These Clever 3D-Printed LED Cubes Connect and Communicate via Magnets

Designed for freefrom building, these snap-together LED cubes will soon include touch control and color shifting.

Gareth Halfacree
13 days agoLights / 3D Printing

Pseudonymous maker "We-Make-Projects," hereafter simply "Projects," has shown off a work-in-progress build that allows compact 3D-printed LED cubes to be assembled in any pattern — building up structures of individually-addressable lights.

"These led cubes will be able to connect in any direction and still be able to be addressable," Projects explains. "It [will] be able to split [off] into different directions. I am using only two side for a test. I have reverse polarity on each side of each cube for every cube since I am only using magnets."

These 3D-printed cubes are designed to connect securely with embedded magnets. (📹: We-Make-Projects)

The magnets are the project's keystone: Placed on each side, they attract the cubes to each other and provide structural rigidity while also serving as pogo-pins to send power and data between cubes. "I solder wires to the magnets," Projects explains, "but I do it very quick and make sure not to apply to much heat so I don’t destroy the magnet."

Projects' experimentation has already given rise to future plans: "They will eventually have a touch pad to turn each led off/on individually as well as tap to change each individual cube to a different color," the maker explains. "I will also try to make the magnets smaller. I also plan on 3D printing different shapes aside from the cube."

More details on Projects' project are available on the maker's Reddit thread. No source code or design files have yet been released.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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