Instructables

Tilt activated LED glow cube

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Picture of Tilt activated LED glow cube
I can thank Instructibles for inspiring me to make various LED projects for my family and friends. Now it's time to publish my first instructible on my latest and favorite project so far.

This instructible will show you how to quickly and easily build your own tilt activated color changing light cube!



 
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Step 1: What you'll need

The materials I used are:

1) 3 5mm rgb slow fading LEDs (look on ebay. I found 50 for $12)
2) 1 baseball display box (hobby store, $2.99)
3) clear glass marbles (hobby store $.99)
4) 1 9v battery holder (Radio Shack, $.99)
5) 9v battery clip (Radio Shack approx $3 for 5)
6) 1 sub-mini momentary switch (Radio Shack $1.50)
7) soldering iron
8) glue gun

Step 2: Assembling the electronics


First solder your LEDs in series. I used 3 5mm LEDs that have a forward voltage of approx 3.2v, so in this project I didn't use a resistor with the 9v battery. Solder the LEDs so that the positive (the longer leg) of one goes to the negative (shorter leg) of the next. Next, solder your negative battery clip wire to the positive end one of your end LEDs.

I needed a hole in the bottom of the cube for the momentary switch and found that the soldering iron did an ideal job. I melted the hole to the right size and slipped the switch in. When the plastic cooled, the switch was secure. The actually switch part sticks out just enough from the bottom to be pressed when the cube is set down with a little pressure.

Finally, solder the positive lead of the battery clip to one of the switch posts, and the final LED leg to the other post.

Test your connections with the battery. If all is well, use a drop of glue on each of the 3 supports made to hold the baseball and secure your LEDs. trim any excess.
Sky Woulf3 years ago
Verry Nice!
now if i could wire up a pressure switch it would turn on when ever i set something on it, oh yea; also some sort of randomizer circut and you could have a different color every time you set your glass on it!
zcrank3 years ago
To the author, yes "I" was confused. I wanted to see a tilt switch activate the circuit. I didn't get the part of the marbles pushing on the momentary switch to complete the circuit. I see the switch in the 1st picture and it just did not relate. For some reason I can't see videos from Instructables. Thanks for clearing that up. BTW, I asked because I really like this Instructable and wanted very much to make one as a Xmas gift. Very cool and simple, nice!
asporkable (author)  zcrank3 years ago
I'd love to see everyone's own versions of these! Using a real tilt switch would be very easy and much more ideal.

BTW, I recently acquired a classic metal gumball machine on a stand and will be making a new project with it involving the glass marbles and LEDs. It's just going to have to wait until after the holidays. I'll post it on Instructibles of course!
Pirondizzle3 years ago
Do you think this could be made with some old Christmas tree lights instead of the LEDs?
asporkable (author)  Pirondizzle3 years ago
Oh absolutely. Try covering the insides with paper, or frosted laminate (hey, frosted shrinky-dink paper works great), or maybe even spray with frosted paint. Then stuff with your led xmas lights. The only problem here is the size. A baseball memorabilia box like I used would be a bit small. However, they do make them for basketballs, too!
stall33 years ago
Thanks for the resistor link. I want to build this project with a resistor. What resistor part do I need, and where do I put it inline with the LEDs? I can read a million sites with reistor basics, but specific to this build, what do I need specifically? Thank you very much. This is a very cool project. I hope to get my kids involved too.

- s3
asporkable (author)  stall33 years ago
http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz
this site is the goto site for LEDs and resistors :)
Great. Thank you. I really appreciate the resistor color help on that site. I like the diagrams on this site a bit more for us noobies: http://ledcalc.com/

Can anyone find some reasonably priced micro, non-mercury tilt switches that don't ship from overseas? Sometimes waiting for a shipment from China hurts too much.

Thanks again. This cute little build has me hooked now :)

-s3
crayc4 years ago
I wanted to make a table out of this. Out of plexiglass. Is it possible to make like a bar table. thanks
asporkable (author)  crayc4 years ago
Absolutely! It would actually be very simple to do unless you want something more interactive that lights up when you put down a drink. Just make sure you use the right resistors with whatever power source you choose. You can expand on several different smaller led projects listed on this site to get started. I've been thinking of doing something similar, my only problem being I don't have the tools or workspace to do any wood building. If you do make a table/bar, be sure to post it here on Instructibles for us to see! Leds make everything better lol
I have a few problems, i do not know how to solder, not a big issue. Should not be a problem. but programming it would be a problem. http://www.creativenightclubs.com/liquidfloor.htm scroll to the bottom of that. I was hoping to go for something similar to that. Thinking of frosted plexiglass.
asporkable (author)  crayc4 years ago
Actually, I think the liquid floor/bar stuff looks pretty simple. The "lava" is just a colored water/oil mixture in a sealed soft plastic container. Something like this: http://www.ehow.com/how_6461779_diy_-1960s-oil-light-show.html Under that are the color changing LEDs or lights. No programming required from what I can see (At least going by the video on the site). It looks like it gets brighter when you push on it because it's simply getting close to the light source. The only tough part is how to contain the liquid/oil properly.
hmm, well i was thinking of opening a bar, i will experiment on that floor now. thanks http://www.disco-designer.com/NIGHTCLUB_PLASTIC_FURNITURE_CUBE_TABLES.html they have those cubes there. Those look fairly easy to make and won't cost you an arm and a leg to purchase.
Gakki4 years ago
I bet this would be really cool combined with that holocron cube posted a few years back.
Redfrk4 years ago
Cool project! The diodes I got have four pins on the bottom. I am an LED novice, so I'm wondering if someone can explain the four pins to me before I start soldering. thx!
godofal Redfrk4 years ago
it's a superflux LED, where did you get them? just find out where u've gotten em, look up for a datasheet or something... if you cannot find one, just take a 3V coincell, and try different options, in the end ul get the right 2 then.
Redfrk godofal4 years ago
hey guys! thanks for the responses. I finally found something that explains what they are. Yes, they are RGB LEDs, but I don't think they glow with all three colors. I got them from Radio shack and they were more expensive than the LED's listed here. Found out that each color the LED produces has it's own anode leg. I ended up finding the right LEDs online. I'm getting a box of 50 for $8. I'm looking forward to putting a bunch of these together as unique gifts.
godofal Redfrk4 years ago
yeah, ebay rocks, u buy stuff right out of the factory, wich is REALLY cheap, compared to retail sellers... some online shop i used to order from charged €1.20 or so for a regular blue LED, but if u look around on ebay, u can get 1000 of em for 20bucks, making it about $0.05 per LED...
gmxx Redfrk4 years ago
Is it an RGB led? these leds combine all the colors in one package, and allow you to select a color. the 3 leds control the 3 RGB colors and one leg is ground or positive.
gmxx4 years ago
You are running the leds in SERIES. Serial is a data transfer protocol. Anyways, cool project. future upgrade would be to get one of the mercury tilt switches. that way, you're not relying on something as mechanical as that. Frys has them for about a dollar or so. the dollar tree tilt lights should have them as well. I believe that things should require the least amount of mechanical movement, but thats just my opinion.
godofal gmxx4 years ago
maybe even better to use a roll-ball tilt switch, since those marbles could crush the container, spilling the mercury, wich isnt a good thing :D and btw, i thought those things weren't being made anymore?
gmxx godofal4 years ago
The roll ball type would work as well. Im not sure about availability. i know the frys i frequent has the mercury switch type. YMMV
godofal gmxx4 years ago
where i come from, the mercury isnt available at all, becouse it's not enviromental-friendly, should it break...
gmxx godofal4 years ago
Yeah... Either way, there are tilt switches available.
zascecs4 years ago
Neat idea! This is really good, but could we also see a video of this in action?
asporkable (author)  zascecs4 years ago
Video added :)
Looking awesome!
mario594 years ago
Ciao! You've got a NICE, CLEVER & NEAT idea for a gift! I *LOVE* easy things and this is one of them! I wonder where I could buy that box... Where you find it? Also I think the crystal clear marbles do a grat job, but maybe ONLY A FEW of coloured one can add something... Do you have a short video of the working thing? Compliments and CIAO ! ! ! Mario ;-)
asporkable (author)  mario594 years ago
added a video :) I found the baseball display box at Hobby Lobby. If you don't have one of those or a similar store near you, I found it online at http://www.amazon.com/BallQube-BaseQube-Baseball-Holder-Cube/dp/B000M3JC86 It costs a bit more on amazon, but still cheap.
zack2474 years ago
kind of reminds me of those water filled pyramids with the little marbles inside. great project!
eripe4 years ago
Nice idea. I suppose you could user Christmas lightning too.
Perhaps it is useful to also add resistors, so the LEDs do not burn out at some point
asporkable (author)  richard_redryder4 years ago
well, the forward voltage of these LEDs are 3.2-3.6v. From what I know (which, granted, isn't a lot lol) that shouldn't require a resistor when running serial against a 9v battery. If I ran them parallel, I'd definitely put in a resistor.
This site explains it: http://led.linear1.org/why-do-i-need-a-resistor-with-an-led/
asporkable (author)  richard_redryder4 years ago
Thanks :) The link is appreciated and I'll keep it in mind on my next project!
ChrysN4 years ago
Ooh pretty!