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Spinning Triple/Quadruple Ball Bearings

by idea_beans Feb 18, 2013
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I can see in Simplify3D that the inside balls start at layer 2 but the outside balls start at layer 3. How on earth do you expect this to print without supports (of which, you cant turn on as it's a bearing!). The balls need to start at layer 1. No wonder i'm having such a hard time. Losing two layers for the outside and middle rings and 1 for the innermost ring is never going to work.

Have a look at these bearings using exactly the same ball bearing designs and printed on Simplify3D. No raft, just 30 degree supports with 70% dense top support layers. The bearings turned fine. :)


Please read instructions...

Print with raft and supports (30 degree horizontal). Give the balls a bit of pushing and cleaning, then the bearings should work right away.

At 0.1 vertical layer height the inside circle balls don't start till layer 4 and all other circles layer 5, like omg! This will never print.

I tried printing this, each of the balls didn't make good enough contact in the first few layers so it really printed pretty badly for each ball.

Hi there! I just ran into the Simplify3D problem reported by Outbound in 2014.

I've discovered the problem. One of the balls in the outer ring (of the 62-balls model) is actually TWO meshes that occupy the same space, which seems to mess with the Simplify3D slicer. If I had to guess: You probably specified one too many repetitions on the circular pattern that produces the outer ring, and the first now overlaps with the last.

Thanks for letting me know. Will fix the file and upload again.

Did you fix this issue? Thanks!

Yes new file was uploaded back in August :)

Thanks for letting me know. Will fix the file and upload again.

Didn't work with 20% fill on a Markforged. Going to try it Solid.

Hi, I think it was the filament you used that might be the issue. All the balls seemed to have stuck together...

Going to try this on a Markforged


I tried to print a few times, but MatterControl never gets past the point of slicing the object.

Tried on a few different layer heights.


Hey same problem here with simplify3D missing a ball on the outer bearing.

For some reason Simplify 3D software is not generating one of the balls for the outer bearing.

I'm generating the code for a Leapfrog Creatr (overpriced piece of crap btw).

Did you ever encounter this sort of problem?

Hi, I just did a print preview of the bearing model in my Simplify3D software, and I had no problem slicing/generating the gcode for printing at all. My printers are MBot Grid II, so not sure if different printer profiles would affect the slicing outcome? Sorry I couldn't help you there...

Odly enough I was able to fix the problem simply by rotating the model on its z-axis.


I printed it twice but with adjusted settings, but I'm not able to get the balls free. they stuck to the walls.

Hi, what is your 3D printer? We have found that not all 3D printers are capable of printing this model. Some printers have trouble printing the balls accurately. It's a great model to tell good 3D printers from not so good ones, i.e. Da Vinci XYZ is bad...

well one problem with the model is that the balls do not start on level 0, so I used touching build plate support. I have a Rigidbot. I get decent accurate prints out of it. What is the gap between the balls and the surrounding?

0.2mm is the gap. You may need to adjust the feed rate of the nozzle so the plastic doesn't get extruded excessively and make the balls too big?

Nice design! I am still having a bit of trouble printing it. Slic3r seems to want to connect the balls to the walls. Any ideas? My nozzle diameter is 0.4mm.


Hi! i'll like to print it with my mendelmax and i was wondering how many raft layers should i put in the setting (according we are printing in 0.15mm layer height) thanks

Someone needs to do this with that herringbone gear bearing design

Tried printing off the larger one on my Replicator, but the default support material (using ReplicatorG or Makerware) still doesn't handle curved bases yet. Any suggestions?

Hi I'm not familiar with Replicator software, but maybe someone from MakerBot can help if you ask in their forum? My UP Plus printer software allows me to choose the angle limits for building supports, so if I select 30 degree it usually gives me good curved bases when I print spheres or rounded corners. Thanks

I made the big one. It printed very nicely but the inner rings started to ''fall off'' so I can take it apart into 4 rings. It could be because it cooled off or because I moved it to much when I tried to make it move. Takes some time to get it going but it's very impressive. Awesome job!

110 balls in total. I just counted! :D

Did you use ABS or PLA? Do you remember your correct settings? Want to try it with my new UP Plus 2. Thanks

Hi, I always print it with ABS, 0.25mm layer thickness, 30 degree angle for support, hollow fill, normal speed. 2.5 hours roughly.

You can print at 0.2mm instead but takes too long to print. Hope this helps.

Hi, I printed the smaller one successful with your settings and 0.20 mm (Z-resolution). I'm surprised that even the small text at the inside of the rings are clearly readable. I like my UP Plus 2.
I still have some problems to get the outer ring rotating. In your awesome movie you wrote 0.15 mm layer thickness. I might try the '110 balls' with 150 micron.

Can I ask you what 3D software you used to make it?

Awesome video recording! That's a lot of balls for sure. I may have counted it wrong, 91 balls, give or take. :) What material did you use? Any suggestion on the ball size or spacing etc? Thanks