Neopixel LED Matrix Cube

[Takeover by Michelle]

For this weeks takeover, I wanted to create something using Neopixel LEDs and Arduino! Allow me to introduce the Neopixel LED Matrix Cube!

The box and cover are 3D printed, the electronics are super simple and the programming is fairly easy if you follow some guides (OR you know what you are doing).

I love colourful LEDs, and Neopixels are just so great as they are individually addressable. This means you can go wild with colours and animations. There are a few different libraries you can use that come with sample code as well as all the info to create your own LED arrays, patterns, and animations. I used the 8X8 Neopixel Matrix – WS2812 chipset.

I’m really enjoying Arduino coding and projects like these allow me to fulfill 3 passions all in one: Art, coding, and making with my hands. Did I mention I love my job!?

Hardware and Materials used:

Other items used:

Soldering iron, Jumper cables, Breadboard, USB Type C – USB Cable, 3D Printer, Glue gun, M3 screws

Parts required for Neopixel LED cube

Software and Programming

3D Printed Box and Cover

I used a box enclosure and a diffuser cover from Thingiverse.

I printed the box in Black PLA and for the cover I used Clear PLA, both printed on the trusty Creality CR-10 V2 (one of my favourites).

This specific box was designed to fit an Arduino Uno, I managed to fit all of my electronics into to, but I’d like to design my box custom box that fits everything better.

3D Printed base of cube

3D Printed lid of cube

Completed print

Circuit Design and Prototyping

I used Fritzing to plan my circuit. It was my first time using software like this, and I must say, it was incredibly easy and useful! Since I didn’t follow a guide for this project, it made my life a lot easier to plan my circuit with Fritzing to wrap my head around how to solder everything.

Project Breakdown

The Neopixel Matrix only needs 3 wires: GND, 5V and DIN (connected to D6 on the Arduino)

I added a push button so that I can change modes with it.

I wanted this cube to be portable, so I used a 2500mAh LiPo battery along with a 5V 2.4A charger module. By using this charger/booster module, I am able to charge or power the cube with a normal 5V USB charger. I can also power it straight from the battery using either USB port on the charger module.

*Note the module in the diagram is different.

Diagram for wiring up the Neopixel cube

This LiPo Rider Plus charger module by Seeed Studio is a pretty nifty little module with I loved using. It made the whole project so much easier and more simple.

Once I included the libraries above into my IDE sketch, I tested out some demo code to check everything was working. I really enjoy the FASTLED library, it’s extremely extensive and easy to use.

GOLDEN Resources: Neopixel info, guides, code samples and demos.

Final Thoughts:

This was the first time I didn’t specifically follow a guide for the entire project, I used various resources gathered and tried my best to put it all together.

I am a lot more comfortable with Arduino based projects now, there is much info and resources online, it’s really a fun development platform.

This Neopixel Cube can be upgraded and modified by adding in sensors or modules like a Real Time Clock module, Temperature sensor, Gesture sensor, and so many more. The possibilities are practically endless.

I would highly recommend playing around with Neopixels if you haven’t already.

10/10 fun and fruitful project!

Next up: Learn to program LED arrays to create my own custom animations for my Neopixel Cube.

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