How to Update Ender 3 Firmware
Marlin is the firmware that comes with the Ender 3 printer. Most 3D printers come with this software. It contains a bootloader that you can upgrade and a number of tools that can help you get the best from your printer. Creality Ender 3 is one of the most affordable 3D printers in the 3D printing space.
Most beginners or newbies love this printer not only because it is inexpensive, but you can also get excellent and high-quality 3D prints from this device despite its affordability. In this article, you’ll learn how Ender firmware works and how to update it.
3D Printing Firmware Mechanism
If you are a beginner, you may not have heard about firmware before, but this section will enlighten you on what a 3D printer firmware is and how it works.
It's easy to ignore the importance of the programming that sits within the hardware among all the good and excellent features of 3D printers. A 3D printer's firmware is what brings life to your printer. It decodes the G-Code generated by the slicer and transmits commands to the different hardware components to be executed. The G-code file contains a collection of commands and coordinates that specify the 3D model that will be printed.
For better understanding, think of it as Google Chrome, the browser which links you with the information you need to get on the internet. Likewise, firmware is that bridge that connects the hardware and the software. In 3D printers, firmware interprets the user's 'G-code' and sends it to the stepper drivers, which regulate the motor, temperature, flow, speed, and interface, among other things.
The software, for example, translates the G command 'G1 X 20 Y 10' into a set of instructions that the stepper understands. As a result, the extruder achieves X=20 and Y=10 values.
Why You Should Update Your 3D Printer’s Firmware
Updating your printer’s firmware is necessary to improve your 3D printer’s functions. You’ll also get a smoother 3D printing experience and high-quality 3D prints. Here is some importance of a firmware update:
- Improved performance
Firmware update is one of the numerous ways pros may make their 3D printers a little quicker or more precise. It can improve 3D printer performance due to faster computations and a more precise movement in many circumstances. Each firmware is individually coded and updated regularly. This can result in considerable performance changes across firmware versions.
- Special features
There might be some significant changes in 3D printing firmware. Another firmware may support the printing speeds of Delta or CoreXY 3D printers, while another may offer more excellent compatibility with numerous extruders. These are highly specialised features that may only be available on a small number of firmware variants. You may not be able to access special features just like the pros do if you don’t update your 3D printer’s firmware.
- Excellent calculation speed
Calculation speed is determined by the 3D printing technique you choose. The architecture of delta and CoreXY printers, for example, necessitates a complicated set of instructions for accurate movement control. At high rates, if the firmware isn't updated to run these instructions rapidly, the printer may stutter or crash. This problem is determined in part by the controller board you choose.
- Compatibility of Controller Boards
Firmware is often created for a specific piece of hardware. A RAMPS or RUMBA board, for example, can run Marlin firmware, but not a Smoothieboard or a Duet. If you replace your controller board with one with greater functionality, you may need to update your 3D printer firmware.
Best Options for Ender 3 Firmware Update
We'll be talking about the top Ender 3 options here. The following are the primary options:
- Marlin 2.0
Ender 3 firmware is based on Marlin 2.0, an incredibly popular option. There are possibilities to configure it yourself if you're technically minded. Marlin is a highly adaptable firmware that can run on both 8-bit and 32-bit devices. You can use it with a variety of 3D printers and control boards. Users assembling their 3D printers from various components often choose marlin firmware with almost any form of 3D printer hardware. It supports multi-extrusion printers, filament run-out sensors, auto bed leveling, heater power management, and 30 languages. Because marlin is so adaptable, it's frequently utilized in CNC machines.
Key features: Supports a broad range of computers, is highly compatible, is extensively used, and is constantly updated.
Compatibility: Virtually all 8-bit and 32-bit controller boards are compatible.
Requirement: Arduino IDE is required
Repetier is an excellent firmware solution in terms of performance consistency and dependability. It complements Repetier Host's all-in-one software incredibly well; therefore you might want to consider integrating the two into your 3D printing system.
Key features: Excellent documentation, compatibility with Duet-based boards, and optimization for usage with Repetier-Host.
Compatibility: A variety of 8-bit boards, as well as RADDS, are compatible (RepRap Arduino-Due Driver Shield)
Requirements: Arduino IDE is required.
Klipper is a fantastic firmware choice for experienced users, and it is best utilized with Creality's 32-bit boards (such as the Ender 3 V2) due to its pre-installed bootloader. This innovative firmware package enables pressure advance and various other capabilities by employing a mainboard and a single-board computer.
When it comes to G-Code instructions, Klipper takes a unique approach. Some of the execution tasks are off-loaded to a secondary microcontroller parallel to a general computer like a Raspberry Pi instead of the control board needing to perform everything. Klipper can now do computations significantly faster, making it a perfect firmware for high-speed 3D printers.
Key features: Prints at greater rates, is compatible with OctoPrint, has accurate stepper motor movement, and is extensively documented.
Compatibility: Atmel ATmega-based microcontrollers, ARM-based microcontrollers, and Beaglebone PRU-based printers are all compatible.
Requirement: Raspberry Pi is required.
How Marlin Firmware Works
Marlin Firmware operates on the main board of the 3D printer, controlling all of the machine's real-time operations. It controls the 3D printing process's heaters, sensors, steppers, lights, buttons, LCD, etc.
Marlin utilizes Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), a process in which a motor drives plastic filament through a heated nozzle, which melts and extrudes the material, while a computer controls the nozzle.
G-code is a derivation of Marlin's control language. G-code commands instruct a machine to perform basic tasks such as "set heater 1 to 180°" or "go to XY at speed F." A model must be translated to G-code using a program called a "slicer" before it can be printed using Marlin.
You won't be able to obtain G-code files since each printer is different; you'll have to slice them yourself. As movement orders are received, Marlin adds them to a queue to be performed in the order received. The queue is processed by the "stepper interrupt," which converts linear motions into precisely timed electrical pulses for the stepper motors.
The main loop handles command processing, refreshing the display, and controller events, while a second interrupt manages the heaters and sensors at a much slower rate. If the CPU becomes too overloaded to read the sensors, Marlin will reboot for safety reasons.
How to Update Marlin Firmware
To update your 3D printer’s firmware, you’ll need the following:
- Computer: It might be the same PC you use for your 3D printing procedure.
- Arduino: The Arduino IDE is available for free download from the Arduino website. It is necessary to download it for your firmware update.
- USB cable: You'll need a USB cable to connect your PC to your 3D printer, depending on the port on your 3D printer.
- File with firmware: Download the marlin updated version from the appropriate source.
- Specific printer information: Navigate to where the machine-specific settings are saved once you've selected the firmware. You should write down the default parameters for your 3D printer.
Follow These Steps
The following are the critical steps to updating the firmware on your 3D printer:
- Using a USB cable, connect your 3D printer to your computer.
- Download and install Arduino IDE on your computer.
- Download the latest marlin firmware.
- In the Arduino IDE, open the latest marlin firmware file you’ve downloaded.
- Connect and transfer the firmware to your 3D printer.
- Select your 3D printer controller board processor under the "Tools" area, and ensure the COM port is configured appropriately.
- Click the "Tick" symbol in the upper left corner after you're finished. This starts the compilation process. You'll get a notification that reads "Done Compiling" when the firmware has been built.
- Simply download the firmware on your 3D printer.
- In your 3D printer, initialize the EEPROM.
Final Thoughts Firmware upgrade adds a lot of valuable features to your 3D printer. You need to update the firmware on your Ender 3 before you can get the best features from your printer. It is not difficult to update the firmware of your Ender 3; just follow the instructions stated in this article.