Getting a 3D printer to work as optimally as possible can require pretty technical processes at times, such as flashing a new or modified version of the firmware that contains the features and the configuration you need.
Considering that each printer requires a distinct process for such operations, the situation gets even more confusing for enthusiasts who own multiple 3D printers, especially those who don’t have much tech experience.
Today, we will be talking about a tool called Progisp.exe, which is not a tool that is specific for 3D printing purposes but has a vital role in configuring Creality printers, such as the very popular Ender 3 that most 3D printing enthusiasts own.
So, what is the purpose of Progisp.exe?
PROGISP, also known as Progisp.exe or Prog ISP, is a commonly used in-system programming (ISP) software, which specifically allows the programming of AVR microcontrollers manufactured by Atmel (Microchip Technology).
Since some of the most popular 3D printers, such as the Ender 3, use AVR microcontrollers, using the PROGISP tool offers a way to re-program the microcontroller code for your 3D printer, with the most widespread use case being flashing a bootloader.
In the upcoming sections, we will delve deeper into the purpose of the Progisp.exe tool, discuss why this tool is relevant to 3D printing, and find out where you can find this tool or download a fresh copy of it.
Table of Contents
What Is the Purpose of PROGISP (Progisp.exe)?
A tool with an obscure name that won’t make a lot of sense unless you’re familiar with programming microcontrollers, Progisp.exe is a simple but flexible piece of software that sees use in many areas where microcontrollers are involved.
In a nutshell, the purpose of the PROGISP (Progisp.exe) tool is to program the AVR family of microcontrollers developed by Atmel (Microchip Technology) and make them run the code you require.
The PROGISP tool connects to the microcontroller through a device called an ISP Programmer (also known as AVR programmer), which transmits the data from the tool that runs on your computer to the ISP interface of the microcontroller.
A familiar example of what the PROGISP tool does is programming an Arduino board, where uploading the code to the Arduino (which also uses Atmel AVR microcontrollers) through the Arduino IDE runs a program called AVRdude that essentially fulfills the same duty as PROGISP.
What Functionality Does PROGISP (Progisp.exe) Offer in the Context of 3D Printing?
While not a tool specifically designed for 3D printing-related operations, Progisp.exe does play a vital role in the world of 3D printing due to the presence of microcontrollers in 3D printers.
While the functionality of the PROGISP (Progisp.exe) tool does not change in the context of 3D printing, what makes PROGISP a program related to 3D printing is that some printers, such as the Ender 3, have Atmel AVR microcontrollers on them that you can program with this tool.
For the most part, the 3D printing community uses the PROGISP tool to flash a bootloader onto the microcontroller (for instance, the original Ender 3 that doesn’t have the newer mainboard doesn’t come with a bootloader installed by default), which allows the modification of the 3D printer’s firmware.
Fortunately, as the newer Creality boards come with a bootloader installed by default, the necessity for the PROGISP tool is slowly being phased out.
Where to Find the Progisp.exe File?
As it’s not a mainstream tool that you can easily find everywhere on the Internet, finding the Progisp.exe file is usually a challenge for 3D printing enthusiasts, especially considering that there isn’t a lot of documentation that refers to it.
In most cases, the version of the PROGISP tool (Progisp.exe) that you need to use with your printer should be included in the SD card that Creality ships alongside the printer if the mainboard of your printer is one that you can program with PROGISP.
On the other hand, as the newer Creality boards come with pre-installed bootloaders, the PROGISP tool may not be in the SD card that came with your 3D printer since it’s not necessary.
Please note that you will also need an ISP programmer that connects to your computer via USB for the PROGISP software to communicate with the mainboard of your 3D printer.
Where to Download a Fresh Copy of Progisp.exe?
Even though the Progisp.exe tool should ship with the SD card of a Creality printer, some users report that they don’t have access to it. On the other hand, as it’s possible to download a fresh copy of this tool from a trusted source for free, it’s not too big of a problem if your printer doesn’t come with it.
You can find a fresh copy of the PROGISP tool (Progisp.exe) by clicking the BLTouch link under the Accessories Firmware heading of the download section of the official Creality Webstore website.
Clicking the BLTouch link should take you to a Google Drive page, where you will see a file called “progisp+1.72.zip” that you can download and unzip to access the PROGISP tool.
We highly recommend scanning the file for threats before executing it, regardless of where you download it from, to ensure that there are no dangers to the safety of your computer.
Even though Progisp.exe is a confusing tool to use without documentation that outlines the exact steps for carrying out the procedure, it gets the job done quickly and smoothly in most cases.
To quickly recap, PROGISP is a tool that allows you to program Atmel AVR microcontrollers through the ISP (in-system programming) interface that makes it possible to program microcontrollers after they have been installed into the system.
For the purposes of 3D printing, the PROGISP tool mainly acts as a way to flash bootloaders to the older Creality mainboards with Atmel AVR microcontrollers on them that don’t come with a pre-installed bootloader from the factory.
While we can all agree that it’s not the most user-friendly tool for those who don’t have technical expertise, using the PROGISP tool is necessary for updating the firmware on the Ender 3 and Ender 5’s with the older mainboards.
Mike started his 3D printing journey with the Anet A8 when it first came out back in 2017, and has been obsessed with 3D printers ever since. Nowadays, he primarily uses his Ender 3 to print functional parts that make his life more convenient whenever possible.