Rack & pinion for X-Axis

by theodleif, published

Rack & pinion for X-Axis by theodleif Apr 11, 2012
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Replacement for belts on x-axis


I was sick of this unprecise belt stuff. So I replaced them by rack and pinion.

Using 1/16 microstepping I now have 19.2 steps/mm.

I had to turn up the potentiometer of the x-pololu a little bit. A little fan cools it down now.

Below the rack a 608 ball bearing presses it against the pinion.

Here you can see it working: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RgG2ghtuO-c

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Any comment now that it has been in use for a longer time?

do you have a smaller gear? I would love to use this in a project im doing but i need the gear to be about 1/2 the size

Amazing! Very nice work ! Quite amazing to see it in action like this ! Is the overall length of the rack not a issue (for assembly and smooth movement) ?

I haven't work on my version for a long long time , so , really glad you came up with this :)

Fantastische Arbeit! Gut zu sehen das es tatsäschlich funktionniert!

I think a smaller pinion with herringbone teeth would work better. herringbones can have less backlash than a regular involute before getting crunchy and stiff

Nice Thing. I have added it to my file of things to print. How do you attach the rack to the x-carriage? Have you redesigned an all new X-carriage, or do you have an adapter part to fit an existing X?

I just enclosed the .scad file of my x-carriage.

I feel like an idiot, I just realized that the rack has a large threaded rod supporting it. I have no doubt now that this reduces backlash and if printed well probably bumps up accuracy.

amp; Pinion Y-axis should be next!

I think it's a smooth rod

yup ur right..

I didn't look at that pic;
and I didn't look carefully at the vid either


AND theodfleif mentioned that it was threaded in one of the comments on the video

I think this is a great step towards reducing the required "vitamins" to build a reprap, but I believe a quality belt system would be more precise than a printed rack-pinion, but I'm probably wrong.

Thanks for designing something to help make RepRaps more RepRap-able and proving that it's not only a viable alternative but possibly a better one. :)


How much backlash are you experiencing on this? I would have thought it would be more than a timing belt?


Up to now I didn't observe more backlash than with belts. But you need definitly more power to move the tray than with belts.

I forgot to click follow...

gt;But you need definitly more power...

I don't doubt it with the size pinion gear you are using. Have you tried other ratios? I'd think the pinion off a gregs extruder would be about right. If your pinion were the same size as the belt pulleys, the load on the motor would be about the same.

I think a big pinion is the key to small backlash. The price you have to pay for that is the higher load.