It's been a long time coming, but my Universal RGB cube is finally ready!

Now we can run the animations and use the code by both Kevin Darrah and Nick Schulze (slightly modified, but basically identical - minor timing and layer control tweaks were all that was needed). Plus Doug Domke made a whole new set of code from scratch that makes creating your own animations easy!

Although the majority of the code written is for the ChipKit UNO32, Kevin's code for the Arduino UNO, and the version I ported to the Arduino MEGA2560 work on the same cube just by adding a couple jumper caps.

TO THOSE THAT CAME HERE BECAUSE YOU FOUND THE PARTS KIT FOR THIS PROJECT ON eBay - NO the parts kit does NOT include the circuit board - it's the parts kit FOR the circuit board. Inbox me for direct board pricing and availability or go to www.TheLEDCube.com . I do ship worldwide. Please make sure you get your parts kit from the links there - don't use the cheaper kits offered by sellers other than WKWS20 .

Once you select the circuit board, you will see links down the right for any parts kits etc you might need.

To those that got the Mini Music Module before Feb 2015 - due to a change in the parts kit, the USB port MUST BE MOUNTED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BOARD!!! The V4.X music modules fix this, as well as an input sensitivity issue.

ATTENTION: If your layers 5, 6, and 7 are not working on your Arduino UNO, there is a code fix. Please download the new RGB Arduino parallel code!

We currently have code for the Arduino UNO, the ChipKit UNO32 (PIC32MX processor), the ChipKit uC32, The Arduino MEGA2560, and my UNO Eliminator boards [discontinued except by special order in favour of the bridge boards] (which get rid of the last of the wires)

Jerry Lesnefsky and Karl Moeller made a great little music module that fits onto the base / driver board, and allows the PIC ChipKit Eliminator to plug right onto it - and in the process, noticed the the I/O Aux header has A2 and A8 labelled backwards on the eliminator board !!!! If you are hand wiring a music module to your ChipKit Eliminator, please make note of this!

SPECIAL THANKS to Doug Domke who is making firmware templates for the PIC32 (ChipKit UNO32) which work much more like standard Arduino code so that we can more easily create animations on the PIC.

See his page at http://d2-webdesign.com/cube for information and downloads. I will add code here as I create more animations using his template.

This was originally inspired by the project by Nick Schulze, and then added to using the project by Kevin Darrah.

You can use the cube assembly method Nick Schulze at HowNotToEngineer.com uses, however I did develop my own assembly method. Nick's method is great if you enjoy woodworking, or you can use mine if not.


When I first started looking for my Next Big Project (after the original 8X8X8 LED mono colour cube) my searches came overwhelmingly to two.

Nick Schulze and Kevin Darrah.

My problem is that I don't get along well with wood. It's just a medium I haven't mastered.

That's why my previous cube assembly method used a cardboard motherboard box for the LED layer template.
It did work extremely well though, and I was quite happy with the results!

So, with that in mind, I WILL show you how I built mine (steps 9 to 15 currently) but initially we will go on the assumption that you will build Nick's assembly rig modified to a 26.5mm spacing to fit my board.
If you'd rather just build it the way I built mine, go directly to step 9. It seems others are finding my assembly method to be favourable to the big wooden rigs. Once you have your notched rulers made, you never need make another measurement with my method.

Please also see the original projects if you want schematics or theory of operation etc. I am not here to re-invent the wheel. I am here to bring these projects to those that:
otherwise couldn't have made them;
tried to make them and failed;
cannot read a schematic;
are overwhelmed with the magnitude of wiring involved;
are (like myself) not good carpenters ;
want a portable or "neat" looking project;
require the cube to be portable;
or a plethora of other reasons.
If you are looking for schematics and the technical info on how it all works, please go to these links:

How Not To Engineer - RGB Cube project by Nick Schulze

Dedicated To Design - RGB Cube project by Kevin Darrah

All the theory and design and schematics that I used to base this circuit on are there. For the most part, my circuit very closely conforms to Nick's except that I use through hole chips rather than SMT.
My chips are just a touch slower, so I had to modify Nick's code to widen a couple pulses, but other than that, his code is stock.

Feel free to ask questions about my design other than "do you have schematics" or "can I have the Eagle files".

I don't design with Eagle, and I also don't make schematics. I design the PCBs in my head, and go right to design on the fly. I don't know why I work this way, I just always have, and it works for me...at least eventually...

I almost always have flaws in the initial designs that do not present themselves until I start building the project.

That's when a new version is made. Minor tweaks or additions are the revisions within those versions.

It took me until Version 3 Revision 4 of the PC Board before I was ready to make an instructable for it.

I am happy to clarify anything you don't quite get about the way it all works etc. (assuming I fully understand it myself enough to explain it better than the original explanations. The hardware I can easily explain - the software is better explained by the authors).

Step 1: Eliminating the wires and mess

As you may know from my previous instructable "CHR's 8X8X8 LED Cube Revisited with improvements!" the one thing I hate is wires, and the one thing I love to do is take an otherwise daunting or nearly impossible build, and make it so anyone who can solder can build it, even if they don't understand why and how it works.
I felt that the projects these two guys made needed to be more accessible to the more general public.

Many people wanted to make the original 8X8X8 LED cube, but either couldn't read the schematics, had trouble understanding the instructions, or got close, but just couldn't get the darn circuit to work!

Once again, I have taken the mess of wires and circuit building that prevent most people from being able to make these, and made a circuit board to handle it.

After all, who has time to wire it like that???

One of these is the project by Kevin Darrah - it's the one that uses the Arduino and has the hand wired circuit.

The other - and the inspiration for my board - is by Nick Schulze. It uses the ChipKit UNO32 which uses a PIC microcontroller rather than the ATmega328P. He made a circuit board, but one issue is that it takes SMT chips, and a lot of people aren't comfortable soldering those.

The other problem is that there's STILL 200 wires to run to the cube from the board.

<p>I got a bad MSGEQ7 in my parts kit - so if that happens to any of you, contact the parts supplier. What mine does is very low response on the first 3 frequencies, and almost nothing on the upper 4. With another chip though, it works like a champ. Just remember that the USB port mounts on the BOTTOM of the music module!</p>
<p>I was just reading this - and thought I should note that the USB mounts on the top of the 4.5 and above music modules.</p>
<p>Thanks to those that ordered boards over the holidays despite the out of stock and closed for holidays notices. Board shipping is scheduled to resume this weekend (mid January 2016). Your patience and patronage is appreciated. Many may recieve bonus gifts along with your boards while supplies last.</p>
<p>Those that got one or more add on boards (bridges or music modules) got a complete set. Those that ordered more than 1 of one specific addon board got a full set for each. orders are shipping in the AM.</p>
<p>For those who have been asking, I finally have the definitive answer...</p><p>With the discontinuation of the ChipKit UNO32, many have been asking if the ChipKit uC32 will work. I am happy to report that mine arrived today, and yes, it appears to be 100% backward compatible. I connected the bridge and music module, uploaded the code (don't forget to change your board type in the MPIDE) and PRESTO - it all worked right out of the box! This along with now having music response code for the Arduino MEGA2560 (Thanks David Yee) is good news for us all !!.</p>
<p>On the V5 and above boards, people are asking about the LED EN pads. They are for jumper pins so you can enable or disable the onboard power LEDs. Alternatively, you can put in a resistor to just dim them. Don't ask what value, how dim you want your LEDs is a personal preference, so you'll just have to play with the value.</p>
<p>IF YOU ARE JUST GETTING YOUR BOARDS NOW - Please watch the following video in it's entirety. Hopefully it'll answer all the question you were about to ask me ahead of time.</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll8ayM7O744</p>
<p>Hi i am very interested in purchasing the complete package from you </p>
<p>The V4.5 music module code for the ChipKit is now out.</p><p>I am going to start working on Arduino code soon now.</p>
<p>Just finished my first cube. Spent 3 days to assemble the cube. I use <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxmLUiM0Y4VZUR87m-FQGeg" rel="nofollow">Steve Manle</a>y's way to put LEDs together, what really save a lot of time is the PCB boards from SuperTech-IT)))</p>
<p>here is a short video</p>
<p>Awww...arduino...too bad , I would have loved to see them running Left / Right audio! If you want to sometime though, we can try some linking experiments to control both cubes with one arduino!</p>
<p>Have to make a audio module for new cube . Linking the two up sounds interesting I have two chipkit unos but have to make another board to hook without wirers. </p>
<p>Inbox me and I'll give you a deal on a pair of bridge boards and music modules.</p>
<p>The above master panel test code isn't the one in the video. It was written by Jeff DeSilva who wrote it to test his cube-in-progress.</p><p>I liked it, so I put it up for others to benefit from and to aid in troubleshooting.</p>
<p>I have caught a board fabrication mistake in the V4.0 Rev.3.11 boards the connects a blue output to a green input in the top row of chips. The fix should be fairly simple for most. Cut one trace on the top, one on the bottom, and put in a jumper wire. This happened apparently when the fabricator was adjusting some of my traces to not be so close to the VIAs.</p><p>There are many ways to fix it, but I have proposed the easiest I can find here, since if you have kynar wire, you can strip it and put it through the VIA holes and solder it. If you don't, it's still easy enough to solder your jumper wire to the VIA pads.</p><p>In red, you will see the TOP layer of the board, and in green, you will see the bottom. The bottom layer image is flipped over so it looks exactly as it would if you were viewing the bottom of the board when it's flipped over.</p>
<p>The other fabrication error is on the bottom of the board near the BLUE 1 chip.</p><p>Too large a VIA pad was used, and it shorts to a line running past it.</p>
<p>This fix also applies boards from V3 Rev5 up to V4 Rev3.11</p>
<p>I just bought one on eBay, but I haven't gotten it in yet. Just follow these instructions? Also, for someone new to this type of project, is this intractable still the best place for an 8x8x8 RGB LED Cube or is there something updated? Specifically with doing the wooden rig and bends.</p>
<p>Please note - if the first repair was already made to your board, you will need to make the second repair noted above by cutting the oversized VIA pad away from the trace it shorts to. This applies to all who purchased between December 1st and December 8th. (the boards that shipped on the 8th have had both repairs made, and any purchases after this will be repaired prior to shipping. The upcoming rev.3.12 boards have been redesigned with these errors fixed.)</p>
<p>I update this instructable on a regular basis if anthing changes. To my knowledge, this is the best instructable on this project.</p>
<p>For those with the newer boards than the ones here on step 3, the construction is pretty much identical. The new boards have little niceties like pins to disable or dim the onboard LEDs, and mounting holes. </p>
<p>Do you know when you'll be shipping PC boards for 2016?</p>
my best guess is by this weekend.
Ok, great. You should have an order on the books by me already, and an email regarding that order (I think I originally ordered the incorrect bridge board, I need one for the uC32). Thanks
<p>Orders have been post paid and ship in the morning. Thanks for your patience.</p>
<p>Thanks for all the help and great parts, SuperTech-IT!</p><p>My cube is almost finished. While I kind of went against the grain here and used 10mm leds, which required bringing back all the wires you were trying to eliminate, I still had a great time building it and learned a lot!</p><p>Here's a link to some more pictures:</p><p>http://www.tacticaltoolsusa.com/rgbcube/</p>
<p>What spacing did you end up going with for the 10 mm LEDs?</p>
I went an inch and a half for all spacing. I used a poplar 1x2 from Menards as the template/measuring stick
<p>Nice pictures and a great box. I'm planning on something similar but I'll have an acrylic cube covering the whole thing.</p>
<p>Where are you ordering the acrylic cube from?</p>
<p>For a custom 5 sided cube, I ordered from here:</p><p>http://www.theplasticmart.com/index&amp;pg=store.html?cPath=6_80&amp;zenid=0m43esqs56gllb6ig9mlq8kih5</p>
<p>Try looking on Amazon</p>
<p>Thanks!</p><p>Yeah, my acrylic cube is on order. I needed a custom size, 13.125 x 13.125 x 13.125. This is something I should of thought about earlier during the build so I could've worked with standard sized cubes that are easily available.</p>
<p>Hi all</p><p>can someone give me a connection diagram between Arduino UNO and PCB boards from Supertech IT (V5 Rev 1)</p><p>I am a beginner just finished building the RGB Cube 8x8x8 and can not get up and running.</p><p>I have downloaded the program from Kevin Darrah (RGB_CubeV12_BitwiseFix) down, but it does not.</p><p>Connection diagram in the software:</p><p>latch 2</p><p>Blanc 4</p><p>Data 11</p><p>13 Clock</p><p>Which pins are among the PCB?</p><p>Do I have the anode pins Layer 1-8 also anschlissen?</p><p>Or do you have other options?</p><p>Thanks for the answer</p>
<p>Try this</p><p>#define latch_pin 2// can use any pin you want to latch the shift registers<br>#define blank_pin 3// same, can use any pin you want for this, just make sure you pull up via a 1k to 5V<br>#define data_pin 11// used by SPI, must be pin 11<br>#define clock_pin 13// used by SPI, must be 13</p><p>This is what's used in the code on the theledcube website;</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.theledcube.com/text/RGB%20Arduino%20Parallel%20code%20FIXED.ino" rel="nofollow">RGB Arduino Parallel code FIXED.ino</a></strong></p><p>Try the code from the supertech-it website. You're using his board so it makes sense to use his code.</p><p>Tell me how it works out for you.</p>
<p>Yup, that's the code he needs with the parallel layer outputs. We moved away from the serial layer backward compatibility about a year ago. Thanks for being a valued contributor to the project.</p>
<p>Hello there,</p><p>many thanks for the help.</p><p>Everything works.</p><p>Are there other programs for the Board?</p>
<p>Kevin's circuit uses serial data for the layers and will not work &quot;out of the box&quot; on my boards unless using an Arduino Eliminator board with the extra shift register on it (discontinued long ago). You need to download the modified code here from the firmware step or go to www.TheLEDCube.com and download the arduino code from the software repository there.</p>
<p>I have to ask if anyone else has had issue getting boards or dealing with Supertech-IT. I ordered an RGB base board and a set of three bridge boards. I was sent the correct bridge boards, but an incorrect single color base board. I contacted SuperTech-IT. Originally, I was told that I need to send the other board back before they would send me the correct board. We finally agreed, I thought, that I would send back the incorrect board and they would send me the correct board immediately. They went as far as to give me a tracking number for the board they supposedly sent. I did in good faith send the incorrect board back immediately. It has been over a week since I got a tracking number. However, it turns out that that was all I was given. The post office does not have any item to send me, just a pre created tracking number.I have tried to contact Supertech-IT a few times this week asking what was going on, but they have been SILENT. Not a word. The main guy at SuperTech-IT told me that &quot;at least I can rely on him for support while I am waiting on my correct board&quot;. I have not seen anything from that either. I understand they are not making much profit on creating these boards, BUT they are a business selling an item. As far as I can see right now, I am out $75 + shipping for a board for having trusted these guys.So, currently I am sitting on bridge boards and the LED and components kits that I ordered from the Chinese supplier, but no base board to do anything with. I am tempted to simply design up my own instead. I fear my money is lost as I have heard nothing from SuperTech-IT to convince me otherwise. Buyer Beware.</p>
<p>Fun, I just looked again at their website and they say that they are &quot;Closed for the Holidays&quot; and have no new shipments until January. </p>
<p>Proper board finally showed up today. I have not heard from the vendor after numerous attempts at email over the last month, but the correct board finally showed up. Thank you</p>
<p>I haven't heard from him in a while either. However, he's been very supportive towards his customers. I suspect something is taking him away for now but that he'll be back shortly. I don't know for certain though. However, he's been very supportive for a long time as you can see from the rest of the comments here.</p>
<p>Yes, I have been isolated away from all forms of technology for the last month plus a bit, but hopefully I'll be back up and in full gear soon. I hope people that read the original post make it to these comments before jumping to any conclusions.</p>
<p>Hi, I've added your project to the &quot;A Collection of WAAAY To Many 8X8X8 RGB LED Cubes!&quot; Collection</p><p>This is the link If you are interested:</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Collection-of-WAAAY-To-Many-8X8X8-RGB-LED-Cubes/">http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Collection-of-WA...</a></p>
If it's &quot;RGB&quot; then the light that is given off onto the room is white right?
<p>ONLY if all elements within the LED are on and at the same brightness.</p><p>I mean it makes sense that if we ONLY turn on the green element in an LED, that it's going to be green and not white, right?</p><p>Maybe you don't understand the architecture of an RGB LED. Think of having one red LED and one green LED and one blue LED...on their own they can all only be one colour in varying brightnesses. An RGB puts all 3 into a single LED housing, but all the elements are individually controllable. Each LED had a common lead, and 3 more, one for each colour. So by combining colours, we can get at the very least 7 colours if we include OFF and white as colours. By varying the brightnesses, we can get tens, hundreds or thousands or even millions of colours, depending on the bit depth of each colour.</p>
<p>Ive had my cube for many months, but now I have a column that's completely bright green. All 8 lights are lit, and bright, at all times.</p><p>If this is leaking current, I have no idea which one it is. Could it be two LED's that all the sudden started leaking? Could multiple LED's start leaking after many months? What else could it be?</p><p>Thanks in advance.</p><p>Matthew</p>
<p>My guess is the DM13A has blown an output. Swap it for another.</p>
<p>The last reply didn't make it to the main page so I am going to post here that the chip was the issue. I had some spares, so I sent one out with the bridge boards that <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/senohpoxas88/" rel="nofollow" style="">senohpoxas88</a> ordered after we identified the exact chip as being the issue.</p>

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Bio: Just getting into the microcontroller craze. I used to do this sort of thing building circuits for 8 bit microprocessors back in the early 80s ... More »
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