Friday, March 6, 2015

8x8x8 LED cube

It's been quite a while since I've updated this page.  I've had a lot of stuff going on for the past three years and sadly very little of it involved building electronics.  I might get into that on some other post, but right now I'm just posting to let you know I'm back and currently in the middle of teaching a good friend how to build and program digital electronics.  So we're both building ourselves our own 8x8x8 LED cubes.  I've been documenting the process and have been kicking around the idea of creating an in depth guide on how to do it all, but there are some really good guides already put out there by people and I've been following closely one person's guide in particular on Instructables.  His user name is "chr" and his guide is very deep with nearly half of it devoted to explaining how the code on the Arduino works and how to modify it to your liking.

Led Cube 8x8x8 by chr on Instructables

Jameco BoM for chr's 8x8x8 LED Cube with schematics

Jameco also has essentially the build with a parts list on their site.  I ended up ordering a few parts off their website, but I got most of it through eBay as I was willing to wait 2-3 weeks for it to be shipped from China or Hong Kong.  The pictures are of my test 8x8x8 cube using 3mm red LED's although the two final cubes we're building are going to be 5mm super bright red LED's.  I had a few thousand 3mm LED's laying around and figured I should use them as a test since our build is based around the idea of making loops on the LED's legs and then creating rails from bare copper 18gauge wire to run through all the LED's looped legs.  It works well, but there were lots of challanges in trying to build it that just aren't present when building 3, 4 or 5 by cubes.  For one it was a giant PiTA to reach the 4 central columns with the soldering iron initially, but part of the fun and sense of accomplishment in these kinds of projects is figuring out how to overcome the hurdles that continually get placed in front of you.  Well, I'm posting this during a lunch break that is almost over so I'm cut this post a bit shorter than I'd been intending.  Expect updates to start becoming somewhat regular again as I start documenting the various projects.

Right now I'm trying to finish up the 8x8x8 LED cube build, but after that I've already got most the parts for a couple smaller projects I'm really excited about and there's always my electronics white whale to contend with which would be finishing that RepRap Prusa 3D printer I started 3 years ago and then got sidetracked with a very intense 2 year long relationship that left me torn up and spit out.

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