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  1. #1
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    Ball screw for Y (bed) axis

    Another thread here has me curious to know if it would be practical to replace the Y axis belt drive with a ball screw drive. I'm not entirely clear on the benefits of a ball screw drive vs belt drive. I'm wondering if a ball screw would reduce backlash on the Y axis of a printer where the Y axis moves the bed, or if it would improve repeat-ability/accuracy.

    Some people with the Black Widow end up fiddling quite a bit with driver voltages or even end up swapping drivers to eliminate step skipping.

    The move would be from a cheap Chinese belt drive to either a cheap Chinese ball screw ($35-50) or a low end North American ball screw ($150).

    The only reason I am considering this is because I would use the belt drive for another project that does not require precision.

    I'm curious to know if anyone here has experience with a ball screw axis drive vs the standard belt drive.

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer Davo's Avatar
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    In general (and depending on your gear ratios), a ball screw will give you better positioning, but will not move as fast (since it will normally have to have more rotation of the motor to move the same distance).

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Davo. I understand that speed of movement is a trade off, but have no idea what the practical implications are on a 3d printer.

    How much will it reduce the max speed of the axis? How will that affect print times?

    There are lots of things that might affect how fast the travel is: Lead screw pitch, lead screw design (there are 'high speed' ball screws), max practical rpm of the motor/driver...

    The question is is it practically achievable on a hobby printer?

    Edit: Cost is obviously a factor as well. I'm pretty sure I could get the speed I want, but that might require a very expensive ball screw and a quality servo motor.

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