When it comes to 3D Printing technology, even the smallest of details matter. The quality of the material, the printer’s capabilities, and even the user’s skill levels. However, sometimes individuals ignore the most important component that plays a crucial role in the seamless working of the 3D printer. Yes, we are talking about computers.
Many believe that computers are just for finding 3D models online or helps in the preparation of models for printing. However, that is not true. These devices help in accomplishing various back-end tasks of printing. Using a good laptop, it is possible to control almost every operation of the 3D printer.
From upgrading the printer’s firmware to running the machine in real-time, laptops are responsible for a lot of tasks. Thankfully, you do not need to buy the most expensive computer. A powerful enough device, capable of running the basics operations with ease will do the job.
Do I Need to Switch to a More Powerful Computer from a Basic One?
To be candid, there is no need to upgrade your computer if you engage in simple processes for operating the 3D printer. For instance, in case you are printing simple models and use your computer for preparing those 3D files for printing, a device with the usual specs would be fine.
Sometimes, all you need is an adequate internet connection to control printers. In such cases, users can connect using a phone or tablet as well. However, when generating the G-code from printers’ files, one must take care of the file resolution in the process. Many times, the applications used to accomplish the task are highly CPU intensive, especially for 3D designs that are complex.
Usually, when printing a basic model, users do not have to deal with bigger file sizes and higher processing times. On the contrary, as the desire for printing complex objects surges, the larger file sizes start posing problems when working on computers featuring low specs.
Laptop or PC – Which One to Choose?
The sleeker the better? Often users choose laptops over computers as they are handy and portable. However, when 3D modeling, these benefits do not make any difference in the printing results. On the other hand, working with laptops is difficult and frustrating at times.
Laptops sometimes share data with the 3D printers in blocks of information. Hence, sending multiple actions at once. And, it is very usual for printers to act unexpectedly when that happens. For instance, it can start and stop without finishing the prints.
To get over this problem, set your laptop in a way that it does not go into sleep mode or power-saving mode while the printing is in process.
Moreover, PCs host high power and better specs when compared to laptops. In addition, rather than sharing blocks of information, computers send a smoother stream of information. Hence, avoiding any such problem that is obvious with laptops.
Not to forget, using laptops simultaneously with 3D printers can cause problems. So, if you choose laptops over computers, try using an SD card carrying the prepared file. Just connect it directly into your 3D printer and that is it.
Recommended Specs for Computer’s Hardware and Software
Before we move to the recommendations, let’s find out why the different specs matter.
Computers help during the 3D modeling of parts. Hence, it must carry enough power to deal with the various design tools. And, clock speed happens to the most crucial parameter when ensuring that these complex 3D modeling applications perform at their best of capabilities.
Then comes the graphics card. While rendering the 3D models in real-time (while working on the file), a low spec graphic card would fail to handle hi-poly files. In addition, CPU (clock speed & cores) also becomes an imperative factor to decide if the rendering of your 3D models will be a success or not.
Usually, 3D modeling is a single-threaded operation. Therefore, computers with faster clock speeds will offer higher benefits than having many cores.
Click here to learn more about the best Free 3D Modeling Software for beginners.
On the other hand, once the model completes and you plan to render the file, the CPU performance would matter the most. Instead of being a single-threaded operation, this will turn into multi-threaded operations. Hence, requiring more cores and clock speeds at the same time.
CPU: You can use any of the AMD or Intel processors. However, ensure that these are quad-core processors and offer a minimum of 2.2 GHz speed.
Computer Hard Disk: 16GB or higher
Unused Disk Space: When using windows with 64-bit Operating System, users must have 20 GB of free disk space
Graphics Card: 1 GB or higher
Operating System: Choose a 64-bit windows OS. Also, ensure that the computer has either of the three OS versions: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 10
Network: Ethernet to Local Area Network. WIFI connection will be a plus as many 3D Printers these days connect wirelessly.
Recommendation for Computers
Here are some of the powerful computers that work well with 3D printers.
Dell Inspiron 3471 Desktop: This is a very amazing desktop boasting an Intel Core i5-9400, with a 9th Gen processor enabling faster processor speeds up to 4.1GHz. In addition, it has 12 GB of RAM, along with 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD.
Skytech Archangel Gaming Computer: Usually, gaming computers feature powerful graphic cards and clock speed. And, Skytech Archangel is no different. It has a Ryzen 5 3600 CPU with 6-core and 12 threads and offers a processor speed of 3.6GHz. In addition, its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB Graphics Card when coupled with its 16 GB of DDR4 RAM makes the computer the best choice for almost all 3D printers.
ASUS ROG Strix G15 Gaming Laptop: If you like working with laptops, do not forget to check this one out. It has i7-10750H processor along with 16 GB RAM and 1TB of SSD. With NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6 graphics card, the printer is best for printers working with higher resolution files.
When processing large files, boasting high polygon shapes, one must choose computers that are capable to handle such needs. However, if you are a beginner and want to limit your prints to simple designs, your usual PC is all you need.