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Thursday, January 18, 2018

LED 3D cube using 512 LED to form a 8x8x8 matrix

I built an inexpensive electronic soldering project kit from eBay.  This brought back my memories of when it was popular to build Heathkits.  This kit is a lot of fun to build and will test your soldering skills and patience levels.  One thing for sure, it's no Heathkit when it comes to the documentation.  After receiving the kit I was directed to a Google Drive link that the eBay seller had included in the packaging.  It was already a bad sign as the link was a lengthy set of numbers and letters that was photocopied one too many times and was borderline unreadable. 

I finally had to contact the seller because after entering the link countless times I could not get the documentation.  The seller got back to me within 48 hours with a working link.  Well it was not much help as the link included a bunch of out of focus photos and a video that was so poorly done it reminded me of the days of VCR like quality after a tape had been recorded on a few hundred times.

After searching up and down on Youtube, there was no video posted for this specific kit.  I decided I should have the video camera ready to document my project build.  I can't say I did a stellar job either as it was not possible to go back and film something again once I soldered a step together.  But it's better than what they provide you and hopefully some of you will find it a decent resource if you decide to build this electronic kit.

You will need a 25 watt soldering iron, pliers, cutters, electronic solder (60/40 rosin core), 3rd hand and some masking tape.  The kit provides plenty of extra LED's in case you have a few bad ones.  I would also highly recommend a volt meter with a diode check feature.  Without it you will have to risk soldering this whole project together to later find out you might have a bad LED in the matrix.  And that's no fun, as for some odd reason I had one even though I tested each one.  It took a minor miracle to de-solder that one LED out of the matrix and replace it. 

You will also need a USB power source.  I used a cheap phone charger dongle that can easily be had at your local drug store like Walgreens.  The cube pulls under 200mah at 5 volts.

Once I had the kit soldered up and fully working I went back on eBay and bought the plexi glass cover for the project.  I highly recommend this, it makes the kit look better and keeps it free of dust and someone accidentally bending the LED's.

I never did find out what that USB board does.  The cube's built in demo animation show is good enough.  It's a great conversation piece.  Anyone that comes over to you home will instantly notice it and love the coolness of it.



 

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