3D Printer Wiring, Connectors and Terminals

    3D Printers3D Printer Wiring, Connectors and Terminals

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    3D printer Wiring is one of the most important parts of a 3d printer build. If your looking to build your own 3D Printer, you’ve come to the right place.  Building your own 3D Printer Wiring harnesses can be a challenge for some. In this article, I will give some examples and explain some of the most common connectors and wire gauges used to build 3D Printers.

    3D Printer Wiring and Gauges

    Stranded wiring

    One of the most important things about your 3D Printer is the Wiring. If the gauge is too small you won’t get enough current to your parts and can even have a disaster on your hands. Too large of a gauge and you might have a problem fitting those crimped terminals into the connectors.

    So, the first thing to look for in a wire type is a stranded wire.

    The reason being your printer will create thousands of cycled movements and if your wire is a solid it will be susceptible to break over the duration of repeated abuse. The stranded wire allows for the cable to flex and move without breaking over time.

    Wiring Gauge

    The RepRap Wiki page recommends using 22AWG or 20AWG but in my experience, these gauge sizes do NOT fit the most common connector types used in 3D Printer Controller Boards. Which sucks because LED 4-Pin wire comes in standard 22AWG and is 4-pin connected.

    Update 11/07/2018: I tested out this 22AWG wire and it seems to work really well.

    22 AWG 4 Conductor Stranded Shielded Plenum Cable 

    You can’t beat this price either for 100ft roll!

    I recommend using 24AWG wire. This seems to be the sweet spot for max wire diameter and connector fitment. This makes a good news, bad news scenario…

    The bad news;

    • Not as available as the LED wire
    • You need to pair your own wires
    • Usually found in single spools.

    The good news;

    • Cheap
    • Let’s you make custom color wire harnesses
    • Allows you to create a Twisted Pair harness
    • Better control of your products quality

    I recommend and personally use this affordable kit;

    3D Printer Wiring Connectors

    There are a variety of 3D Printer Controller Boards out there which I will cover in another article. Here we will discuss some of the most common connectors I routinely see.

    Dupont Connectors

    These connectors work great for RAMPS and Rumba type controller boards with open Pin Headers.

    JST Connectors

    These connectors are typically found on ANET, MKS, Melzi and Chitu type controller boards.

    Other Connectors

    Some boards like the RAMBo 1.x use positive latch connectors used for 3D Printer Wiring. These are nice because it prevents the connectors from coming loose or popping out.

    Connector Part Numbers;

    Power Connectors

    You’ll see a lot of HotEnds and Thermistors use these type of 2-pin JST-SYP Connectors. These are great for quick component change and look nice too. These are also rated for a higher current so they work well with hotends and other types of 3D Printer Wiring.

    3D Printer Wiring Crimp Tool

    If you’re not using the right tool to crimp your wires you’re wasting your time. This can be very time-consuming and tedious. But with the right tool, it makes this work a breeze. I like to use a Compression Ratcheting Crimper. This ensures the correct amount of pressure is crimped to the terminals and wires.

    I have used this crimp tool on all the connectors in this article and it works well.

    Summary

    So that’s the basics for wiring your next 3D Printer Build. You can always get fancy and add some wire loom with heat shrink tubing to your wire harnesses to make it look cool or stealthy.

    I hope you have found this information of use and please feel free to leave a comment below.

    Happy Printing!