How to Set Up a 3D Printer

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Updated February 22, 2023

The best 3D printers are outstanding devices for anyone looking to take their creative side to the next level or produce parts in bulk for their business. Whatever your purpose, setting up the best printer entails downloading the necessary software, calibrating and leveling the printer, and getting your settings right. Below, we’ll guide you on how to set up a 3D printer so that you can get the best possible outcome.


  • Setting up a 3D printer requires downloading the software, calibrating, leveling, and adjusting the print settings.
  • Failing to set up a 3D printer properly can severely diminish print quality; therefore, it’s always vital to consult your user manual throughout each step.
  • Select your printer setting according to your desired quality and total print time.

For those looking for more great resources on 3D printing, be sure to check out more of our work. We offer instructions on how to perform a factory reset on your 3D printer and even have tips on transporting a 3D printer.

Insider Tip

Before purchasing a 3D printer, check for what type of assembly kit it is. For example, 3D printers come pre-assembled, partly assembled, and completely do-it-yourself. Then, select a printer according to your know-how and technical skill.

How to Set Up a 3D Printer

Setting up a 3D printer is essential to ensuring your device runs well, your safety, and your 3D designs turn out as close to perfect as possible. All setup processes are simple, but it’s critical to follow every step regardless of your printer type or cost.

So, follow the instructions below, and you’ll be printing in no time. Once you finish this, check out our other article, which explains how to store 3D printer filament.

STEP 1 Read Your User Manual

Whenever setting up a 3D printer, the first thing to do is read your manual. Doing this will help the process go much more quickly and significantly reduce the risk of doing anything that might cause safety hazards.

Every printer is slightly different, and the user manual will put you in tune with the uniqueness of your device. Therefore, always read the user manual before setup.

STEP 2 Gather All Necessary Supplies

After reading the manual, round up every part and tool you need. The necessary parts include everything from the printer, the filament, your computer, and the software.

STEP 3 Install the 3D Print Software

Once you have everything in front of you, plug in your printer and computer. Connect your computer and printer via a USB cable, which automatically begins the software download process. From there, download the correct drivers.

Some printers don’t download automatically. So, instead, you may need to go to the manufacturer’s website to download the proper software and drivers.

STEP 4 Calibrate Your Printer

Although many printers come pre-calibrated, it’s always best to go through the calibration process just in case. Visit the calibration instructions in your user manual, and follow them to ensure the printer is finely tuned along every axis. Remember, it is necessary to calibrate the machine every time you move it.


Using a longer USB chord to connect your computer and 3D printer can cause data transfer interruptions, leading to printing disruption. Therefore, it’s always best to use shorter chords when printing.

STEP 5 Level the Printer

Using a level and T-square, check the print frame and built plate to see if they need to be leveled. Failing to level the proper parts can result in your print models being wrong and even damage the printer itself.

Consult your user manual on how to go about the leveling process. Some printers even have an auto-leveling feature.

STEP 6 Lubricate Moving Parts

After consulting your manual on what lubrication your printer requires, apply the lube to certain parts, like the guardrails along the X & Y axes. However, your manual will show you exactly which features require lubrication.

STEP 7 Set Print Speed & Layer Height

Print speed and layer height affect your print object’s overall quality. The lower the print speed and slimmer the layer height, the better resolution you’ll get. However, these will significantly lengthen the time it takes to print.

STAT: Creating a 3D print object can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as days. Print time hinges on the object’s complexity, printing process, materials, and layer height. (source)

How to Set Up a 3D Printer FAQs

What does the term build volume mean?

Build volume refers to the size of the object a printer can create. The larger the print volume, the larger the object it can produce.

What happens if you don’t calibrate your printer before use?

Failing to calibrate your 3D printer before use can cause significant defects to the final print object.

What is the best material for printing 3D objects?

Beginners usually start with a plastic filament-based printer, like ABS or PLA. However, liquid resin printers have a higher quality. But in the end, it all comes down to your needs.
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