Picture of LED Cube 8x8x8
Create your own 8x8x8 LED Cube 3-dimensional display!

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.

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Step 1: Skills required

Picture of Skills required
At first glance this project might seem like an overly complex and daunting task. However, we are dealing with digital electronics here, so everything is either on or off!

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)
You should also have patience and a generous amount of free time.

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likehamza2 hours ago

i have modified original code by chr and supertech it to workable on arduino mega 2560 along with pin configuration let me know i will mail that code to one who is looking for it

and please help me with the diagram of music mode in led cube if any one have any idea related to adding music mode in chr's led cube 8x8x8 then please send me

my email is :

SuperTech-IT11 hours ago

I still have some if anyone wants....

Actually it's the Rev.4 that I have which fix the minor issues with the Rev.3

jlj0425 made it!14 days ago

i made it!!! Thanks guys. its really great


hey. i want to try make this led cube 8x8x8. can u sent all info that i needed to make this led cube please? sent to this email
Go here. I has all the step by step guide with pictures.

Ya, but if you run normal code on that circuit, the letters come out backwards.

No. Mine work perfectly. And i did not use only one code. I combine all available code in the net to a single code. And it works perfect.

It works fine with your code, or the one by Jameco - which is backwards when compared with CHRs original project. Trust me.
Go here. I has all the step by step guide with pictures.

jlj0425: Hai, i want to make this led cube 8x8x8. can u sent me all the detail to make this thing. i also want the program to move this thing. sent to my email .
Just follow this. More detailed instruction. Gud luck

Nice and clean setup, funny you kept the image underneath.

it made it

it made it

it made it

Cow! That thing is absolutely amazing! I couldn't build one if I tried,
but WOW! I am very impressed with not only how it looks and all the
countless things it does, but it must have taken a whole lot of
intelligence to put this together, so Congratulations to the creator!

by. bhuvan .dr.nnce

it is brithday light

it is brithday light

it is brithday light

it is brithday light

it is brithday light

Holy Cow! That thing is absolutely amazing! I couldn't build one if I tried, but WOW! I am very impressed with not only how it looks and all the countless things it does, but it must have taken a whole lot of intelligence to put this together, so Congratulations to the creator! AWESOME!

With my PC Boards, just about anyone can make one.

Inbox me for details if you want.

hey. do you means i can this one using this PC Boards. email me.

*i can make this thing using PC Boards - this will help in construction and also explain the advanced features of my additions like music response.

Great explanation!

I generally use a different way to straighten wires that you might like to try: hold one end fixed in a pair of pliers and fasten the other end in an electronic drill. Carefully allow the drill to twist the wire, while (only) gently pulling the wire.

Yogesh90913 days ago
Hey, I wish to make one!
the problem is the value of resistors
I'm not able to understand which values of resistors are being used where!
so I request to kindly say me the value of resistors for
1. Base of transistor
2. Collector of transistor
3. 64 resistors(are they 100 ohms???

I've just got a month to complete the project
So hoping a fast response!

Any help would be appreciated
thank in advance!!

I'd put 1K on the bases, and 100 ohms for everything else (at least that's what I did with my PC Boards for this project)

Hello SuperTech-IT

First Thanks for your super tutorial and time you spend to help people! it is really nice.

I would like to clarify the values of the resistors that I am using.

Base of transistor: 1kohm to limit current and protect the transistor.

Collector of transistor (pull up resistor): UNDETERMINED.

64 resistors: 100 ohm to protect the leds.

My question: shouldn't we use 4.7 kohm instead of 100 ohm that you advised in the previous comment for the pull up resistor value?

this isn't my tutorial, it's CHR's, but he made it along time ago, and I assume has moved on to greener pastures. As for the pullups, this isn't an analog cicuit....the lower the value, the faster the snap from 0 to 5V (more square wave)....but you don't want to over load the transistor either. I used 100 ohms because I had lots, and it worked well for the purpose.

I'm troubled by the Icc=70mA rating of the 74HC574 chips in the datasheet. 8 leds x 16 mA = 128mA, resulting in 128mA > 70mA by almost 2 times.

3.4V = drop voltage over a blue LED.

(5V - 3.4V) / 100R = 0.016A = 16mA (for blue and white LEDS)
(5V - 2V) / 100R = 0.030A = 30mA (for most other led colors, resulting in blown leds).

So if not using blue or white, I would go for 220 Ohm resistors. Still not taking into acount the specs of the 75HC574.

I make exactly that same comment in my "revisited" instructable on this project, and also elsewhere in the comments here ages ago.

Please also note however that your calculations are based on DC current, which is the mistake all the designers made initially. You can't do that. We are virtually pulse width modulating the LEDs, which changes everything quite dramatically, and completely nullifies these calculations.

Yogesh9092 days ago


Do I need to include the power supply circuit(7805 and capacitors and all?) if I am using arduino uno??

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!!!

piddy05048 days ago

I am currently building this cube,was wondering how it would be possible to use a momentary switch to cycle through the different effects,any pointers as to how to modify the software to achieve this would be much appreciated.

I have code that does this. See my "revisited" instructable on this circuit.

Thank you for your reply and excellent tutorial.I have my circuit completed and am currently waiting on more LED to finish the cube as i only received enough for 3 layers instead of the 8 i had ordered from china.Once i have completed my build i am sure i will be needing your help again as software side of things is still a big learning curve for me.

Ok, so I'm quite new at this and I am trying to decide if AVR or Arduino is better for me. I don't own any of either yet. Basically, I'm wondering for a beginner, which is better/easier/cheaper for this project?

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