HowTo: pxlBlck - build pxlBlck_Pot

The idea for the pxlBlck_Pot is strongly inspired by a design that Luke (@i_am_lukas) had designed. He agreed that I should use his design. Thanks again for that 🙂

The pxlBlck_Pot is basically a 3D printed flower pot. A 32×8 WS2812 LED matrix can be inserted into it. This allows the function of the pxlBlck to be integrated invisibly into a flower pot.

The LED matrix is not visible when it is not switched on. Only when the LEDs are activated is the display visible on the outside.

How you can build your own pxlBlck_Pot is described in the following article.

Your pxlBlck_Pot could look like this 🙂

Safety instructions

I know the following notes are always kind of annoying and seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people who knew "better" have lost eyes, fingers or other things due to carelessness or injured themselves. Data loss is almost negligible in comparison, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Because even the coolest project is not worth injury or other trouble.

Affiliate links/advertising links

The links to online shops listed here are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and make a purchase via this link, will receive a commission from the relevant online shop or provider. The price does not change for you. If you make your purchases via these links, you support in being able to offer other useful projects in the future. 🙂 


For the assembly you have to master soldering tasks. The following articles contain tips on this.

Required tool:

Required material:

In the following list you will find all the parts you need for the assembly.


Here you can see a small overview of how animations and the time can be displayed on the pxlBlk_Pot.

Collect the necessary parts

To get started with the assembly of your pxlBlck_Pot, you should first collect all the necessary parts.

To build the pxlBlck_Pot you need the following components.

  • 3D printed base
  • 3D printed lid
  • 4x threaded insert M3
  • 4x M3x6 countersunk head screw
  • 6×32 LED panel on flexible PCB
  • ESP8266
  • 5x approx. 15cm long cables
  • Paper strip approx. 80x300mm

You can find the STL files for printing on your 3D printer in the repository for the pxlBlck_Pot at the following link.

Preparing the LED panel

Before you can start installing the LED panel, you should prepare it a little.

You will need five cables of approx. 15 cm in length and the LED panel.

Two cables can have the same color, as these are used to supply the panel with power.

First remove the connection cables that have already been soldered on.

You can then solder the middle connection cable back on. However, turn it beforehand so that the cable leads upwards directly away from the LED panel.

Close-up of the soldered supply cable in the center of the LED panel.

You can now strip the prepared cable sections and tin them with a little solder. This will make it easier to solder them to the LED panel later.

Now you can solder the wires to the left side of the LED panel. You will find three contacts here. In addition to the 5V and GND input, there is also the DIN connection, which will later be used to send the data to the LED panel.

Close-up view of the soldered cables.

Left: DIN connection

Center: GND

Right: 5V

Now repeat this for the right-hand side of the LED panel with the remaining cable sections. Here, of course, you only connect the lines for GND and 5V. It is very helpful if you keep the assignment of the color to the respective connection identical to the connection on the left side of the LED panel.

Once soldered, your LED panel should look like this.

Insert LED panel into housing

Now it's time to install the prepared LED panel in the housing.

You will need the following parts.

  • the 3d printed housing of the pxlBlck_Pot
  • the prepared LED panel
  • a strip of paper measuring 300x80mm

Now push the paper strip approx. one cm into the opening provided in the base as shown.

Another view of the inserted paper strip.

Now you can slide the LED panel into the base as shown.

The paper strip shown here was unfortunately a little too short. Therefore, it does not cover the entire width of the LED matrix. You can of course use a strip of paper that covers the entire width.

Another view of the partially inserted LED panel.

Another view of the partially inserted LED panel.

Another view of the partially inserted LED panel.

Now you can slowly push the paper strip and the LED panel completely into the base.

Another view of the inserted LED panel.

The LED panel must be inserted into the base "as far as it will go".

Tweezers or another thin tool can be very helpful here.

Other view.

View of the LED panel pushed in as far as it will go.

Another view of the LED panel pushed in as far as it will go.

Prepare connecting cables

To make it easier to connect the cables to the ESP8266 later, it is now recommended to combine the individual supply lines.

To do this, you should now connect the connection cables for the 5V connection (here the red and orange cables) with each other and...


Another view of the combined 5V connection.

Now repeat the same for the GND connection lines.

Solder them together again after you have joined them.

Another view of the combined supply lines.

To tidy up the individual lines a little more...

you can tie them together with cable ties.

Connect ESP8266

The ESP8266 is the microcontroller that will later control the LED matrix. You must now connect this to the prepared cables.

For this you need the ESP8266 and the prepared base of the pxlBlck_Pot including the inserted LED panel.

Now apply some hot glue to the recess on the underside of the housing...

...and places the ESP8266 in it.

The ESP8266 should sit firmly in it and not fall out.

Now it's time to prepare for connecting the cables.

First tin the following contacts with a little solder.

  • D6
  • G=GND
  • 5V

Close-up view of the prepared contacts.

Now you can connect the lines to the ESP8266 as shown. The lines are connected as follows:

LED panelESP8266

Close-up view of the soldered cables.

Another view of the soldered cables.

Preparing to fit the cover

You can now fit a cover to protect the electronics installed on the underside.

To do this, you must first insert the threaded inserts with which the cover will later be screwed to the base. You will need four threaded inserts for M3 screws.

Use a soldering iron to insert the threaded inserts into the base as shown.

Repeat this for the remaining three holes in the base.

View of the inserted thread insert.

View of the inserted thread insert.

View of the inserted thread insert.

View of the inserted thread insert.

Connect USB cable and fit cover

A USB cable must now be connected so that the ESP8266 and the connected LED panel can be supplied with power. Only then can the cover be mounted on the underside.

For this you will need the following parts.

  • the prepared base including the installed ESP8266 and LED panel
  • four M3x8 screws
  • a USB cable with micro USB connection
  • the 3d printed cover

Now connect the USB cable to the ESP8266 as shown.

Then you can put the lid on as shown.

Make sure that the screws are congruent with the threaded inserts underneath.

Then you can screw the cover to the base using the M3x8 screws.


Once screwed together, your pxlBlck_Pot should look like this.

Other view.

Other view.

Program firmware

After setting up the pxlBlck_Pot, you now need to install ESPEasy including the pxlBlck plugin on the ESP8266. How to do this is described in the following article.

Configure pxlBlck plugin

After installing the firmware you have to configure the plugin correctly. You can also find information about this in the article pxlBlck - Install and configure the pxlBlck plugin.

For additional orientation, you can also use the settings from the screenshot shown here.

Animations, icons and commands

More information about the display of animations, icons and the possible commands with which you can configure your pxlBlck can also be found in the following articles.

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

PS Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂

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  1. Hi,

    unfortunately I cannot load the STL files into my slicer. I tested Prusa's and Snapmaker's.
    Is there another trick?

    Best regards

    1. hey jens,
      I just tried again with the files downloaded from the repository and I can import them into my slicer with no errors.
      I use "Slic3r" as a slicer. What exactly is not working for you? Is it simply not loading or is an error message displayed?
      Best regards

  2. Hi,

    swe Slicer by Pruser is also based on Slic3r. but none of your other files work either. Maybe it's my computer. I'll try another one tomorrow.

    Oddly enough, other STL files from other projects work

    1. good morning Jens,
      I just downloaded and installed both slicers. In both slicers I was able to import and view the STL files.
      What error message or abnormal behavior do you get when importing the files? 🙂
      Best regards

  3. Hello Fab,
    can you say something about the slicer settings?
    With or (partially) without support structure? Filling 0%?
    Cura shows me about 1 day printing time.

    Greetings Christian

    1. Hi Christian,
      It's been a while since I printed this STL. But one day actually seems a bit long to me. I think I printed about 12 hours back then.
      I mostly print with 30%Infill, five perimeters and this STL for sure also with support. Did you have the STL positioned upright?
      I imagine it should take considerably longer if you print them upside down.
      I hope this is of some help. 🙂
      Best regards

  4. Hello and many thanks for the project. Can you describe to me how you created the double points between hours and minutes as shown on the 32×8 matrix? Best regards, R. Claus

    1. Hey Reini,
      of course, what exactly do you want to know? How did I generate it in program code? or how to display them with the plugin?
      Best regards

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