How to Replace a 3D Printer Belt Properly – Ender 3 & More
Learning how to replace a belt properly on your 3D printer is important. It becomes even more crucial if you have gone through a belt break or you have some issues with your belt that can’t be fixed.
I decided to write this article to walk you through the process of changing the belt on your 3D printer, whether an Ender 3 or similar machine.
How to Replace a 3D Printer Belt
Here’s how to replace the X axis belt on your 3D printer:
- Gather necessary tools and equipment
- Unplug your 3D printer
- Loosen bolts at the X axis carriage
- Remove the belt from the metal bracket
- Feed the new belt
- Insert belt ends into the bracket
- Tighten the bolts for proper belt tension
1. Gather Necessary Tools and Equipment
The first step towards replacing a 3D printer belt is to gather all the required tools. Usually, Ender 3 and most other 3D printers come with all the tools required for replacing belts.
The required tools and equipment for replacing 3D printer belts include the:
- Allen key
- Replacement belt
Although little disassembly is needed, you will need an Allen key to loosen bolts on the X and Y axis belt tensioners.
Your 3D printer should have come with all these tools, but if you lost them, get some replacements.
You can get wrenches of all sizes by buying a 22-Piece Long Arm Hex Key Wrench Set from Amazon.
You may want a set of pliers such as the CRAFTSMAN 8-inch Long Needle Nose Pliers from Amazon. This tool is optional but makes it easy to hold things while tensioning the belt after replacement.
2. Unplug your 3D Printer
It’s a good idea to unplug your 3D printer just in case, to prevent any potential injuries from movements.
The process of belt replacement requires you to work around the extruder, wires, and the print bed. So, it is better to have the 3D printer off.
3. Loosen Bolts at the X Axis Carriage
We’ll start with replacing the belt on the X axis since it’s simpler and the Y axis can have some extra steps.
Loosen the two screws at the end of the X axis gantry or carriage to decrease the belt tension. This makes it easy to remove the belt from the metal bracket.
On the Ender 3 and most other 3D printers, there will be three screws at the end of the X axis gantry. You need to loosen the 2 smaller screws.
One user said that you shouldn’t remove the bolts but always loosen them, mostly 1 turn each will be enough.
4. Remove the Belt from the Metal Bracket
Look for the metal bracket holding both ends of the belt. Usually, it is located right behind the extruder. Release the belt by pulling one end at a time, out of the bracket.
Grab the end from the X axis gantry and start pulling the belt out. Make sure you focus on the path to know how it’s coming out and where to feed the new belt.
5. Feed the New Belt
Feed the new belt following the same path as the old belt. The belt should be passing under the wheels that move the stepper motor back and forth. Ensure that the belt sits perfectly over and around the pulleys before you insert the belt ends into the bracket.
One user asked if you should buy belts, particularly for your 3D printer or the long spools, and then cut them to fit for a 3D printer.
Another user replied saying that he buys pre-made from Amazon for his 3D printer. You can find belts in the right sizes for popular printers such as the 720mm belt for the Y axis of the Ender 3 Pro.
For some 3D printers, you may have to buy a long roll of belt and then cut it into the required length.
6. Insert Belt Ends into the Bracket
Grab one end of the belt and insert it into the bracket from where you released the old belt in step 4. Do the same from the other end on the opposite side of the bracket on the print head.
One user said that he struggled to find out how to connect the belt ends to the extruder. Another user suggested looking for little slots that are one side open and have the same thickness as the belt itself.
Another user said that if there aren’t any crimps/metal ends to secure the belt, you can use zip ties as well. Just fold the belt’s end back to make a double layer or place both ends on one another (5mm should be enough) and put the zip tie on.
One user also suggested printing a belt clip such as GT2 Belt Clip, Timing Belt Clip GT2 6mm, or Snap Fit Gt2 Belt Clamps from Thingiverse.
Y axis belt clip repair or replace? The printer itself is only 2 months old and I noticed on this last print I was getting lots of artifacts so I went to tighten up the y axis belt as it was very loose. Looks like this is why… suggestions are welcome. from ender3
7. Tighten the Bolts for Proper Belt Tension
Go back to the two screws on the X axis gantry and tighten them up. Tighten the bolts until your new belt is properly tensioned on your 3D printer. Make sure the belt is neither loose nor overly tight because both situations can result in 3D prints with imperfections or errors.
Here is a video by 3D Printscape going through the process of replacing 3D printer belts. Though the printer used in the video is Ender 3 Pro, the process is almost the same for 3D printers with the same (a timing belt/pulley system) setup.
Let’s look at replacing the Y axis belt under the print bed:
- If the bracket holding the belt/pulleys is completely visible, loosen the screws to decrease the belt tension. Usually, you need to loosen two screws from each side of the bracket.
- If you have another 3D printer and the bracket is not visible or you are unable to take out the belt from underneath the print bed, first, disassemble the print bed by removing its screws.
Depending on your 3D printer, the process to remove the bed can be different. So, it’s better to take a look through the print bed and analyze how it can be removed. You can also follow the 3D printer manual or find a YouTube video showing the process.
- Remove the belt by releasing both ends from the groove on the metal frame. The bracket holding the ends of the belt is usually located in the center of the 3D printer under the print bed.
- Feed the new belt through the grooves and pulleys while securing both ends in the central bracket.
- Re-tighten the screws to tension the belt until it doesn’t bow or feel loose when pushed by a finger.
- Reassemble the print bed back in its position and make sure you level the print bed before starting a new project.
The video above by 3D Printscape also shows the process of changing the Y axis belt on an Ender 3.
Best 3D Printer Belt Replacements
Here are some of the best 3D printer belt replacements you can get:
1. Official Creality Timing Belt
One of the best belts for an Ender 3 is the Official Creality Timing Belt from Amazon.
The belt has properties like flexibility, durability, high wear resistance, crack resistance, and a very long life because of its high-quality PU material. The belt when combined with the GT2 pulley ensures the precise functioning of the machine.
The belt is compatible with all Creality 3D printers and many other brands. It comes in a 1-meter length with 2 copper sleeves for easy installation.
Aside from this, you will get the facility of 24-hour active support from the Creality after-sale technical team to resolve any issues during installation or use.
One user highly recommended this belt, saying that it is of great quality and can easily be cut to fit on his Ender 3 V2 whose belts were worn out after 3 years of use.
Another user said that he switched his Ender 3 to a linear rail on the Y axis and the original belt was a few mm short. The user bought this belt from Amazon and the package came with crimping sleeves making it suitable to cut off any length you need.
Most reviews of this belt are positive, having a 4.9/5.0 review on Amazon at time of writing.
Get yourself the Official Creality Timing Belt from Amazon.
2. HICTOP 3D Printer Belt
The HICTOP 3D Printer Belt from Amazon is another great option for machines such as the Creality Ender 3, Ender 3 Pro, Ender 5, CR-10, CR-10S, Anet A8, Anet CNC, and many other 3D printers. The rubber belt comes 6mm in width and 5 meters in length which is more than enough.
One user said it’s great for the price and the quality is there, while another person said he used it to replace the belt on his JG Aurora that had a belt break. He mentioned that the belt is super strong, doesn’t have stretching or skipping and gave plenty spare for future replacements.
Another user said that he replaced the worn stock belt with this one about a couple of years ago and hasn’t faced any issues at all. Aside from this, there is enough left to be used for a whole lifetime.
You can get yourself the HICTOP 3D Printer Belt from Amazon.
3. AIWAN LEZHI GT2 Timing Belt
The AIWAN LEZHI GT2 Timing Belt is a great option for users looking for a long-lasting belt for their 3D printers. The belt can fit on almost all 3D printers because of its 6mm width and 1.38mm thickness with a tooth height of 0.75mm.
The belt is made of rubber with fiberglass reinforced.
With this belt, you’ll have to cut it yourself if you are comfortable doing that. It can simply be cut with normal scissors and then inserted at the ends into the 3D printer bracket. Do keep in mind that it doesn’t come with crimps so you’ll need to either take the ones off your old belt or use zip ties.
Users have shared their positive experiences of using this belt on various 3D printers.
One user said that he used this belt on his FT-i3 Mega 3D printer and it works perfectly. The belt comes in a 5-meter length which is great as you can use it on 3D printers of different brands and builds.
Another user said that this belt fits perfectly no matter if you use it for X axis or Y axis on the Ender 5 Plus. The user is keen to buy again if needed because of its good quality.
You can get yourself the AIWAN LEZHI GT2 Timing Belt from Amazon.