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]


  1. jan says:

    fantastic script!!!

  2. Bhima says:

    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.

  3. Faelenor says:

    @All Instructables haters:


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

  4. Chris Muncy says:


    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,

  5. jim says:

    Where’s that guy who always says LEDs are kids’ stuff?

  6. svofski says:

    @Dald: kudos to you pal.
    @Instructables lovers: &*^@#.

  7. Firebelcher says:

    @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?

  8. xtremegamer says:

    and what if the one led in the dead center dies ?

  9. Chris Muncy says:



    Have you *READ* the above comments?

  10. Lucky says:

    This is just plain cool. Now, go bigger! Love to see a 100×100 and start seeing some 3D images start to come to life.

  11. B0SC0 says:

    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.

  12. Nomad says:

    @B0SC0: you have to login to vote :/

    @Daid: awesome site. Did you write it yourself?

  13. Nomad says:

    Oh well forget about the question about the instructabliss site -.-

  14. B0SC0 says:

    @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;-(

  15. vespine says:

    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.

  16. Alexdcd says:

    What happens if a spider get stuck in the grid? Kinda scary,

    Imagine how hard it would be to create one with RGB Leds – next project

  17. vasskk says:

    great job

  18. Squirrel says:

    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.

  19. Skappy says:

    Fantastic project but will we have a chance to discover the Code ?
    Thank you very much
    Have a nice day

  20. Mark says:

    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 :)

  21. vu says:

    can you show me how converter tmp to sch when i open


    when i download file .sch Daid thanks

  22. anderlan says:

    OMG, why has someone not combined this with a kinect to display the 3d data from the kinect in actual 3d?????

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