3D Printer Stepper Driver Explained

3d printer drivers are an important part of any 3D printer. This article explains this component so you know what it is and what it does.

What Is Stepper Driver For A 3D Printer?

If you’re building a 3D printer, this is the component you have to buy

3D printer stepper drivers are the small electric devices that cache the 3D print info coming from 3D printer’s controllers for a stepper motor.

It’s responsible for controlling the power given to the electromagnetic coils on a stepper motor to rotate the motor’s shaft a specific distance. It has a direct impact on the noise of the printer.

It’s a precision controller that makes the internal functionality of a stepper motor more controllable. It’s also an integrated circuit chip that can be removable.

Removeable drivers require assembly and it’s made to be easy for the users to do so.

How Does It Work?

Stepper motors comes in a variety of sizes and the popular sizes are:

NEMA ( National Electrical Manufacturers Association ) refers to the frame size of the motor.

  • NEMA 14
  • NEMA 17
  • NEMA 23
  • NEMA 24

Popular Stepper Drivers

A4988 Stepper Driver

This one is the cheapest one and works pretty well for the price point.

  • 35V and +/- 2 amp output
  • Built in steps & direction translator
  • Full, half, quarter, eigth and sixteenth resolution step
  • Voltage throttling capability


  • Easy to use and works on any stepper motor up to 8 wire model
  • Delivers 16 micro steps per step
  • Use to throttle voltage to increase stepper speed


Very robust for the price and it’s a great starter stepper driver



  • Very quiet
  • 0.8 – 1.5 amps
  • Works with 8 bit and 32 bit printer controllers
  • Resolutions up to 1/128 step
  • Single channel operation



  • 1.2 amps
  • Auto step velocity
  • Adjustable resolution to 256 micro steps
  • Better for heat dissipation


Very affordable


  • 1.4 – 2 amps
  • 4.75 – 36 volt
  • Resolution to 256 micro steps
  • Auto velocity and decay switchover
  • Auto standby current reduction



  • 2.8 amps
  • 29 volt
  • Resolution to 256 micro steps
  • Integrated pulse generator
  • Auto stop and power down
  • Overcurrent protection
  • Internal 5V linear regular
  • Low power standby mode



  • 1.4 – 2 amps
  • 4.75 – 36 volt
  • Resolution to 256 micro steps
  • Low heat emission
  • Noiseless operation
  • Works with all 3D printers



  • 2.8 amps
  • 29 volt
  • Up to 64 micro steps configuration
  • Internal pulse generator
  • Up to 256 micro step max step resolution



  • 20 amps
  • 8 – 60 volt
  • Low heat operation
  • Overcurrent protection
  • No control software needed
  • Built in motor logic
  • SPI and single wire UART config interface



  • 3.5 amps
  • 40 volt
  • Resolution to 256 micro steps
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Sensor less stall detection with passive braking and freewheeling modes

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