4x4x4 LED Cube
Why this Project?
First off, I would like to say that I was really busy last semester with school and two jobs to document this project. It’s been about 5 months since I completed this project so I’ll try to cover as much as I can remember. I chose to do this project because I just entered my second year of college and learning about the wonderful world of computer engineering has been inspiring. I really wanted to get out there and learn about the Arduino uno and how this micro-controller (Atmega328) works. I searched up some neat projects and found this easy and straight forward project. I spoke to my friend, Michael Chin, and it turned out that he had already built one! He gave me some awesome advice and even lent me his wooden board to make soldering easy. Thus, I began my project!
How Does it Work?
Before I begin my explanation, I definitely recommend looking over Bruce’s article because I think it was really straight forward and easy to understand. So how does this 4x4x4 LED Cube work? Its really simple, first thing is that you must be aware there are 20 pins that you have to control. This is an easy task for a powerful microcontroller like the Atmega328 which is on the Arduino Uno development board. 16 of these pins are the positive leads to all the LEDs in the cube. The other 4 are the negative leads to all the LEDS in the cube. This is achieved when you construct the LED Cube. You can definitely read ahead for an explanation on how I did it but to be brief, you solder every vertical coloumn of LED’s positive terminal together. This means every 4 adjacent vertical LED in a column shares the same positive leads. 64 / 4 = 16 pins! Every LED in every layer share the same ground. Each layer has 16 LEDS which means 64/ 16 = 4 ground pins! That is how you get 20 pins that you need to control. Controlling an individual LED is easy: you just have to supply power to the postive pin that the LED resides in and ground the layer that the same LED is in. This means to turn on ONE LED and turn off ALL other LEDS, I just have to ground the layer that this LED is in and supply 5V to the other 3 layers. I also have to power the positive lead that the LED resides in and set the other 15 postive pins to ground. Thats it! This project is really easy to create and really fun to program and produce all sorts of images with.
I began by doing a lot of research and the best sources I found was my friend Mike’s blog and James Bruce’s article. They were both very detailed and provided a lot of insight on the process of putting the LED cube together. Bruce covered a lot about the general idea of how the cube works while Mike’s blog provided a lot of tips and advice on how to assemble the cube.
Soldering 4 LEDs together
Soldering each Layer of the Cube
Stacking each Layer of the Cube
Final Touches (Grounding)
1) Michael Chin – http://mikecchin.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/25/
3) LED Resistor Calculator – http://ledcalc.com/