If you do a web search for LED cubes, you will notice that they have been built so many times and anything less than 8x8x8 is a bit of a waste of time. Knowing all of this, and basically because I am bored out of my mind, I decided to go ahead and build one with old parts lying around at home.
I ended up with a small 3x3x3 LED cube connected to my Raspberry Pi. I chose 3x3x3 because no extra hardware is needed. All I needed to do was find 27 LED’s which I took off an old LED matrix sign board.
The basic concept is this; the cube, in this case 3x3x3, is made up of columns (9) and layers (3).On each layer, all the cathodes are connected together and in each column, the anodes are connected together. Therefore, 12 ouputs are needed to control all 27 LED’s.
By driving the layer output low and the column output high, the specific LED will turn on. Driving both the layer and column output low, will turn the LED off. By sequencing what LED is on when, you can draw different patterns. The bigger the cube, the better patterns can be drawn.
I have drawn up a schematic to show the hardware connections for the cube and the cube to he RasPi’s GPIO header.
You can download a schematic here.
Take a look at this 32x32x32 LED cube that someone build.
I wrote my code in Python3.2 using the Rpi.GPIO library.