Last December, I attended the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, Germany. This is a large tech-conference with attendees bringing all kinds of awesome projects they have been working on.
One thing that really impressed me was a cube comprised of bright LED-panels.
It’s awesome and I just had to get one of my own.
I showed the video to some friends, telling them I wanted to build this. Sebastius and Boekenwuurm were as impressed as I was and wanted to join in on building one each.
And that’s how a new project was started! In this article, I’d like to tell a bit about how it works and how I programmed it.
The 6 panels used are P2.5 HUB75 LED-panels bought from AliExpress. They’re driven by a Raspberry Pi Model 3 Using a breakout board that support the interface these displays use.
The displays are connected in 3 chains, the maximum number of parallel chains the board supports, of 2 panels each. Having a higher degree of parallelization increases the refresh rate which in turn improves the overall image quality.
The first two chains make up the 4 sides. The remaining chain makes up the top and bottom of the cube.
The panels come attached to plastic frames which allows them to be assembled as a larger 2D display. These frames are too thick to assemble them in a tight cube. Fortunately, they are very easy to take off with a precise screwdriver.
Sebastius designed a custom frame using Inkscape for manufacturing using a laser cutter.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.