Picture of 5x5 LED Cube (Arduino Uno)

This is a step by step explanation of how to build a 5x5 LED cube using an arduino. I did this project for my undergraduate electronics class and it took me about 2 weeks to complete.

Note: Apparently, some of the links for the supplies and code aren't working, if you need them send me an email at amh02010@mymail.pomona.edu.

You can find a video of the working LED cube on youtube here:

And here's another:

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Step 1: Supplies

I used www.mouser.com and www.amazon.com to order my materials for this project. The main parts needed are:
-125 LEDs
-30x 150 Ohm resistors
-5x 3-8 Line Decoders
-5 NPN Transistors

The manufacturer numbers and prices can be found in the attached document though the cost was about $40.

Additional required materials:
-Arduino uno
-Soldering iron
-Sturdy wire (for structure of cube)
-Insulated wires
-sockets (for decoders)

Step 2: Cube Construction

Picture of Cube Construction
Unfortunately, I have not perfected the construction of the cube.  I found this portion of the project both frustrating and painful (hot wires!). 

I began by assembling the 5 layers or planes of the cube.  This involved connecting all the cathodes of the LEDs together.  Id did this by poking 25 LEDs (about 1 inch apart) into a piece of styrofoam.  I bent all the anodes out of the way and soldered the LEDs in 5 columns and then two rows on the end (see picture). Be careful when soldering because the entire wire becomes hot and I accidently burned myself multiple times by touching the end of one of the wires.

The next step in cube construction is even trickier.  You need to connect the anodes of the LEDs in 25 vertical columns without letting any of them (or their connecting wire) touch the cathode planes.  The way I did this was leaving the top plane in the styrofoam and placing ~6 inch wires next to the anodes. I used needlenose pliers to curl the anodes into loops so that it was easier to solder. Alternate the directionality of the wires of the cathode planes for stability. See photos.

Step 3: Wiring and Breadboard

Picture of Wiring and Breadboard
See attached pdf for a circuit diagram. 3-8 decoders labeled A-E. But a brief overview...
1) Solder sockets into  board (w/o decoders in)

2) Wire in series with socket pins according to 3-8 decoders as follows (see http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/pdf/15570/PHILIPS/74HC238N.html? for data sheet for further information)

Note: Error in circuit diagram. Z0 should actually be connected to the VCC wire.

"A"-"C" 3-8 decoders
-connect A0 together and to digital output 4 on arduino
-connect A1 together and to digital output 3 on arduino
-connect A2 together and to digital output 2 on arduino
-connect g to ground on arduino
-connect Vcc to 5V on arduino
-connect Y0-Y7 of "A" to COL1-COL8 (with 150 ohm resistor between)
-connect Y0-Y7 of "B" to COL9-COL16 (with 150 ohm resistor between)
-connect Y0-Y7 of "C" to COL17-COL24 (with 150 ohm resistor between)

"D" 3-8 decoder
-connect A0 to other AO and to digital output 4 on arduino
-connect A1 to other A1 and to digital output 3 on arduino
-connect A2 to other A2 and to digital output 2 on arduino
-connect g to ground on arduino
-connect Vcc to 5V on arduino
-connect Y0 to COL25 (with 150 ohm resistor between)

"E" 3-8 decoder
-connect A0 to digital output 6 on arduino
-connect A1 to digital output 5 on arduino
-connect A2 to ground on arduino
-connect g to ground on arduino
-connect Vcc to 5V on arduino
-connect Y0 to E3 of "A" decoder
-connect Y1 to E3 of "B" decoder
-connect Y2 to E3 of "C" decoder
-connect Y3 to E3 of "D" decoder
-connect pEN (E3) to digital output 12 on arduino

3) Solder 5 150 ohm resistors into board. Then solder base of 5  transistors in series with resistor. Ground the collectors. Solder wire leads to emitters of transistors to Z0-Z5 (planes of cube).

Step 4: Programming

The column numbering can be seen in the attached pdf. The first column is the back left corner, then the numbering increases left to right for each row.

With respect to the programming, the data sheet I attached on the previous step will be helpful (ESPECIALLY THE LOGIC TABLE). You code the arduinio to ouput a 5-digit binary number to the decoders and then to the 25 columns (via digital ouptuts 2-6, where setting a pin to high is a one and setting a pin to low is a 0). Then you also code the arduino to set a specific plane of the cube to high to determine which plane of a specific column you want to light up.  To light up multiple LEDs from the same decoder you have to flash between the "columns" at a delay rate less than the human eye can detect.  Please see my attached code to find out how to light up individual LEDs, columns, planes, spell letters, and create patterns. 

Attached is a sketch showing the labeling of LEDs, columns, and planes.
Note: My method of coding is very long because I don't remember much from my intro to computer science course. Could shorten code by using if statements, loops, etc.

To illuminate LED28 (in COL3, plane 2)
You want all the levels low, besides the second one so,
  digitalWrite(Z0, LOW);
  digitalWrite(Z1, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(Z2, LOW);
  digitalWrite(Z3, LOW);
  digitalWrite(Z4, LOW);
And then to call the correct column, look at the logic table in the datasheet., Begin by setting p3 and p4 to determine which decoder connected to the cube to direct to. Because we want COL3, we want the first decoder "A" which means setting
A0, A1, A2 to LOW (So Y0 goes high and enables the first decoder).  A2 is always low on the initial decoder "E" so set its other address inputs to low as well such that...
  digitalWrite(p3, LOW);
  digitalWrite(p4, LOW);
Then need to determine which output of decoder "A" you want. Since it's the third column you want the third output.  When A0, A1, A2 are LHL, Y2 goes high so,
  digitalWrite(p0, LOW);
  digitalWrite(p1, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(p2, LOW);

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Lance_Tronic2 months ago


I am also atempting this project and need access to your code.

Can you send to my email - lancelot@y7mail.com

Thanks in advance.


zainulislam2 months ago
hi i want to learn arduino and its programing so can you help me to learn it i search every thing on google but eventually i came here and found this site so please help me to learn arduino my gmail id is
my skype id
my phone no is
thanks in advance .......
krashton11 year ago
I'm having troubles with this circuit. I have wired everything up exactly as you have said to do it but when I go to run the cube, all the outputs from all the decoders are high/ This gives me limited control but only over layers. All coloums are high but I can still control the transistors. I'm not sure where to go from here but I'm stuck. Any
never mind, I found out the problem to be that I just ordered any old 3 to 8 line decoders, but the ones I ordered work in reverse to these ones. They have 8 active high pins and using A0,A1,A2, you can set one of those pins to low. Make sure when buying parts, make sure you know exactly what it does.


So we used 74LS138N's, guess that's why we can't control individual pins. What one pin does, they all do and several columns will not light up at all. :/

icky_unicorn (author)  janet.gordon.758392 months ago

Yeah you need to make sure the logic tables match up. Can you replace your decoders?

sifu1112 months ago

Could You please send me the final code? Thanks in advance.


АлексейМ2 made it!7 months ago

Hi! I have problems with programming, you could send an email with your code please. My email: lex0823@yandex.ru

"Privet!" from Russia :)


nice job. I am using this design for a college class project. Could you share your GREAT PCB DESIGN with us. (CAD files, did you use EagleCAD?)

Thanks so much for this instructable! Can you please send me the final code? janetgordon28@yahoo.com.

I built 5x5x5 led cube using arduino uno and decoders(74ch138).proper circuit and

cube model I built but when I write program and uploaded it on arduino many errors found .please send code to shashigupta323929@gmail.com.

because I am exciting to see my led cube glowing...pleae send the code

MinhD13 months ago

Could You please send me the final code? Thanks in advance.

My email: vuminhduc456@gmail.com

PritomH3 months ago

pritom.whoami@gmail.com......i need the code...by the way,your information on this project is very usefull.....5*5*5 audrino powered led

parths14 months ago

can you send me the code and parts list please



thanks in advance

rochebox4 months ago

Awesome project! Trying to build -- can you please send the code? Thanks !


jurij.radchenko made it!5 months ago

Could You please send me the final code? Thanks in advance.

My email: jura7772@gmail.com

ace6755 months ago

Could you please send the code to robogeek0674@gmail.com.

thanks in advance

kabi.lan.7126 months ago

please send the code kabilan491@gmail.com

JussiK7 months ago

Greetings from Finland! Could You please send me the final code? Thanks in advance.

Email me at jussi.kemppinen90@gmail.com

Hi, i'm from Brazil! I'm doing the project for my high school, can you send me your code? I need so much! please!


JohnP158 months ago

Hi I'm trying to do the same project, can you send me the code and supply list the website is restricting it, thanks! email: udesai5@uic.edu

AndreiM18 months ago

Before, (2 years ago) I made LED CUBE 8*8*8 on ATmega 16, but without programm =( Now, made this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G5pJKc7tWc

AndreiM1 made it!8 months ago

Hi, I have problems with programming, you could send an email with your code please.

my email: sierzhant@bk.ru

p/s Hello from Russia =)

mildanah8 months ago

Can you send me the code plz? bahamut_27_@hotmail.com

TonyL28 months ago

hi im trying to program my cube too can u send it to tony9349258@hotmail.com ? thanks

Awesome project! Hi I'm From indonesia,Can you send me the code,schematic diagram and parts list please, I want to build it for my school project.

wahyu_wahyudi31@yahoo.com thanks

AparV9 months ago

Please send the code at apar.vashistha24@gmail.com .

WivenM10 months ago

awesome project!! would you please send me the code? wivenmac@gmail.com

oyes muy bueno Estoy tratando de construirlo. ¿Podria favor del por enviarme el Código?

y el diagrama porfa mi correo es mrsillo@hotmail.com

caleb36010 months ago

Hey, Thanks for this cool project. I am trying to build it. Would you please send me the code?


jasonkh1 year ago

Can you please email me the code for this project? hung81189@yahoo.com Thanks

bboden1 year ago
I followed your instructable and made the cube. It works beautifully, and I have been using other peoples code, but I would like t use yours. Can you email me the code docx pleas?
AndaayPhan1 year ago

Can you send me the code as well?

hi, can I get the code ?

please send me the code to my ymail id jauhari_nk@ymail.com.

thank you

azamanta1 year ago

hi, can I get the code of the project led cube,

This e-mail me, hansaii24jl@gmail.com

thank you

Fredaow1 year ago

Hi, would you mind emailing to me the supplies list as well as the code. Unfortunately the docx files are not accessible.



my email: fredaow@free.fr

atyagi21 year ago
Hey, Thanks for this cool project. I am trying to build it. Would you please send me the code?

Dan861 year ago


This is a really neat project.

Can you please send me the code and a parts list with the exact decoder you used?

e-mail: husband.dan@gmail.com


jdato1 year ago

I'm building this cube for my wife for valentines day can you please send me the code to jdato2009@gmail.com. Great project can't wait to get this up and running.

rrawat21 year ago

madam please send this project code in my gmail id rishicentury@gmail.com .I request you to madam because i submit this project on tomorrow.

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