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!
Step 1: Tools & Materials
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.
- 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.
- Jig Saw (also a Jeweler Saw can be used. But that's really hard to get straight lines)
- Glue Gun (hot glue)
- Drilling tool
Ones you've got this stuff you're ready to begin!
Step 2: Cutting the acrylic
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
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 get 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
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
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
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
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.