3 D displays have generated immense interest in the digital world. Taking cue from this 3D display technology we are trying to build a LED cube. It is a simple DIY electronics project for entertainment purpose. This DIY project will generate a 3D display pattern using Arduino Uno board. LEDs offer variety of colors. As per requirement you can go with either same or different colors.  LED Cube is generally constructed in 3D matrix forms. The cube size can be NxNxN meaning it has N layers and in that N layers it has N rows and for each row it has N columns.

                 LED Cube

                                                                                                3D LED Cube DIY Project

In this DIY project, 3D LED cube, the matrix chosen is 4x4x4 and LEDs chosen are blue. It means it has 4 layers and each layers has 4 rows and in each row 4 columns. So a total of 64 LEDs are required. Let’s start.  First the components required for doing this 3D LED cube DIY Project is given below.  

Components Required

  1. Blue LED – 64
  2. Arduino Uno Board – 1
  3. ULN 2803 IC  -6
  4. Resistor Network - 3

Block Diagram 

                        block diagram of LED Cube

Working of 3D LED Cube DIY Project

LED is the acronym of light emitting diode. It is a p-n junction semiconductor diode working in electroluminescence principle. When forward biased, electrons in the diode recombine with holes releasing the energy as photons. The light produced will depend on the energy band gap of the semiconductor. 

                    3D LED Cube

                                                                       3D LED Cube Using Arduino UNO

Here we are going to develop a 3D 4x4x4 LED cube DIY Project. Each layer has 16 LEDs in them. The LEDs are connected in a 3D matrix by soldering the anode and cathode respectively. In a layer, anodes of the LED are connected together while the cathodes are connected together row wise. The procedure for soldering the DIY Project is given below.

  1. Check whether all the LEDs of the DIY Project are working or not.
  2. Bend the cathode of each LED to 90°.
  3. First we will prepare layers. Take 4 LEDs of the DIY Project and solder their cathodes to form a line. While soldering the cathodes a specific distance should be maintained. Similarly prepare 15 such lines. Now take 2 lines, maintain the specific distance kept while placing LEDs, Solder the respective anodes horizontally at the same distance. Form 8 such lines. Next, solder the anodes of the thus formed line. We will get 4 layers.
  4. The layers are stacked one over the other to form the cube.
  5. The cube is soldered onto the PCB.

While soldering the DIY project neatness, accuracy, carefulness and precision should be taken into consideration as there are chances of getting shortening. The connections are made in such a manner that instead of 64 we will need only 12 connections i.e. 4 connections for each row, 4 for each column and last 4 for each layer. Benefit of this connection is that we can multiplex the data.  

For driving LEDs in the DIY project, ULN 2803 IC is used.

ULN 2803 IC is a Darlington transistor array IC. The Darlington transistor consists of two bipolar NPN transistors connected in such a way that the small input current is amplified twice and as a result we obtain high current gain. ULN 2803 IC chip has 8 outputs but here we are using only 4 outputs to drive the LEDs of the DIY Project in resistive load drive mode. This works in negative logic so a pull up resistor is required. In this 3D LED cube DIY Project we are using a resistive network to pull the value from logic low to logic high. The IC has an open collector so the resistive network has to be connected to this pin followed by Vcc. This IC can be used for buffering purpose. As it uses low level TTL logic, so the code will become inverted also.  This will ensure all the connecting devices work in one direction. Each layer is controlled by this IC. When a layer is connected to Vdd, the output of the LED driver switches to logic low, by connecting the respective LEDs cathode to GND, illuminating it up.

For controlling the glowing pattern of the 4x4x4 LED cube DIY project, we are choosing Arduino Uno board.

Arduino Uno Board is an ATmega328 microcontroller board. It has 14 digital input/output pins. In this 3 D LED cube electronic DIY project we are using it as digital output pins for glowing the LEDs. It operates in 5V. Make the necessary connections and see the wonderful patterns being generated in the DIY Project.

The 12 pins of Arduino Uno board have been used. The first 4 pins are connected to the 1st ULN2803IC of the DIY project. This IC will select which row has to be illuminated. 4 ICs are connected for each row. The next 4 pins are used for selecting the columns. The last 4 are for selecting the column.    

Hope you guys liked this simple, interesting electronic DIY project. Try it and let us know your feedback. The code for the DIY project has been attached with this. You can alter the program to generate vibrant patterns for the DIY project.

                   3D LED CUBE

                                                                                               Top view of the DIY Project

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