trouble keeping track of setup moves and backtracking when a bandaged piece gets in the way.

One interesting thing that has come of this is that a simple edge pure 3-cycle that I do not normally use could prove to be quite useful. Here is how it works. Say I want to move piece A on top to B on top to C in the middle layer. A to middle layer; replace with C; C to top; replace with B; B to middle; replace with A; A to top; replace with C. Yeah yeah yeah, it is Through the Door Bam! Or the Down-Replace-Up commutator. Why don't I use this? Ah, upon reflection it is clear. The normal way I solve cubes, it just doesn't come up. But with Stalactites, it very well could.

Here is another pure edge 3-cycle: R' E R2 E' R' does RU to FL to RD.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—2-Bar4

2-Bar4 is another configuration that CubeTwist sold at one time. I've scrambled and solved it a couple times. 3-cycles work well for both corners and edges. Flipping edges is easy and in the 2 solves I did, no corners needed to twist. My guess is that corners can not be permuted without also being oriented automatically. Anyway, this was one of the easiest to solve so far using slight modifications of the Up-Replace-Down 3-cycles for both corners and edges. I don't even care if there is an easier or better way to solve it. Let's move on to the next configuration! :D

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—Big Block

Big Block is the next challenge among the simpler Bandaged cubes to solve. It appears that it will be very simple, but I may be surprised.

Ha! Looks can be deceiving. It has gone from 5 corners needing to twist to 3 corners needing to twist to 2 corners needing to twist, but how I got from one to the next? No idea! I can twist 2 corners using R, U, F, and D. I can twist 2 corners using R, U, and D. I can twist 2 corners using R, U, and F. But how to do it using only two faces?!?

Wow. Using Sune to orient corners worked, so now the corners are solved. But the orange edges are double swapped! After different combinations of EPS and Sune, now all the corners are solved again, and 3 orange edges are cycled.

With the Big Block at the lower left, 2 consecutive Sunes cycles edges R to L to B, and twists corners FR and BL anti, and FL and BR clock. R' U2 (RUR'U') x 2 U2 R cycles edges R to F to L, and twists corners FR and BL clock, and FL and BR anti. Solved!

(RU R'URU' U'R') x 2 (U2 R' U2) (RUR'U') x 2 (U2 R U2) is a pure 3-cycle of edges! R to B to L.

Monday, November 19, 2012

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—Fuse Cube

The Fuse Cube, designed by J. Lin, made me realize how much my solves depend on being able to twist parallel faces, like the top and bottom! Look at this thing! It wasn't too difficult to solve all the edges and the white corners, but the yellow corners—argh! Then I was able to finally get all the corners, but most of the edges were scrambled—yikes.

There are two things that I have picked up over the years of puzzle solving that eventually made it possible for me to solve this one. One is EPSx3. EPS means Edge Piece Series. It was so named by Philip Marshall in his Ultimate Solution for solving the Rubik's Cube. EPS is a simple 4 move sequence that cycles 3 edges. It also does a double swap of corners. EPSx3 then, would cycle the 3 edges 3 times, which puts them back to solved, if they started solved. But it does the corner swaps 3 times also, which is like doing it once. That means you can move corners around using 2 adjacent faces. :D

FRUR'U'F' was a simple way to orient the yellow edges, and Sune (R U R' U R U2 R') was used to move the yellow edges into place. Long ago I discovered that doing Sune right-handed then left-handed could be used to twist two corners without moving edges. I'm not sure why I don't use it more, but of the three ways I know of to twist corners, I never use this one. But the other two have to have parallel faces that can twist, and on the Fuse Cube, that is not an option.

During the first solve I somehow managed to go from needing a corner 3-cycle to a double swap. Now if I could only figure out how I did that, I might be able to solve it again...

Oh yeah! Swap two of the 3 that need to 3-cycle and 2 others that won't solve either one. Using this technique I have solved the Fuse Cube several times.

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—3-slices

Before making the kit, CubeTwist mass produced a small variety of bandage cubes. One was called 3-slices. Included here is the picture of it from the hknowstore.

It was quite a bit more challenging for me than the 1x1x3 column, but still relatively simple in the whole bandage cube scheme of things. Once I quit trying to solve it starting with the white layer and started with the red layer, it was much easier.

CubeTwist All-in-One Bandage Kit—1x1x3

This cube is a black plastic rubik's cube with holes on every cubie instead of stickers. There are a lot of tiles with pegs to stick in the holes, ranging from 1x1 tiles to 2x3 tiles. There are thousands of different bandage cubes that can be made from this one cube and set of colored tiles. After some initial experimenting and not being able to solve the first creation, it was apparent to me that I needed to start with some simple cases. A 1x1x3 bandaged column was constructed on an edge of the cube. Robert and I approached it Corners First—a fairly easy solve. I suppose pretty much any method would work.

Much has been discussed about this puzzle including difficulty rankings and solutions to various configurations at

Sunday, November 11, 2012

mf8 Fully Functional Unbandaged 2x3x4

Done! My initial strategy, which was not fully developed to begin with, is sketchy at best, because once a new strategy started formulating, there was no going back.

(November 15, 2012) But then again, the final strategy is very sketchy on the surface. :D

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2x2x2 Cube Solution

Yesterday on my way home from Kaiser it became apparent that a 2x2x2 solution guide was necessary that could be the basis for solving parts of other puzzles. So last night it took shape. The 2x3x4 puzzle has 8 edges on the 2x4 sides that can be solved just like the corners of the 2x2x2. Actually they are easier than the 2x2x2 corners since on the 2x3x4 these 8 edges maintain their orientation. 2x2x2 Solution

Thursday, November 8, 2012

mf8 2x3x4 Fully Functional Unbandaged

This little puzzle has been much more challenging that anticipated. After some careful experimentation and documentation, I was able to solve it consistently, but did not have a fully developed strategy in place. Instead of patiently working with it longer, I got curious about how others were approaching it, so went to rline's tutorial and the forum. rline has some great ideas about reducing the corners, and Konrad has a way to 3-cycle corners! Now my task is to create a page that documents my initial strategy, and also documents my final strategy. The only problem at this point is that I did not, nor do not, have either one. If only I had had another week off from work... :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Faith Comes By Hearing

Long ago and far away in a land populated with street lights and police helicopters, lived two men named Jim and Bud. Their wives met working together and became friends. Jim and Bud became friends too and enjoyed relaxing on the weekends with Frisbees, racquet balls, and decks of cards. Eventually Bud left the land of street lights and police helicopters, and after a few years the two friends never saw one another at all. All this happening in the time before Facebook and email, they lost touch, and went their separate ways. Oh, of course they could have called or written, but they didn't. Well, Jim called once and tried to set up a visit, but Bud had some lame reason not to get together. Eventually though, many years later, they did get together a few times. It was good. No Frisbee, no racquet balls, no cards. Just stories and catching up. Well, the last Bud knew Jim was working with an organization called Faith Comes By Hearing, whose mission is to make audio Bibles available to people all over the world.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wycliffe Bible Translators

Once upon a time in a land not very far away there lived a young man that wanted to become a Bible translator for a group of people in the world that did not have the Bible in their own language yet. Although this particular young man ended up going a different direction in life, he maintained his admiration for those who did go down that path, and wants to share about an organization whose mission is to make God's Word available to every language group in the world. At the time of this writing there is a link at the upper right to the organization—Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Puzzled? What is so puzzling? All the twisty puzzles on my desk. Various Rubik's cube type puzzles with a multitude of sticker variations. Different dimensions from 2x2x2 to the V-Cube 7x7x7. And really different dimensions like a 2x2x4, 3x3x1, 3x3x2, 2x3x4, 4x4x6. Different shapes too like tetrahedrons, octahedrons, and dodecahedrons. It goes on. Then there are the circle puzzles—not round puzzles—puzzles with circles on the faces, in which some of the pieces in the circle move with the face and on other faces they don't. Shape-shifting puzzles, jumbling puzzles, it goes on and on. Puzzled.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Blog

There is a trail of blogs and sites that I created over the years that is bothering me. Incomplete. Abandoned. So what to do about it? Abandon the latest and start a new one!