Saturday, April 12, 2014

In this post, I'll be sharing how to to make a 4 X 4 X 4 LED cube. It may look complicated, but trust me. Take one step at a time and your cube will be ready in no time.

Components required:
1) 70 LED cube (6 spares in case there is some faulty ones)
2) 4 100 Ohm resistor
3) 1 Perf Board (The ones where all the holes are individually coppered. No linkages between 2 holes)
  *I'm using a stripboard to reduce the usage of wires. This is more challenging as you have to create a path for all 16 base legs without short-circuiting each other.
4) Lots and lots of wires. approximately 1 metre.
5) 1 Arduino Uno (along with its cable)
6) A piece of wood for the jig/template.
  *In here I'll be using a styrofoam box used in the packaging of items. I'll also be using a pen to make the holes. Cheap, fast and neat.

Tools required:
1) Breadboard
2) Wire Stripper
3) Wire Cutter
4) Drill according to the size of your LED.
5) Solder wire
6) Solder tool
7) Solder pump (if necessary)

Alright. Let the fun begin!

Step 1) Take the piece of wood and draw out the square. Making sure the length are all the same and the distance between 2 junctions is constant throughout. (I'm using styrofoam)

Step 2) Take the drill and makes holes at all the junctions. Including the 't','T' & 'L' junctions. You should have about 16 holes by now. (Mine was poked with a pen)

Step 3) Stick LED into each of the holes.

Step 4) Bend all the cathode legs down such that you have a square at the side. Bend the cathode legs of the 4 centre LED such that they all point to a different direction.

Step 5) Solder all the cathode legs together. Careful not to hit any of the anode legs. Carefully remove the completed layer from the jig/template.

Step 6) Repeat step 3 to step 5 for the other 3 layers. However, do take note that 2 of the layers should have a different centre structure. Instead of following the first and second layer, the 4 centre LED on the 3rd and 4th layer should have its cathode legs bent to the adjacent side of the square. (Forgive one of my layers. Removed 2 of the leds after burning it during soldering.) This alternating pattern is important as they will be built up with the alternating patterns.

Step 7) Bend all the anode legs at the side outwards and the 4 centre LED anode legs in the anti-clockwise direction. Pick one layer and place it back in the jig so it wont move around. Take another layer with different structure and stack it on top of the first layer. Solder the 4 anode legs at the corners followed by all the ones in between.

Step 8) Take another different structure from the second layer and repeat the soldering for the third and final layer. By now, you should have this...

Step 9) Take the Perf Board and mount the cube on it. Solder the protruding legs at the bottom of the Perf board. (I'm using a Strip Board)

Bottom view

Step 10) Connect a wire to the holes beside each of the legs. Bring each of the other end of the wire to the end of the board. Leaving just one row at the end for the connectors. Solder the connectors.

 Note: If you are using Perf board, there should be about 16 wires. Mine have little because I'm using the copper strip below. If you are using stripbooard like mine, here's a photo of mine. You have to do a lot of breakings and might need to short-circuit the row beside to create a path as seen in mine. Complicated but thats the fun part right? Hehe.

Step 11) Place the 4 resistors at the corner and bring a wire up to each layer from each resistor. The other end of the resistor have to be wired to the end of the corner board too. By now, you should have 20 connectors connected. 16 to the anodes and 4 to the resistors.

Step 12) Now you're ready to wire up your connector to the wires.

Step 13) Starting from the extreme left. Wire it to the arduino from digital pin 13 to 0. Continuing the flow to Analog input A5 to A0.

Your 4 X 4 X 4 LED cube is now ready. Enjoy!

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