Tuesday, 29 December 2015 20:44

DIY 8x8x8 RGB LED cube


DIY 8x8x8 RGB LED cube

Thank you my friend Siew Goh Chuang, he made this beautiful LED cube:  This is a 8x8x8 RGB LED cube project, a modified version of the LED cube which originally designed by Kavindarrah. This project only modified the hardware but leaving the software (source code) intact. All the source code is available in Kavindarrah's website.

My LED cube are using the MBI5026GN constant-current LED driver chip instead of the 74HC595 shift-register. The 74HC595 is a 8-bit shift register, whereas MBI5026GN is a 16-bit shift register, with only 3 data pins (CLK, Data and Latch), you can control an almost unlimited amount of outputs. Table below shows the different between 74HC595 & MBI5026GN.

74HC595 MBI5026GN
8-Bit Serial-In, 8 channel parallel-out 16-Bit Serial-In, 16 channel parallel-out
Require a current limit resistor at each output pin Only need a reference resistor at its R-EXT pin
Positive output (All outputs connected to LED are sharing cathode) Negative output (All outputs connected to LED are sharing anode)

MBI5026GN and 74HC595 pinout

Therefore,  using the MBI5026GN in this project will allow us to reduce the complexity of the circuit & hence reducing components & wiring.


Materials and Components

Main ingredients for RGB LED cube
No Items Quantity Unit
1 4pin common anode RGB LED 512 pcs
2 MBI5026GN shift-register IC 13 pcs
3 IRF9530 P-Mosfet 8 pcs
4 1.2k Ohm 1% resistor 21 pcs
5 100 Ohm 1% resistor 8 pcs
6 100 uF electrolyte capacitor 8 pcs
7 0.1 uF ceramic capacitor 13 pcs
8 74HC244N 1 pcs
9 1*8 2.54mm pin header (male) 26 pcs
10 1*8 2.54mm pin header (female) 26 pcs
11 W237-102 Screw terminal 1 pcs
12 1mm single core copper wire 1 Roll
13 2mm wire (Red) 1 Roll
14 2mm wire (Green) 1 Roll
15 2mm wire (Blue) 1 Roll
16 2mm wire (Brown) 1 Roll
17 2mm wire (Black) 1 Roll
18 5mm clear acrylic top cover box for LED cube 1 pcs
19 4mm White acrylic bottom cover box for LED cube 1 pcs
20 4mm Black acrylic LED cube mounting 1 pcs
21 Arduino UNO 1 pcs
22 5V 2A power supply 1 pcs
23 Stainless steel socket cap screw 8 set
24 6# x 1" Screw (Nickel plating , Flat head) 15 pcs
Tools and consumables item
No Items Quantity Unit
1 Soldering iron 1 unit
2 Lead free solder 0.6mm 1 Roll
3 Long nose pliers 2 pcs
4 Wire cutter 1 pcs
5 wire striper 1 pcs
6 3rd hand tool 1 pcs
7 Cable tie 1 pack
8 3mm Shrinkable Wire Pipe Wrap 10 Meter
9 battery drill set with bit 1 set
Special material , tools and service
No Items Quantity  
1 LED layer building tool (jig) 1  
2 LED layer build up tool (jig) 3  
4 CNC laser cutter 1  
5 5mm clear acrylic 1200mm x 1200mm for making LED box 1  
6 4mm black acrylic 600mm x 600mm for making LED box 1  
7 4mm white acrylic 1200mm x 1200mm for making LED box 1  
8 3V battery or multimeter for testing LED 1  
9 3M scotchcal marking film for marking pin header 1  


Schematic and PCB

High resolution images are available in my Flickr album

8x8x8 RGB LED cube schematic


CAD files also available in Github.

8x8x8 RGB LED cube PCB

Connecting Arduino to controller


Gerber files (folder: RGB LED cube gerber) were sent to a fab house for PCB fabrication. PCB top view

PCB bottom view


Build a custom jig

Making an 8x8x8 RGB LED cube from the ground up involves a variety of tasks, therefore I need to build a custom jig in order to maintain the spacing between LEDs while soldering. Figure below shows the design of my jig, it is very unique and modern.

Setup a jig

I made this jig using my CNC laser cutter, the Autocad drawing file (filename: Layer building tool.DWG) is available here.


Prepare the LED

The LED cube is arranged into 8 layers of 64 LEDs each, therefore you need 512 RGB LEDs. They are all common anode LEDs.

Prepare the LED


Bend the LED leg like this. It will take approximately one minute to make one of this.

Bend the LED


Build the First Layer

Aligning and straightening the bare copper wire with two pliers as figure below.

Aligning and straightening the bare copper wire


The LEDs will then fit snugly into the holes as shown in figure below.

LEDs fit snugly into the holes


Solder the anode of the LED to the bare copper wire.

Solder the anode pin of the LED


Test the LEDs, make sure all the LEDs are working before continue next step. A current limit resistor is required.

Test the LED


Solder the rest of the LED pins  to the bare copper wire which including Red pin, Green pin and Blue pin.

Solder the rest of the LED pins


It took about one hour to complete this layer.

First layer of LED cube


Trim away the excess leads. Congratulation! First layer of LED cube is completed!

Trim away the excess leads


You need to make seven more of this for a total of eight layers.

Each layer of LED cube


Stack the layers

I'm using my CNC laser cutter to make one more tool which helps to stack the layers.

Stack the layers


Stack the second layer

Stack the second layer


Stack until the last layer.

Stack until the last layer


Done! All layers completed!

All layers completed


Solder wire to LEDs

Solder wire to the bottom layer of LEDs (Rows=red, green, blue and Column=anode).

Solder wire to the bottom layer of LEDs


Build a base for the LED cube

It need a base for the LED cube to stand on. Again, I use my CNC laser cutter to make the base (Autocad drawing file: RGB LED CUBE COVER.dwg)

Making LED cube base


Insert wires into the holes of the cube.

Insert wires into the holes


Be patience, it was tedious work.

All wires has been inserted

LED cube and its base


Tie up wires with cable tie

It is necessary to tie all the wiring neatly. Make sure cut all the wires in same length and put two square plastic holder in the middle of the base.

Tie up wires with cable tie

Tie up wires with cable tie 1



Tie up wires with cable tie completed


A plate for controller board

Attach a plate to the two square plastic holder allows the controller board sit on top of it.

Plate for controller board


Connecting LED cube to controller board

Prepare the header socket connectors, place a marking on pin 1.

Header socket connector


Solder the wires that comes out from LED cube to the socket header connectors, the socket header connectors is then plug into the controller board.

Connecting the LED cube to controller board


Make an enclosure

I use 5mm thick acrylic to make a top cover for the LED cube.

LED cube enclosure


Here is the bottom cover of the LED cube (Autocad drawing file: RGB LED CUBE COVER.dwg)

Bottom cover


Final assembly

The power supply, power bank and Arduino is hide inside the bottom cover of the LED cube.

Final assembly 1 1

Final assembly1


Final assembly2

 RGB LED cube 1

RGB LED cube 2


Done! Please enjoy the video.


Read 21318 times Last modified on Friday, 08 June 2018 12:23


  • Comment Link Farizno Wednesday, 09 May 2018 11:31 posted by Farizno

    What is the purpose of the 74HC244N? Is it necessary?

  • Comment Link Shawn Sunday, 08 April 2018 12:24 posted by Shawn

    How did you bend the LED leads perfectly the same? Did you have a jig to bend them?

  • Comment Link mandragora21 Monday, 02 April 2018 05:18 posted by mandragora21

    hola exelente proyecto una duda que tengo cual se supone que es el led nº1 si miramos en cubo de frente.?????
    creo que podria ser el primero de detras de la derecha ????
    es para poder centrar el con1

  • Comment Link admin Sunday, 11 March 2018 10:08 posted by admin

    This LED cube was made by my friend, he modified the hardware only, leaving the source code untouched.

  • Comment Link Grigirii Saturday, 10 March 2018 16:05 posted by Grigirii

    Good afternoon. Please tell me how you managed to start the danu version of the cube on the code Kevin Darah, because his code is designed for using the register 74ch595, and you have a completely different register. Have you changed anything in the code to use this register?

  • Comment Link admin Wednesday, 10 January 2018 17:12 posted by admin

    We only make the hardware, software getting from Kevindarrah

  • Comment Link Cyrille Sunday, 07 January 2018 02:52 posted by Cyrille


    congratulation for this very nice cube !
    Is it possible to share the source code for the arduino board ?

    thanks a lot !

  • Comment Link Rizwan Thursday, 02 November 2017 16:41 posted by Rizwan

    How the Cathode be provided the ground as in 74595 IC it will give you 5 volt we can use hex invertor to make it 0V so cathode is provided the ground and it will light up how MBI5026 works to provide cathode ground ? Please help me in this regard.

  • Comment Link anup shekhar Friday, 03 June 2016 04:54 posted by anup shekhar


    i hope you have received my email

  • Comment Link anup shekhar Tuesday, 31 May 2016 06:28 posted by anup shekhar

    thanks for the Quick reply. I have sentyou an email please check and let me know the details.

    Anup Shekhar

  • Comment Link Siew Goh Monday, 30 May 2016 22:00 posted by Siew Goh

    Hi, anup shehkar
    You can send request to my email [email protected] I only created and design hardware part, the software, the way to blink LED and the arduino is copy from other website. If you really wan the Driverboard you can email me, but the parts on the board I think not much I left.

  • Comment Link anup shehkar Sunday, 29 May 2016 07:54 posted by anup shehkar

    I am highly impressed with the way you have explained everything about how to make 8x8x8 rbg led cube. I am an arts student and struggling for almost a month that someone can explain this in lay man language that how to make it and how to connect it together .I am really interested in the printed circuit board you have created .Please let me know if I can buy it from you.

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