## Saturday, August 22, 2009

### Introduction to the 360 and the Solution

Hello: My name is Dodge, and on this blog you will find my solution for solving the 360.

Properties of the 360:
The 360 is made up of 3 clear spheres (inner, middle and outer), each with different properties:
The outer sphere has 6 colored domes and two black knobs. It is divided into two hemispheres, and each hemisphere has three holes that lead to one of the domes. The hemispheres are known as:
-ROY: Red Orange and Yellow domes.
-BUUG: Blue, White, and Green domes.

The middle sphere has a horizontal axis (connected to the black knobs), a counterweight, and has two holes, each leading to one of the hemispheres.

The inner sphere has diagonal axis (connected to the middle sphere), a counterweight and one hole leading to the middle sphere.

The holes in the inner and middle layer are always open, but the holes in the hemispheres have gateways controlled by the black knobs that can be turned to cover up or allow passage through the holes.

The goal of the puzzle is to move the 6 colored balls from the inner sphere to their corresponding dome. You can accomplish this by shaking the 360 until a ball falls through the holes and into the outer sphere, and then use the knobs to move it into its dome. This method, however, is time consuming and is doubtful to impress your friends.

Another way to solve the puzzle is to control the spheres by using physics, involves absolutely no shaking, and can have you solving the cube in ~6 minutes and even faster with a little practice.

If you study the 360 you’ll see that the inner and middle spheres each have a counterweight and holes are positioned opposite the counterweight. The counterweights are pulled downward by gravity, and therefore gravity keeps the holes pointed up.

The trick to solving the 360 is to figure out a way to defy gravity and invert the spheres so that the counterweight is at the top of the sphere and the holes at the bottom. That way, the balls can fall through the holes and into the correct dome. Your 360 should come with "instructions" that say as much. With enough experimentation, you should be able to figure out how to solve without resorting to the Shaky-Shaky solution. But, if your stuck, I've organized the solution into 6 steps, presented in a way that allows either self discovery or allows you to jump ahead via hints and a spoiler solution.

Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Step Five
Step Six

Or, if you are a more visual learner: Here is a video detailing how to solve the 360 (Warning: it's a spoilers solution. If you just want some hints to figure out how to solve the 360 on your own- and trust me you are smart enough, it's not rocket science- use the links above.)

### Step Six

Step Six: Solving correctly.

Following steps 1-5 you should be able to get a ball from the inner sphere and into a dome.

Now it’s time to practice. While you practice start paying attention to colors and try to figure out how to get a colored ball into its correct dome.

When you get a ball in the correct dome, close the gateway and start again with the next ball. Repeat until you are done- and then show off the completed puzzle to whoever is closest. If they are not properly wowed- pat yourself on the back.

*Remember- once you have a ball in the correct dome- close the gateways by turning the knob counter-clockwise otherwise the ball will fall out when you try and get another ball into its dome.

Hint #1: Remember ROY and BUUG? To get a ball into its proper dome, you need to keep ROY and BUG in mind during step #2.

Hint #2: When performing step #2, look at what hemisphere is on the bottom. You want one of those colors to fall through the hole.

Hint #3: When trying to catch a ball in a gateway, pay attention to how the knobs turn. Make sure the gateway you trap the ball in is the one that, when turned, will allow the ball to drop into the proper dome.

No Spoilers for this one, either… Use the hints- and be able to honestly say that you figured out how to solve the 360 on your own!

### Step Five

Step Five: Falling into a Dome.

This step should be rather obvious. Therefore just try and figure it out. As long as you don’t align the knobs to horizontal, you shouldn’t have to repeat any steps save #4. So experiment

And then go on to The Final Step!!!

Hint#1: Turn the knobs!

Hint#2: Keep the 360 positioned so that the knobs are tilted ever so slightly off vertical. This keeps the ball trapped in the gateway.

Scroll down for the Spoiler.

Spoiler Solution Step Five: Just follow hints #1 and #2 at the same time and wala! Remember: to make a ball fall through a hole, point the top black knob towards the hole you want the ball to fall through (gee, isn't that direction getting a bit old???)

### Step Four

Step Four: Falling into a Gateway

Yay! The hardest steps are behind you. Steps four and five are so simple, you can probably figure them out without this guide.

But just in case…

At this point you have successfully moved a ball from the inner sphere to the outer sphere. All that is left is moving it into a dome. To do this you must first have the ball fall into a gateway.

*Make sure the gateways are closed. It is possible to get a ball into a dome without first closing the gateway, but you can only do this for the first ball of each hemisphere- after which, balls already in a dome will fall out… Just get into the habit of keeping your gateways closed. To close a gateway turn the knob clockwise.
*Also- from this step onward- don’t turn the 360 so that the knobs are horizontal- unless you want to start over, that is…

Ready: Step Five awaits!

Hint #1: Make sure the hemisphere with the ball is on the bottom. If it is not, flip the 360 QUICKLY! So that the hemisphere is now on the bottom. This will make life much easier.

Hint #2:
Make sure to keep the knobs perfectly vertical. This will prevent the middle sphere from spinning.

Hint #3: Keep the knobs vertical, rotate the 360 until the ball is in line with a gateway.

Scroll down for Spoiler Solution:

Spoiler Solution Step Four:
Keeping the knobs perfectly vertical, turn the 360 until the ball in the outer sphere is in line with a gateway. Tip the 360 so that the ball falls into the gateway. Again, just like with every other falling step, simply tilt the top black knob towards the gateway you want the ball to fall into. This should be a very subtle motion- too much tipping will not work and just send the middle sphere spinning.

### Step Three

Step Three: Lining up with the middle hole and falling through.

First, let me start by saying that at this point you should be color blind. Getting the blue ball into the blue dome will be discussed in step six. At this point we are just worried about getting a ball from the inner sphere to a dome.

That said. Let’s move on to Step Three. This step isn’t that hard to figure out how to do- but takes really good timing to get it right.

At this point you should have a ball through the inner hole. The 360 should be held so that the black knobs are almost (but not) horizontal.

To make sure that you don’t have to start over, let’s take a moment to move the 360 into a safer position: Namely slowly tip the 360 so that the knobs are once again vertical. Make sure to tip the 360 so that the knob that is uppermost ends up on top (otherwise you will be back to Step One…)

Now that you don’t have to worry about starting over… Look at the holes in the middle sphere. Now, look straight through them. You should see the equator of the inner sphere (it's seam). You should also notice that the ball you have through the inner hole is also resting on this equator.

Your job now is to move the 360 so that the ball travels across the equator and stops right in line with one of the middle holes. Then you simply need to tilt the 360 to make the ball fall through the middle hole (using the exact same method you used to make it fall through the inner hole.)

This should take three motions: One to get the ball moving across the equator, one to stop the ball right at the middle hole of the lower hemisphere, and one to get it to fall through the middle hole.

As a closing note: Shaky-Shaky is very unlikely to work at this stage and is a surefire way to have to start over. Don’t even try- it’s not worth it.

When you've got it down, go on to Step Four.

Hint #1: Remember that when you tip the 360 so the knobs are horizontal, BOTH the inner and middle counter weight point down. During this step, you want the inner counter weight to point down, because when this happens, the ball will travel across the equator.

Hint #2: You just don’t want the inner counterweight to point all the way down, because this will cause the ball to fall back into the inner sphere.

Hint #3: Practice just getting the ball rolling across the equator (yes, this will mean you have to repeat steps one and two, but it is time well spent practicing those steps). Once you have mastered the equator roll- start the ball rolling across the equator and reverse the motion (almost as soon as it begins) This will both stop the rolling and either trap the ball in place, or cause it to fall through the inner hole. Practice, practice, practice- timing is key to getting the ball to stop at just the right place.

Scroll down for the Spoiler Solution:

Spoiler Solution Part Three: At this point you should be holding the 360 so that the knobs are almost, but not quite horizontal (or, alternatively, the knobs are vertical). Go ahead and turn the 360 SLOWLY so that the knobs are horizontal, and then a split second after the ball starts to roll QUICKLY reverse that motion so that the knobs are once again vertical. If this did not work- your timing was off. If you reverse too soon, the ball and inner counterweight will once more be pointing down. If you go too fast, the ball will end back up in the inner hole, or at the top of the sphere (in which case you might as well let it fall back into the inner sphere- there is nothing to be done). Keep trying until you get it right.

Once the ball is in line with the middle hole, tilt the top black knob towards the middle hole to get the ball to fall through. (This is exactly what you did to get the ball to fall through the inner hole.)

Remember: this step is probably the most frustrating, but once you get equator roll timing right, it'll actually be the quickest step to perform- and make you look like a real pro!

### Step Two

Step Two: Falling through the inner hole.

First: Congratulations! If you’ve made it to Step two, rest assured that the hardest part is behind you. By solving the first step you’ve learned all you need to know about the physics of the 360.

But, before we begin the next step, let’s first recap what we know so far.

The middle sphere’s axis is through the black knobs. By aligning this axis vertically the counterweight of the middle sphere points horizontally. By aligning this axis horizontally, the counterweight of the middle sphere points down.

The inner sphere’s axis is attached to the middle sphere and is diagonally offset when compared to the axis of the middle sphere (those two clear knobby things).

You might have also noticed that when the black knobs are horizontal, the inner sphere’s counterweight also points down- this is VERY important in upcoming steps- so keep it in mind.

So, now that you understand how the 360 works, it’s time to get a ball out of the inner sphere.

At this point the balls should all be pointing down (thanks to gravity!), the inner sphere’s counterweight should be pointing horizontally, and the hole should also be horizontal.

Step two involves moving the 360 so that a ball falls into the hole. This is perhaps the easiest step but be wary! Once more there is a Shaky-Shaky solution. But let's not resort to the dreaded Shaky-Shaky. Instead, your goal is to figure out how to turn the 360 so that the hole points down, and a ball can fall through the hole. This can be accomplished in one motion.

When you have a ball through the hole, you are ready to go on to Step Three!

Hint #1: Think horizontal black knobs and vertical black knobs. Right now your knobs should be vertical. What happens when you position them horizontally?

Hint#2: Tehehe: you had to redo Step One, didn’t you? Keep on repeating Hint #1 until you figure out how to change from vertical to horizontal without having to start back at Step One.

Hint #3: Slow and steady! And- stop following hint #1 exactly, experiment with it...

Still stuck? Scroll down for the Spoiler Solution:

Spoiler Solution Step Two: Turn the 360 so that the uppermost black knob points towards the inner sphere's hole. Go slow, and be careful not to let the knobs become totally horizontal. A ball should slip into the hole. Remember! Shaky-shaky is evil!

### Step One

Step One: Inverting the Inner Sphere
To begin, study the 360 and experiment with different positions until you discover out how to hold the 360 so that the middle sphere’s counterweight does not face down. When you find this position, play with the 360 until you figure out how to move it so that the inner sphere inverts.

Once you’ve mastered inverting the inner sphere you are ready to go on to Step Two.

If you are having trouble figuring out this step use the hints below.
Hint #1: Pay attention to where the black knobs are pointing. Remember that the middle sphere has a horizontal axis that runs through the black knobs.

Hint #2: Where is the middle sphere’s counterweight when you hold the 360 with the black knobs pointed left and right? Where is the counterweight when you hold the 360 so that the black knobs point up and down?

Hint #3: You should not have to shake the 360 in order to make the inner sphere invert. You can bring the middle sphere’s counterweight to a horizontal position by simply changing the position of the axis (from horizontal to vertical). Now all you need to do is figure out how to turn the 360 so that the inner sphere’s counterweight moves to a horizontal position.

Hint #4:
When the middle sphere’s counterweight is horizontal, where is the counterweight of the inner sphere? The key to inverting the inner sphere is making the counterweight of the inner sphere move away from a downward position.

Hint #5: The inner sphere's counterweight's movement is controlled by the inner sphere's axis. Play with the alignment of the inner sphere's axis.

If you are still stuck, scroll down for the Step One Spoiler:

Spoiler Step One:

-Hold the 360 so that the black knobs are vertical (point up and down). Wait until the spheres stop moving and come to a rest. Then, turn the 360 so that upward facing black knob is now pointing downward. This does NOT have to be done quickly. In fact, the more balls you have in the inner sphere, the slower you must do this step. If it does not work make sure that the black knobs are vertical, that the middle and inner spheres are not moving, and make sure you do the flip in one smooth movement. If it still is not working, look at the inner sphere, there are two clear knobs jutting off of it and connecting it to the middle sphere. Make sure, when you flip the 360, the black knobs flip between these two clear knobs.