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8x8 WS2812 LED Cube

6 sided 8x8 panel LED cube powered by a PixelBlaze and serial expansion/sensor companion boards. Thisincludes some 3d printed components.

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This was a project that I took some inspiration from various LED cube projects I've seen out there,.

I went with the Pixelblaze as my controller of choice, it's been a staple in most every lighting project I build. It's animation quality and built in development console set it apart from most other offerings.


Pre-notes
  1. Instead of connecting each panel to each other I opted to use a serial to 8 channel board to replicate the pattern to all 6 panels.  This helps keep animation speeds smooth but it can be configured however you wish to proceed, steps may differ a bit if you do.
  2. You don't have to use the servo lead extensions, I prefer them for easy maintenance and uniform connection color coding.  If you have a preference on how to wire things go for it :D
  3. The sensor board is recommended but the cube will work without it.  The sensor board has features that enable light, sound and accelerometer functionality so you will miss out on some cool features without it.
  4. Due to limited space around the pin headers the sixth panel will require you to cut a servo lead connection/strip the wires and solder them to the panel. (photo example will be shown later on in the assembly steps)

Purchased Parts List:

  1. Servo Lead Extensions (10pcs, 6 needed)
  2. 8x8 LED Panels (WS2812) (6 panels needed, the link to amazon is just an example and contains no referrals.  Please shop around and find what works best for ya price wise, just make sure the panels are one of the following WS2812/WS2811/SK6812)
  3. PixelBlaze v2 Wifi LED controller (1 needed) 
  4. Serial to 8 Channel WS2812 expansion board  (1) needed)
  5. Sensor companion board (1 optional - but recommended)

Printed Parts & Credits for creators:

  1. Corner mounts (Provided by Ben Hencke all credit due to him :) 8 needed)
  2. Diffuser Panels (Made by RemoteFlyer on Thingiverse - 6 optional but recommended-- see info below)
    1. These are not required, however it improves the appearance by a lot, please see this tweet for a comparison .  If you opt to use them please print them before you begin the cube assembly process.
    2. The above model it is designed for an Adafruit panel, you may need to resize it to match the one you purchased, the panels linked in the parts list will work best if you scale it to 64.45x64.45 (Z height should auto-adjust based on slicer)
    3. If you want the front to display transparent/opaque but you don't own a multi-tool printer or multi-filament device you can set a filament change at 0.60mm in the print, it'll then allow you to swap in black filament to print the grid part.
  3. Filaments used:  Prusament Galaxy Black, Polyalchemy Natural Elixir (diffusion layer in the panels)

View all 7 components

  • 1
    PixelBlaze & companion board assembly:
    • In order to conserve space I opted to configure the boards in the following order: Serial to 8 channel board top, Pixel Blaze middle, Sensor board bottom. The sensor board will be used to secure the boards inside the cube using double sided tape.
  • 2
    LED Panel Assembly:
    • Take 5 of the six LED panels and install the pin headers in the DIN/+5V/GND connectors.  Make sure the long side is facing inward (back of the LED panel). 
    • Take the 6th panel and 1 servo lead extension and remove the connector at one end.  Strip the wires and then solder them to the DIN/+5V/GND on the 6th panel (GND pin bothers me but I couldn't get the dang thing clear after multiple goes with a braid and pump):
  • 3
    Cube Pre-Assembly Notes

    There's a couple options to assemble in terms of adhesives.  

    • I haven't tried super glue because prior projects usually ended up having fuming issues that stained some materials.  
    • Hot glue worked great for me, my first assembly was done using only that.  The caveat is it can be messy.
    • The 3rd option if you have a 3D pen on hand i'll detail how I went about using it to assemble the final cube.  This method uses a bond between the diffusion panels and the corner mounts and is the cleanest assembly method i've tried.

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Discussions

Mike Szczys wrote 10/07/2019 at 22:35 point

I actually kind of like the way the gaps on the edges look for this one.  Also, those diffuser panels look pretty good on the video, are they uniformed brightness to your eye when not seen through a camera?

  Are you sure? yes | no

BanhammersWrath wrote 10/08/2019 at 19:31 point

The brightness is well contained and displayed via the panels in person w/o any adjustments (only time it'd matter is brightness of the cube and ambient light.)  I had to scale back the exposure on the camera to get a decent shot of it haha

  Are you sure? yes | no

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