Getting a message on a screen is great, but getting them on a cube is BETTER. Build an adorable message cube to accompany you on life’s adventures and deliver words from the internet via AdafruitIO!

This cube is powered by CircuitPython on a fancy ESP32-S3 QT Py! It has a LIS3DH accelerometer sensor board attached via a STEMMA QT connector, which means it’s easy to change the sensor anytime you need new cube superpowers. The QT Py BFF charger add-on makes this cube rechargeable via the USB-C port of the QT Py.

These six Dotstar LED matrices pack the cutest punch all into this tiny package! Ready to display 8x8 pixel art, a random wise quote, or anything else you might want. 

Will it have the longest battery life? No. Will it be super fun to carry around? ABSOLUTELY.

Note: This tutorial is labeled intermediate because there’s a bit of fine detail soldering and desoldering involved to be able to stuff everything inside the cube, and we’ll be dealing with live battery wires. Use caution!

Prerequisite Reading

You might want to brush up on some soldering skills before tackling this project! 

Let's go make ourselves a glowy cube!

Parts

Hand holding small Adafruit DotStar High Density 8x8 Grid - 64 RGB LED Pixel Matrix
Do not eat this LED grid just because it is so colorful and bite-sized! This is the tiniest little LED grid we could make, with 64 full RGB color pixels in a square that is only...
$24.95
In Stock
Angled shot of small purple microcontroller.
The ESP32-S3 has arrived in QT Py format - and what a great way to get started with this powerful new chip from Espressif! With dual 240 MHz cores, WiFi and BLE support, and native...
$12.50
In Stock
Video of a person with white painted nails unplugging a USB cable from a small, black, square-shaped lipo battery breakout board soldered to a similarly shaped microcontroller, which is also connected to a monochrome OLED display breakout. The OLED breakout displays battery and power data.
Is your QT Py all alone, lacking a friend to travel the wide world with? When you were a kid you may have learned...
$4.95
In Stock
Top down view of a Adafruit LIS3DH Triple-Axis Accelerometer.
The LIS3DH is a very popular low power triple-axis accelerometer. It's low-cost, but has just about every 'extra' you'd want in...
$4.95
In Stock
Angled of of JST SH 4-Pin Cable.
This 4-wire cable is 50mm / 1.9" long and fitted with JST SH female 4-pin connectors on both ends. Compared with the chunkier JST PH these are 1mm pitch instead of 2mm, but...
$0.95
In Stock
4 x Different colors of 30AWG silicone wires
The best wires hands down. You'll want at least 4 colors
1 x 290mah Lithium-Ion battery from TinyCircuits
This is the PERFECT size to fit inside this cube!
1 x Micro slide switch
A tiny switch for a tiny cube
1 x Clear heat shrink tube set
You'll need approximately two widths: 1/2" and 3/4"
1 x Kapton tape
A heat-resistant tape to withstand the soldering heat
1 x Sandpaper or sanding stick
Any medium-grit will do, something like 100 or 180 grit will do
1 x PETG Filament
For printing the frame. A material with similar heat resistance might do.
1 x Popsicle stick
(or similar non-conductive pokey thing)

You will also need the following tools:

  • Flush cutters
  • Hot air gun
  • Third hand

This guide was first published on Sep 07, 2022. It was last updated on 2022-09-07 12:21:11 -0400.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Sep 29, 2022.

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