There are several different entries on this sight and many others on how to build led cubes. These cubes range from a novices 2x2x2 (eight leds) to the daunting task of the 8x8x8 (512 leds). Most people find that making the cubes one plane or (insert dimension here)x(insert dimension here) at a time is the standard way but, I have found it harder to solder the middle sections once you add the planes. Thus, this entry on a different method to reduce the frustration in making a Light Emitting Diode cube.
I will be walking through the 8x8x8 cube because this is a project that several people have tackled and many more would like to attempt in the future.
Jig: wood, cardboard, or any other material that will not melt, is sturdy and can have holes placed into it.
LEDs: color does not matter but, will effect the voltage going through the cube
Soldering materials: iron and solder
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Step 1: Getting to Know the LEDs
For a little background information on Leds and their properties please refer to the chart attached (below).
As you can see different LEDs have different attributes that may require you to chose some over others.
The other thing to consider is whether you are going to be using a common anode(+) or cathode(-) in your design
(the picture with the red led shows (a) as the Anode(+) and k as the Cathode(-)
Step 2: Prep Work
Count and test all of the leds that you will be using (512 for an 8x8x8) and bend either the cathode or the anode to the left with the other still in its original place just below the pin you are bending. Then bend the pin that is in the original position just a little so that there is a 90 degree tail on the bottom.
When all of the LEDs have been bent we will move on to the making of a Jig.
I found it easier to make my jig with 16 holes in a 4x4 square. This may seem like a bit of extra work but, by doing this you can insure that all of your sections of the cube are even.
Step 3: Arranging the LEDs
Now section out 16 LEDs (do this 32 times) and place thin in to the holes of the jig.
Make sure that all of the common pins touch as well as they have one that is disconnected as seen in the photo below.
This pin will be used to connect each layer to the next.
Repeat this step 32 more times.
Step 4: Going in the Thrid Dimension
After all of your levels of 4x4 are done you want to attach each level to one more creating a 4x4x2 structure. Remember you are attaching the pins that are going down to one another as-well as, the pins that is sticking outside the box is pointing in the same direction.
After you have 16 4x4x2 structures you are ready to make 4x4x4 cubes out of them by attaching two 4x4x2s on top of each other ( remember to keep the pins that are sicking out, going the same way)
As you may have guessed the next thing to do is to attach two 4x4x4 cubes together. once again remembering to keep the pins that are sticking out, going in the same direction.
WARNING: make sure that your solder does not touch your other plane or you will short out the circuit.
Once you have four 4x4x8 structures then you are ready to go the the next step.
Step 5: Putting the Pieces Into Place
From the 512 original LEDs you now should have four 4x4x8 led columns (128 LEDs each).
Now take the columns and orient them so that the pins sticking out are going clockwise facing a plane that is intact.
Solder these together and you have an 8x8x8 LED cube with either common Anodes(+) or Cathodes(-). And simi-common of the other.
Note to reader: My cube is not as straight as it could be because I built mine fast but if you take your time using this method you can build a cube that is more symmetrical with out the PAIN (it really is) of having to solder in the middle sections.
Step 6: Last Thing(s)
First and foremost take a break you deserve it.
Second test your cube along the way to make sure that your connections are good throughout.
Third bend the bottom pins back in place so they are not hooked still
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns with this project fell free to email me