We believe this Instructable is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide to build an 8x8x8 LED Cube ever published on the intertubes. It will teach you everything from theory of operation, how to build the cube, to the inner workings of the software. We will take you through the software step by step, both the low level drivers/routines and how to create awesome animations. The software aspect of LED cubes is often overlooked, but a LED cube is only as awesome as the software it runs.
About halfway through the Instructable, you will actually have a fully functional LED cube. The remaining steps will show you how to create the software.
A video is worth a thousand words. I'll just leave it up to this video to convince you that this is the next project you will be building:
I made this LED cube together with my friend chiller. The build took about 4 days from small scale prototyping to completed cube. Then another couple of hours to debug some faulty transistors.
The software is probably another 4-5 days of work combined.
Step 1: Skills required
I've been doing electronics for a long time, and for years i struggled with analog circuits. The analog circuits failed over half the time even if i followed instructions. One resistor or capacitor with a slightly wrong value, and the circuit doesn't work.
About 4 years ago, I decided to give microcontrollers a try. This completely changed my relationship with electronics. I went from only being able to build simple analog circuits, to being able to build almost anything!
A digital circuit doesn't care if a resistor is 1k ohm or 2k ohm, as long as it can distinguish high from low. And believe me, this makes it A LOT easier to do electronics!
With that said, there are still some things you should know before venturing out and building this rather large project.
You should have an understanding of:
- Basic electronics. (We would recommend against building this as your very first electronics project. But please read the Instructable. You'll still learn a lot!)
- How to solder.
- How to use a multimeter etc.
- Writing code in C (optional. We provide a fully functional program, ready to go)