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Picture of LED Cube Night Light
This LED lamp will be perfect in any home. It gives more light then I thought it would.

Today I recieved the last products I ordered to get started building this LED cube.

Though this cube I made is 9cm x 9cm x 9cm... it feels bigger then that. Maybe because it gives allot of light.

In most of my projects and instructables I use a toggle switch to switch LED's on and off. I wanted to do something different this time. Got to say it worked out pretty awesome.

On the bottom is small momentary switch that will turn the LED's on and off. The switch is strong enough to hold the cube. But when the box is pressed down, the switch isn't strong enough to click back because of the weight.
So pressing the box will turn the light on, and pulling the box up will turn it off again.

Below you can see a movie I made to show how it works.
If you think it's cool enough, go to step one so you can get all the materials and tools to build your own!


 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials
The materials used for this project are pretty easy to get and not too expensive.
Only some tools are maybe not in everyone's toolbox. But there are also many tools you can use instead if you're not able to get your hands on some.

Materials
- A4 acrylic sheet - 3mm thick (also known as 'plexiglass') - $2.00
- Fine sandpaper (400 does a great job!) - $1.00
- 3x 5mm LED (I used blue, gives a good effect. But any color can be used) - $0.21
- 2x button cell battery (CR2032) - $0.30
- 2x button cell holder - $0.50
- Small momentary switch - $0.25
- Electrical wire - $0.00 (ripped it of my bike)

As you can see this is a low cost project. The total money I spend was: $ 4.26
Most stuff you can get real cheap of eBay.

Tools
- Jig Saw (also a Jeweler Saw can be used. But that's really hard to get straight lines)
- Glue Gun (hot glue)
- Drilling tool
- Pen

Ones you've got this stuff you're ready to begin!

Step 2: Cutting the acrylic

Picture of Cutting the acrylic
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First we need to cut the 6 sides of the cube out of the acrylic sheet.

1. Get the pen and draw six equal squares on the acrylic sheet. Straight lines are needed, so unless you've got a real steady hand, use a ruler :)
(see photo 1)

2. Use the jig saw to cut the squares from the acrylic sheet. Be sure to do this as perfect as you can. Because all squares need to be (almost) the same (photo 2).
If the squares don't turn out to be equal, you can sand the sides till they all fit nice.




Step 3: Frosting the acrylic

Picture of Frosting the acrylic
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The acrylic is 'water clear'. That's not what we want. We want a frosted (or diffused) cube to it spreads the light equally to give a nice effect.

You can probably get acrylic sheets that already have a frosted look. But I couldn't find them here. Found 1 shop, but they charged allot more then the water clear one. Since sandpaper doesn't cost much I went for the water clear one :)

1. Remove the protecting plastic from each plate (photo 1 and 2).

2. Now g
et the fine sandpaper (400) and place it on a table, with the sanding side up. Get a plate and rub it over the sandpaper in a circular motion. If one side is frosted enough, turn the plate over and do the same with that side.
Now you'll have a nice frosted looking effect we need (photo 3, 4, 5 and 6).


To see if you did a good job on sanding, you can hold the plates against the light. Just give the bad parts some extra sanding.

Step 4: Make the cube

Picture of Make the cube
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Now we've got the plates ready we need to shape them into a cube.
Before you go and glue parts together, make sure first they fit nicely onto each other. We need all parts to fit nicely.

1. After fitting the plates get the glue gun and glue only 5 plates together. If you have some trouble holding the plates together before gluing, you can use some tape to hold them together. This way you can put the glue on more relaxed. 

2. The last plate that's not glued on yet needs a hole for the switch to fit in. Get the drilling tool and use a drill bit that is the same size as the switch (corner to corner).
When you're drilling, do this very carefully! You don't want to hurry, else you might put too much pressure on it and break the plate.


Try if the switch fits the hole nicely. Later on we're going to use the glue gun to put the switch in place.

Step 5: Preparing the LED's

Picture of Preparing the LED's
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Ok... ok... I did it again!  Can't help it. Only LED's I buy are water clear LED's.
But for this project we need diffused LED's. If you have those, you can skip this step.

If you're goofy looking like me and bought water clear LED's as well, here we go diffuse them :)

1. Get the sandpaper (again the 400) and sand the LED's.

You can see the difference of the water clear ones (photo 1) and the diffused ones (photo 2).

Note: These LED's I bought are blue. You can of course buy any color LED's you like!
If you only have 'white' water clear LED's, here's a nice tip to color them!

Step 6: Make the circuit

Picture of Make the circuit
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We now need the put the switch, LED's and batteries together to make the circuit.

To ensure this circuit is nice and strong you can solder the parts together. Since I don't have a solder station I used hot glue to stick them together. Maybe not as good looking, but it does the job.

1. Put the batteries in the holders. I'd like to do this first so they are slightly heavier and easier to handle.

2. Put some electrical wire from the positive side of 1 battery holder to the negative side of the other battery holder.

3. From the 2nd battery holder, go to the momentary switch with another electrical wire.


4. Use some electrical wire to connect the opposite leg of the switch to the positive leg of the LED's.

5. And from the negative leg of the LED you use some electrical wire to go back to the 1st battery holder.

6. Test the switch and see if the LED's light up. If not, you made a mistake in your circuit. If everything is working fine, use some hot glue to make sure the parts stay together. Or you can solder it if you have a solder station.

Now we've got a working circuit we need to place it on the bottom plate of the cube.

7. First put the momentary switch through the hole and check if the button sticks out far enough (about 0,5mm is enough). Then hold it on it's place and put hot glue on the switch so it can't move again.

Once the glue is dried up, you can test the switch by pressing the plate on your table. If the LED's light up the switch is nice in place.

8. Once the switch is in it's place, you can glue the rest of the circuit onto the bottom plate.

If everything is on it's place you can go and finish it up!

Step 7: Finishing up

Picture of Finishing up
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We've now got all the parts we need. All we need to do now is put the bottom part into the cube to make it a whole cube.

1. Sand the sides of the bottom plate so it fits snugly into the bottom. You just want the bottom plate slightly bigger then the hole it fits in. This way, once you put it in there, it will get stuck and won't let go while moving the cube.

Well... you're done :)

See the photos below for the result.

You can of course make any color you want. You can even put color changing LED's in there to create nice ambient light.

The last photo I edited in photoshop so you can see what colors would look nice.



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MikeB411 month ago

plexi edges can be flame polished with a popane torch and a light touch.

Ares2522 years ago
i like this a lot. when i was looking this up i was also playing battlefield 3 and on one of the maps i saw this image i uploaded. no joke i looked at your cube then at my tv screen lol.



just have a few questions for anyone that has recreated this, have you

A) found a way to put the box together and not make the glue show

B) hide the electronic part.
my DIY light bf3.png
MikeB41 Ares2521 month ago

Use a router to cut 45 degree groves in plexi. Heat each groove over a toaster until flexible and fold to shape. Bottom will need to be glued, but other joints come reasonably clear. You'll need to get groove depth exact to get the 90 degree bend.

D3Z929 months ago

iv made one with rgb leds works great but was wondering if anyone know how to make one with rechargeable battery that u can charge with a dc power supply???

klaspind D3Z922 months ago

Hey have you figured out how to make one with a rechargable battery?? I'd love to make one that can be recharable!

Jcost154 months ago

what gauge wire should I use?

maggie.zoiss8 months ago

You could also buy these for $3.29 they are 4 inch square: http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10028594&N=&Ntt=plastic+box and spray paint them with frosting translucent paint ($6 a can), and skip all of the cutting and box construction steps.

60122AmacBoxClear4x4x4_x.jpgScreen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.59.17 AM.png
theorio2 years ago
I'm new to all this so can someone send me a tutorial or explain to me how I would go about being able to control the colors that show up on the cube please if i put a RGB LED in there?

RGB leds have three inputs for the colors (and one for 5V). So if you wanted to put RGB leds and control them in it, you'd need three potentiometers linked to each of the three inputs, so that you can control red, green, blue.

Or, you can use an arduino and code a program that controls the light (like I did). But then it's another story

Malharhak made it!1 year ago

I made it, for now controlled by an Arduino using RGB leds, so it interpolates nicely between colors.

Although I'm wondering, did anyone find a way to be able to replace the batterie ?

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innyve891 year ago
This probably seems like forever ago but what does having the resistor in front of each led do? If one burns out it'll still work? Also, how did you get the attach bottom panel to the whole cube? thanks
I replaced the batteries with a proper ac connection.It worked
LP22 years ago
Excellent !!, I think this will be the one I try first.
next step, would be to power it via usb (optional) and make it programmable with an arduino or something, make it light up to music!

anyway, Nice build!
motadacruz (author)  rickythemaniac5 years ago
I like that it's moveable, I can put it anywhere in any room I want. With a USB connection I can't... though in the end it would save me batteries :)
I've seen allot arduino stuff, but it seems complicated. Maybe my next step is to focus on that and see what is possible for me to do.

Thanks for your comments!
One other thing!
i have the schematics to make it pulse to music, either via audio jack input or mic.
Just e-mail if you want it...
r3tard@live.se

2 x TIP 31 NPN Transistor
FVUT2LQFSPRPVTA.MEDIUM.jpg
estimado sr. rickythemaniac
me interesa tu proyecto pero no entiendo mucho de esto, y me gustaria que tuvieras la amabilidad de compartir tu esquema para poder terminar el que empece, tengo mucho tiempo disponible para hacer este tipo de cosas novedosas y bonitas pero el desconocimiento me hace buscar informacion afortunadamente di con esta gran pagina. y aca estoy, esperando ojala una buena respuesta.
desde ya gracias por tu tiempo y atencion
tomastran1967
i saw that exact circuit in another instructable and made two LED light bars that pulsate to music. it actually works very very good when used with an ipod dock!!
glad to help^^
 can you explain that better, I'm not the best with electronic schematics and don't really understand what everything in there is
*Cough* Ahem. XBee is your friend!
I've only been playing with the arduino platform for a few days, and it's sooooo simple. I have NO background in computing, other than common sense. The free download of the software comes with pre-written 'sketches' that are easily modified. I'll have to do one of these 'instructables' for the Aquarium Dragon I just modded. Dremel'ed out his eyes, replaced them with green LED's, added the Arduino, and now they fade in and out... and he's still able to be put in the Aquarium!  (ARDUINO ROCKS!!!)
What software did you use to draw out the circuit?
Try out this open-source circuit prototyping software which has a lot of predrawn parts you can simply drag and drop: fritzing.org

It has 3 modes breadboard, schematic, PCB. I find breadboard view is much more user friendly.
Thanks!
FauxNom3 years ago
Love that it looks like the Tesseract!
kaisersea193 years ago
hay sorry but, what type of leds did you use ?? and what type of battery you use? thanks, and i hope you can answer.
battery is cr2032 the LEDs are 5mm waterclear LEDs but he diffused them
PugOfChunk3 years ago
Wow i could only find switches for 2 bucks at the cheapest.....im curious where to find cheap switches....does anyone know?

Also if you dont want to spend alot of money on batteries just power it via USB cable
dr. zoid3 years ago
quick question, i have color changing 5mm leds, would they change colors or do i need a chip or circuit for that?
im new, please dont think of me as a fool! :P
ewitwins5 years ago
Very brilliant, but, again, is there any way to mod the design so that the battery compartment is accessible without having to tear into the thing?
yaly ewitwins3 years ago
you could carve in the plexi glass two small compartments for the batteries and their holders and make sure they are flush
Instead of sanding down the last side to fit in the hole, could you keep it how it is and line the edges with velcro, so you can just take it off. Never used velcro and plastic before, but the concept makes sense.
motadacruz (author)  ewitwins5 years ago
The batteries need to be inside.
But you can make the bottom part fit tight but easy to open. If you make a hole in the bottom where you can put your finger in, you can open the bottom in a second (just with yout finger). Put the new batteries in and close it again. This would take less then a minute to change batteries.
Cool! Simple but elegant, thanks!
dragonflii5 years ago
I wish you had more step by step instructions for this part with pics...  you've been very good up until now. I need more instructions with all the circuits and stuff. Which for me, is the tough part!
motadacruz (author)  dragonflii5 years ago

It's actually a really easy circuit. To understand it easier I made a image for you with the circuit (see step 6). As you can see it's not that hard. Hope it helps you understand better.
 

circuit.gif
How often will i have to change the batteries?
Nice way of showing how to make a circuit, it's clean but you can see exactly how things must be wired! I still get confused with led's and diodes in the standard wiring prints where they are triangles :P
thank you! i'm not super savvy on circuits... but pictures help! ^.^
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