[Noteolvides] creates the CubeTouch, a cube made of six PCBs soldered together that creates a functional and interactive piece of art through its inlaid LEDs and capacitive touch sensors.
The device itself is connected through a USB-C connector that powers the device and allows it to send custom keyboard shortcuts, depending on which face is touched.
The CubeTouch is illuminated on the inside with six WS2812 LEDs that take advantage of the diffusion properties of the underlying FR4 material to shine through the PCBs. The central microprocessor is a CH552 that has native USB support and is Arduino compatible. Each “planet” on the the five outward facing sides acts as a capacitive touch sensor that can be programmed to produce a custom key combination.
Assembling the device involves soldering the connections at two joints for each edge connecting the faces.
LED cubes were once an exercise in IO mastery, requiring multiplexing finesse in order to drive arrays of many LEDs. Going RGB only increased the challenge. This build from [DIY GUY Chris] shows how much easier it is these days, when every LED has a smart addressable controller on board, and serves as a great sci-fi prop to boot.
Yes, the build relies on the venerable WS2812B addressable LEDs, soldered up in 5×5 grids on each of the six faces of the cube. Running the show is the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, sourced here as an individual part rather than in its development board form. An SPI memory chip is on board for the code, along with a USB-C connector for programming. Signals pass around the cube via soldered connections along the edges of the custom PCBs that make up the faces of the solid.
Sitting on its 3D printed stand, the cube glows brightly while drawing a full 2 amps of power. [Chris] coded up a variety of animations, from simple color breathing routines to frantic dazzle animations sure to captivate any cyberpunk thieves that come to steal your magic glowing artifact.
If rectangular prisms aren’t your fancy, though, you can always consider building yourself a glowing D20 instead. Video after the break.
LED cubes are all the rage right now. High-end hardware capable of driving large arrays keeps getting cheaper in price, and 3D printers and pre-built boards can make assembly a snap. After attending a major hacker con and seeing the builds on display, [Sebastian] wanted a piece of the action, so set out to build his own.
While many elect to build an LED cube you can hold in your hand, [Sebastian] preferred a stationary tabletop design. This would reduce costs, allowing him to only use 3 LED boards, as the base and remaining two sides would face away from him and not be visible when placed on his desk. The 64×64 arrays are driven by an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet on top of a Raspberry Pi 2. The Pi was a tactical choice, as [Sebastian] had one lying around, and it packed enough processing power to run an OpenGL shader that creates an image for the cube that varies with the CPU load and temperature on his main desktop. As a nice final touch, the Raspberry Pi is set up to have a read-only filesystem. This allows the project to be turned off suddenly without risk of corrupting the SD card.
When [Freddie] was faced with the challenge of building a sendoff gift for an an LED-loving coworker he hatched a plan. Instead of making a display from existing video wall LED panels he would make a cube. But not just any cube, a miniature desk sized one that wasn’t short of features or performance. We’d be over the moon if someone gifted us with this itty-bitty Qi coil-powered masterpiece of an RGB cube.
Recently we’ve been blessed with a bevy of beautiful, animatedRGBcubes but none hit quite this intersection of size and function. The key ingredient here is tiny but affordable RGB LEDs which measure 1 mm on a side. But LEDs this small are dwarfed by the otherwise minuscule “2020” package WS2812’s and APA102s of the world. Pushing his layout capabilities to the max [Freddie] squeezed each package together into a grid with elements separated by less than 1 mm, resulting in a 64 LED panel that is only 16 mm x 16 mm panel (with test points and controller mounted to the back). Each of these four-layer PCBs that makes up the completed cube contains an astonishing 950 mm of tracking, meaning the entire cube has nearly six meters of traces!
How do you power such a small device with no obvious places to locate a connector? By running magnet wire through a corner and down to a Qi coil of course. Not to let the cube itself outshine the power supply [Freddie] managed to deadbug a suitably impressive supply on the back of the coil itself. Notice the grain of rice in the photo to the left! The only downside here is that the processor – which hangs diagonally in the cube on a tiny motherboard – cannot be reprogrammed. Hopefully future versions will run programming lines out as well.
Check out the video of the cube in action after the break, and the linked photo album for much higher resolution macro photos of the build. While you’re there take a moment to admire the layout sample from one of the panels! If this sets the tone, we’re hoping to see more of [Freddie]’s going-away hacks in the future!
There’s an easy way to signal to your friends and family that you’re a successful, urbane member of society – by decorating your home with tasteful references to popular culture. A classy oil painting of Yoda or a framed Tarantino movie poster is a great way to go. Alternatively, consider building yourself a swanky Rubik’s Cube lamp.
The build starts by disassembling the cube, as if you were going to cheat and reassemble it in the correct order. Instead, the cube is then gutted to make room for electronics. Inside, a ping pong ball covered in LEDs is installed, along with lithium batteries and a power board cribbed from a USB power bank. The whole assembly is laced back together with glue and frosted acrylic which acts as an retro-styled grid-like diffuser. The power button is even sneakily hidden in one of the squares!
It’s a sweet retro build that would make an excellent addition to any hip lounge room. We’re a big fan of self-contained glowing cubes here at Hackaday – we’ve covered nuclear powered and infinity designs before. Video after the break.
If there’s one thing that’s universally popular in these polarizing times, it’s colorful glowing objects. LEDs reign supreme in this area, and we’re accustomed to seeing all manner of fun flashy devices hit the tips line. Today is no different, and we’ve been looking at [Modustrial Maker]’s stylish epoxy LED cube.
The build starts with the casting of a black epoxy cube, with a cutout near the top in which the LEDs will be installed. A melamine form is used, with aluminium foil tape, caulk and paste wax to help seal it up. After releasing the cast from the form, there were some unsightly voids which were swiftly dispatched, by trimming the block down with a table saw. With the block cut to size, LED strips were installed, and the light cavity sealed with hot glue before white epoxy was poured in as a diffuser. All that’s left was a simple matter of polishing the cube and installing electronics.
The cube runs from a single-cell LiPo battery, and there’s a wireless power receiver and charging module to keep the power flowing. The cube can be used on most wireless phone chargers, as well as its own dedicated charging base. The LEDs are controlled by an off-the-shelf module, which offers a variety of flashing displays as well as a music-reactive mode.
While the electronics side is done with off-the-shelf parts, the real art in this piece is in the build of the cube. Its glossy, attractive form would look stunning on any coffee table or bedside shelf.
Yes, that’s right – [Tom]’s cube eschews the traditional rotating and sliding mechanism of the original cube, instead replacing it all with magnets. Each segment of the cube, along with the hidden center piece, is 3D printed. Through using a fused deposition printer, and pausing the print at certain layers, it’s possible to embed the magnets inside the part during the printing process.
[Tom] provides several different versions of the parts, to suit printers of different capabilities. The final cube allows both regular Rubik’s cube movements, but also allows for the player to cheat and reassemble it without having to throw it forcefully against the wall first like the original toy.