Introduction: 8x8x8 RGB Led Cube by Pierrot

Hi !

First, sorry for my english (I'm French) =)

This instructable will show how to make an 8x8x8 RGB Led Cube (512 LEDS) !

**** NEW PROGRAM 17/05/2015 *****

/!\ It take a LOT of time ! You will need a lot of patience ! I suggest you to begin by a 4x4x4 LED Cube before or 5x5x5.

* On the first part we shall see the parts we need

* 2 : Assembly of the LEDs Structure

* 3 : Assembly of the TLC5940 Control board

* 4 : Connecting

* 5 : Programming

Step 1: Parts

Here are the parts we need, prices are approximate. I bought most on ebay.com.

- 600 LEDs (Common Anode) RGB (40$)

- 5m of Straight Wire (55cts)

- A template to align all LEDs in raw (Free for me)

- 40A Power supply 5v + Cable (25$)

- 20pcs TLC5940 led driver (15$)

- 10pcs TIP41C Power transistor 6A (1.60$)

- 20pcs TO-220 IC Aluminum Heat Sink 22x15x10mm (6$)

- 1pc 2pin 25x25x10mm DC 5V Cooling Fan (2.75$)

- 50pcs Single Row 8 pins 2.54mm Pitch Female Header Straight (6$)

- 10pcs Single Row 40 pins 2.54mm Pitch male Header Straight (5$)

- AC-DC 220V Out DC 12V 400mA Switch Power Supply (3.75$)

- 20pcs 28-Pin DIL DIP IC Socket (2.50$)

- 100pcs 0.1uF Radial Multilayer Monolithic Ceramic Capacitor (1.10$)

- Some wire (Blue, Red, Green) 10meters/color (10$)

- Arduino Uno (not original) (5$)

- A wood box (I drew plans with solidworks and made it with CNC) (40$)

- Customs PCBs I have made (40$) : you could do it on universal board but it will make a lot of time

- Soldering material (I already had...)

- Some tools like tweezers, plier, bolt cutter...

- 7 plastic holder 15cm*2cm*1cm

Step 2: Assembly of LEDs - Bend the Legs

Ready? Go!

Skills required : Meticulous, Patient...

This method is mine, I think it's an easy way to do this but there is some other manners to do...

First you have to bend the legs of the leds :

- Under the led, when the anode (the biggest leg) is on the bottom (2nd leg), you bend it to the right side (Pic1)

- Others legs (RGB) go on the left side, and with the plier on the edge of the led you have to fold up legs with an 90° angle (Pic2, Pic3, Pic4)

Do this 512 times... ^^

Step 3: Assembly of LEDs - Assemble the LEDs Together

Now you have your 512 LEDs ready to go !

Template : Approximately 8mm thickness, 20mm spacing between every LED, 64 holes with 5mm diameter.

It's better if you could do this with CNC machine like me ;)

Take your template, begin first at the right bottom (Pic1).

For the first raw, we go upward, and the anode will be bend another time to be solder on the lower one (Pic2, Pic3, Pic4).

Solder the LEDs one by one.

The first raw is complete, secondly you will continue with the upper raw, in the left direction. (Pic5)

You could cut a little the anode.

Then continue all raws falling down.

When a level is complete you have to test all LEDs (That would be stupid if one in the center of the cube doesn't work :s ) : Put 3v on the anode, and with the ground touch all 192 legs. Sometimes they have not the same brightness, you could replace it with another. (Pic8)

To finish you could strengthen the level adding a straight wire between each raw (Pic7). Solder it on each anode leg.

Borring? You have to do this 8 times ! =)

It's only the beggining ! ^^

Step 4: Assembly of LEDs - Assemble the Levels Together

Now you have your 8 levels (I hope ;) )

Let's see how to assembly them together (I think the most difficult thing to do...)

Let the first level on the template, place your plastic holder between each raw (Pic1, Pic2).

Tip : You could push on the two legs on every LED of the first level to make it more aligned with the second (Pic3)

Solder the first leg on the four corners, and one on the midle of the level to fix them together.

Now, you could align the two levels together.

Solder the first leg of all LEDs, realign the two levels (be carefull in height aligment) and if it's ok, you could solder the rest of legs.

For the rest of levels, you add it on the top (Pic4)

It took me 25 hours to do this ;)

Step 5: Customs PCBs

To make it easier I choose to do customs PCBs.

I do this with KiCad software.

I give you Gerber files if you want to make the same, I have add some modifications in Rev1.0.

You could make it in the website www.3pcb.com like me, it's a great website, you could choose the color of PCBs, high quality, and cheap. (Be carefull of shipping fees with DHL) I choose cheapest HK post.

Or you could see schematics if you want to do this on universal board.

You need 3 PCBs for TLC5940 and 8 for LEDs holder connection.

Next you can solder all the components,

- TLC5940 are in DIP28 Socket (U1,U2,U3,U4)

- I choose 1.8kohm resistor instead of 2kohm (R1,R2,R3,R4)

- 10kohm resistor should be place only on the first PCB (R5)

Decoupling capacitor on Pin 21/22 (optional).

Now you can connect all three TLC5940 PCBs together. "Out" of the first PCB on the "In" of the second etc... and all others wires connected together between board one and two, and board two and three.

To finish you add the wire to the 16 outputs of each TLC, one board = one color. You can use male breadboard jumpers or wire with male header pin like me.

Step 6: The Box

I drew the plans of the box with Solidworks 2014.

It was realized with an CNC machine.

On the top the lid is drilled to put the LEDs structure.

On the back there is :

- a hole to extract heat with the little fan

- a hole to place the power cable

- a hole to put the USB cable for Arduino

- some holes to add switches or other in the future

On the bottom an personal engravure.

You can paint the box and varnish it.

Step 7: Assembly of the Cover

Let's assembly the LED structure on the top of the box with customs PCBs.

- Put your structure trough the lid.

- Add one wire by level (+) and put it on one little hole on the lid to connect it on the PCB, the first level in the first PCB, the second level on the second PCB, etc...

- All leds have to be connected on the PCB, be carefull not to be a mistake about hole (one is not connected).

The last wire +5v have to go under the 7th LED PCB to be solder on the 8th PCB (See pic6)

Step 8: On the Box...

Look at the pictures for more infos

220v --> 5v Power supply --> LED Structure

220v --> 12v Power supply --> Arduino

To put the arduino USB on the hole you have to cut the power jack and solder another (Pic1)

GND of Arduino on GND of 5v power supply

All pins +5v on the LED's PCBs connected together --> +5v power supply

Step 9: Some Mistakes...

1 - The box it's slightly too small in height (you can add 1cm) if not it's hard to bring in everything inside.

2 - A little bit fragile welds, so some are left out... in the middle of the cube :s

3 - The fan is so noisy...

4 - Use strong wire, some of mine broke off in the box, I changed some of them...

5 - Be carefull with the temperature of the soldering iron, for me 250° to don't burn the LEDs

Step 10: Connect It to Arduino

Here the diagram to connect the 3 TLC's PCBs on the Arduino Uno

Note ; Pin IN of the first PCB on the OUT of the second PCB

Pin IN of the second PCB on the OUT of the third PCB

All the rest of wires connected together between two PCBs

TLC5940 - ARDUINO

GSCLK Pin 3

+5v +5v

GND GND

BLANK Pin 10

XLAT Pin 9

SCLK Pin 13

IN Pin 11

1 Level : Pin 40

2 Level : Pin 41

3 Level : Pin 42

4 Level : Pin 43

5 Level : Pin 44

6 Level : Pin 45

7 Level : Pin 46

8 Level : Pin 47

*** Update 17/05/2015 ***

Adding the LM386 Module for Arduino

LM386 Arduino Mega

1st GND GND

VDD +5v

IN 1st pin of audio jack or mic

2nd GND 2nd pin of audio jack or mic

OUT A5

GND GND

Step 11: Program It !

***/!\ NEW PROGRAM VUMETER + Fireworks /!\*** (Main.zip) Update 17/05/2015

To choose a program : in "Main_ino", into the loop choose the program you want, for example :

void loop() // Boucle principale
{ Fire(); }

OR

void loop() // Boucle principale
{ aleatoire(); }

OR

void loop() // Boucle principale
{ TestColonne(); }

If you have some cool animations please share it here ;)

Hoping that this tutorial will have pleased you !

Don't forget to leave a coment and share your ideas !

If you have any question or improvement I am has your listening.

ENJOY YOUR NEW TOY ! =)

Facebook : Pierrot Tosaure

Twitter : PierrotTosaure

Mail : pierrot_93300 at hotmail.com

Comments

author
bonnom (author)2015-12-29

Most people uses the kevin darrah design with the SN74HC595 shift registers. The design with the shift registers is with a lot resistors and transisters. What is the downside of using this design compared to the one with the SN74HC595 shift registers?

author
PierrotT (author)bonnom2015-12-29

I just want to try a new design, with easy PWM control ;)

author
bonnom (author)PierrotT2015-12-29

I really like the design and I think I'll go for this one as well. But I have a couple of questions.
Did you also take a look at the other led driver chips? The TLC5958 and TLC5958 provide 48 channels with 30mA of current. That is just enough for the LEDs. What are your thoughts about these chips?

author
PierrotT (author)bonnom2016-03-05

There is a lot of chips but no libraries for use it with Arduino...

author
roiKosmic (author)2016-02-29

Nice cube!

you could possibly turn it into a smart cube, look at my instructables and github wiki to make it chic'on capable.

author
PierrotT (author)roiKosmic2016-03-05

Thank you ;)

author
Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-20

Hi, I've added your project to the "A Collection of WAAAY To Many 8X8X8 RGB LED Cubes!" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Collection-of-WA...

author
alexis_torres (author)2015-08-03

Excelente, proyecto se ve muy bien, buena explicacion del proceso. felicitaciones

author
PierrotT (author)alexis_torres2015-08-03

Thank you Alexis! =)

author
adrian.ocneanu (author)2015-07-30

How long do you estimate this took you to build?

author
PierrotT (author)adrian.ocneanu2015-07-30

Hi!
50 hours I think, more if you have problems during construction ^^

author
tomatoskins (author)2015-04-14

That looks great! Do you have any pictures of it finished?

author
PierrotT (author)tomatoskins2015-04-14

Thx, here some pictures ;)

2015-04-14 22.16.51.jpg2015-04-14 22.17.18.jpg2015-04-14 22.23.21.jpg2015-04-14 22.24.01.jpg
author
tomatoskins (author)PierrotT2015-04-14

This is so cool! I hope that when everything is finished you update your instructable.

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