8X8X8 3D RGB LED Cube


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

If when you are done, you love this project as much as I do, please vote for any contests I might be in.

Trust me, I have some cool ideas in mind for all the prizes being offered !!!

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 TheLEDCube dot com. I do ship worldwide.

We currently have code for the Arduino UNO, the ChipKit UNO32 (PIC32MX processor), and my UNO Eliminator boards (which get rid of the last of the wires) !!!! UPDATE: We now have code for the Arduino MEGA2560 (I just ported over the Arduino UNO code and made it work for the MEGA2560 so we have way more program space now!)

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).

Paso 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.

Post a comment
Be nice!

Tenemos una política de comentarios respetuosos.
Por favor, se positivo/a y constructivo/a.

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 11, 2014. 11:05 PM

The new boards are in.

I am updating the documentation on step 7


jmbenim dice: Sep 12, 2014. 4:34 AM

Will not let me "download" or "save as" the board notes

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 12, 2014. 5:16 AM

I was semi-afraid that might happen. Go back to step 7 and refresh if you need to. It is now a PDF, so you should be able to click it to view it or save-as to download it.

bmedley608 dice: Sep 6, 2014. 5:30 PM


Please send me circuit board pricing. I will gladly pay in advance.

bawwa dice: Sep 6, 2014. 10:26 AM

Where can I get the PCB?


SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 6, 2014. 11:12 AM

Please inbox me for pricing and availability.
I never post prices in the comments etc. because demand determines how many I order at once, which is what determines what I have to pay.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 27, 2014. 7:25 PM

I am trying to make new UNO eliminators that will have a USB interface on it, and allow you to upload code directly from the IDE.

I have managed to design them without actually increasing their size, so it should be really cool if it all works!

angello1 dice: Ago 27, 2014. 12:55 PM

I have an idea lets add a few buttons (around 8 to move along x,y and rotate in all directions) and make a 3D Tetris game!!! I know thats the easy part lol. Good luck with the coding I'll help you once I get better and have some extra time.

texasskydiver dice: Ago 27, 2014. 12:37 PM

Just got my board yesterday. Now waiting on my LED's and Parts package to make it here from China. Looking forward to getting started on this.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 27, 2014. 3:26 PM

Don't forget to download the board notes off step 7, and email me if you have any questions (don't clutter up the comments here - if you don't have my email, inbox me here and I'll give it to you)

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 26, 2014. 9:44 PM

I kept running out of space trying to port over the Fireworks effect, so I ported the whole Arduino code to the Arduino MEGA2560. The code posted on step 7 includes my RGB Fireworks effect which was ported over from the single colour cube, and pretty colours added..

mkanoap dice: Ago 26, 2014. 9 AM

I'm curious, if you don't use a cad program, how do you create the gerber files to send to the board house that makes the boards? Or (going back to read it again) are you just saying that you don't make a schematic to capture from and you use some other cad program to make the drawing?

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 26, 2014. 9:25 AM

I said I don't use EAGLE. I design everything directly in ExpressPCB.

Since I offer ExpressPCB to gerber/excellon as a service to PC Board fabricators in exchange for discounts, I am not revealing how that is done.

ena1 dice: Ago 23, 2014. 1:11 PM
awesome my favorite but I don't know how to do
kbrunner dice: Ago 21, 2014. 9:03 AM

With 2 8x8x8 cubes you could make a 8x8x16 led rectangle, or is it 16x8x8, or maybe its 8x16x8?

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 21, 2014. 9:18 AM

The board is actually designed so you can do just that, and still only use one microcontroller. You of course have to modify the code for the new dimensions, but you don't need a microcontroller for the second board.

You could also run 4 to make a 16X16X8.

If we assume a nomenclature of L X W x H, then the last dimension with only one microcontroller and no additional demutiplexing hardware for the layers, would always be 8. So that at least limits it to 16 X 8 X 8 or 8 X 16 X 8 with 2 cubes, and only 16 X 16 X 8 with 4 cubes if we maintain a square shape. Of course it could just as easily be arranged as 32 X 8 X 8. It's all in how you program it.

And yes, 24 X 8 X 8 is possible with 3 cubes as well. As long as the microcontroller can keep up with the data stream, you can make it as big as you want - as long as it's only 8 high. One could of course however with the addition of a couple 74HC238 or a series of them, reprogram the 8 layer lines to control 16 or more layers as well quite easily - but of course you then would have a layer of hardware in between the layers, so it probably wouldn't look that great - unless you externalized the layer control as well, and built more layers on top of the existing ones.

The boards lend themselves easily and deliberately to expansion though. That's the main thing.

vtozato dice: Ago 20, 2014. 4:38 PM

Hello, first I would like to congratulate you for the project is great, and is very good to eliminate all those wires. I'm doing the design based on Kevin Darrah cube and now I'm just on their part, the wires. I wonder how can I buy this board?

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 20, 2014. 5:10 PM

I replied to your email to TheLEDCube

assasinsareus dice: Ago 20, 2014. 11:54 AM

Looks very nice, good job.

A full DIY 8x8x8 project with software that can simulate your program is available from here if you want to see about designing from the ground up.


(bruce) - Yes it should be possible to show/manipulate 3D objects on an 8x8x8 display but the resolution is not great.

stephen.baer.5 dice: Ago 20, 2014. 2:06 PM

The resolution is exactly 512 bits per cubic dimension. Wow I just invented the new 3D display nomenclature! If you could get 512 bits per inch, now that'd be something!

alcurb dice: Ago 20, 2014. 8:37 AM


I just don't have an adequate superlative to describe your project.

Thanks for sharing. The videos were fun to watch.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 20, 2014. 9:16 AM

So....you're saying you liked it, right?


bruce.rolff dice: Ago 19, 2014. 7:44 PM

Just a thought. Is there a way of using this to display 3D images and shapes? Perhaps with very compact leds?

bruce.rolff dice: Ago 19, 2014. 7:05 PM

Just a thought. Is there a way of using this to display 3D images and shapes? Perhaps with very compact leds?

Shanderson dice: Ago 19, 2014. 5 PM

"Put the cube in my chest!"

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 19, 2014. 9:20 AM

I am going to ask that anyone wishing to purchase a board INBOX me here at instructables for pricing and availability, as the prices change with demand. Thanks

DavidK6 dice: Ago 20, 2014. 4:07 PM

If you would please share how to obtain the board(s).

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 21, 2014. 10:22 AM

I am currently COMPLETELY SOLD OUT of boards. I thought I'd try putting them on ebay for a day, and to my shock, the demand was overwhelming.

I took down the AD and saved the last few just for Instructables members, and they just sold out today.

I will take delete this comment once I have more.

Anyone wishing to pre-pay to reserve a board for the next batch, I will have pricing in a few days as I plan on a larger order, which will reduce prices.

The new boards will have an Arduino UNO eliminator with the shift register, and one without, as well as 2 of the ChipKit UNO eliminators.

warbs dice: Ago 22, 2014. 12:24 AM

Please contact me as I would like to purchase a board.

Great work!

denisduc dice: Ago 30, 2014. 6:45 AM

When are you planified to have a new circuit board. He will like to buy one thanks

domdomgin dice: Ago 19, 2014. 8:45 AM

also KIM-055L is not there in the supplier list.From where did you get this..thanks,,

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 19, 2014. 9:25 AM

They are on eBay.

You may not need the KIM module though. If you are going to use a 5V supply, like one of the 5V 2A wall warts, then I suggest NOT getting the KIM module (it emits a high pitched whine from it's coil that some people can hear)

Instead I will recommend this power supply:

devicemodder dice: Ago 19, 2014. 8:35 AM

any chance of publishing schematics for this wonderful project?

i am looking to make this but i would like to lay it out on perfboard.


SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 23, 2014. 3:16 PM

Kevin has a full schematic of his circuit at http://www.kevindarrah.com/?cat=99

He uses about 300 more components and 200 feet more wire than I do though.

devicemodder dice: Ago 24, 2014. 9:50 AM

thanks, i will check it out.

domdomgin dice: Ago 19, 2014. 7:58 AM

how much are the boards as i need to buy one..thank you..

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 19, 2014. 9:25 AM

Please inbox me.

Donna+B dice: Ago 18, 2014. 5:52 PM

Sweet !!!

Kiteman dice: Ago 17, 2014. 11:49 AM

I'm going to ask, because I'm sure folk will want to know; are you planning on selling these complete and ready to go?

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 17, 2014. 1:40 PM


I sell the boards, and the price varies based on current demand, as these are large boards and I can only afford to have them made in small batches - but if demand is high enough, and I can place a quantity order based on demand, then I pass on the savings. PC Board fabrication is based on the size of the board - not it's complexity etc. so a board that's 10X10 inches lets say is 4X the area of one that's 5X5, and as such become increasingly expensive to have made. I have done what I can to keep the price low, like asking my Hong Kong parts supplier to put together a parts kit for the board - which they did for about $5 over the cost of just the chips for the board. So, I was pretty happy about that.

Plus, the idea here is of course the do-it-yourself factor.
You can get the board and parts, and still have a feeling of accomplishment, and the feeling you did it yourself.
The wiring that is required for these projects is just overwhelming, and takes the project outside the realm of the possible for many people. You wouldn't believe the hundreds and hundreds of people I wound up helping that wanted to build their own circuit for CHR's single colour cube instructable. Many I was able to help til a working board was wired - others just wound up getting one of my PC Boards. Others got my boards for the enhancements I brought to the project like Music response and wireless remote control. I will probably be adding features to this project as well down the line, but I was happy just to get the thing completed - and honestly, I wouldn't have tackled it AT ALL if I had to do the manual wiring like you see in step 1, which are photos from the actual projects I based my circuit on..

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 18, 2014. 12:37 AM

The other reason I don't sell fully made units is that with the time involved in making it, the cost would be prohibitive. My goal here is to make it not only accessible to the general public, but also as affordable as possible - which means you have to do the work. This is also why on my board design:
All the resistors are the same value;
All the non-electrolytic capacitors are the same value;
All the transistors are the same;
All the ICs are the same except 1, and it's smaller, so it's still fool proof
I've made it as hard to make a mistake as possible.

Kiteman dice: Ago 18, 2014. 4:31 AM
OK, I get all that. Thanks.
jmh474 dice: Ago 15, 2014. 3:04 PM

So i searched online for this kit well on ebay typing in "SuperTech-IT" and im getting 0 results found for SuperTech-IT where else could i find your kit please

jmh474 dice: Ago 15, 2014. 3:06 PM

To get a COMPLETE parts kit and/or RGB LEDs for this project, I thought I'd make things easy on everyone by working with a Hong Kong supplier.

They have put together a complete parts kit for the driver/base board CHEAP!

Simply go to eBay, and put SuperTech-IT into the search window and hit search.

You will see the parts kit, and the LEDs.

The parts kit does NOT include microcontrollers or parts for the UNO Eliminator boards.
Don't forget to snap the eliminators off your board!! LOL!!!

It also does not include the optional KIM-055L regulator.

This is because I highly suspect most people will not be using them. Those that do want to use them can either contact me, or find the parts on eBay for themselves. They aren't hard to find.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 15, 2014. 3:15 PM
you probably put in the quotes....you don't put the quotes in the search window.
Just in case there is some other issue though here is what the search should have come back with

seamster dice: Ago 14, 2014. 8:40 AM

Nice. Great use of the rulers to keep everything nice and tidy.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 14, 2014. 5:31 PM

Thanks! I had a few assembly method attempts that flopped outright. I tried initially assembling the cube in layers. That was a HUGE flop and I knew it the second I tried to join the first 2 layers together. My method allowed me towards the end to assemble a panel a day. I took all the stuff that didn't work, and left it out, and put in only the stuff that worked, or whatever worked best for me. The great thing about this project is it allows people to experiment with other processors, make their own code, or even join multiple cubes together or make "shields" that will work across multiple microcontrollers. The main goal in the end though was to bring this project into the realm of the possible for those that would love to build one, but couldn't build the circuit for one reason or another - or just to make it a neat and tidy project for others.

It's also a lesson in how to think outside the box. Yes, others had tried and true construction methods - but I thought there had to be a better way or an easier way. At the very least, there had to be ANOTHER way.

I cannot say for sure if my way takes longer than his or not - but at least I didn't have to build that wooden rig which I wouldn't have had room for anyways.

Yes, you CAN purchase the boards from me directly by inboxing me here on Instructables if you want to give this project a shot.

jtjones73 dice: Ago 14, 2014. 7:41 AM

So basically this is an instructable on how to put together a kit one can purchase off of eBay? No schematics, no wiring, no parts list, nothing on how to create one. I was looking more for the "copper and silicone" of how one is made.

SuperTech-IT dice: Ago 17, 2014. 10:40 AM

No. You should read through before you reply.

There are 2 projects referenced here - one by Kevin Darrah, and one by Nick Schulze - both have schematics and explanations etc.

I go into GREAT DETAIL about my construction method for the cube itself !

This instructable is how to use the circuit board I created. I do NOT sell the parts. (I made it easy to get the PARTS off ebay by asking a seller to put them into a kit in one place rather than you having to run to 30 different vendors) - plus - I DO show you how I constructed the actual cube as well, which is a very different method than everyone else's.

This instructable is for people that saw the mess of wiring in the other projects and either thought it impossible, tried and failed, or would love to build the RGB cube without all the mess.

To my knowledge, nobody else has a board this versatile. It still allows you to pick a microcontroller and write the software yourself if you want - you don't have to conform to the ones we already have code for.

If there's anything you want to know about the project, just ask rather than slamming the project.

Again, I do go into extensive detail about my construction method - I simply think Nick's is better if you are handy with wood. But on the other hand, I can put my construction rig in my back pocket and you don't actually need to measure anything once you have made your notched rulers !

john.grimoldy dice: Sep 3, 2014. 4:34 PM

I'd recommend you investigate a little further before the flippant commentary. This guy is clearly not trying to shill his stuff. If you follow the links and look up Kevin Darrah, you're going to find way more info.

SuperTech-IT seems to be going out of his way (so does Kevin Darrah) to make this project do-able for those that lean more on the amateur side.

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 3, 2014. 5:39 PM

Thanks - I looked at the guy's past comments on other pages, and I think he just likes to troll sometimes.

Yes, Kevin Darrah does go out of his way to make you understand how it all works - has the schematics and a ton of videos with detailed explanations. Nick Schulze does too. To that end, I saw no reason to reinvent the wheel. Either of the projects I based mine on explain anything you might want to know in order to construct your own.

With Kevin's project, I just decided to do it with 90% less parts and none of the MILES of wire he used to make his.

With Nick's - he has a circuit board, and it uses LESS components than my circuit, but he still has 200 wires, uses surface mount chips, and doesn't have the multi-stream configuration capability of my board. My main goal was to make ONE board that would let people easily be able to build the circuit and use either of their code and beyond. It makes the entire project (as you say) more "do-able". Kevin's project which was the first I tried to get a grip on just looked like 4 months too much work. Nick's was much better - so I made a base/driver based on his first - and then realized with some minor modifications, I could make it work for both.

I don't make schematics - I go straight to PCB design, so, NO - there is no schematic specifically for my board. Besides, I upgrade and change designs as I learn more, so a schematic for today's board will probably be inaccurate by next week! LOL! My UNO eliminators will hopefully have USB on the next boards so that you can program the eliminators directly from the IDE.

jtjones73 dice: Sep 8, 2014. 8:20 AM

Thank you Super. Unfortunately I will not be joining your flame war. I hope you understand.

jtjones73 dice: Sep 8, 2014. 8:18 AM

Just one question John, how do I, or any other viewer of the internet, know that the seller of those items on eBay is not the person who wrote this instructable?

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 8, 2014. 12:24 PM

Because I am in Canada, and the guys on eBay are in Hong Kong. I produce the circuit boards, and I alone sell them. I asked my parts supplier to put together a parts kit for my board so that people could ge tall the parts they needed without having to get 100 of something they need 30 of etc. The result was the parts kit they sell, and the 600 LED sets. 600, so you don't have to buy 1000 - and buy directly from them, because I'd have to pay the same price to get them, which means if I bundle the parts with my boards - I have to now charge for shipping on top of the price you see on their page. It's a cost saving measure for people that do want to build this project now that I've made it easy enough for most people to build.

Also, it wasn't meant as a flame war - it was meant as a "did you even read this before you jumped all over it like so many other instructables in the past". I looked at your comments page and you do seem to like to just jump on people. This time, you were simply unwarranted, and had you actually taken 10 minutes to go through it, you would have seen that just as the others here have.

jtjones73 dice: Sep 15, 2014. 2:10 PM

I was going to just ignore this comment but I've had about all the slander I can take. I have made ONE, one past comment outside of this instructable and that was to ask someone if I could see their source code to understand how they accomplished something. Because of all the slanderous accusations you have made, I will be reporting you to the Instructables staff.

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 15, 2014. 3:14 PM

so you never said to anyone comments like "So is this just an advertisement for your product, Apollo Jammer?" and others - or do I have you confused with someone else with your exact same name and profile? Should I go on with more quotes?

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 15, 2014. 3:17 PM

But feel free to report me. You contribute no instructables, and tend to be quite critical of those that do contribute. When you make the report, they also investigate the source - and even if you think you deleted your old messages slamming others, there are still records somewhere... So when you make your report, remember the guy in the mirror will be included whether you like it or not.

SuperTech-IT dice: Sep 15, 2014. 3:25 PM

And even if they can't retrieve the records - I have screen shots from before you deleted the other 3 (and I guess you forgot about the other one I listed above, which is still active)... By all means report me. I'm one step ahead. I collected evidence in case this ever happened. You know the old saying..."Say it, forget it - WRITE it, regret it". That basically means if you're going to be mean, don't leave evidence that others can copy and reproduce whenever needed.