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Select appropriate linear motion components for your 3D printing system

Views: 41     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-01-30      Origin: Site

Select appropriate linear motion components for your 3D printing system

Choosing the best linear drive technology for your 3D printer should be a process driven by a balance of cost and performance.Here are four common linear motion components used in 3D printer.

●Belt Drives

The most common technology used in 3D printers includes a timing belt with teeth that is attached to a moving slider that guides the payload.A rotating pulley with mating teeth is connected to a motor.Rotating the motor shaft rotates the pulley that pulls the belt in the direction it needs to go.Belt drive has the following advantages in this application:

(1)Less expensive design and build

(2)Better suited for long travel lengths

(3)Low maintenance and less lubrication required over time

(4)Compact and easy integration into the machine structure

belt drives 

Belt for 3D printer


The biggest risk is that the belt will stretch over time,creating a ringing/oscillating effect that increases the difficulty of maintaining tight tolerances.To mitigate this stretch,system accelerations and decelerations must not overtax the belt.

Lead Screw

One benefit of the lead screw design is that it is relatively inexpensive,as it is simpler and easier to produce.Due to their inefficiency(20-70% for this design)and design,the screw can be self-locking.This means that the load will not move in the event of a power failure because the screw cannot rotate.Another benefit is size;the lead screw can generate greater axial force than a belt drive because of the mechanical advantage of the lead screw over the belt pulley.


lead screws and nuts 

ALM high quality lead screws

Risks include incorrect alignment or installation and sliding and wear on the screw surface with continued use,wearing down the nut,and creating more axial play.


Ball Screw

Ball screws use similar screws,but the ballnut is integrated with the rolling ball bearing,greatly increasing efficiency and reducing power consumption.This is a more robust design because it eliminates sliding elements,but it also requires regular lubrication of the metal-to-metal contact that occurs between the rolling ball bearing and the metal screw spindle.

ball screw 

ALM high efficiency and low noise ball screws

One risk with ball screw systems is that in 3D printing systems,increased thrust leads to higher acceleration and faster throughput,which can lead to the system being perceived as too loud and in need of repair when in fact it is not.

Linear Motor

This design eliminates the mechanical drive train and has longer response times by redesigning the rotating servo motor to lay it flat on the table,coupling the motor directly to the slider.The direct-coupled motor eliminates any mechanical winding that might exist in the other two drive train designs.This results in higher precision printing capabilities and faster throughput.

cheap linear motor 

ALM cost-effective non-magnetic track linear motor


The main disadvantage of linear motors is the cost,and the main risk comes from one of the moving parts of the drive system-the cable.The selected cable must be able to withstand the number of bends and moves experienced by the system in a given time range.

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