3D Printer Wiring, Connectors, and Terminals – the idiot’s guide

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3D Printer Wiring is one of the most important parts of a 3d printer build. If you’re looking to build your own 3D Printer, then we can help you navigate the jumbled mess of 3D printing wiring.

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 something catch fire. 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 you choose a solid wire it will be susceptible to break with repeated use and abuse. Stranded wire allows for the cable to flex back and forth 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.

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

I recommend using 24AWG wire. This seems to be the sweat 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 product’s quality

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.

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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 this 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 JST Connector

The the Box of assorted 2-pin JST-SYP Connectors on Amazon

3D Printer Wiring Crimp Tool

If you’re not using the right tool to crimp your wires you’re wasting your time as it’s 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.


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!

Check out this great article: MKS Gen V1.4 3D Printer MainBoard Controller

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Garrett Dunham

A trained Mechanical Engineer and lifelong tinker, Garrett chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's engineering proram because they had a 3D printer... back when they were called "rapid prototypers". "The first time I held something I designed and 3D printed, my mind exploded. Just hours earlier my idea was just a thought - and now it's a thing I'm holding." Now, years later, Garrett brings his love of tinkering, inventing, engineering, and 3D printing to the Makershop community.

2 thoughts on “3D Printer Wiring, Connectors, and Terminals – the idiot’s guide”

  1. also 20 AWG wire will fit both dupont and JST connecters, just check the contact’s specs first.

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