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Ender 3 WiFi Support: How to Upgrade

Picture of Miroslav Sarcevic
by Miroslav Sarcevic
Oct 8, 2019

3D printing using SD cards can be inconvenient. Dig into this Ender 3 WiFi setup guide so that you can wirelessly control and monitor your 3D printer.

Ender 3 WiFi Setup

Is This Necessary?

A Creality Ender 3 after finishing a print.
A Creality Ender 3 after finishing a print. (Source: Howchoo)

It’s not mandatory to have WiFi on your Ender 3, but it sure can make your life a lot easier. After all, it eliminates the need for USB tethering or SD cards for printing.

Apart from convenience, most WiFi upgrade options also integrate some form of webcam monitoring, so you’ll be able to stop a failed print remotely before it uses up all your precious filament.

WiFi Support Options

If you’re looking to upgrade your Ender 3 with WiFi, you’ve got several options:

  • WiFi SD card: The first option is probably the simplest: A WiFi SD card. You‘ll need one SD to MicroSD card adapter since all WiFi cards are in SD size. You can order one at Amazon. However, this option will give you only basic WiFi support. You’ll be able to transfer your files wirelessly, but you’ll still have to start prints manually on the printer itself. Hence it’s only ideal if you really don’t want to go through the setup required for the other two options, or if you’re on a shoestring budget.
  • OctoPrint: A Raspberry Pi with OctoPrint is the classic wireless printer rig that also has integrated monitoring. Choose the Raspberry Pi with embedded WiFi or add a WiFi dongle, and you’ll have a wireless 3D printer. The only limitation is that you can only access your printer while connected to the same network, by default. For a fuss-free setup, you might find these helpful:
  • AstroBox: The third option, which this article is about, is upgrading your Ender 3 with AstroBox. With this option, you can access your machine from anywhere, as long as both the machine and your device are connected to the internet using any network. Because of this flexibility and its ease of setup and use, AstroBox is the ideal Ender 3 WiFi upgrade.

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Ender 3 WiFi Setup

What Is AstroBox?

The AstroBox Gateway packs the power of a Raspberry Pi 3.
The AstroBox Gateway packs the power of a Raspberry Pi 3. (Source: AstroPrint)

AstroBox is an upgrade for your 3D printer that makes printing more fun in addition to packing a wireless punch. It’s based on the Raspberry Pi 3 controller board, and there are two options to choose from: the AstroBox Gateway and the AstroBox Touch.

The only difference is that the AstroBox Touch comes with a touchscreen; it was a highly popular Kickstarter product back in its day.

Which AstroBox to pick?

If you’re new to 3D printing, we recommend the AstroBox Touch. It’s more expensive than the Gateway, but it’s very easy to set up thanks to a touchscreen. To save $100, go with the AstroBox Gateway. Just bear in mind that its setup process is more cumbersome.

AstroBox Touch
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Ender 3 WiFi Setup

Connecting AstroBox Touch

The AstroBox Touch Menu.
The AstroBox Touch Menu. (Source: AstroPrint)

Upgrading your Ender 3 (or any other Marlin-based 3D printer) with AstroBox is as easy as connecting a few cables.

Here’s what we need for the upgrade:

Unbox everything and start connecting:

  1. Connect the camera to AstroBox’s USB port. This step is optional; if you don’t have a camera, skip this. The recommended camera is the Logitech C920, but any webcam should work.
  2. Connect the power supply to AstroBox and wait for the system to boot up.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen. Start the setup wizard by tapping “Begin Setup”.
  4. Choose the network name for your AstroBox. (If you have more than one printer, choose different names for each network when you set up AstroBox.)
  5. Set up the WLAN by connecting to the WiFi network of your choice.
  6. Once AstroBox connects to the internet, it will ask you to log in to your AstroPrint account. If you don’t have one, you can create it now.
  7. Connect your Ender 3 to the AstroBox with a USB cable.
  8. Wait for the connection to establish, and that’s it!

The easiest way to start a print job is to upload your files to the AstroPrint cloud server from your desktop. This way, you’ll even be able to print from a mobile device.

(Lead image source: AstroPrint)

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License: The text of "Ender 3 WiFi Support: How to Upgrade" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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