“It has been more than 2 years since we designed jolliCube, a single color 8x8x8 LED cube driven using MAX7219 IC chips.
It is amazing to see how the humble single color LEDs can be used to build into an LED cube capable of displaying awesome animations.
Our LED cube is designed so that entry-level hobbyists are able to follow and complete it without too much difficulty. You may visit our instructable available at https://www.instructables.com/id/JolliCube-an-8x8x8-LED-Cube-SPI/ for more information.Our LED cube is not designed to work with any particular microcontroller. However, so far, we have been using the popular Arduino board in our instructables to drive our cube via SPI using only 3 signal wires and powered with 5VDC power supply. We have demonstrated how our LED cube can be used to display various interesting animations but after the novelty wears out, we hope our cube can be put to better use and be more functional around the house. In this instructable, we will make our LED cube more useful by displaying the current date and time besides displaying animations. If we were to use the Arduino board to drive our cube, we will need to interface it with a Real Time Clock (RTC) external module to provide the time for display. However, it is quite cumbersome to set date and time onto the RTC module. We either need to provide buttons or through Arduino sketch to set the date and time. The RTC module also needs a battery to keep the time current and as some RTCs are susceptible to time drifts, the time needs to be readjusted occasionally.For this project, we will be using a Wemos D1 mini board instead of the Arduino board to drive our jolliCube for it to function as a clock as well as to display all those interesting animations. This board is quite affordable and comes with WiFi capability and so we can make it connect to the internet to retrieve the time automatically from a Network Time Protocol (NTP) time server. However, this means there must be WiFi available for it to work.
You may view the following jolliCube YouTube video to see what we will be building. For this project, we built another jolliCube using green LEDs. This is the third jolliCube we have built and we still enjoy while building it.
To work on this project, one needs to possess some basic soldering skill, basic electronic knowledge and is familiar with working on Arduino boards though we will not be using the Arduino board for this project.”