Adapter for Inexpensive 19T Plastic Pulleys

by CodeCreations, published

Adapter for Inexpensive 19T Plastic Pulleys by CodeCreations Nov 22, 2012


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About a year ago I discovered a very inexpensive source for 18T plastic pulleys that appeared to be nearly perfect for 3D printer and other robotics projects. (Then I came into some metal pulleys, so I abandoned this research, but in sourcing pulleys for a 3D printer project at a local school, I decided to take it up again.)

The pulleys I found are for hobby cars. They're 5mm bore, 18T pulleys with a 3mm tooth pitch that appears to be a standard curvilinear profile, like HTD. In fact, one of the mating belts appears to be Bando Synchro-Link HT. IMPORTANT: I have not verified that a standard 3mm HTD belt will fit them -- so if anyone has one, please chime in with some good news!

These are US$9 for four and widely available. They're called "Duratrax Timing Pulley 18T Street Force GP", often listed under item number DTXC9698. They have a groove in one side that's meant to receive a metal pin that holds the pulley in place.

This adapter is fully parametric so it can be used for other pulleys, but it's set up to fit this pulley in particular. You can glue this adapter against the pulley, and then fasten it to the motor shaft with the captive nut and a 3mm screw.


1) Print adapter.

2) Dry fit, and then glue adapter to plastic pulley.

3) For added strength, use a couple of tiny screws in the pulley holes to fasten it to the adapter.

4) Glue the cap onto the pulley.

5) Mount to 5mm motor shaft and start pulley-ing.

6) Let me know if you discover that it works well with a standard 3mm HTD belt.

Note: Obviously the "peg" that mates with the pulley start at a layer transition, so be sure your layers are sticking well to each other. I ordered some tiny M1x5.5 self tapping screws that have 1.9mm diameter heads -- the same size as the holes in the pulley. I'll try to use these to strengthen the bond.

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Why could you not then print the whole pulley, with teeth of your choosing and skip the $9 altogether? 

I don't think I could get printed teeth as perfectly detailed as this plastic pulley. 

Very nice, and potentially a great alternative for the GT2 pulleys that are never in stock and at least 5x the price! 

Have you ever compared GT2 or some other 2mm belt to a 3mm HTD?  Just curious, I started with T5's and rapidly tossed them in favor of the GT2's, but lately have had a hard time sourcing belts and pulleys...

GT2 also comes in a 3mm pitch, but I only have 2mm GT2 belts to test with. I read in one place that GT2 belts are backward compatible with HTD hardware, except that replacing the hardware is required to get the greater benefit of the GT2 design. (My understanding is that GT2 was designed as a direct improvement on HTD.) I'm not convinced that this is true for all GT2 belts, though... The information that's out there is a little confusing with all the registered marks.

I have an email into a HTD belt supplier to see if it's equivalent, but I don't expect to hear back until after the holiday here in the USA. I might just buy a belt and see...