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HomeUncategorizedConverting STL Files to G-code for Ender 3: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting STL Files to G-code for Ender 3: A Step-by-Step Guide

3D printing has become increasingly popular in various industries, and one of the most common printers among hobbyists and professionals alike is the Ender 3. To print a 3D model on the Ender 3 or any other 3D printer, you’ll need a G-code file. This article will walk you through the steps of converting an STL file to G-code specifically tailored for the Ender 3 3D printer.

What Are STL and G-code Files?

  • STL File: This is a type of file that contains information about the 3D model you want to print. STL stands for Stereolithography.
  • G-code File: This file contains commands that your 3D printer will understand and execute to create the object. G-code tells the printer when, where, and how to move its various components.

Tools Needed

  1. STL file of the 3D model you wish to print.
  2. Slicing software (e.g., Cura, PrusaSlicer, or MatterControl).
  3. Ender 3 3D printer.
  4. A computer.

Steps to Convert STL to G-code

Step 1: Download and Install a Slicing Software

First, you’ll need slicing software to convert your STL file into G-code. Ultimaker Cura is a popular choice for this task, but you can use any software that you’re comfortable with. Download and install the software following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Step 2: Configure Printer Settings

  1. Open the slicing software and look for the printer settings or printer configuration option.
  2. Choose or add the Ender 3 as your printer model.
  3. Input the correct settings like build volume, nozzle diameter, and filament type. This ensures the software tailors the G-code for your specific machine.

Step 3: Import the STL File

  1. In the slicing software, look for an option to import or open a file.
  2. Locate and select the STL file you wish to convert.
  3. The software will place the model onto a virtual build plate, replicating the build area of the Ender 3.

Step 4: Model Orientation and Slicing Preferences

  1. Rotate or move the model on the virtual build plate, if necessary.
  2. Choose the layer height, infill percentage, and other slicing settings according to your needs.

Step 5: Generate G-code

  1. Once you’re satisfied with the settings, look for the “Slice” or “Generate G-code” button in your software.
  2. Click it to convert the STL file to a G-code file. This process may take a few minutes.

Step 6: Save and Transfer

  1. After generating, save the G-code file to your computer.
  2. Transfer this file to your Ender 3, usually via a USB stick or directly through a data cable, depending on what your printer supports.

Step 7: Print Your Model

  1. Insert the USB stick into your Ender 3 or connect the printer to your computer.
  2. Navigate through the Ender 3’s menu and select the G-code file.
  3. Begin the printing process.


Converting an STL file to G-code for an Ender 3 is a straightforward process once you get the hang of it. The slicing software takes care of the heavy lifting, converting your 3D model into a language that the Ender 3 can understand and execute. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to bringing your 3D models to life. Happy printing!

Dhruv Saidava
Dhruv is an educator and traveler working with a goal to reach 1 million students to create changemakers. He started Tinkering India Initiative to reach students across India to create awareness and provide opportunities so like-minded students can create a community to help each other in learning.


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