How To Connect Ender 3 To PC: A Complete Setup Guide

While the standard way of using an Ender 3 printer doesn’t involve a computer connection, there are moments when you might not want to use a USB stick or SD card. Since this printer has a USB port, you might wonder if there are ways to connect your Ender 3 (Pro/V2) to your PC

To connect your Ender 3 to a PC, you have to download and install the printer driver and control software, such as Pronterface, Cura, or Simplify3D. Then use a mini USB or micro USB cable (depending on the model) to connect the printer to the PC. 

Connecting Ender 3 To Computer in 5 Easy Steps

Connecting your Ender 3 to a computer comes in handy for several reasons. Beyond the remote control, you can update your printer’s firmware and software. All you need is the right USB cable – the Ender 3 Pro has a mini-USB port, whereas the Ender 3 V2 features a micro-USB port. 

Things You Will Need

  • Controlling software
  • Hardware (the right type of USB cable based on your Ender 3 USB port)

1. Find the right USB cable

While not all Ender 3 printers use the same USB cable type, figuring one which kind you need for your printer is easy. You can look at the back or side of your printer to identify the USB port, or you can check the user manual.

To make it even easier for you, know that the Ender 3 Pro has a mini-USB port, whereas the Ender 3 V2 has a micro-USB port

2. Download and install the controlling software

A controlling software might not be needed if you only want to update your product’s firmware. However, you have to install one if you want to print directly from your PC.

The most popular options include Cura and Pronterface, but there are some alternatives if you don’t like these ones for one reason or another. Both Cura and Pronterface are intuitive to use and represent a good option for beginners.

No matter what software you decide to use, download from an official source and install it following the instructions in the installation wizard. Launch the software once installed.

3. Connect your printer 

Once the software is installed and running, open your computer’s Device Manager window by right-clicking the start menu and selecting the Device Manager option.

In the Device Manager window, click on the tab Ports, then connect your Ender 3 to the PC with the appropriate USB cable. 

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Check the Device Manager window; a new entry appearing in the Ports tab means that your 3D printer is now connected to the PC, and you can print to Ender 3 with a USB cable.

If you’ve connected the 3D printer USB, but there is no new entry, your computer might not recognize the printer, and you’ll have to install the appropriate Ender 3 Pro or Ender 3 V2 drivers – an easy way to find and download them is by googling Ender 3 Windows 10 drivers or a similar term if you’re using another Windows version or another operating system.

Disconnect the USB cable, then download and install the drivers. When ready, open the Device Manager and connect the cable to check for new entries.

4. Configure the port settings

Once the computer has recognized your 3D printer and added it to the Port list, right-click the new entry, select Properties, and navigate to Port Settings.

In the Port Settings tab, you’ll notice a drop down named Bits per Second. Click on it and select 128000. Save the settings by hitting the Apply or Save button; then, you can close the Properties tab and the Device Manager window.

5. Add the printer to your software

The only thing you have to do before being able to control your 3D printer from the PC is to add it to the software. The exact method may differ from software to software, but the process is generally intuitive.

In Pronterface, for instance, all you have to do is choose the correct port (the specific name as shown in Device Manager) and the 128000 rate. You can then hit the Connect button and wait until the software prompts you that the printer is online.

To add a printer to Cura, you have to open the Printer panel and select Add printer. You can then select the right printer from the dropdown list and hit the Add button to start controlling it.

How to 3D Print with Cura over USB

USB Port Not Working?

Whether you’re trying to connect your Ender 3 to a PC or use it with Raspberry Pi, there are moments when the printer isn’t detected by PC or Pi when connecting the USB cable. As frustrating as that is, there are two main reasons why your printer is not detecting the computer: due to a hardware glitch (most likely a faulty motherboard) or incompatibility issues. In the first case, restarting the computer might help.

Hard Reboot

If you are perfectly sure that the software you use is compatible with the printer, the USB port not working could be caused by a hardware problem. Restarting the computer or restoring the connection might help. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Disconnect the micro-USB or mini-USB cable connecting the printer.
  2. Turn off the printer and it. Keep it unplugged for at least 10 seconds, then plug it back in but don’t turn it on at this stage.
  3. Close the printer software on your computer and restart it. Alternatively, you can restart the computer.
  4. Once you’ve restarted the software, turn on the printer and wait for a few seconds until it’s properly booted.
  5. Open the printer software and check for the printer to see if you can connect it.
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If you notice that Cura is not connecting to the printer via USB some of the times, but it works in other instances, you may have to replace the printer’s motherboard. Before doing that, check the USB cable and make sure it’s working properly.

Incompatibility Issue

Another thing to check before replacing your printer’s hardware is compatibility between the controlling software and the printer’s firmware.

For instance, Cura only supports USB printers that follow the RepRap/Marlin G-code protocol. If your printer uses a different firmware, the software will not recognize the printer. However, you should be able to see the printer in your computer’s Device Manager.

Tips To Remember When 3D Printing With Ender 3

3D printing with Ender 3 directly from your PC is all fun and games, but there are a few things to remember if you don’t want to fail mid-project.

Keep the Computer On 

Once you send a printing command to your 3D printer via computer, it is crucial to maintain the connection from start to finish. This means that you have to keep the computer on – your PC going in sleep mode can interrupt the printing process.

For this reason, you should turn off the Sleep Mode and screensaver whenever you’re controlling the printer from your PC.

Don’t Plug Anything In While Printing 

Sending commands to your 3D printer can take up a lot of resources, and plugging in any other devices while you’re using the Ender 3 could jeopardize your project. 

Close All Other Programs 

As mentioned above, 3D printing from a computer requires all available resources; that’s why you should close all other running programs before hitting the print command. 

Use Battery Backup 

Keeping the computer on at all times is crucial, and an outage can interrupt the printing process. For this reason, you should always use battery backup. 

If you’re planning to connect the 3D printer to the PC, we recommend investing in a quality UPS device that should be on whenever you’re printing directly from the PC. If you’re using a laptop, make sure the battery is fully charged.

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Don’t unplug your laptop to prevent draining the battery. In this way, your system will stay on even if the power is off.

Alongside your computer, your 3D printer should also have a battery backup. 

Plug the USB Cable Directly into the Computer

If your computer has only one USB port and you generally plug in several devices, you might use a USB splitter. While the splitter comes in handy in many situations, it could negatively impact the quality of your print if you plug the printer into it because the splitter can reduce the USB bandwidth.

Considering that you should never plug in other devices when using the 3D printer, unplug the splitter and plug your Ender 3 directly into your PC.

3 Benefits Of Connecting Ender 3 To Computer

While 3D printers don’t require a computer connection, connecting them to a PC has numerous advantages. Let’s have a look at the most important. 

Full Remote Control and Monitoring

When you control the Ender 3 from the PC, you have full control over each print. For instance, OctoPrint allows you to print objects from anywhere as long as your printer is connected to the PC, monitor the progress via a webcam if you’re away, use the terminal command function, and so on.

Easy Upgrades

Upgrading your Ender 3 without connecting it to a PC means downloading the data, copying it to a USB stick or SD card, then using the stick or SD card to update the printer.

Connecting the Ender 3 to the PC allows you to upgrade the software or firmware directly, without the need for using external drives.

Direct Computer Control 

Lastly, you can control the printer directly from the PC. You won’t have to save data on external drives; all you have to do is hit the print button after you’ve configured the software to get things done.

Bottom Line

Print to Ender 3 with a USB cable opens a world of possibilities regardless of your skill level. From updating and upgrading your printer to skipping the need for USB sticks or SD cards, connecting the Ender 3 to your computer is the best thing to do. We hope this guide can help you achieve your goal so that you can control and monitor the printer even from a distance.


Firmware Download – Creality 

3D Printing 101 – The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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