Ender 3 OctoPrint touchscreen

How to Add an OctoPrint Touchscreen to Your Ender 3

An inexpensive upgrade to make your Ender 3 even better!
Zach Zach (199)
Total time: 30 minutes 

This guide will teach you how to add a touchscreen to your Creality Ender 3 or Ender 3 Pro for use with OctoPrint. A touchscreen is an inexpensive 3D printer upgrade that will save you time and headaches when using OctoPrint.

I'll be using this 3.5" Adafruit touchscreen for this guide.

Ender 3 touchscreen final photo

As is the norm, here's a completed photo of the Ender 3 touch screen setup.

Ender 3 touchscreen 3D model

The best model I found for the 3.5" Adafruit touchscreen I'll be using is by designer Tronnic. It mounts to the lower-left aluminum extrusion on the Ender 3, resulting in a symmetrical addition that looks like it came from the factory.

Download the model from Thingiverse and print the following:

QTY File
1 0_Ender3_Touchscreen_Holder_Base.stl
1 1_2_Ender3_Touchscreen_Pi_Case_no_letters.stl
1 2_1_Ender3_Touchscreen_Pi_Back_40mm_Fan.stl or 2_Ender3_Touchscreen_Pi_Back.stl*
2 3_1_Ender3_Touchscreen_Pi_Clamp.stl
1 5_Ender3_Touchscreen_Support.stl
1 6_Ender3_Camera_Bracket

* If you decide to add a fan to your enclosure, I recommend printing the 40mm fan back. Otherwise, print the blank back.

For the main holder base/bracket, I recommend printing at least 50% infill. If you're using Cura, I recommend the "Gyroid" infill pattern. I printed with 15% "Cubic" infill originally, and the weight from the Pi and fan caused slight sagging.

If you like perfect symmetry, I recommend you also print this separate screen surround to border the original Ender 3 screen.

Installing OctoPrint

If you haven't installed OctoPrint yet, use my guide to set up OctoPrint on the Ender 3.

Touchscreen HAT mounted to a Raspberry Pi
In this photo, I actually have the screen rotated incorrectly.

I wrote a separate, full guide on adding an OctoPrint touchscreen to any 3D printer. Use that guide to configure the screen to work with OctoPrint, then return here for Ender 3-specific instructions!

I also made an OctoPrint touchscreen video in case you prefer to learn that way:

Attaching a Raspberry Pi camera ribbon cable

Attach your camera ribbon cable to the Raspberry Pi, routing it above the HDMI connector.

Connecting the touchscreen to the pi

The "support" model you printed is used in place of standoffs. Insert it between your screen and the Raspberry Pi and slide the screen onto the Pi's GPIO header.

Inserting the case into the main frame

Slide the case into the main frame that will connect to the Printer. Orient it so that the "thicker" part of the frame is to the left.

Connecting the Pi to the case

Insert the Pi into the case and ensure there's a snug fit.

If your touchscreen came with 4 small perforated tabs on the corner, you may need to snap them off with a pair of pliers to make the screen fit in your case—I already did this before taking this photo.

Ender 3 Raspberry Pi fan

Using this 40mm USB fan is optional but recommended. It's only $10, so I decided to do it just to ensure I always get the highest quality prints possible. Using the included screws, mount the fan so that it sucks air away from the Pi (blowing out the back). Cover the screws with Kapton tape to prevent shorts.

Securing the backplate

Secure the fan or non-fan backplate using the two clamps you printed. If you aren't using a fan, use the blank backplate instead.

Mounting the touchscreen assembly to the Ender 3

Remove the two screws from the lower left part of your printer and use them to secure the new touchscreen housing.

Ender 3 touchscreen camera mount

The old camera mount that most Ender 3 owners use will block the touchscreen. Tronnic was awesome enough to remix that original camera mount into one that won't block the screen.

Swap the old mount out for the new one.

Reconnecting power and data cables

Reconnect your power and data cables to the Pi. If you're powering your Pi from your 3D printer, you'll probably need to solder a longer Micro USB cable to your buck converter or run a micro USB extension cable such as this one.

Ender 3 screen surround

If you printed the optional screen surround for the original screen, mount it around the original Ender 3 using a bit of hot glue or foam tape. This makes things look a bit nicer and adds additional symmetry!

Ender 3 OctoPrint touchscreen close-up shot

Your Ender 3 now has an awesome touchscreen that you can use to control your printer.

Next, update your Ender 3 firmware. Many Ender 3s shipped with unsafe, outdated firmware that lacks thermal runaway protection; thermal runaway is a leading cause of 3D printer fires. Updating your firmware only takes a few minutes and is an important safety upgrade!