Kate G. - April 02 2024

How to Connect Ender 3 to PC

How to Connect Ender 3 to PC

Connecting a printer to print directly from the PC or laptop opens up a realm of intriguing possibilities. You don't have to running around the place to do some controls, and you'll be able to input G-code commands and instruct the printer to execute various tasks. While how to connecting your printer to the PC? We'll take the Creality Ender 3 as an example to go through the processs with you.

How to Connect Ender 3 to PC with USB Cable

To connect your Ender 3 3D printer to your PC, you'll typically use a USB cable. Here's a step-by-step guide:
1. Tools You Need
- a Micro USB Cable: The Ender 3 usually comes with a mini USB port located on the side or at the back of the control box.

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- Prepare Your PC: Make sure your PC has a USB port available. Ensure that you have the necessary drivers installed. Typically, when you connect the printer, your PC might automatically search for and install the drivers. If not, you might need to download and install them manually. You can usually find the drivers on the manufacturer's website.

- Slicer Software: Depending on what you want to do with your printer, you may need to install specific software. For example, if you want to use slicing software to prepare your 3D models for printing, you might need to install software like Cura, OcraSlicer or Simplify3D.

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2. Connect the USB Cable
Take the USB cable that came with your Ender 3 or any compatible USB cable. Plug one end into the USB port on your printer's control box, the other end into an available USB port on your PC.

Print with Cura Over USB

Configure Cura Settings
You can check if the connection is successful by going to your software, like CURA here, to see if the printer is listed. After opening and slicing our print model, we have the monitor option pop-up, indicating that you've connected to the USB connection on the front of your printer, allowing you to control it from your laptop or computer. Here, you can observe the bed temperature, extruder temperature displayed, which are always useful for monitoring. With everything in check, you can proceed and initiate the print with a simple click.

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Start Printing
You can send print commands from your slicing software to the printer via the USB connection.That's it! You should now be able to control and print from your Ender 3 using your PC. Make sure to follow any additional instructions provided by the manufacturer or the software you're using for the best results.

How to Connect Ender 3 to Pronterface

Pronterface is a popular open-source software option for 3D printing control. To connect your FDM 3D printers to Pronterface, you need firstly use USB cable to connect like what we does above for Cura, than about the Pronterface software part:
1. Download and Installa Pronterface
Visit the Pronterface website, look for the download section and choose the appropriate version for your operating system (e.g., Windows, Mac) to download and install.

To configure the connection between your computer and the 3D printer, there are two essential pieces of information you'll need: the serial port number and the baud rate (board rate).

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2.  Port Number
On a PC, finding the COM port number is straightforward. Open the Device Manager, and locate the "Ports" section. When you connect your printer via USB, you'll see the list refreshing, and Windows may notify you that it's setting up the device. Under "Ports," you'll find the serial port address of your printer (e.g., COM8).

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3. Baud Speed (Connection Speed)
Baud speed refers to the bits per second of the serial communication. Typically, it's either 115200 or 250000.
After setting up the port and baud rate, you should see a message indicating successful connection and that the printer is online. If you encounter errors or gibberish text, try different baud rates until you establish a successful connection.
By following these steps, you can configure Pronterface or similar software to communicate effectively with your 3D printer.

How to Connect Ender 3 to PC Wirelessly

Furthermore, a connected 3D printer can be integrated into a networked environment, enabling remote monitoring and management. Through Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity, users can monitor print progress, receive real-time notifications, and even initiate prints from remote locations using compatible software or web-based platforms, including Pronterface. This level of accessibility enhances workflow efficiency and enables collaborative printing projects.

Some 3D printers nowadays offer Wi-Fi connectivity, providing users with wireless printing and remote monitoring capabilities. Models like Ultimaker's S3 and S5 feature built-in Wi-Fi for easy print job transmission via the Ultimaker app. The Creality Ender-3 V2 supports Wi-Fi with add-ons like the Creality Wi-Fi Box, while Prusa i3 MK3S+ users can achieve Wi-Fi connectivity using OctoPrint. Bambu Lab P1S, X1C, Creality K1C, K1, K1 Max also come with built-in Wi-Fi support. These Wi-Fi-enabled printers enhance flexibility and accessibility in 3D printing workflows, enabling remote printing and monitoring.

Creality Box is a Wi-Fi box designed for Creality printers. With this device, you can easily network your printers wirelessly. It provides the convenience of managing your printing tasks without the hassle of physical connections, offering more flexibility and efficiency in your printing setup, and centralized management and control of multiple printers simultaneously.

Issues of 3D printing via PC

Q1: What happens if your computer goes into sleep mode or if the monitor shuts down during a print?

A1: Basically, if your computer goes into sleep mode or if the monitor shuts down in the middle of a print, it stops the print. However, in my experience, when my monitor went into sleep mode, it had no detrimental effect on the print whatsoever. This might not be the case for everyone, as it depends on how your system is set up. If the computer were to go into proper sleep mode, it would indeed stop the print. But just going into hibernation mode, like my monitor did, doesn't seem to be a problem. The screen being off didn't affect the ongoing print, and when I nudged the system back to wakefulness, the print continued without issue. It's worth noting that this might vary depending on the laptop or computer you're using. Fortunately, in my case, I can leave the system without having to adjust any power settings, and the printing process remains uninterrupted regardless of what tasks the computer is performing.

Q2: Can you shut down Cura while it's printing, or will it keep printing in the background?

A2: No, you can't shut down Cura while printing. If Cura is closed, it will stop the USB print in progress. Therefore, it's not advisable to shut down Cura while printing. So, if your PC were to crash during a print, you might encounter some trouble.
If you click the close button of Cura while printing through PC, you'll received a message stating, "Closing Cura. USB print in progress." So, unfortunately, it will indeed stop the USB print if Cura is closed.

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