Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unbreaking the Rubik's Revenge

As you may know, I own several variations of the Rubik's Cube. I own the regular 3-on-a-side version, 4-a-side and 5-a-side variants (called Rubik's Revenge and Professor's Cube, respectively), and the weird, angled-turn Square One.

I've been playing with the Revenge a lot lately; it's not as tricky as the 5x5x5 cube, but it's tricky. I've got it all memorized except for one lengthy sequence that fixes a parity error*.

Last week, one of my classmates was mixing it up when she tried to turn two perpendicular sides at the same time. Two pieces - an edge piece and a corner piece - popped out of the assembly. Nothing was broken, but the cube was about to fall apart.

I was able to get the edge piece back in, but not the corner piece. The cube held together, and I very carefully solved it. I'd managed to guess the orientation of the edge piece correctly. However, I still didn't have a complete cube. No matter how I twisted sides, I couldn't open a big enough gap for the corner piece to fit back in.

Fortunately, I found Chris Hardwick's guide. (I also use his directions for solving the cube).

It's actually really easy to take apart the Rubik's Revenge. (Taking apart a standard 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube is more difficult and a bit riskier). Just slip a flathead screwdriver (or a similar object) under an edge piece and carefully pry it out. After that, it's easy to change out corner pieces. Just pop the edge piece back into place and it's good as new.

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