Mini Light Cube

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Introduction: Mini Light Cube

For this instructable, I will cover how to create this wood and acrylic mini light cube without using any power tools.

I was initially inspired by RepRevMakes LED lamp on YouTube, however I did not have access to a circular saw so could not build it. I decided to re-engineer a version so it could be built without any power tools using only pre-cut parts ordered online.

This creates a cube approximately 6.6 cm which is about the size of a Rubix cube, though you could scale this design up.

In addition to the steps in this guide, I have created this short animated version on You Tube that covers the full build process and parts.

Supplies

The cube is made from pre-cut parts that are glued together.

  • 26 x wooden cubes 20mm x 20mm x 20mm
  • 14 x 3mm thick acrylic square 20mm x 20mm
  • 6 x 3mm thick acrylic rectangles 20mm x 66mm
  • 8 x 3mm thick acrylic rectangles 20mm x 46mm
  • WS2812 lights or other LEDs

Equipment:

  • Superglue
  • G Clamps
  • Sand Paper
  • Danish Oil

All the acrylic and cubes were ordered on eBay to the sizes above. There were multiple companies that would laser cut acrylic to requested sizes. Quotes did come in at a range of prices so it is worth asking for a few quotes.

I would suggest over-ordering so you can practice glueing parts together.

Before we get started the biggest tip is to use as little glue as possible and use gloves to protect your fingers from the glue.

Step 1: Create 6 Short Bars of 3 Cubes

To create each bar gather 3 cubes, 2 squares, and one short plastic rectangle. You will need to create a total of 6 of these bars ready to use in later steps.


For each of the 6 bars:

Add a drop of super glue to each side of a plastic square and sandwich between two cubes. Use a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set.

Add a drop of super glue to each side of another plastic square and sandwich between the cubes you have created and another cube creating a stack of 3. Use a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set.

Glue a rectangle 20mm x 66mm to the side again using a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set.

Step 2: Create Bottom Two Layers

Take 2 of the bars you have created and 2 new cubes. Add glue to each side of the new cubes and sandwich between the two bars leaving a hole in the middle. Use a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set.

Add a thin layer of glue around the top and Tile 4 of the rectangles 20mm x 46mm on top of the glue to create a layer of acrylic.

Again use a clamp to hold together until the glue has fully set.

This will have created a full layer.

Repeat this step so you have the bottom 2 layers.

Step 3: Attach the Bottom Two Layers

Take one of the bottom layers and add a layer of glue. Place the second layer on top of this and hold it in place with a clamp until the glue has dried.

Step 4: Create the Top Layer

Take the remaining 3 fresh cubes and sandwich glue and plastic squares between each to create a new stack of 3. Use a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set. Note, unlike the other stacks this does not have a side panel.

Take the remaining two bars and glue them to the newly created stack to form the solid top.

Step 5: Attach Top Layer

Take the two bottom layers that have been glued together and add another layer of glue.

Place the top layer on and use a clamp to hold it together until the glue has set.

Step 6: Finishing With Sanding and Varnish

By now the cube should be completed in size and shape.

Finish by sanding the cube lightly with sandpaper to ensure it is smooth all over. This may dull the plastic however the light will still shine through.

You can add a layer of varnish using danish oil.

Step 7: Adding Lights

The cube will have a 2cm x 4cm hole in the centre of the cube for lights. This is not a huge amount of room but you should be able to fit a few USB powered WS2812 LEDs or induvial LEDs.

For my build, I used a USB Blink Stick from blinkstick.com that I already had though I think it could have done with more than a single LED.

You may need to add a small hole to feed a cable into power the lights.

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    11 Comments

    3
    keets
    keets

    5 weeks ago

    Very nice!
    And I learned that it is possible to order lasercut pieces! I did not know that. Thanx.

    Just a side note: you wrote you don't have a circular saw for this. A circular saw is dangerous for such smal peaces. A bandsaw should be better.

    2
    spacecavecreations
    spacecavecreations

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Better yet, you can score and snap acrylic that is under 1/4”. A little tricky with such small pieces but definitely safer.

    Love this project btw. I’m in the process of making one now. Thanks for sharing and making a great instructable!

    0
    blueboxes
    blueboxes

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Thanks, yes I had not known before starting about laser cut acrylic either.

    The reason I mentioned a circular saw was the video I was inspired by had used it. I agree though can be dangerous and band saw is a good suggestion though not sure I trust myself with either! All reasons to go with precut parts.

    1
    Art_Lieberman
    Art_Lieberman

    5 weeks ago

    Looks great! and easy!
    I'm also interested in how you produced the video. What software did you use?
    Thanks!

    1
    blueboxes
    blueboxes

    Best Answer 5 weeks ago

    I used the free and open-source software Blender (https://www.blender.org/) there are loads of tutorials on YouTube. Essentially it's just a set of cubes that I move and insert keyframe, move and insert keyframe. It then animates the time between each frame all learnt via YouTube tutorials. Similar to how the bar moves in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyj0sJVd3Lw&t=2s

    Video editing was then done to overlay text. This was also done in Blender in video edit mode by adding transparent png images with the text on over the top.

    I actually did not plan to start with an animation I used the 3D model to plan out the build as I could not work it out on paper.

    This was my first go at animation in Blender so hopefully shows it is not that complicated to get started.

    0
    AwesomeBanana120
    AwesomeBanana120

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Cool Tutorial! I LOVE that software!

    0
    Art_Lieberman
    Art_Lieberman

    Answer 5 weeks ago

    I does look quite professional. Nice job.

    0
    cdstudioNH
    cdstudioNH

    5 weeks ago

    Love the build, and the blender video!

    0
    MarkH342
    MarkH342

    5 weeks ago

    Really neat. You can also buy various sized, precut, craft oriented wood on Etsy.

    1
    FernMakes
    FernMakes

    5 weeks ago

    I really like how you've made it doable for people without a workshop :) It looks so effective