Simple 3x3x3 LED Cube With Arduino




Introduction: Simple 3x3x3 LED Cube With Arduino

This is my first instructable so leave feedback in the comments please.

When viewing lots of LED Cube tutorials it seemed like they were too complex and like they didn't give enough detail on how to build them. Also the pick controlled ones had very complex coding and complex wiring. Most cubes looked really bad lacking good building instructions like the picture above. So I decided to make this one that is very simple and good for beginners wanting to make something that looks good.

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Step 1: Order the Parts

Parts needed:

Optional Parts:


  • Soldering Iron
  • *(2x) Pliers (2 or 1 and a Clamp)
  • *Clamp
  • Wire cutters (pliers might have this)

Optional Tools:

  • Hot Glue Gun (+Glue)
  • Saw (if pref-board is too big)
  • *Flux paste

Step 2: Making of the Cube (Layers)

Tape the template on a piece of cardboard and poke small holes in it with scissors at the joins. Then push an led into each to make the holes the same size as an led (or if you have a drill and a 5mm drill bit drill the holes).

Straighten the bridge wire by putting one end in a clamp and holding the other end in pliers and puling will straighten the wire. If you don't have a clamp use 2 sets of pliers, put an end in each and pull. You will need 15 pieces of straight wire for all 3 layers together a bit longer than the length of the template.

Put an led in each hole and bend the positive legs (longer legs) at around 45 degrees from the lines shown in the pictures.

Cut the shorter legs standing up down to the little square in the metal (in picture).

Once the legs are cut put a straight piece of the bridge wire across all of the legs in a row that are standing and solder it on each leg, do this for the other two rows also. (Labelled Pic1)

When the rows are done place more bridge wire across the end of them and solder it to all 3 rows. (Labelled Pic2)

Do again twice to make 3 layers.

Step 3: Making of the Cube (Shape)

You will need 11 of the straightened wires. (Cut one in half to make 12)

To mark where the layers are going to go put a light under the cardboard template then the board on top so the light shines through the holes making it easy to mark them. Once marked slide a piece of wire down each hole on the board keeping it standing straight and solder it on the copper side.

Slide the first layer down the wires and solder the remaining LED legs not connected to anything else on to the wires that are pointing up and trim the excess off of the LED legs.

Do the same to the next layer but to get the correct height turn a 9-Volt battery on its side and use it as a spacer.

For the last layer do the same again except put another battery on top as another spacer. When done trim all the long legs and the long wires going to the top.

Test the cube and make sure all the LED's light up if not they might need to be re-soldered. (Connect ground to each layer and power to each rail)

With the remaining wire and two half's put a wire in different holes with one end soldered onto each layer.(Labelled Pic3)

Step 4: The Circuit (1)

Put the transistors in at the layer connections and solder them there connecting the collector (C) to the layers.

Put a 22k resistor in connected to the base (B) with the other leg going down the board like a wire.

Connect the emitters (E) together as they are going to ground.

Step 5: The Circuit (2)

Bring all the legs of the rails down to one point and solder a resistor to them. I have used wire to "Jump over" the ground "rail" making it neater I have also used hot glue as an insulator. The picture labelled wiring shows this and the picture labelled resistors also shows this.

When all the wires are at a point solder wires (header pins or sockets) onto the board to be able to connect them to the Arduino. I have used header pins and made cables to connect the cube to an Arduino. To make it so much easier to connect pins or sockets to a cable apply some flux paste to the pins or sockets.

The wires are connected to the Arduino as shown in the last picture.

Step 6: Connecting to the Arduino

Ground wire goes to a ground pin.

Layer 1 goes to pin 11

Layer 2 goes to pin 12

Layer 3 goes to pin 13


Rail 1 goes to pin 10

Rail 2 goes to pin 9

Rail 3 goes to pin 8


Rail 4 goes to pin 7

Rail 5 goes to pin 6

Rail 6 goes to pin 5


Rail 7 goes to pin 4

Rail 8 goes to pin 3

Rail 9 goes to pin 2

Step 7: The Code

The code will be uploaded soon but to get started use the led cube library available I do not own and did not create the led library, it has a licence file included in the zip file.

LED Library

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    2 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this. I've been struggling to build a cube due to issues with LED pin lengths. My first couple of layers weren't dissimilar to your picture above! I'm going to try again using this method!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Great send in a picture when your finished id like to see it.