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Close up of a 3D printer in actionWhile it has existed in some form for decades, 3D printing has emerged as an important and groundbreaking technology with near-limitless applications from manufacturing to medicine to aerospace and beyond. The process allows manufacturers to construct complex parts quickly and cost-effectively by creating a three-dimensional solid object from a digital file. In this blog, we’ll explain how our stainless steel belts are the perfect continuous conveying solution for 3D printing applications.

Belt’s Role in the 3D Printing Process

A 3D printed object is created by using an additive process, which lays down successive sheets of material onto a surface, one layer at a time. One of the major aspects to consider in this process is the surface that the material is being printed on top of—is it movable? Impermeable? Smooth? PureSteel® belts, pulleys and drive tapes are excellent for additive manufacturing applications for these exact reasons.

The moveability of a surface provides two separate benefits. First, it allows multiple items to be printed simultaneously, without operator action to remove completed printed parts from the machine. It also allows for the printing of larger parts: a section can be printed and then indexed by the belt to print the next section until the part is completed. Both of these benefits can reduce labor expenses while increasing profit margins. Additionally, our PureSteel® belts will not stretch, warp or break, and the smooth, impermeable surface provides easy release of the extruded product. Unlike other belt options, seamless belts will not curl or warp the printed object.

The Creation of the Infinite Surface

The Belt team has worked on several impressive 3D printing projects in the past, including the development of the White Knight 3D printer by NAK 3D Designs, which is owned and operated by Karl Brown. After developing a personal interest in 3D printing, Karl strove to create an infinite printing surface for seamlessly printing large objects, something not previously possible. After being told by several 3D printing belt specialists that fulfilling the specifications for his design was not possible, he contacted Belt Technologies.

As fellow 3D printing enthusiasts, our team provided Karl with engineering and design feedback to determine the appropriate thickness for the size of the belt to ensure smooth, long-lasting operation. The endless belt, combined with linear rails and several additional top-of-the-line pieces enables the White Knight 3D printer to do what no one else can: print an 8-foot-long sword in one complete piece.

How Can We Help You?

The team at Belt Technologies is thrilled to see the success of Karl’s design—can we do the same for you? We’ll work with your design and engineering teams to ensure your 3D printer components not only achieve optimal results but also maximize the lifespan of your equipment. Contact us today to learn more about our PureSteel® 3D printer drive tape, timing tape and pulley manufacturing capabilities