3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube variations
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In this section I will present some 3x3x3 Rubiks Cube variations which all have the classic 3x3x3 Cube mechanism in the inside but from outside they seem to be something else. Look at the picture on the right. These puzzles have all the same internal mechanism, though they have different solutions.
To solve these you have to learn a new algorithm which rotates a center piece. On a classic cube you don’t have to worry about the rotation of a center piece because it’s symmetric, but in these cases the center piece can be textured.
Rotate the upper center by 180o: (R U R’ U) x 5 or (U R L U2 R’ L’) x 2
Rotate the R center 90o clockwise: (R2 U R U R’ U’ R’ U’ R’ U R’) x 3
Applying custom stickers on the cube can make it a new challenge. These cubes are known as picture cubes This Earth Cube for example is not just a Rubiks Cube but some kind of jigsaw puzzle too, where you can put the pieces next to each other only if you have some serious geographic knowledge. Usually you have to orient the center pieces if the stickers have patterns.
YJ Heart Puzzle
A heart shaped Rubiks Cube can be a nice Valentines gift to express your feelings. On the picture is a YJ Heart Puzzle, which has a very good quality, it moves smooth and is cheap (5$). It doesn’t have any stickers. The only annoying thing about it is because of the symmetric heart shape namely the opposite pieces are so similar in height and shape that you don’t even know if you put a piece in the right spot or not. You need a microscope to distinguish two similar pieces. This little detail can make the whole puzzle hardly to enjoy.
The Fisher Cube was made in the mid eighties by Tony Fisher actually it was his firs custom puzzle. Maybe this is the first Rubiks shape mod ever, so we’re talking about a real classic. It has a perfect cube shape but basically it’s a Rubiks Cube twisted 45o around a central axis, making 4 edge pieces become center pieces, 4 center pieces become corner pieces and so on. If you can solve the classic 3x3x3 you can’t have problems with this one, just pay attention to the parity.
The pillowed Mastermorphix is an other classic 3x3x3 mod. There is a 4-colored and a 1-colored versions too. This puzzle has 4 triangle shaped center pieces (originally corners on the Rubiks Cube) which don’t have to be oriented like all the other pieces. If you reach the last layer and one corner piece remains unsolved then go back to a triangle center piece and rotate that so you can finish the solution of the Mastermorphix. Probably you will have to use the algorithm presented at the beginning of the page to rotate the last center piece.
3x3x3 QJ Dodecahedron
This 14-sided puzzle has 2 pentagon and 12 trapezoidal faces. It is produced by QJ and it changes shape with every move. It’s similar to a 3x3x3 because you don’t need to orient the centers. There are two triangle shaped corners which don’t need to be oriented either.? It’s a nice collection piece, the interesting thing about it is that there are some four-colored edge pieces.
The Axis Cube or also known as Axel Cube is a very intimidating looking 3x3x3 mod when it is scrambled. In solved position it is a cube, but it changes shape with every move. In this case you have to orient every single piece. There are no exceptions.