How to Connect a 3D Printer to a Computer

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Updated February 10, 2023

If you’re looking for an excellent printer, learning how to connect your 3D printer to your computer is a great idea. After all, most premium 3D printers require computer-based device software, even for simple 3D models. Whether your unit prints over USB or an Ethernet connection, a proper setup ensures an efficient printing process. So, keep scrolling to learn how to connect a 3D printer to a computer.


  • Connecting the 3D printer to your PC’s USB port can form a direct USB connection.
  • 3D printers can connect to your PC over the local network with Wi-Fi or a direct Ethernet connection.
  • Install your 3D printer’s device drivers and control software before your first printing project.

How to 3D Print from a Computer

Learning how to connect a printer to a tablet involves similar steps to the guide below. Additionally, a tablet or Chromebook can be a powerful tool while understanding how to monitor a 3D printer remotely. This 3D printer connectivity guide should help you understand the entire printing process.

Insider Tip

Picking a unit with open-source 3D printer software ensures access to firmware updates, even if the original manufacturer ceases operation.

Entry-level printers should investigate basic device care like monitoring bed temperatures and how to fix a 3D printer. Additionally, the tools you use are just as important as the 3D printer itself. So, learn how long resin can sit in a 3D printer to ensure amazing models that are free from cracks and imperfections.

Method 1 – USB Cable

STEP 1 Find Your USB Ports

Most 3D printers feature USB ports on the back of the unit, located near the power cable and Ethernet port.

STEP 2 Install the 3D Printer Control Software

Users can find their 3D printer software on the manufacturer’s website. Additionally, some models come with a software disc or download code.

STEP 3 Connect the USB Cable

Plug the USB cable into the computer and the 3D printer.

STEP 4 Install the Device Drivers

Your PC should perform an automatic driver installation, but you can find up-to-date drivers on your 3D printer’s website. Navigate to the device manager to ensure the 3D printer has the correct drivers.

STEP 5 Connect the Printer to the Software

Locate the 3D printer in its associated software and configure the device.

Method 2 – Ethernet Cable

STEP 1 Connect the Ethernet to the Router

Run an Ethernet cable from the 3D printer to your router.

STEP 2 Connect Your PC to the Router

Connect your PC to the local network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

STEP 3 Find the Printer

Navigate to your network settings and find your printer on the local network.

STEP 4 Configure the Printer Software

Open your 3D printer software and configure your printer settings.

Method 3 – Wi-Fi Connection

STEP 1 Power On the Printer

Plug in your 3D printer to a power source and activate it.

STEP 2 Activate Wi-Fi

Turn on Wi-Fi on your 3D printer with the settings menu.

STEP 3 Select Your Network

On the 3D printer, find your local network, and select it. You’ll need to enter your Wi-Fi password if you have a protected network.

STEP 4 Find the Printer

Navigate to your network settings on your PC and find the 3D printer to ensure it is connected to the network.

STEP 5 Configure the Printer Software

Open your 3D printer software and find the 3D printer. Configure the printer within the software to ensure a fantastic model.


You should update your 3D printer driver software, or you may run into communication issues between your printer and PC.

STAT: A 2019 Global EY survey showed that 54% of US companies applied 3D printing to their production chain. (source)

How to Connect a 3D Printer to a Computer FAQs

Is Wi-Fi or Ethernet better for 3D printing?

Experts recommend a direct connection for the fastest transfer speeds. While a wireless connection type is more convenient, Ethernet is more secure. Additionally, an Ethernet-connected device is less likely to lose signal and interrupt a printing job.

Do you need a computer to 3D print?

While it’s not ideal, you can 3D print from a tablet or netbook. That said, your options for slicing software are quite limited on mobile hardware.

Can I print from an SD card?

Some 3D printing fans hail the SD card route as the most secure transfer method for 3D model files. You can use a Wi-Fi SD card reader for wireless connectivity and a solid connection for your 3D print files.
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