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With all do respect. The image you show that state "before/after direct drive" aren't representing general print quality without direct drive. I'm referring to the blue object on the left. I use these: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40041http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... to tighten the stepper belts and my circles are perfectly circular, even those of 2mm. Of course you completely eliminate the possibility of slack on the belt by driving the rods directly, but I think the stepper belt tensioner upgrade is a little easier to accomplish. However I do think it is an interesting 'redesign' of the concept to drive the printhead.

Spring-loaded NEMA 17 steppers / belt tensioner