There’s a lot to admire in LED matrix projects, which more often than not end up looking really cool. But most of them rely on RGB matrix panels from the surplus market, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, build your own tiny tileable LED matrix panels makes these builds a bit cooler.
There’s a lot to admire about these matrix panels, including the seamless way they fit together. But to get there, [sjm4306] had a lot of prep work to do. It started with a much simpler 5×7 die, using the popular WS2812 RGB LEDs on a custom PCB. With a bit of practice under his belt, it was time to upgrade to the much smaller SK6805 LEDs, which were arranged in an 8×8 matrix. The board layout is about as compact as it gets; [sjm4306] reports that this pushed PCB manufacturing to its limits, but ended up with perfectly spaced LEDs on the board and just enough headroom to maintain consistent spacing in two dimensions when the boards are adjacent to each other.
Assembling the boards was difficult, to say the least. The video below shows that the design left barely enough room to manipulate the LEDs with tweezers, and some fancy manipulation was required to get the boards on and off the hot plate for reflow. [sjm4306] says he will explore JLC PCB’s assembly service in the future, as each board took him an hour to assemble. But they look fantastic when daisy-chained together, with no detectable gaps at the joints.
With dies like these, the possibilities are endless. We even have a whole list of LED matrix projects on Hackaday.io for you to check.