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Just how good are printed linear bearings?

Posted by epicepee 
Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 17, 2015 12:23PM
So, I got a hold of a bunch of ground aluminium rods. They're very smooth and straight, but they're slightly under-sized, so I can't really get bushings or bearings that would fit them properly. How well would it work to print sliding parts?
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 17, 2015 12:55PM
If you design them yourself and take the time to get them right, they are as good as an standard LM8UU, life span is shorter and will depend on material and amount of use.

One of my printers is a CTC replicator and I redesigned to use nylon printed bushings, you can find it on thingiverse.

I'm working on a split design for easy of replacement.

One thing you will love about them is their quiet and smooth operation.
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 18, 2015 09:08PM
I used printed bearings on one of my printers for a long time. Worked perfectly well. However, i dont care what anybody says there is no comparison with true linear bearings. If you dont mind spending a little more, use the LM8UU.
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 20, 2015 11:48AM
I have been contemplating running printed bearings on alu and copper piping. I am thinking about a design that uses grease entrapment to glide. One thing I can say is that no matter how acurate your printer is, you will been some finishing on the 3d printed parts if you want to get that extra 100micron out of them.


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Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 21, 2015 07:20PM
You could also try lining the printed bearing with ptfe, either tubing or conformable tape.
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 21, 2015 07:29PM
etfrench, how much force can those take?
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 21, 2015 07:31PM
Where are the files for these bearings? Been searching for them to no avail.
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 21, 2015 08:21PM
I designed a linear slide for aluminum extrusion that used pieces of PTFE tubing as a bearing surface. Worked great once it was dialed in.

Here's a pic of the x carriage on the printer.


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open | download - servo and x axis end stop.jpg (612.8 KB)
Re: Just how good are printed linear bearings?
April 21, 2015 08:54PM
Quote
epicepee
etfrench, how much force can those take?

Probably a lot more than a 3d printer will generate smiling smiley I know of at least one benchtop mill (bigger than a mini-mill) that uses PTFE bearings encased in a metal sleeve. I'm using PTFE tubing in a custom camera slider and it has been working nicely. It doesn't have any trouble making movements under 5 microns. PTFE can flow over time if it isn't encased in something, so your design should take this into account.

I should mention that PTFE plumbers tape probably won't work.
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