3D Printer Components – Axis Movement

3D printer axis movement is done by stepper motors, pulleys, belts and threaded rods. Components of 3d printer.

Axis Movement: Stepper motor

If we talk about motors of a 3D printer we are talking about electric stepper motors. What differentiates them from other types of electric motors is the ability to rotate their shaft in well-defined steps and to be able to keep it in a certain position by opposing a certain force to any opposite movement from outside.

Axis Movement

The motors used for 3d printing follow the NEMA standards, and more specifically, the 3D printing kits are normally fitted with NEMA 17 stepper motors with amperage ranging from 1.7A to 2.5A and a driving force of 4/5 Kg per square centimetre.


As mentioned before, these motors can move one step at a time, one step in degrees, to put it bluntly. They are identified with the number of steps they take to make a complete turn of 360°. Here a small schematic that indicates the main subdivisions, goes from itself that the more steps the engine will use to make a complete turn the more precise it will be:

Divisions of the complete circle Step angle
100 3.6°
200 1.8°
400 0.9°


motors are then controlled by the drivers on the motherboard, here we propose a guide for adjusting the voltage for optimized use.

Engines can be found through the most popular e-commerce

Look Motors on Aliexpress


Axis Movement: Pulleys, belts and threaded rods

Connected to the motor, pulleys and belts complete the movements of the motors of the X and Y axes.
While the Z axis, thanks to the fact that it has to move much less and slower than the other 2 axes is normally controlled by a motor connected to threaded rods, these slow down the movement a lot but make it extremely more precise and less prone to errors.

Axis Movement

If we want to replace any of these parts we must be sure to buy parts with the same characteristics. In fact the firmware of the printer is set according to the components in use. So we want to change pulleys with others of different number of fins. Or a threaded bar with distance between the different spiral we will also have to proceed to the replacement of the operating parameters via software.

Axis Movement


Slightly different speech for the belts, if the frame of the printer remains unchanged. In case of replacement you will have to buy identical belts. Even small differences can give rise to many problems, too tight belts can give vibrations to the entire structure, loose belts can lead to the slippage of the same, with the problem of slippage of the layers of the print.

All these parts are considered to be consumer parts and are easily available from all major e-commerce:

Look these on Aliexpress


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