Best 3d Printer Controller Boards: Top 8 Picks For 2022


Did you know that you can make over 100 items with a 3d printer There are many options, from toys and utensils, to electronic hardware and water bottles.

That might bring up the question – just what’s the mechanism behind the intelligent operation of the 3d printer?

The controller board is a critical component that makes 3d printers what it is. It is responsible for reading the firmware and making the motions possible.

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If you’re using an old printer model or you’d just like to step up your device’s performance, getting the best 3d printer controller board might be something you’re looking to do.

It can be confusing to choose the right thing when there are so many brands and models available.

Well, don’t fret because I am here to offer you some help. I’ll walk you through the top 8 3d printer board controllers and help you select the model that fits your needs and budget.

Let’s jump in.

Image

Name

Editor’s Rating

Price

BIGTREETECH SKR Mini E3 V1.2

5/5

5 out of 5

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BIGTREETECH Newest SKR Mini E3 V2.0

5/5

5 out of 5

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BIGTREETECH Direct SKR Mini E3 V1.2 + TFT35 E3 V3.0

4.5/5

4.5 out 5

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BIGTREETECH 3D Printer Part: SKR V1.4

4/5

4 out of 5

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FYSETC Duet2 WiFi V1.04

4.5/5

4.5 out 5

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Our 8 Best 3d Printer Controller Boards

1. BIGTREETECH SKR Mini E3 V1.2

We start with the feature-rich BIGTREETECH SkR Mini E3, which comes from the renowned Bigtreetech.

The SKR Mini E3 is a powerful machine that packs a 32-bit ARM CortexM3 processor. This unit is a great choice for anyone looking to increase the speed of a 3D printer. It has a 32-bit processor and 72 MHz frequency, which speeds up the printing process. This increases the efficiency.

The board includes Marlin 2.0 open-source firmware. This is a major plus, especially for new users with little knowledge of the G codes.

Upgrading the software is not complicated. The SD card can be loaded quickly and easily. The firmware can be loaded in just 10 seconds.

The machine supports inputs from 12v to 24v, which is a great news for power compatibility.

One of the best qualities of a controller board is its ability to regulate the temperature. This controller is able to control the temperature easily. First, the PCB has been wired carefully to ensure heat dissipation works effectively.

When the controller is up and running, you’ll be surprised how much quieter your printer becomes. That is all thanks to the TMC2209 drivers.

The M3 is a great upgrade for Creality machines. It works with Ender 3 Pro, Ender 5 and other CNC machines.

Highlighted features

  • Powerful, high-efficiency microprocessor – 32-bit ARM Cortex M3.
  • High-quality for efficiency, quietness and quality
  • Supports LCDs with sizes between 2.8 and 3.5 inches.
  • Compatible with RGB color LEDs
  • Versatile power inputs – 12 to 24v.
  • Compatible with BLTouch Auto-Leveling Sensors

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2. BIGTREETECH Newest SKR Mini E3 V2.0 3D Printer Board

Coming in next is another great device from the Bigtreetech family – the Newest SKR Mini E3 V2.0. Although there are many similarities between the V1.2 and this new version, there are some differences. few subtle differences.

This model has the sensorless homing function that the V1.2 does not have. This feature allows you home an axis with no need for a physical limit switch. I can’t even begin to explain how much ease of use and convenience that provides.

The ZAM and ZBM are perhaps the most important features of the V2.0. This duo connects steppers to the Z Gantry and drives them parallel using a single 2209. A motor splitter is required to drive a dual Z setup using the V1.2.

With built-in technology, everything is now automated. The V2.0 is an option for those who want convenience and a lot of it.

Intelligent power loss is another fantastic feature. Now, imagine if the power goes out while you’re printing. Usually, you’d have to set up the printer all over again, which wastes time and depends on your being there.

With V2.0, however, things are different. Intelligent data saving capabilities allow it to resume from where it left off. Such convenience!

This board has a significantly higher mofset capacity due to the heated bed and hot-end connections. While the V1.2 draws 60 amps through both connections, the V2.0 draws 85 amps via the hot end while the heated bed draws 220 amps.

Why are these high power ratings? The high power handling capability ensures safety for internal components in the event of a power surge. Moreover, there’s better heat dissipation.

The SKR V2.0 is a great choice if you own an Ender10s pro or other CNC machine with higher control and performance.

Highlighted features

  • Sensorless homing function.
  • 32bit 72mhz arm level cortex-m3 series microprocessor.
  • Superior power handling capacity for safety
  • Excellent heat dissipation.
  • After a blackout, power-resume function is activated.
  • Automatic shutdown upon completion of project.
  • Marlin 2.0 firmware is used, which comes with a free SD Card.

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3. Led Screen Controller Board| Led Screen Controller Board

Here’s yet another entry from BIGTREETECH that comes with great features.

Its microprocessor runs at 72MHz ARM cortex M3-series frequency. It can control 32-bit 3D printer controllers. It’s a powerful little processor and its performance is great.

Additionally, the unit supports BL touch as well as TFT screen.

The TFT35 12864LCD is already included in this unit, which is a huge advantage. The LCD is touchscreen-compatible, and it is very easy to use, making navigation simple.

Would you like to upgrade the Creality machine to make it Wi-Fi-compatible Here’s the best 3d printer board to make that happen. The BTT V1.2’s Wi-Fi interface brings great convenience, allowing you to send your designs to be printed remotely without the need for cables. This is amazing!

Motor drivers are where the magic happens. If you’ve been dealing with the issue of noise, now is the time to solve it. You can’t believe how quiet the printer becomes once you install the V1.2, which comes with TMC2209 drivers.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, some ease of use is something wonderful.

The V1.2 can be used with several Creality machines such as Ender 3 and 3 Pro. Installation is easy, there’s an LCD screen, and the Marlin 2.0 is already installed.

Highlighted features

  • Robust 32 bit microprocessor Cortex M3 series.
  • Communication interface via USB, SD Card, and WIFI
  • Power input from 12v to 24v
  • Touchscreen-compatible V3.0 TFT35 LCD.
  • The TMC2209 motor drivers make steppermotors extremely quiet.

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4. BIGTREETECH 3D Printer Part: SKR V1.4

Do you want to increase your power? Then the SKRV1.4 from Bigtreetech is right for you. Although it may seem small, this device packs a lot of power. It has a 32-bit Cortex M3 Series processor with a staggering 100MHz frequency.

This controller improves the printing efficiency and allows you to complete jobs faster.

The V1.4 has the Wi-Fi connector, which is one of its most important features. This is great news for anyone who loves the ease of sending designs directly to the printer without cables.

You want to be able send and receive commands using Marlin to an Ic2 device? You might be happy to know that the board has an ic2 connection. In addition to the ic2, there’s also an SPI connection.

As you might agree, LED lights in 3D printers are a great convenience. It allows you to see the printing process which is much better than printing blindly.

But a lot of times, if your printer doesn’t have the light built-in, you’re forced to purchase an adapter for the lights.

The V1.4 is unique because it has a row RGB lights that can be set directly on the board.

If you’re looking to have a BL touch installed on your printer, the process will be really easy for you. This is due to the dedicated BL Touch support, which is included on the board. It includes the probe, as well the servo.

The increased number of fan-pins is one of my favorite features. There are four fan-controllable pins on the board.

That brings heat dissipation efficiency and as the pins are controllable, you can easily turn them off when you’re not printing.

Highlighted features

  • 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 series processor at 100MHz frequency.
  • Wireless operation via Wifi adapter
  • Reserved connections to ic2 & spi
  • 4 fan pins that can be controlled
  • Includes BL touch support.
  • Pins are available for closed-loop connections.
  • Compatible with LCD and TFT.

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5. FYSETC Duet2 WiFi V1.04

Duet 2 WiFi V1.04 32-bit 3D printer controller comes with up to256 micro-stepping. You probably don’t need that much power, but it is good to have, and besides, it offers great future-proofing.

If you’ve used the Duet 2 Ethernet, then this board is pretty much the same, only with a few additional features. Of the main changes, there’s the Wifi connectivity, which gives you a lot of convenience in that you can connect devices wirelessly.

Do you need to quieten your printer? This motherboard 3d printer comes with 2660 TMC Stepper Drivers that make the steppers work super quietly.

The TMC 2660 drivers are my favorite because they print great quality without any marks.

It’s always a big plus to be able to quickly reset your 3d printing device. It is great to see the board includes both a reset button and an erase button.

Configuration can be done through the firmware, meaning you don’t have to go through the pain of dealing with the trim port for voltage adjustment.

You might think that operating this board is difficult. But, it’s not. Everything else is easy once you understand how to properly configure the firmware. You can do it on the configurator website, and it is quick and easy.

The software UI is extremely easy to use. It is equipped with all the essential features and performs very reliably.

Highlighted features

  • 32-bit microprocessor.
  • Super-efficient and silent 2660 motor drivers.
  • Dedicated Wifi module.
  • Both USB and SDcard connectors can be integrated.
  • You can configure Duet firmware via a web interface.
  • It can be extended to include up to five extruders, but it has two extruders.

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6. BIQU MKS-Base V1.6 Plate Controller Board

Are you a fan the Ramps-class firmware The BIQU MKS Base V1.6 Plate Controller board is for you. The unit comes with Atmega2560, a low-power 8 bit microprocessor that works flawlessly.

It may not be as robust 32-bit units but it still executes commands well.

One of the best things about V1.6 is its five outputs for steppermotor drivers instead of four. You can hook up the drivers that work best for you.

The board’s power input can be either 12 or 24 volts, which means there’s versatility with regard to power input. I also like that the positive/negative are colored differently to avoid confusion.

In terms of communications, the board features a PC interface square with USB and SD card.

One of my favorite features is the silent motor driver, which allows for quieter 3D printing.

Picture the power going off while you’re printing. The power will come back when one of these two scenarios occurs.

If you’re using a regular printer, you’ll have to set up the printing again. But if you have the V1.6, you needn’t worry about the process. This unit comes with resume printing.

The controller board has an auto-shutdown feature. In case the printing process finishes and you’re not there to turn off the printer, this board will shut it down automatically to conserve power.

Highlighted features

  • 8-bit Atmega2560 microprocessor.
  • Maximum 5 motor drivers
  • 6 endstop connectors are available, which include min. and max.
  • Includes USB, SD card and AUX-1 connectors
  • The 4-layer PCB allows for optimized heat dissipation.

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7. BIGTREETECH Direct GTR V1.0 32 Bit CPU Control board for 3D Printer

BTT GTR Version 1.0 is a high performance motherboard that uses a 32bit processor cortex M4 Series. It works at a higher frequency, 168MHZ.

The unit has a special power supply chips that can support 12v to 24-volt power input and an output current capacity up to 3A. It has a power efficiency mechanism that helps in solving overheating in the board even when it’s using a 24v input. That’s a huge plus right there.

BTT GTR also supports many languages, including simplified Chinese and English. What’s really amazing is how easily you can switch from one language to the other without any problem.

This controller is the best when it comes to motor drivers.  It supports TMC160, TMC2208 and other motor drives.

BTT also added 3 CNC fanpins to the machine, which makes it possible for heat to be dissipated efficiently. It also supports LCD 2004-12864 screens, thanks to its slots for touchscreen.

You are looking for a unit that is futureproofed in regard to firmware? You’ll be glad to see the board is upgradable.

You can easily upgrade or install firmware from your SD card.

Wireless serial connectivity allows you to connect devices wirelessly.

BIGTREETECH V1.0 supports many other high-tech functions, such as filament detection, automatic shut down after finishing work, and resume printing following a blackout. These features make it so easy and convenient to use your printer.

Highlighted features

  • Accepts 12-24v power supply.
  • High-performance board – 32bit, 168MHz Cortex M4 series.
  • 6 Motor drivers for more power
  • Supports SD Cards
  • WIFI printing capability.
  • The high-performance mofset tube provides better heat dissipation.

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8. MKS GenL V1.0 3D PCB Board

If you’re using the factory board of the Ender 3, you might agree that this budget gadget comes with various challenges.

The main issue is that it doesn’t come with a bootloader, which is a huge barrier to firmware upgrade especially for someone new to 3d printing.

The machine also has a very small micro-controller (Atmega1284P).

Do you want to be free from the limitations of factory boards? The MKS Gen L V1.03D PCB Board is the right choice.

The board includes a bootloader that allows you to upgrade the firmware. This is great for beginners.

The unit offers a lot of convenience with five instead of four motor drivers outputs. You can support a variety of drivers, including the TMC2208, TMC4988, and many more.

Gen L V1.0 does not have only the min endstop, but also has both the min- and max outputs.

One thing I noticed about this board is that it doesn’t have an SD card output. On It has 4 servo outputs, which is the brighter side.

Since this board comes with the resume printing function, there’s no worry about the printing process getting completed once the power comes back after a blackout.

The gadget also has an auto shutoff feature.

Highlighted features

  • 8-bit Atmega 2560 micro-processor.
  • Uses Marlin firmware.
  • Five motor driver outputs.
  • Endstop outputs min and max.
  • Four servo outputs are available for BLTouch
  • After a blackout, auto-resume printing.
  • After printing is completed, the auto-shutdown function will be activated.

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Comparison Table for the Best 3d Printer Boards

Product Name

Processor

Firmware

Motor driver

USB

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SD slot

BIGTREETECH SKR Mini E3 V1.2

32-bit ARM Cortex ARM Cortex M3

Marlin 2.0

TMC2209 drivers

Yes

Yes

BIGTREETECH Newest SKR Mini E3 V2.0

32bit 72mhz arm level cortex-m3 series

Marlin 2.0

TMC2209 drivers

Yes

Yes

BIGTREETECH Direct SKR Mini E3 V1.2 + TFT35 E3 V3.0

32-bit 72MHz Cortex M3 series

Marlin 2.0

TMC2209

Yes

Yes

BIGTREETECH 3D Printer Part: SKR V1.4

32bit ARM Cortex M3 series with 100MHz frequency

Marlin 2.0

Supports TMC2130TMC22098825TMC2208A4988

Yes

Yes

FYSETC Duet2 WiFi V1.04

32-bit microprocessor

Duet firmware

2660 motor drivers

Yes

Yes

BIQU MKS-Base V1.6 Plate Controller Board

8-bit Atmega2560 microprocessor

Marlin

A4982 stepper drivers

Yes

Yes

BIGTREETECH Direct GTR V1.0 32 Bit CPU Control board for 3D Printer

32bit, 168MHz Cortex M4 series

Marlin 2.0

TMC2208TMC2209

Yes

Yes

MKS GenL V1.0 3D PCB Board

8-bit Atmega 2560

Marlin

Supports TMC2100A4988TMC2208

Yes

Yes

Guide to Buying a 3d Printer Controller

When it comes to 3d printers, the controller board is often called the ‘mind’. The controller board is responsible of many functions, including parsing g codes from firmware. It converts commands into mechanical motions.

Thus, without a controller board, a 3d printer wouldn’t work.

Maybe your factory controller board is not up to the tasks you’re looking to complete with your printer. Perhaps you’re looking to update your printer to be in line with more modern technology.

No matter what your situation, a new PCB will be the right choice.

This section will explain the features that you need to look out for when choosing the best 3d printing controller board.

Is the firmware compatible with each other? 

Before you buy a controller, make sure it matches your printer’s components. The firmware must be compatible with your 3d printer.

Apart from that, the board’s components need to fit those of the printer. If your printer has dual extruders, then the board should be able to support at most two extruders.

You should also ensure that the controller board has enough pins if your printer has several fans.

Another consideration you can make is what you’d like to upgrade on the printer. For example, if the printer didn’t come with enough connections, you could get a controller board with the connections you’d like to have.

What are the stepper drivers?

One of the most critical components of a controller board is the stepper drivers. They send electric signals to control the stepper motors.

To put it into perspective, it’s the stepper motors which control the motions the extruders/nozzles on the printer bed. It is clear that stepper drivers control the operation and operation of stepper motors. This makes it easy to appreciate the importance of their role in 3D printer operation.

Here are some things to remember when choosing a board made from stepper drivers. First, consider the noise level.

Drivers like TMC2209 and 2660 offer incredible levels of quietness, and that’s why most people prefer them. These drivers are powerful and allow you to print quickly and easily.

Communication styles 

When 3d-printing, you need a source of the designs you’re going to print. You can use any device to get the source of the designs, including a computer, SD card, or mobile phone.

This is where communication considerations are important. Consider the available communication ports while searching for the right control board for your 3D printer.

You may need to have type A and C USB as well as micro SD and mini USB.

You may also want wireless communication if you are looking for greater convenience. Usually, wireless communication is done via Wi Fi to allow 3D printers to communicate with each other.

Wi-Fi is a great feature that allows you send designs to be printed remotely from anywhere.

What is the processor power?

When searching for a controllerboard, the most important feature to look at is processor power. An 8-bit processor was used in older 3D printers. However, the new technology means that new printers use a 32-bit processor.

Processor power is important because it shows how many calculations the board can perform per minute. The processor power also determines the printer’s efficiency.

For beginners, 8-bit processors can be quite good. However, if you’re serious about productivity, you should consider going with a 32 bit 3d printer controller.

People Also Asked (FAQs).

What is a 3d printer controllerboard?

A controller board is basically the brain of 3d printers. It is responsible for translating firmware codes into mechanical elements, such as temperature and motion.

Why do I need to change my factory control board for my 3d printer?

There are many reasons to replace your controller on your 3d printer. Maybe the control board doesn’t contain the various features you need.

For instance, maybe it doesn’t have an SD card slot or you want to install new fans, and hence need a board with more fan pins. If your old printer doesn’t have Wi-Fi capability, installing a new board with this feature may be an option.

How does a control board for a 3D printer work?

The brain of the 3d printing machine is a control board. It sends precise current pulses to the printer’s motors, which control the delicate movements of the extruders and 3d printer nozzles.

What are the factors to consider when choosing the right 3d printer controller

The compatibility of the controller is the first thing you should consider when looking for one. You need to ensure that the components of the board work with your 3d printer. Aside from that, consider the features you’d like to have – drivers, connectors, wireless capability, and more.

Final Thoughts

Don’t you sometimes get amazed by the sophisticated movements of a 3d printer and its ability to complete complicated projects?

The controller board is the heart of all the complexity in the device. It is responsible for parsing the codes, and laying the foundations for the movements and extruders. It also regulates temperature and other critical processes.

Whether you’re building your 3d printer or you’re looking to upgrade your old printer, getting the best 3d printer controller board is a step in the right direction.

If you’ve decided to go ahead and purchase a controller board, be sure to consider its suitability for your printer.

A 32-bit unit should have good motor drivers, such as TMC2209/2660, for the best efficiency. For those looking for the best quality at the lowest prices, the review above will be helpful.

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