512 LED cube

Get out the soldering iron and clear your schedule, it’s going to take you a while to assemble this 8x8x8 LED matrix which contains a total of 512 LEDs. We’ve looked in on a 3x3x3 cube, and [Chr], who is responsible for this one, has assembled a 4x4x4 cube before, but this one is quite a leap in complexity. It isn’t just physical assembly problems that increase with scale, you’ll need to consider a power supply too since one layer of a 3x3x3 cube would need at 90 mA, but a single layer of the cube above requires 640 mA to light all of the diodes. Multiplexing is handled per-layer, controlled by  ICs which share 8 data lines and are latched by a shift register. This means the display only requires 11 microcontroller pins for addressing. It is striking how well [Chr] explains the design process, and how cleanly he builds the driver circuits on protoboard. There’s a lot to look at and a lot to learn, not to mention the stunning results which can be seen in the video after the break.

[Thanks Vadim]

72 thoughts on “512 LED cube

  1. Thanks to the guys who are re-hosting the PDF.

    Instructables is the worst site that I occasionally find links to. I’ve washed my hands of the site and there isn’t much that would convince me to return. Certainly I am not going to go back and create an account just to view a project.

  2. @All Instructables haters:


    Sorry for this, but I’m really pissed off by all the whining on HaD.

  3. @Faelenor

    If you *READ* this thread, you would know that if you got a FREE account at Instructables in the beginning you can download the pdf’s. This is NOT the case now. You have to have a Pro membership and PAY to download the pdf’s.

    On a side note: Thanks to those that have hosted the pdf’s on their personal web site and creating the scripts to make Instructables more bearable,

  4. @Chris Muncy

    I don’t have a instructable pay membership and I am able to download the PDFs without a problem.

    It works fine.. no payments required…

    Did you even log in and try? Or are you beaking off on something you have no clue about?

  5. Only 64 votes out of 27,996 views.
    Come on people, these guys put a lot of effort into this project. The least we can do is vote for this project.
    Great project, you have my vote.

  6. @Nomad: I would think that logging in or signing up is a minimal task compared to the work these guys did. Even if you never logged in again.
    I think these guys deserve that much.
    And no, I do not know them, but appreciate how they went out of their way to provide us with this fine project, along with a great write-up.
    But hey, I know there are some out there that don’t care. So much for open source;-(

  7. i built a similar cube but with RGB leds, been working on it over a year and it’s only 80% complete, but all that is left is some cosmetic and coding work. Once I have it more finished I’ll submit it to HaD. I’m not a strong programmer so it’s probably one of those things that will never be 100% finished :)


    chrmoe was a big inspiration for me when he posted his 4x4x4 cube, it’s what got me started, big props to him.

  8. I think that instructables should allow the all steps view for non-users, but it makes sense that only paid users should be able to download the pdfs, since instructables is losing all of the ad profits.

  9. This is waaay cool. Pity my attention span in limited – I wouldn’t have the patience to solder all those LEDs. Probably could manage a 2x2x2 cube :)

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