Cable Tie Belt Tensioner

by epengr, published

Cable Tie Belt Tensioner by epengr Dec 5, 2012




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Inspired by Roboteernat's super simple Paperclip belt tensioner (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4535), but not quite getting the results I wanted, I came up with this super easy and inexpensive solution to tighten my belts without new parts and, most importantly, with disassembling my printer!


You'll need 3 cable (zip) ties, two of them should be small enough to fit between the teeth of your belt and the third sould be long enough to take up the slack in your belt.

Loosely zip the two small ties around your belt, then zip the larger one though them as loosely as possible. Position the large tie along the flat side of the belt, giving some thought to the position of the ratchet (center in along the top lenght is likely best, the photo's a good example of what not to do). The two smaller ties can then be aligned between two teeth as far apart as possble and tightened enough to grab the belt.

You can now tighten you belt by tightening the large tie!

Since you can position them ties anywhere in the belt and once trimmed they have a very low profile, you can use this methid in tight spots like a Prusa Y-stage with little difficulty.

The only down side is that it's a one way adjustment. If you get it too tight, you may be able to get a needle or small screw drive into the ratchet box to release it, or cut it off and try again. For the price, it's still a good deal.

*(Cable tie model borrowed from http://grabcad.com/library/cable-tie-mount without permission for illustration only, I wouldn't suggest printing it - especially if you belts ar loose!)

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Yeha... I love the Mc Gyver style :D


Thank you !
This "thing" is for sure the best belt tensioner I found so far for my ultimaker, and I tried many different ones.


And here I thought I had a new idea...

However, I don't find them to be springy at all.  I'd say they have less give then the belt does and they've completely eliminated the rather huge (~0.25mm) backlash I had.

There are a lot of tempting new design revisions out there, and I'm seriously tempted to start work on a new printer.  Mine's getting old.  I was on the bleeding edge when I opted for OIlite over PLA bushings.
(That is the whole point of a RepRap, no?)

For now, though, I was looking for a way to fine tune my belt tension without disassembling my printer.

I used cable ties for belt tension for a while, but find they are too springy and introduce slop and backlash.
I'd recommend printing a x-carriage like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15118http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... or y-belt-clamp like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13479http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... with a built in belt tensioner instead.

Lm8uu X Carriage with Fan Mount for Prusa Mendel
Parametric Prusa Y-axis belt tensioner with ram



Thats a really good idea great tip thanks. Something about that picture tells me you cant print with it like that... looks like you would have to redo that. thanks