CoreXY 3D Printer using servos

I wanted a 3D Printer with servos instead of the usual stepper motors. After searching I could one and it was incomplete so I build my own.

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It's a CoreXY 3D Printer made from components from Servo City and McMaster Carr. I use ClearPath all in one servos from Teknic and made some parts using my CNC router. The Z Axis is based on corexy using belts with a mechanical override to fine tune first print layer thickness.

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israel.contreras wrote 10/05/2018 at 14:15 point

So which control board and firmware are you using to control the servos? This is awesome!

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manataeb wrote 11/20/2017 at 12:19 point

hi, your project sounds awesome :) actually, I would like to build a 3d printer by Clearpath servo motors but I don't know which controller board is suitable ! could you guide me?

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Timothy Zalusky wrote 08/26/2016 at 15:29 point

Was this a success or a failure?  Did the Teknic's work well for 3D Printing?  I'm thinking of using them for my corexy build

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edkirk1 wrote 08/26/2016 at 16:57 point

They work really great, definitely a success!  I used the smallest and cheapest model available from Teknic for the 3D Printer and have a set of larger ones on my CNC Router, very impressive.  They are super smooth and quiet, if it wasn't for the cooling fans you wouldn't know the machine was even running.  They work well using 48 volt external power to drive them, expensive high voltage power supply not needed for the 3D Printer.

I have built another (almost) identical 3D Printer to try the new Mechaduino servo boards which will be available soon (check out Mechaduino on this site).  It is up and running with standard 3D Printer NEMA 17 stepper motors at this time.  I am also using a Smoothieboard on this project, it is producing excellent prints as is, very noisy and a little rough compared to servos.  I did change the Z axis drive on the new printer using 3 steppers and 3 lead screws with 3 external stepper drivers from Panucatt Devices for comparison to the single motor belt drive posted here.  The belt drive with single drive motor on the Z axis was somewhat more difficult to initially install and setup but I like the way it works better then the lead screws on the newer machine.  I installed lead screws because I want to experiment with the Mechaduino servo drivers programming options. The Mechaduino drivers can be setup to use a potentiometer to fine tune their position while running step/direction, looks like an excellent option to fine tune the thickness of the  first layer of print while the printer is running.

I would recommend waiting for the Mechaduino Servos instead of the Teknic's servos mainly for the cost and options.  I plan on posting the results of the newer 3D Printer project here sometime in the future, just requires installing the Mechaduino boards on the existing NEMA17 steppers already in use.  I am already using step/direction signals from the Smoothieboard so the conversion will be simple.

Thanks, Ed

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Timothy Zalusky wrote 09/15/2016 at 20:27 point

I almost forgot to thank you for such a well thought out reply.

Because I don't really care about the $1000+ a power supply that the Clearpaths are going to add to this I probably am going to buy them because I've got a hole in my pocket.  

The mechaduinos look like an interesting option, unfortunately I missed out on the kickstarter.  It still remains to be seen how well the perform on a 3d printer (I'm worried about overshoot causing ringing, unless that can be tuned out.

Also, I think I; going to use a mightyboard as the controller because that's what I'm used to.

You can see my project page here:


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edkirk1 wrote 09/15/2016 at 23:40 point

The Teknic Coolpath servos are awesome, you can download the programming software for free, you do have to register.  No big deal.  It allows you to do a self tune, reverse direction, set steps per unit of travel, set a current limit (I haven' tried yet) give the servo a name or ID and graph operating parameters while it is running.  Don't forget to order the power and communication cords, you can make them if you want.

I looked at your project, very similar to mine.  The CoreXY  is great.  I went with 1/8 inch MKL timing belts and pulleys from McMaster Carr.  Very tough to setup, I can't find MKL by the foot and was limited to using the longest belt they have and cutting it.  I barely got 300 x 300 work area but once set up it is smooooothe.

My new machine is almost identical to the one posted, I went with Smoothieboard and really like, much better then the Arduino stuff.  It has NEMA 17 steppers in anticipation of the Mechaduino which are due anytime.  Smoothie is extremely fast and I have to slow it down, too much ringing.  No problem at lower speeds, again, really great.  Right now I am changing out the board on the "corexy with servos" and installing a smoothieboard.  Took a break to post this reply.


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Timothy Zalusky wrote 03/03/2017 at 03:16 point

Ed, hope your projects are going well.

I just finished setting up a similar printer with clearpath servos.  They seem pretty good except for the fact that I get a weird artifact on horizontal and vertical movements that seems to be caused by servo tuning.

After adjusting the "fine tuning" and setting RAS down low it is better but still there.  Is there anything special you did when tuning your servos?  Did you tune them at all?

Thanks, Tim

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edkirk1 wrote 03/03/2017 at 05:05 point

I think the servos are responding to input.  I also use them on my CNC Router and have had absolutely no issues.

I did conduct the auto-tune, several times just for fun.  The mechanics have to be in position to allow for full free travel during this process, if you have a core xy the idle servo should probably be locked into position so it is not free to move and influence the servo being calibrated.  These servos don't seem to draw much current on a printer but I did use a Teknic power supply at first then changed it out with good 48 volt supply with the rest of the electronics operating at 24 volts, runs great.

I did experiment with "steps per revolution" and settled with something in low end of the range.  Then calibrate the printer to get travel that matches dimensions of the piece being printed.  It has been a long time since I went through this process so I'm a little hazy on the exact terms.

I did experiment with several different controllers, Arduino and smoothieboard, there was one board that had some print issues.  I forget which one.  The smoothieboard does provide the best results.

I also ran calibration with the servos free from the mechanics and they printed perfectly when reconnected. The only problems I encountered were with mechanics and some issues when the belts were loose, since I designed and build my printer I did have some problems but enjoyed the challenge and worked through them.  Most of my problems were with the extruder/hot end and nozzle, I now use E3D products with best results.


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edkirk1 wrote 08/04/2016 at 05:41 point

Nothing special, Rambo 1.3 control board with standard Marlin firmware.  Just used step/direction out on the board.  I am building another 3D printer using Smoothieboard with steppers for now but going to install Mechaduino servos when they come out next month.

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israel.contreras wrote 10/05/2018 at 14:19 point

I was under the impression Servos couldn't be used with Marlin.  Are you using end stops to tell the system when you've reached the edge of an axis? Or, are you using current spikes at the end of the travel to register that as far right or left? Are you using the servos to register when the z axis is level? 

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nitishshete wrote 08/04/2016 at 04:50 point

Hey which firmware are you using for 3d printer controlled by servo motors

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