Conveyor Belt Printer Mod Is Nearly All Printed

[Call Me Swal] wanted to experiment with large 3D prints. So he took a Hornet 3D printer and  designed a lot of 3D parts to convert it into an “infinite” conveyor belt printer. It looks like — as you can see in the video below — that all the parts are 3D printed but you will still need to buy material for the actual belt.

Of course, you may not have a Hornet, but the idea would be applicable to just about any similar printer. You’d have to, of course, adapt or redesign the parts.

If you haven’t encountered belt printers before, you might think it is as simple as putting a conveyor belt in place of the heated bed. Some early belt printers worked that way, and they were mainly meant for printing normal parts and then dumping them into a bin so you could print again without operator intervention.

However, these newer belt printers combine the belt with a print head canted at an angle. This allows you to print very large prints — at least in one axis. Each layer, then, is a slanted slice of the built volume instead of a slice parallel with the build surface.

That’s important. Suppose you want to print a 2 meter-long sword and the actual conveyer belt surface was 25 centimeters square. Printing the outline of a traditional layer would require the print head to trace the entire 2 meter length. The outline would collapse as soon as it left the bed. There would be no way to bring it back on the bed to continue printing in that area, plus the filament would surely just be a pile on the floor.

With the angled layers, each 45 degree slice of the sword is complete before the belt moves forward. Presumably, the sword is self-supporting as it is complete and the parts hanging off the bed never have to return for more printing.

Obviously, some parts won’t work like this, but for the ones that do, there are some interesting mechanical properties to having the plastic deposited at an angle, as the video explains.

This isn’t the first conversion we’ve seen. We’ve even seen belts combined with arms to make a very fast printer.

19 thoughts on “Conveyor Belt Printer Mod Is Nearly All Printed

    1. As a percentage of plastic waste, 3d prints are an insignificant number, hardly a blip on the radar. Even large prints. On the other hand, ‘worthless big prints’ may be useful or otherwise desirable by their owners, making them less likely to be discarded.

      Go find a real issue.

    2. I’d wager that my 3d printed widget is going to have less net emissions tied into it then buying that same part injection molded in China shipped across an ocean in a cargo ship burning bunker fuel, traincar on diesel to a distribution center, unloaded on a propane powered forklift, trucked to my local Walmart, humped onto a shelf by an underpaid worker, driven to my house, and taken out of its plastic and cardboard package. I might be wrong, but I’d take the bet.

      1. I agree with you 100% I’ve got a cnc and building a second. I’m waiting for the days when I can scan my car part and make another one before the parts store could get it delivered not to mention out of date parts.. You think of all the waste in delivery going on when everyone should have a 3d printer in thier local community. It’s the 21st century but we’re still in the dark ages with transportation, Mark up and expensive goods vs a bux for materials and .50 cents of electricity.


  1. Print a long thin mesh raft, attach one end to a spool, continue printing more raft as you spool it in: self-printing conveyor belt. The printed objects fall off as the raft gets bent around the spool.

  2. How much filament do these take? Do they sell it in bigger spools?

    If a print fails, OUCH!!
    One advantage of smaller parts assembled into a larger item, a single failed print isn’t a loss of time and material.

    A time metric would be nice. A clock on the wall during the print and then do the timelapse?

    Mind you, this is something that would get me to finally purchase a filament printer. The size problem has been on my list of disadvantages to all the 3D printers and CNC equipment that I see. I have a 3040CNC and an Anycubic Photon resin printer, so I enjoy being able to crank out parts and projects. But to be able to do so in a larger format is definitely attractive.

    1. You can make your own spools of thread for 3d printing, just recycle plastic ,probably available free, melt, auger, push out threw cnc extractors.

      Plans online everywhere


    2. If you’re going to be printing a lot then these larger prints are a good application for a pellet extruder. They allow you to buy plastic at a 10th or less of the cost of filament.

  3. Neat, I missed the kickstarter for Naomi Wu’s Print Mill, but I still want one of these. If it can be printed, surely an adaption can be constructed from more robust metal parts as well. This is some nice motivation.

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