Third time’s a charm – 512 LED cube kicks it up a notch with RGB LEDs


In the comments section of our 512-LED cube post from the other day, several people suggested that to take the project up a notch, building a similar cube using RGB LEDS was the next logical step. It seems that Hack-a-Day reader [vespine] was way ahead of the curve, as he sent us the build details of his 8x8x8 RGB cube shortly after the other story was published.

His cube, which was finished earlier this year, uses 512 10mm RGB LEDs, arranged on top of a simple elevated stand. The stand conceals all of the circuitry he uses to control the cube, the centerpiece of which is a PIC32 MCU. A dozen TLC5940 16-channel PWM drivers are used alongside the PIC in order to adjust the color output of the LEDs, each of which can be addressed and colored individually.

The end result is just about as amazing as you would imagine. He has created several quick demonstration animations, which you can view in the video below. Be sure to stop by his site to see all of his build details – there’s quite a lot there.


  1. bogdan says:

    I’ve always wanted to see something like this done!

  2. Dino says:

    I likes! My favorite part is the expanding sphere effect! Nice job!

  3. locknroll says:


  4. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    Very cool. What is it that nobody who makes these things ever wants to program them :) ?

  5. cafeine says:

    super cool!

  6. java says:

    i would love to see some 3d images on this thing

  7. Bill Schweikert says:

    I would like to see the parallel planes illuminated, one set at a time. Some planes are parallel to the sides, some are diagonal. Run through the sets of Miller indices.

  8. wosser says:

    How do people physically hold the LEDs in place while soldering is in progress? The alignment looks dead-on in all of these cubes. Do they build some sort of jig or what? I’d love to know.

    Very nice build, although perhaps the colour balance might need some adjustment because to my eyes (or perhaps it’s just the video quality) these leds seem to be brighter for some colours than others.

  9. vespine says:

    Hi everyone. Thanks for the kind comments.

    @CutThroughStuffGuy Trust me, it’s not a lack of “want”. 3d array manipulation is still beyond my newb programming skills, which I pretty much learned from scratch for this project.

    @wosser google hypnocube instructions, I used just a slight modification of their 4x4x4 construction method.

  10. M4CGYV3R says:

    Without looking at any of the writeup, I’m just curious how he addressed all of the LEDs individually. Shift registers? Many uControllers? Looks awesome though.

  11. WestfW says:

    On a somewhat larger scale are the giant “Cubatron” displays, perhaps worth a HaD mention of their own…

  12. Epic!
    Can you say what was your led source?

  13. Marrob says:

    Would love to see a 3d Game of Life through this…

  14. Brennan says:

    Having built a 5x5x5 RGB cube myself, I have to give HUGE PROPS to the author of this. Those cubes are so time consuming to make – even 5 across was pushing it for me. I found the software extremely tedious to write. The thing about making these is the effort:reward ratio is extremely high. I was sick of the project by the time I actually had some animations working on it. Great job man.

  15. vespine says:

    @hekilledmywire I just got them on fleabay from a seller called topbright88, they’re still around. The ones I got are “10mm Manual Control DIFFUSED RGB LED Common Anode”. They have them listed in various quantities, less then 50c each for quantities over 100. The risk is I did get a few with a faulty blue element (about a dozen out of 550), so you have to make sure you have some spare in your order and test them, but it was still more then worth it considering local sources sell them for $1+ each.

  16. woutervddn says:

    LEDgasm :O

  17. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    Better visualizations:

  18. dan fruzzetti says:

    Breathtaking. But until he gets an acrylic housing, just don’t bump it :(

  19. Alex Grant says:

    That is truely brilliant, I am definantly going to have to build one of these at some point. I think going the whole hog and making a 16x16x16 out of 3mm orange LEDs would look awesome, just might get a bit too “dense” in the middle… Only 4096 leds…

  20. nick says:

    Yawn. Call me when there’s 4096 LEDs.

    JUST KIDDING! Jeez. But you’ll totally score super mega EXTRAbonus points when you hook it up to a WiiMote/Kinect and get real-time control workin with this. I’d say go for Kinect and you can have it controlled by a dance floor. And that shit would be tiiiiiight! I mean, even tighter than it already would be up on stage at a rave.

  21. Erik Johnson says:

    @nick chineese mfgr does this..

  22. Sourcing 512 can a bit expensive wow.
    When I get some funds I will start by making an 4x4x4 or something like that, RGB of course.
    Thanks for the led source Vespine.

  23. setlahs says:

    What about saving on some costs, and doing an 8×8 POV display.

  24. Masterbaker says:


    quick suggestion for making it even more amazing : grab 3 large mirrors and place the cube inside them. Make animations accordingly, and you wind up with a huge cube!

  25. Gelmer Orsel says:

    Hello what i’m missing by all the beautiful cubes is schematics! Of the rgb led 8x8x8’s.
    Sorry but i’m many our’s to find the schematics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,434 other followers