DIY LED Cube Uses an FPGA to Control the Light Show

We’ve all seen the myriad of LED cube projects on nearly every DIY project website, which brings up the notion of “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” and to some extent it’s true, but once in a while an LED project comes along and breaks that assumption. Case in point — electronics engineer Greg Davill and his miniature LED cube, which goes beyond chaining LED panels together and controlling them with an MCU.

The DIY LED cube features custom PCBs outfitted with their own LED matrix, which are controlled using an FPGA and housed in a 3D-printed frame. (📷: Greg Davill)

Davill began his build using a series of four-layer PCBs, each customized with a matte black finish and unicorn head logo he created using Inkscape and KiCad. Each PCB is outfitted with a 24 x 24 LED matrix soldered to the backside of the panel, which is then placed into a 3D-printed cube with enough internal space to house an FPGA and power supply to run the show.

Five of the panels that make up the cube are held together with double-sided tape and screws, making it structurally secure, while the remaining board is held in place by magnets, allowing access to the inside. Flat-flex cables neatly packed away wire everything together, adding to the streamlined aesthetic of the LED cube.

Davill has put a lot of work into his cube, and the attention to detail is incredible, to say the least, especially so when each panel is meticulously soldered by hand. He has logged every step of his build on his Twitter feed, which includes video demonstrations of the LED matrix panels. Davill has also uploaded code and files to his GitHub page for those looking to recreate his build.

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Author: Cabe Atwell

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