This is a fun little project a 4x4x4 LED cube. I purchased the kit from amazon, it is a Hobby Component kit and cost £12.99.
Hobby Components 4x4x4 64 LED cube kit (Green): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories
It is a kit that you have to build. You just get a bag of LEDs, components and a PCB. The components have to be soldered to the PCB and the LEDs have to be bent and soldered together. I would suggest you brush up on your soldering skills before attempting this.
This is the PCB, you can see it is marked where all the components go. The components are marked the same so it's just a matter of soldering them in the correct place. The first thing though is to get a grid for bending your LEDs. To do this I laid the PCB on a bit of wood and used a hand micro drill to mark the positions. I have marked one row with red boxes in the picture of where I drilled through the holes in the PCB into the wood. You have to do this for all the other holes marked with a black square. The outer right hand side holes are ignored as these are for the final connection of the LED grid to the PCB.You have to make sure you are holding the drill vertical to get the correctly centered mark.
Once you have marked all the holes through the PCB you then drill them out to match the size of your LEDs, in this case I think it was 3mm.
Make sure the LED is a tight(ish) fit so it does not fall out or pull out to easy.
Once you have got the correct size of hole drill out the remaining marks you have made.
This is where you really have to pay attention to the instructions and make sure you bend the correct leg the correct way. I used a pair of tweezers and marked them at the point of the two bends. They are at different heights as the seperate legs cannot touch each other as one is the positive and the other is the negative. They connect to the other LEDs as you build the grid.
Then you bend the LED leg at a right angle like in the photo.
Then bend the second leg at the second mark on the tweezers. The first leg that was bent is lying against the side of the tweezers at a right angle to the second bend.
Then bend the second leg at a right angle.
When finished it should look like this.
That's the first one done so you only have to do this another 63 times :)
Imagine if you were doing an 8x8x8 cube that's 512 LEDs that have to be bent.........
When you have bent a few you lay them out on the grid template like this. This is your first column.
Looking from the side it should look like this with the legs overlapping each other.
You then solder the legs together as close to the LED as possible.
The remainingg part of the leg after the solder joint you then bend up.
You then snip that off to make sure it does not interfere with anything else and give a neat appearence.
You just carry on doing that until you have filled the grid.
You have to do this 3 more times.
One very important step is after you have soldered one grid test the LEDs before you build the cube. If you do not do this and one LED does not work in the completed cube you are in for a world of pain.
I just used a CR battery and holder I had built in the past.
You just run along the rows and columns with the positive and negative leads making sure every LED works.
Next you mark the grid again on another bit of wood using the same method as before. This is to hold your completed grids for soldering.
You slot the legs of the LEDs into the holes and it holds the grid steady.
These grids have actually been placed wrong, the legs sticking out on the left should be sticking out on the right. These are then bent backwards to connect to each other.
The components soldered onto the PCB.
The legs are then pushed into sockets that you have soldered to the PCB. This is a nightmare trying to get them all lined up at once and takes a while.
These are the outer holes that you did not mark through when you made the grid template. These are used to connect to the rows of the grid and provide a ground.
Now all you have to do is provide 5v and the cube springs to life as it has already been programmed with some patterns.
This is the power connection, you really only have to connect the 5v and ground for it to work. The other two connections are where you can program the chip with your own patterns should you wish.
They do supply you with the USB lead with the connections on.
This is the complete cube.
A very short video of it in action. It's short because my batteries run out, but it should give you an idea. The actual patterns go on for a few minutes before it repeats. LEDs are also a nightmare to get in focus especially when they are that bright.