It’s taken years to perfect them, but desktop 3D printers that uses a conveyor belt instead of a traditional build plate to provide a theoretically infinite build volume are now finally on the market. Unfortunately, they command a considerable premium. Even the offering from Creality, a company known best for their budget printers, costs $1,000 USD.
But if you’re willing to put in the effort, [Adam Fasnacht] thinks he might have the solution. His open source modification for the Ender 3 Pro turns the affordable printer into a angular workhorse. We wouldn’t necessarily call it cheap; in addition to the printer’s base price of $240 you’ll need to source $200 to $300 of components, plus the cost of the plastic to print out the 24 components necessary to complete the conversion. But it’s still pretty competitive with what’s on the market.
If there’s a catch, it’s that the only source for the conveyor belt and the modified nozzles used in this design is [Adam]’s website, PowerBelt3D. The argument could be made that this is a bit like giving away the razor and selling the blades, but to be fair, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything here that would prevent you from coming up with substitute parts.
We imagine the elongated nozzles (which are necessary to get close to the angled bed) wouldn’t be too bad to make yourself if you’ve got the right equipment. But [Adam] says it took over two years to develop his Formula32 belt, so you might have your work cut out for you if you’re looking to produce something similar in-house.
We had high hopes for early contenders like the Printrbelt, but perhaps those early attempts were simply ahead of their time. With so many cheap 3D printers on the market these days to build off of, we may be on the cusp of a belt-printer renaissance.