BUILD THE 3D LED
By John Iovine
This article shows you how to build a
really cool 3D cube with a 4 x 4 x 4
monochromatic LED matrix which has a
total of 64 LEDs. I chose this size because
it provides the best value for construction
time and programming time for 3D
patterns. The advantage to using
monochromatic LEDs is that they are
very bright, so are therefore easy to see
— even in a well lit room. The current
crop of RGB LEDs doesn’t have the same
light intensity punch and when used in the
3D LED cube, can only be viewed in a
Figure 1. The
3D LED Cube.
You have a choice of four monochromatic colors: blue, red, green, and yellow (see Figure 1). The available kit
www.nutsvolts.com comes with a preprogrammed
microcontroller that includes 29 pre-programmed patterns
that will automatically play. Runtime for the 29 patterns is
approximately 6-1/2 minutes. Instructions on how to
program the 3D matrix yourself are provided in this article.
We will need the following tools for building both the
LED cube and jig:
1. Soldering iron and solder.
2. Needlenose pliers.
3. Diagonal (lead) cutters.
4. 20 gauge solid wire; one meter in length.
5. One 2AAA battery holder.
6. Two AAA batteries.
7. 1K 1/4 watt resistor.
Figure 2. Jig kit including wood base, LED holders, spacers, nuts, and bolts.
LED Cube Construction
To accurately build the LED cube matrix
so that everything is evenly spaced and aligned,
I recommend building the jig described here.
(I will have these jigs available for rent at
www.imagesco.com). Instructions for using a
jig are provided in this article. If you do not
wish to use a jig, you can fabricate the LED
matrix in any manner you find convenient.
The jig contains the following parts: wood base;
four 1/4-20 bolts, four inches in length; 16
1/4-20 nuts; 12 LED holders (two styles); and
12 spacers. See Figure 2.