We needed a simple Do-It-Yourself (DIY) 4x4x4 LED light cube electronics kit to creatively teach youth circuitry, soldering and programming.

The Lux Cube is a DIY 4x4x4 LED light cube electronics project kit that beginners can build in 3-hours.

We have a passion for making, tinkering and learning by doing. This product came to us in an effort to scratch our own itch. We wanted to have youth at a 4-H summer Maker Camp build a 4x4x4 LED light cube that they could then learn to program. The problem was that this project was too advanced and time consuming for kids, age 12-14, attending this 20-hour day camp. In addition, we could not find a kit to purchase. We would have to scour the Internet to find all the components and solder them together first to see if it worked. Our solution to this problem is the Lux Cube, a DIY 4x4x4 LED light cube electronics project kit for beginner level makers.

We have:

  1. Simplified the wiring with a custom printed circuit board (PCB)
  2. Sourced all the components in a simple set
  3. 3D modeled/printed the perfect grid to enhance and accelerate the soldering process, and
  4. Created detailed visual building instructions for users

We wanted to design a “creativity set” that would get youth who are new to the Maker Movement excited about creating amazing projects that they can program and share. People are fascinated with light; toddlers are motivated to learn to walk so they can push a chair up to a light switch and turn it on and off. This set provides users with a 3-hour building experience. But the next iteration of this project will create boundless capacity to program its light sequences. The 2nd generation version of the Lux Cube is called the (f)Lux Cube. It takes the project beyond soldering and allows the Maker to program light sequences as well.

The Maker Movement is exploding and Makers, especially young Makers, are purchasing DIY electronics kits to increase their technical skills. There are thousands of advanced Maker projects out there, but most – such as a 4x4x4 DIY light cube – are too advanced to complete for inexperienced Makers. Not only are young Makers demanding creative DIY electronics kits, but so are summer camp and aftekschool programs that are focused on STEM. Our nation is experiencing a STEM skills gap and what educators have discovered is that the best way to solve this crisis is to get youth interested in STEM at an early age (9-14). The way to do this is through fun, experiential learning activities. The Lux Cube is a product designed to specifically build STEM abilities in youth.

There are no “beginner” DIY electronics kits on the market like the Lux Cube. If someone wanted to make a 4x4x4 LED light cube they would have to source all the components themselves, build a grid, wire all the circuits and troubleshoot for multiple mistakes. This project has taken experienced electrical engineers about 60 hours to complete. We have gone through the pain of the R&D process and reduced the build time of this project to 3 hours. We did this by 1) simplifying the wiring with a custom printed circuit board (PCB), 2) sourcing all the components in a simple set, 3) 3D modeling and printing the perfect grid to enhance and accelerate the soldering process, and 4) creating detailed visual building instructions for users.

Consumers age 12+ who are embracing the DIY, Maker culture. Makers are early adopters. Beyond the consumers who will purchase this kit, we are targeting afterschool and summer camp STEM programs that will purchase these items in bulk for larger groups of youth.