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MakerBot Z Pulleys

by MakerGear Oct 1, 2009
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@Zaggo - I'm using a 0.4mm extruder nozzle vs. the standard 0.5mm. That 0.1mm makes a big difference when printing detailed items like this. They are not perfect (yet) but these pulleys do work.

Please post your designs so that I can try printing them. MaskedRetriever has posted assorted gears and my initial attempts to print his items were disappointing. I made the smaller nozzle specifically to be able to print these types of objects and test usability. Given the initial challenges of getting this extruder to work consistently - the resulting quality is worth it.

@versonnva - what we need are gears and pulleys. Agreed! Look forward to seeing your results. sounds interesting.

sweet . . . this is what i need the gears and pulleys. . . I have been working on creating the belts and pulleys which are some of the only items i still need to complete my makerbot - also the lasercut acrylic and case. What I have been working on is using sculpey to form the parent gear then make alumalite molded gears from that to match the custom made Belt from molded rubber soaked nylon cord. I will post some pictures as soon as i can this weekend.

I designed and printed two Z pulleys a couple of weeks ago. But when trying it, I noticed, that the teeth were "too round" to give the tooth belt the same grip as with the original pulleys. I was able to hold the z rods with the printed pulleys during movement, the tooth belt just slipped.

I then adjusted the set screws of a printed and an original pulley to the same direction to determine if the z belt also slips in normal use (during a print). And it did.

I tried different tooth settings and shapes, but it seemed, that the teeth on the pulley are just too small for a MakerBot.

Finally I switched back to the original pulleys and refrained from publishing the designs.

Did you test the pulleys concerning z belt slipping? How did you manage to print the teeth "sharp" enough to avoid slipping?

I really just wanted to know if my bot could print with a high enough resolution to produce a functional pulley. Not quite perfect but I am pleased with the results. Will continue to tweak over print performance. Would really appreciate any tips/suggestions on improving print quality.

I didn't intend to thread it...the holes just came out a bit tight so I threaded it and locked it with a nut. A captive nut is a good idea.

If you were to design an M8 captive nut hole into the top or bottom and you wouldn't need to cut any threads. Just add a second nut on the other side to secure it.

With fab'd pulleys you could integrate optical encoding into the flanges. My printed bearing bracket could be modified to either attach or directly integrate the decoder.

Exciting stuff!