DIRECTIONS FOR SOLVING THE 5x5x5 (Professor) CUBE

These instructions can be used to solve a 5x5x5 cube, also known as the professor cube due to its difficulty. These directions are a graphical version of those given by Jacob Davenport. I would appreciate any and all feedback or questions about the instructions; please see the end of this page for the e-mail address.

Purchasing Puzzles: If you are having troubles finding stores that sell cubes and similar puzzles, I have a list of on-line sites that may have what you're looking for.

My other cube pages

2x2 cube& 3x3 cube My directions for Solving the Rubik's Cube (3x3x3) - these also apply to the 2x2x2
3x3 cube See Denny's solution for solving the 3x3x3 cube. This is a more detailed solution for the 3x3 than the one I provide (mirrored from the now missing http://www.calormen.com/vpm/puzzlesolutions/rubikscube/)
4x4 cube See Denny's solution for solving the 4x4x4 cube (mirrored from the now missing http://www.calormen.com/vpm/puzzlesolutions/revenge/)
Square1 My directions for Solving the Square 1
Pyramix My directions for Solving the Pyramix (Pyramid)

As a preview, the steps are:

KEY TO SYMBOLS FOR THE MOVES

The figures in this document represent a sample cube. Although the colors on your personal cube may be different than the figures, I feel that the colored figures will still be helpful in solving the cube. I would suggest matching as many colors on your cube as possible to the figures, then making mental notes about which colors correspond between your cube The diagrams show all six sides of the cube by pretending that mirrors are being held up so that you may see the "hidden" sides.

The directions for what parts of the cube to turn and when are given in a code that is relative to the current positioning of the cube. Each side descriptor refers to a side with respect to the figure the move is referenced to. This means that the front side can be a different color, depending on the diagram being used. See Move 1 of my 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube page for instructive diagrams to illustrate the moves.

Key Cube
The Letters:
The side descriptors are:
The Numbers:
Since the lower case L: l looks like the number 1, a letter by itself means to turn the side clockwise one quarter turn. A letter with a 2 following it means to turn the side two turns (halfway around). A letter with an apostrophe (') means to turn the side counterclockwise one quarter turn (a -1 can be used in place of an apostrophe, but the apostrophe takes up less space).
The Pieces (see the Key cube above):

In the figures, any gray pieces represent pieces that don't matter and can be any color. To increase clarity, I have shown a lot of colored pieces. In most cases, the figures represent an example of the situation being described, while the colors don't have to match perfectly.


• Step 1: Solve the top points and crosses
Figure 1 Pick a center piece to represent the first side of the cube solved (blue in these figures) and solve the points and crosses on that side. One cross may be left empty since it will be used as the "keyhole" later on.
 

• Step 2: Solve the bottom points

2a. To move two points into position:

Figure 2a Orient the cube as shown in Figure 2a, where the two points to be moved into place are on the right side of the front face while any green points already on the down face are on the right side of the down face, then perform Move 2a. You will need to rotate the front side and middle horizontal slice as necessary to place pieces into position.

Move 2a:
R'r' D2 Rr
 

  • In words, rotate the Right side and 2nd layer in from the right side counterclockwise one turn, the down (bottom)side two turns (180 degrees) and the right side and 2nd layer in from the right side clockwise one quarter turn.

2b. To move 1 point into position:

Figure 2b  Orient the cube as shown in Figure 2b, where the one point to be moved into place is on the right side of the front face while any green points already on the down face are on the right side of the down face, then perform Move 2b. You will need to rotate the front side and middle horizontal slice as necessary to place pieces into position.

Move 2b:
R'r' D Rr
 


• Step 3: Solve the remaining 16 points (on the sides)

First, position the top 8 points along the 4 sides:

Figure 3  Rotate Dd freely to get Points next to their centers, then F to put the points up to the upper layers, yielding Figure 3. Now use Moves 3a and 3b as needed.

3a. If the upper layer already has correctly placed points:

Figure 3a  Move 3a:
L2 D'd' L2 Dd
 

3b. If a face has 3 solved points:

Figure 3b  Move 3b:
Dd F' D'd'
 

• Step 4: Complete the top and bottom crosses

4a. To insert a piece into the bottom:

Figure 4a Move the piece to the right hand side by rotating H (the central, horizontal slice), then rotate the right hand side, bottom, and top until it looks like Figure 4a. Now perform move 4a.

Move 4a:
H' F'f' H Ff
 

4b. To complete the top (fill in the keyhole):

Figure 4b  Move 4b:
Ff H' F'f' H' Ff H F'f' H
 

• Step 5: Complete the 16 remaining crosses

Figure 5 First complete the upper cross piece of each side using H and F moves, giving the cube in Figure 5.

5a. To exchange the location of eight of the equator pieces (Useful for symmetrically scrambled cubes):

Figure 5a  Move 5a:
F2f2 H F2f2 H'
 

5b. To swap adjacent pieces (more useful for highly scrambled cubes):

Figure 5b  Move 5b:
H L2l2 H' Ll H' Ll H'    L2l2 H Ll H Ll

Note: In this move, "Ll" indicates capital L and lowercase "ell"; thus "Ll" means to turn both the left hand side and the 2nd layer in from the left hand side one quarter turn.

5c. If only two pieces remain to be swapped:

Figure 5c  Move 5c:
U'u' R' then Move 5b then R Uu
 

• Step 6: Associate wings with their appropriate edge pieces

6a. To associate two wings with their appropriate edges (on the left side):

Figure 6a  Move 6a:
Ll F' L F L'l' F
 

Note. A very similar move performs the mirror image of Move 6a. This move can be used to associate two wings with their appropriate edges on the right side:

Figure 6a-Mirror  Mirror of Move 6a:
R'r' F R' F' Rr F'
 

6b. To move a wing from one side of the back to the other :

Figure 6b  Move 6b:
B L' D' B2
 

Remember, B means the back side and D means the down side

6c. To move a wing up to position it for Move 6a:

Figure 6c  Move 6c:
B' R' B L' D' B2 R B
 

This is B' R' then Move 6b then R B

6d. To fix a Parity Error situation:

Figure 6d  Move 6d:
Rr U2 Rr U2 Rr U2 Rr U2 Rr U2
 

This is simply Rr U2 five times.

6e. Another parity Error situation occurs when one edge (and one edge alone) has it's two wings flipped, yet the other 11 edges are all solved. This move should fix this (contributed by David Bandel)

Figure 6e  Move 6e:
Rr Rr B2 U2 Ll U2 R'r'
U2 Rr U2 F2 Rr F2 L'l'
B2 Rr Rr

Remember, B means the back side

6f. This move will flip 2 wings on the left and one wing on the right. (contributed by Miro Karosu)

Figure 6f  Move 6f:
H F U F'
L F' L'
F H'

6g. This move will swap 1 edge on the front top with its opposite edge on the front back. (contributed by Miro Karosu)

Figure 6g  Move 6g:
R2r2 B2
R'r' U2
R'r' U2
B2 R'r'
B2 Rr
B2 R'r'
B2 R2r2
B2 U2

Remember, B means the back side

6h. This move will swap 1 wing on the top with its opposite wing on the top. (contributed by Miro Karosu)

Figure 6h  Move 6h:
L'l' U2
L'l' U2
F2 L'l'
F2 Rr
U2 R'r'
U2 L2l2

• Step 7: Solve the 3x3x3

Figure 7a  Figure 7b 

Use your favorite 3x3x3 solution to solve the cube, since the edges and wings act like the single edge pieces of the 3x3x3, the corners directly correspond to the corners, and the centers, crosses, and points correspond to the center pieces of the 3x3x3, as shown in Figure 7.

I hope you have found these directions to be clear and complete, yet concise. If these directions help you to solve the cube, I would enjoy hearing from you.


Back to my home page.

Standard Disclaimer

Contact info: I appreciate receiving e-mails describing your success with these directions, but I cannot provide any additional help in solving the 5x5 cube beyond the instructions and steps shown here. In fact, I have not scrambled my 5x5 cubes in a long time, due to the effort required to unscramble them. Please also e-mail if you have problems accessing a page or seeing a graphic.

Last Modified April 19, 2014