Amazing 3 dimensional LED display.

64 LEDs makes up this 4 by 4 by 4 cube, controlled by an Atmel Atmega16 microcontroller.
Each LED can be addressed individually in software, enabling it to display amazing 3d animations!

8x8x8 LED cube now available, by popular demand:

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Step 1: What you need

First of all, you need quite a bit of time to solder together 64 leds ;)

Knowledge list:
  • Basic electronics and soldering skills
  • Know how to program an AVR microcontroller - I will not cover that in this instructable.

Component list:
  • Protoboard. The type with copper circles.
  • Atmel AVR Atmega16 microcontroller
  • Programmer to program the Atmega16
  • 64 Leds
  • 2 status leds. I used red and green. (optional)
  • Max232 rs-232 chip, or equivalent.
  • 16 resistors for leds. (100-400ohms) will get back to this.
  • 2x resistor 470 ohm. for status leds
  • 1x resistor 10k
  • 4x resistor 2.2k
  • 4x NPN transistor BC338 (or other transistor capable of switching 250-ish mA)
  • 1x 10uF capacitor
  • 1x 1000uF capacitor
  • 6x 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • 2x 22pF ceramic capacitor
  • 1x crystal 14.7456 MHz
  • 2x tactile button
  • optional pwr switch
  • connector for 12v power
  • optional connector for 5v power

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sunnyt8 hours ago

i want to make a 5*5*5 led cube.what changes should i consider??

bam5003 days ago

Hello ! Thank you for this awesome instructable.
I made a mistake while programming the microcontroller.
I ran "avrdude -c usbtiny -p m16 -U lfuse:w:0xc9:m" instead of "avrdude -c usbtiny -p m16 - U hfuse:w:0xc9:m" (the difference is "lfuse" instead of "hfuse").
What's the command to reset the microcontroller ?
Thank you for your help.

akki5230 made it!5 days ago

Great Instructable!!!

fliberty made it!28 days ago

Wahoo! It's finally complete! One of my inner bottom LEDs just died on me though :( That will be fun to switch out.

This instructable was great!


Time to move up to an 8X8X8 for your next project - and then on to the 8X8X8 RGB....fortunately got you I have instructables on both!

pankaj77722 days ago

ok then how i can set the fuse bits .... plz tell me.....

i am using top2008(a universal programmer) burner to program the atmega......

thanx for the reply

yurka3332 months ago

Hello. Thank you for this great detailed instructable, it helped me alot. But i have a question, if all leds will be turned on, wouldn't they all consume (4*4*4)*0.012A=0.768A? And what will be with microcontoller, when its allow max 200mA at once?

Firstly - there are current limiters on the LEDs.

Second, only one layer is on at a time, max 16 LEDs

Third - LEDs are modulated - not ON with DC .

End result - very VERY little current draw.

aneamţu yurka3332 months ago

From what I know the LEDs are not turn on all at once but one by one in a very fast rate nearly 200 frames per second, just giving the illusion of them turned all at once.

Thanks for reply. Thats right what i was thinking :)

pankaj7771 month ago

i program the with given hex file but speed is very slow how can i increase the speed.

I am guessing you forgot to set the fuse bits to use the external crystal, so the ATmega is running on the internal 1 or 4MHz clock rather than the external 16MHz.

Or in this case, the external 14.7456MHz.

pankaj7771 month ago

how can i increase the speed please tell me

maks97071 month ago

Hello. Tell me, what transistors attach layers.

aneamţu2 months ago

I built my ledcube thanks to your awesome tutorial, but saw this "To compile the program, open a command prompt, enter the directory with the source code and type "make" on the command line. You should now have a file named main.hex in the source directory" I tried that with the source files and I get all kinds of errors. C:\WinAVR-20100110\xledcube>make

0 [main] sh 2156 sync_with_child: child 1572(0x14C) died before initializa

tion with status code 0xC0000142

670 [main] sh 2156 sync_with_child: *** child state waiting for longjmp

/usr/bin/sh: fork: Resource temporarily unavailable

-------- begin --------

avr-gcc (WinAVR 20100110) 4.3.3

Copyright (C) 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO


Compiling: main.c

avr-gcc -c -mmcu=atmega16 -I. -gdwarf-2 -DF_CPU=14745600UL -Os -funsigned-char

-funsigned-bitfields -fpack-struct -fshort-enums -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -Wa,-

adhlns=main.lst -std=gnu99 -MD -MP -MF .dep/main.o.d main.c -o main.o

In file included from main.c:74:

draw.c: In function 'setplane':

draw.c:170: warning: comparison between pointer and integer

draw.c:170: warning: comparison with string literal results in unspecified behav


..... long list down. What is the problem ? I want to try this to remove some of the effects. I already uploaded the hex file but I want fewer effects.

chirag19963 months ago

i am new to programming can someone please tell me how to start or insert codes in this thing. Thank you..

jimfu3 months ago


Mrwolf815 months ago

i see people can't seem to read.... it's not hard. 'save as' re-name


to main.hex. upload to atmega16 chip and you are done!

kchauhan Mrwolf814 months ago
How to increase the flashing speed of led.... ?
kchauhan4 months ago
How to increase the flashing speed of led.... ?
ClA0074 years ago
i have a question  how do i use the zip file? the hex i can use it from windows to send it to avr but the zip i didn't know how to use..! can someone tell me if it s important o not?
Mrwolf81 ClA0075 months ago

the zip file contains the original naked coding files which you can edit if you want to, but if you dont know what you are doing... dont touch it.

if you uploaded the .hex file... you've completed the programming of the atmega chip and theres nothing more you need to do

How do you connect an avr to your pc for the code to load on it? And yes I do have linux

you need a gadget called a 'usbtiny' which is available on Ebay

Bartjeeh4 years ago
so this is what i do. and i really don't understand what i do wrong.

Bartjeeh@linux-b5pm: cd /home/Bartjeeh/Desktop/4x4x4_ledcube
Bartjeeh@linux-b5pm:~/Desktop/4x4x4_ledcube> make
If 'make' is not a typo you can use command-not-found to lookup the package that contains it, like this:
    cnf make

in that folder are the following files

if anyone could help me please!!!
Mrwolf81 Bartjeeh5 months ago

change this file :


to main.hex

then type

avrdude -c usbtiny -p m16 -U flash:w:main.hex

mateuszrjzr2 years ago
I know, that last post was in 2008, but can you explain me why when i'm klicking "4x4x4_ledcube.hex" suddenly i am downloading something like : F6JRI6AFJ1I6CP0.tmp???? please so much help me...

before you click the link, right click on it and "save as", then change the filename to main.hex...

you need to rename int to 4x4x4_ledcube.hex
andrejmdias3 years ago
someone has the full pdf of this circuit to send

if you can log in to comment you can login and download the whole pdf!

top left button with the pdf icon and the word "download"

karyochi3 years ago
i'm having some problems, when i use the make command, it responds with:"makefile: ***missing seperator", could someone plz help?, i want to use an ATmega8 or ATmega32, maybe somoene just could send me the HEX code,
Mrwolf81 karyochi5 months ago

dude, to change to the atmega32 you will need some sort of avr program writter like the one you can download from atmel (atmel studio).

open the makefile in atmel studio and then change this line...

mcu = atmega16


mcu = atmega32

and then compile and upload!

egange9 months ago
I recently made the cube. but i only have arduino to control it. Does anyone converted chr animation code to arduino? please helpp...
Steve25 egange9 months ago
I gues not, but why don't you buy an usbasp from ebay? It will cost you only 3 euro!
kchauhan Steve255 months ago
Sir can we use atmega 16 A instead of given above as I am only gettin A one on ebay so.... Please rply sir
egange Steve258 months ago
i already have asbasp programmer but i don't have Atmega32-16PU 40 pins. only atmega328 w/ 28 pins. im quite new in programming micro-controllers. i need to traslate chr code to be used in atmega328 or arduino. please helpp. :D
kchauhan5 months ago

Sir What is the total cost of whole project in INR ?

kchauhan5 months ago

Sir What is the total cost of whole project in INR ?

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