Intro: How to Make the Cubeseed 4x4x4 LED Cube
The CubeSeed 4x4x4 Single Colour LED Cube kit will produce a stunning 3D Light matrix controlled by software. A great first kit for electronics beginners or anybody curious about LED Cubes.
At first glance the 4x4x4 Mini-cube(which we often just call the "Mini4") may seem very complicated to assemble because there are so many parts.
However, it's not as difficult as it may look, and at the end you'll be proud to show it off and tell people that you built it! Just take it slowly and carefully, make sure you understand the instructions before you begin, and be careful to follow each of the steps without skipping ahead.
The kit that we are building today comes from LightcubeZ
So, let's get started!
Step 1: Check Parts List
The Mini4 kit contains the following items:
• 1 x PCB controller board (67x77mm)
• 1 x USB to DC cable
• 1 x 510 ohm resistor with 5% tolerance
• 64 x 5mm Diffused LEDs
• 4 x 5mm Clear Tri-Colour LEDs
• 1 x DC Input
• 1 x STC15F2K60S2 Micro-controller IC
• 1 x 40 Pin IC Slot
Lay the parts out on a bench and check them against the parts list. It's a good idea to tip the LEDs into a small container to prevent any getting lost: don't just let them roll around on the table.
Step 2: Gather Required Tools
Assembling the Mini4 requires soldering. Make sure you have the following items:
• Soldering iron
• Fine solder
• Wire cutters
• Rubber Bands
The rest of these instructions assume that you know how to solder.
Step 3: Solder Tri-Colour LEDs to PCB
First we are going to start by fitting the 4 x Tri-Colour LEDs(The clear ones) to the underside of the PCB, these will act as our base legs, and will raise the PCB off the table top.
Be sure to orientate them in the right position in regards to + and -. Once inserted, solder them in one by one and then clip the remains of the LED Legs.
We can now turn our PCB up the right way and let it stand on the table just like in the
second picture above.
Dont forget that the Anode (Positive) leg is the longer one!
Step 4: Build the 4x4x4 Matrix Planes
Now its time for the really fun part! Now we are going to manually build all 4 of the 4x4 planes that will make up the levels of our LED cube.
This is probably the most time consuming part of the process, I would set aside at least 3-4 hours if you are a pretty bad solderer like me! (Coffee and an Iron will also helps)
As you can see, the bottom side of the PCB (Curved Edges) is the direction our anode legs need to be bent, and the left side is the direction that the cathode legs need to be bent.
One by one with a pair of pliers, bend the Anodetowards you starting at the base. Then carefully bend the Cathode 90 Degrees to the left starting at least 1cm from the base.
As you do this, you can begin inserting them into the Cube Jig and begin soldering. (4th picture)
I recommend soldering them 1 line at a time, so that you can make each line straight before
adding the next. Now keep going until you have reached the top.
Step 5: Complete & Test the Remaining 3 Levels
Give yourself a pat on the back because you just completed the first one. Do you feel like your life is wasted? Just kidding, but I felt as though my soul had been drained after.
So lets carefully take the Plane out of its Jig, and begin the final testing to make sure all the LEDs are working still. (Sometimes the heat and/or bending of the legs can damage them)
You can also use a slightly heavy object such as a stapler to help keep the LEDs down, so that when you
solder them into the plane that the plane itself remains as flat as possible
Continue this process until you have completed all 4 Planes. Lay them flat out on a table
and once again test them all to make sure they are working. It should look something like the picture above.
Once all 4 levels tested, we can drink some water to replenish our life force and to do one last face
check of the planes.
Step 6: Solder in DC Input, Resistor & IC Slot
The next step in our continuing saga is to solder in the DC input, Resistor and the IC slot onto the PCB.
Turn the PCB upside down and insert the IC Slot, use a rubber band to hold it in as you solder each of the 40 legs like a robot onto the PCB. Making robot noises as you go is a plus.
Do the same for the Resistor and the DC Input.
Next you can insert the IC into the slot, very carefully to avoid breaking or damaging any of
the legs. If you damage the legs the IC will not operate, and therefore the cube will not work! Achtung!
Step 7: Solder the LED Planes Onto the PCB
Take the planes, Anode side down and the Cathodes to the right and insert them onto the PCB. Try and get it as level as possible, use a straight edged book as a reference if needed.
Once you feel its straight, solder the legs into place. This will form a solid frame for soldering in the next ones.
After you have soldered the legs into place, you can begin to very carefully bend the
cathodes forwards like in the picture above. Insert the next Plane and line it up with the last, and repeat the process until the last PCB is soldered into place. Use a rubber band to keep them together if needed.
You can now check all the soldering and make sure its all firmly in place, and trim any wire
that is too long. The final procedure is to solder the Cathodes to the points labelled H1, H2, H3 & H4 on the PCB. Solder a wire from H1 to the first level of the matrix, to the Cathodes. Do the same for the others going up the cube just like in the picture.