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A light-emitting diode (LED) cube is an exciting desktop decoration that you can easily construct yourself. With a little bit of circuitry knowledge and some tools, you will have a cube lighting up in interesting patterns and colors in a very short time. You will need a specific list of supplies and some patience to complete this project, but you will be rewarded by saving money that you would have spent on a store-bought version of this gizmo.
The first step in making an LED cube is rounding up all of the necessary components for this illuminating box. A soldering gun and the metal solder are important for making strong electric connections between the lights and ensuring that your cube doesn't collapse. A MiniPOV3 kit helps program your lights, and a 47 Ohm resistor is equally crucial for controlling the power flow. You also will need a thin sheet of wood for the base, and it should be about 4 inches by 4 inches (101.6 mm by 101.6 mm). Finally, you will need 27 individual LED lights.
The next step in creating your LED cube is to create the base for your cube. First, choose a drill bit that is the approximate size of your LED lights. Draw a grid pattern on the wood using nine holes in three rows of three. The holes should be spaced close enough that the cathodes coming out of each LED bulb can be connected. Use a hand drill or drill press to make the holes in the base.
Begin constructing your LED cube by inserting an LED light, bulb side down, into each hole so that the cathodes overlap. Solder each set of cathodes together so that all of the LED lighting for this level is connected. Build three successive layers on top of this base, using the same principles of overlapping cathodes and connecting each set of nine bulbs together. The end product should be a cube of cathodes with three separate layers of lights.
The final step in creating an LED cube is getting the electrical signals properly aligned. Follow the MiniPOV3 kit's instructions for connecting it to the resistor. This should require soldering fewer than five wires to the circuit board. Connect a node from the controller to a nearby cathode on the box. Finally, download the proper MiniPOV3 software that allows you to program the illumination order of the various lights on your LED cube.
There are some wonderfully artistic things that people are doing with LED lights at the moment. I guess because they are so cheap and don't heat up like other kinds of lights which makes them more versatile.
I've seen people painting words with moving LED lights, or putting them in cloth, so that you can wear glowing clothes.
I've also seen some gorgeous designs for lamps and fountains and just wall compositions, where someone painted with light using LEDs instead of paints.
It's something I'd love to get into. I'll have to remember this project as one to get back to when I have the time.
This is a really good first project to cut your teeth on if you are interested in making other LED lighted objects, or using them in other projects.
I made something similar to this when I was first starting out, although it wasn't a cube, it was an LED wand for my nephew.
He was really into Harry Potter and I wanted to make him a little present for one of the film openings.
It was much more simple than this design although I had to find something suitable as the wand.
He adored it, which was really cool. He also loved that it was unique, so none of his friends had the same one.
I was the best auntie in the world (for a while!).
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