Picture of Basic Stamp LED Cube

I like trying to teach myself about basic electronics.  I feel like once I can get a firm grasp on all of the basic elements (capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc), I'll be better able to understand more advanced components (resistor networks, rheostats, microcontrollers), and how they all interact.  I've seen a lot of LED Cubes on this site, and I've wanted to make my own for a while.  With all of this in mind, I decided to try to get as component level as I could to make it.

I found a Basic Stamp board, which is programmed in Basic, a programming language that came along almost 20 years prior to C++.  With that, and a bunch of resistors, transistors and wire, I set out to make my first LED Cube.

There were two Instructables that were of immense help while creating this:
LED Cube 4x4x4
5x4 LED display matrix using a Basic Stamp 2

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
First we need all of our components! Everything for this project I bought from RadioShack (with the exception of the block of wood that was sitting in the shop).

22 Gauge solid core wire
BASIC Stamp Homework Board
Red LEDs (12 total)
Green LEDs (12 total)
Yellow LEDs (12 total)
White LEDs (12 total)
Resistors (22ohm, 33ohm, 82ohm, 220ohm)
NPN Transistors (I purchased a grab bag and used four different types to see if I could. Turns out I can)
9V Battery (or a 1A 12VDC Wall Plug Adapter) (You only need one)
Small scrap piece of wood

Geekaton2 years ago
i am 15 and have made my own LED cube, heres a video of how I made it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTZJOy70rrc&list=LL7RW6Py5QalcKDnSCnX9_Dw
let me know if its helpful!
StumpChunkman (author)  Geekaton2 years ago
That's a really cool video. It's hard to tell what's going on at certain points, but I don't know if you were trying to make directions or just a cool video. Either way, I like it. Thanks!
thanks man!
mm4rs02 years ago
What's the point of the transistors? They circuit looks like it could perform fine without them.
StumpChunkman (author)  mm4rs02 years ago
If you made it differently, yes, you could get rid of the transistors. I have the transistors pulling each level to ground though. I've used Arduino a lot, and am not sure what sort of transistors are embedded in the Basic Stamp, and didn't want to burn anything out. I find that when I'm in doubt, I try to put in extra precautions.
Mudbud2 years ago
I made a 3x3x3 red LED cube, just like this and with the BS2. I spent a whole week playing around with it and making light shows :P

Just found it in a deep dark dust filled box in my shed.. Good times
vraj0572 years ago
Hey what transistors did you use?
StumpChunkman (author)  vraj0572 years ago
They're weren't specific. I used four different transistors, and don't remember what any where. They were all in a grab bag I purchased from Radio Shack. If you're looking for a specific transistor I'd suggest reading though here:
redaalger3 years ago
thank you
munirah09103 years ago
Length of the rib
munirah09103 years ago
two cm or what??
munirah09103 years ago
i look web i saw two borad one 39 dolar other 55 dollar
what diffremt between ??
munirah09103 years ago
hi.....where i can find this board??(basic stamp )
StumpChunkman (author)  munirah09103 years ago
I found mine at Radio Shack, but a quick search on google shopping provided quite a few resources: http://goo.gl/s0mz6
Djkhero13 years ago
Quick question. I'm trying to make the same thing.. Will the program work for basic stamp1?
StumpChunkman (author)  Djkhero13 years ago
I think so, but I've never used a Stamp1, so I'm not sure what the requirements are for it.
jsw4693 years ago
Can I use any color LED for this project
StumpChunkman (author)  jsw4693 years ago
Yes you can.
H4T4 years ago
Super professional, amazing pics and video! But I'm curious about one thing - why use the BASIC Stamp? The last thing I want to do is incite a fanboy slug-fest (I'm looking at you, Arduino community :P), I'd just like to understand the motivation and reasoning for using BASIC Stamp in this day and age. Seems like since Arduino has come on the scene, everything else that has been used for many years has been largely quashed in the hobby sites (PIC, Stamp, Maple, etc). Can you provide some advantages or advocate the BASIC Stamp over the other platforms? Is it just a matter of personal familiarity, or do you have specific, strong reasons for choosing the BASIC Stamp platform?
StumpChunkman (author)  H4T4 years ago
Actually, the reason for choosing the BASIC Stamp is much simpler that you're thinking. The challenge was posed to me to try to make an LED Cube with nothing but parts from RadioShack. The challenge seemed interesting and I wondered if it could be done.

I do also like the fact that I've now used another programming language other then Processing/Arduino. I was playing Gorilla and Nibbles in QBasic way, way back in the day and loved them. I would look at the code on occasion and wonder how it worked. I still don't know, but I understand that language a little better now, which is a nice feeling.

In addition, having worked with both the Arduino and the Stamp at this point, I can honestly say that I don't think it would have been as easy to control outputs with the Arduino as it was with this. Being able to control each output with a string of binary was actually quite liberating. I hope someone adds this ability to Arduino at some point.
Oh! That explains all the RadioShack stuff in the post, lol. Boy, you must be out a pretty penny :P

Looking at the BASIC code, it looks like what you might gain in logical simplicity, you also lose in semantic clarity (might be easier to type and take up less characters, but is harder to intuitively grasp if you don't know exactly what the author intended). But really, this can be said about any microcontroller platform at some level.

By the way, you actually can using a bitmask to address pins of a port with the Arduino, it's just not presented to beginners very often: http://www.arduino.cc/en/Reference/PortManipulation .
SHIFT!4 years ago
I had no idea an LED cube was so easy! Always thought Arduino was required, not simply an addition.

Anyway, I've got to build a Companion Cube version of this!
sunshiine4 years ago
The music is fitting!
sunshiine4 years ago
Impressive! Thanks for sharing your hard work!