Introduction: 1x1x1 LED Cube

Picture of 1x1x1 LED Cube

In the course of history, it becomes necessary to create something new to advance the state of humanity.

The wheel, agriculture, and electricity were all transformative inventions that seem downright simple today. But without them, we'd be munching our nuts and half-rotted carcasses in the dark. Even the simplest project can transform the world.

With that, we bring to you the 1x1x1 LED cube. Beauty in simplicity. Absolute control over the fundamentals of microcontroller programming. Saying "Let there be" and making it so like the PG chapters of Genesis.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupery skillfully points out, "Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away"

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this project we really wanted to have a more pure attachment to the materials, so the material list is small.

1 Light Emitting Diode.

1 Arduino Board.

1 Computer running the Arduino Integrated Development Environment.

1 USB-A to USB-B cable, 3 feet long.

Step 2: Plug USB to Arduino

Picture of Plug USB to Arduino

First take the USB-A to USB-B three foot cable and plug the USB-B plug into the corresponding USB-B slot on the Arduino.

Step 3: Connect to Computer

Picture of Connect to Computer

Next, take the opposite end of the USB-A to USB-B, three foot cable and Plug the USB-A plug into any of the USB-A slots on your computer.

Step 4: Open Arduino IDE

Picture of Open Arduino IDE

Next, go to your computer and open the Arduino Integrated Development Environment on your computer.

Then go to Tools > Serial Port and make sure your Arduino is selected.

Now you can start to program the Arduino.

Step 5: Write Code

Picture of Write Code

Now is the time to write the code, Just enter the code below into your Arduino integrated development environment:

void setup(){
void loop(){

Then, click the Verify box labeled with a Checkmark. Correct any potential errors.

Step 6: Upload Code

Picture of Upload Code

Lastly, Click the upload button, as indicated by the arrow pointing to the right.

You should see a verification message and your 1x1x1 Light Emitting Diode should begin to blink.

Step 7: Going Beyond

Picture of Going Beyond

Once you have the example code running, the next step is to show off and write your own routines. On account of three dimensions, there are countless ways you can light up your LED cube.

We can't wait to see all of the different things that get visualized.


They Call Me Qrowe (author)2017-10-18

Such a revolutionary idea, the new era is upon us!

nancyjohns (author)2015-01-02

black mesa's newest biggest inventions is -- the 0x0x0x0 LED cube!!! Their so cool that they didn't make anything, and they did it in the 4th dimension!!!

onion2 (author)nancyjohns2017-01-21

genius :O

waynevanwijk (author)2013-05-10

To be subversive, rather than having it blink on then off you could try to make it blink off then on. Maybe a bit too radical though.

Cephus (author)waynevanwijk2013-05-12

Of course you are probably aware that a illuminating device does not actually emit light - it sucks in darkness. In the old days of incandescent lamps, the lamp was designated "DS" on a schematic - for "Dark Sucker". When a lamp burned out, it usually had a black coating inside the glass. It had sucked in all the darkness it could hold.

headslant (author)Cephus2016-05-17

Hence the light emmitring part of LED. :)

Treknology (author)Cephus2013-05-12

Fluoro tubes accumulate Dark at each end, and candles are the best evidence, because of black wicks once they've been used.

Seriously, for something really freaky, look up "Dark Emitting Diodes".

faacuunndoo (author)2013-05-10

That is not a cube, is just a single LED. You cannot call it "cube". That is a simple blinking light. I cannot see the six sides of it.

harmsc12 (author)faacuunndoo2013-05-12

That windy sound is the sound of the joke passing above your head.

headslant (author)harmsc122016-05-17

lol. Nice!!

amaze1 (author)faacuunndoo2013-05-12

So you need six faces ? Use one of these and it will be perfect:

Ha ha, it's a joke XD

Marinus84 (author)mashedpotato132013-05-12

Indeed a joke :)

Bateleur2 (author)2016-05-07

Well done, we need some humor in our lives. best instructable on the site.

paulbrandt (author)2016-02-17

I did it!!! I made one!!!!

namindu (author)2015-12-11

nice work .........

JesusG33k (author)2015-11-27

I'm not sure if I should be disappointed or laughing...

serop elmayan (author)2015-11-22


EtCetera112 (author)2013-05-16

Great 'Ible! I reprogrammed the light so it flashes out S.O.S in morse code:
void setup(){
void loop(){









ThomasK19 (author)EtCetera1122015-11-17

You could replace your loop with this:

void loop() {

S(); O(); S();



void S() { three(1500); }

void O() { three(500); }

void three(int l) {

digitalWrite(13,HIGH); delay(l);

digitalWrite(13,LOW); delay(500);


Motaz Bany-Amer (author)2015-06-09

you have forgot a step :p

turn on the computer :p :p

jimvandamme (author)2015-04-03

I wanted a light to be controlled by my brother in Holland, so I bought a Nanode (Arduino with a ethernet port). After adapting the code, I set it up as a web server so he could access it.

Turns out it was easier for him to call me on the phone and tell me to turn on the light, so that's what we ended up doing.

nancyjohns (author)2015-04-02

This is too complex. the code should look like this. :

See? Isn't that better?

jimvandamme (author)2014-12-06

Still way too complex. You could use a 555 to blink the light. Back in my day, we had incandescents and you could use a flasher that heated with the current and opened the circuit.

I bought a USB light from the dollar store once and it BLINKED. The LED's bond wire would detach when it warmed ever so much. I've seen the same behaviour in a power transistor.

iamdarkyoshi (author)jimvandamme2015-04-01

so im not the only one with this silly behavior! look on my YouTube channel under the same username.

eshan.wells (author)2015-01-10

Instructions not clear, got Arduino stuck in serial port

Zedsquared (author)2013-06-04

I reckon I could upgrade this to a 1x1x1x1 hypercube but do I need to replace the ceramic decoupling capacitors with flux capacitors?

Natrix2494 (author)Zedsquared2013-06-17

only at Aperture Science.

nancyjohns (author)Natrix24942015-01-02


CashDesign (author)2013-05-12

Is it possible to make it in the 1x1x1x1 version?

nancyjohns (author)CashDesign2015-01-02

come on, that's the 4th dimension, we live in the 3rd.

jimvandamme (author)CashDesign2013-05-12

time is the 4th dimension. So, yes.

Not necessarily, time can be any dimension or, even, none. For instance, if you take a train line, time is the second dimension although (along "where on the line the train is"), when describing light travelling in crystals, you may have an infinity of dimensions before you encounter "time" (you'll get "wavelength" as a dimension way before)
Also, in 1x1x1x1, each "1" is a measurement. For the first 1x1x1, it's simply a cardinal number of LEDs in an orthogonal system, but for the 4th, I'm not sure how to interpret it versus time?

How about taking an RGB LED and do a multicolour fading 1x1x1x16.7M cube, where the 4th dimension represents unique combinations of primary colours R,G and B (and wavelengths)?

dheidrich (author)2014-08-10

My next project is a 0x0x0 Ledcube... oh I am done. ;)

_-_I_-_ (author)2013-09-21

lol nice topic, just here for reading the comments .
Good job

SuperTech-IT (author)2013-05-26

The LED was already blinking in another quantum dimension before you hooked it up to anything - why did you have to make it so overly complicated.
It's a lot easier to simply observe the LED in the other dimension as it lays on the table blinking, If you want it to fade or color shift, you simply need to observe the correct dimension. I don't understand your need for electronics simply because it's not doing what you want in the dimension you are currently observing.

But then it would not be an integer so fundamental to our universe....:)

IT's not an integer to begin with, so that makes no sense.

Maybe I'm not getting the 'oneness' of this universe...1x1x1

It depends on which universe you are referring to.
I am quite sure there is a universe out there that you completely get because it was created by your own thoughts.

That's all I have to say for now.
I must get back to training 512 LEDs to dance together.

Ahmedqatar (author)2013-08-10

Nice try .. what's next??

carlosarias504 (author)2013-07-15

this is a joke

KGuy (author)2013-06-18

Truly one of the most amazing projects I have seen this year. I tried this - it took weeks and I still couldn't get it.

But Great Job!

white_phox (author)2013-06-06

I'm guessing you won't trade for a gesture controlled banana?

JoshHawley (author)2013-05-27

My background has a different picture... is that ok?

JoshHawley (author)2013-05-27

Oh no! my USB cable is FOUR FEET!
Also I don't have a Mac! what do I do??!?!?!

Ploopy (author)2013-05-24

How did you make the gifs?

Tazo (author)2013-05-21

Made me laugh so hard!!! one of the coolest i'bles of all times

thassaj (author)2013-05-19

I suggest as a next enhancement increasing computation power by driving this via the D-Wave 2 quantum computer.

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