How to Crimp JST Connectors for 3D Printers

When I first started down the rabbit hole of 3D Printer upgrades, one of my earliest projects was installing a V6 hotend on the Anet A8. It came with a small, 30mm cooling fan and plenty of wiring length was included, but it didn’t have a plug for the board. This conundrum introduced me to the art of crimping my own JST Connectors.
Sure, there were perhaps better options on the table that would cost less upfront. I could just splice the new fan to the original fan’s wiring, or solder the wires to the board, but I prefer to keep my setup clean and professional.
After some Google research, it turned out almost every 3D Printer board uses JST Connectors, the XH series to be exact. Better yet, they are easy enough to make on demand. For a one off weekend project, this probably isn’t worth the expense of parts and tools. But for hobbyists doing frequent upgrades or those running home based printer farms, we can certainly benefit from crimping our own JST connectors as needed.
Purchase Parts
720 PCS JST-XHP Connector Kit - $14.99 22 AWG Flexible Wire - $18.99
Tools (Optional)
Wire Stripper Tool - $4.72 SN-01BM Ratchet Crimper Tool - $25.29
What are JST Connectors?
JST Connectors (Japanese Solderless Terminal) are an extensive family of electrical connectors, often used in hobbyist and consumer products. There are about 500 different types, and they are found in battery packs, RC electronics and in our case, 3D Printer circuit boards.

The most confusing aspect is their naming conventions, which have a range of suffixes like SH, VH and XH just to name a few. Each type has a different shape and spacing between pins, but they are also designed for use with different applications, intended for a specific wiring gauge, current and voltage.
It’s not important for this guide, just something to be aware of. For 3D Printers, we almost exclusively use the JST-XH style connectors with a 2.54mm pin spacing.
JST-XH Connectors
The XH series of JST Connectors are a small, versatile crimp style connector that is rated for use up to 3 Amps on 22 AWG wiring. They are specifically made for wire to board connections, found on our cooling fans, stepper motors, endstops and so on.

This particular type is visually distinguished by (2) arrow looking prongs on the backside, which help secure it when plugged in. That helps maintain a good electrical connection during use, without any concern of loose plugs falling out.
Crimping JST Connectors
The process of making JST Connectors can ultimately be broken down in to 3 simple steps… strip, crimp and connect. We prepare the wiring, crimp on a terminal and insert it into the plug.
When using the correct tools, it will take about 30 seconds per wire and most 3D Printer connectors are either 2 or 3 pins. Without the recommended tools, we can...