Every 3D printer has a small computer and control circuitry to amplify and direct the signals that perform all the functions the printer needs to operate. Some printer suppliers put all these functions on a single circuit board and use proprietary chips to control their printers.
Historically, that hasn’t always been the case. Development in this area was spurred by the appearance of the Arduino computer, and the Arduino Mega had enough digital and analog control circuitry to do the job. All that was needed was a means to make the raw power of the Mega available to the mechanical parts of the 3D printer.
These days, 3D printing has progressed to a point where commercial systems can be purchased that are literally plug and play. That’s great for people who just want to print and don’t care about the internal workings of these fascinating machines.
But if you do care or want to build your own, it’s useful to understand more about what all the parts do and how they fit together. In this article, we take you through one of the original circuit boards that made possible the control of the motors, switches, heaters, and sensors, all of which are essential to your 3D printer’s function.