Chain instead of belts?

IMHO, chain has the same issue that belts and gears have. Wear. If sprockets wear, then that will introduce errors in the carve. I think, but then again, I could be wrong.

Thoughts are good. They lead to innovation and improvement! Or disaster and destruction. As you can see, I am somewhat confused today.

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Rack and pinion is a better solution

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I have not see anyone use chain. Usually they upgrade from belt to rack and pinion. I think because it has the same advantage of chain but is easier to implement?
I have been looking at upgrading to a longer Y axis and I have seen it suggested that the rack and pinion setup needs more power to drive properly requiring a upgraded controller that supports higher current, like the x-controller or a gecko.

My home-built CNC (may it rest in peace) used threaded rods for all 3 axis. It worked pretty well.

If I was going to do it again I’d likely either use threaded rods or rack and pinion.

Don’t overlook chain’s need for lubrication.

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Plastic Chains??:wink:

Just an FYI, I’ve seen posts on this forum of that guy scamming people big time (I don’t have any personal experience with him, however).

I saw the same thing. I just provided the link because of the discussion of gears vice belts.

Really too bad, too. It’d be a nice drop-in upgrade.

Yep, lots of products on the internet like that, sadly.

We have a chain operated pick and drop machine at work.
The problems we have with it include chain stretch and sprocket wear. Lubrication is a mess. And the thing clanks and rattles like you wouldn’t believe.
I can also see chips getting stuck in the chain and sprockets.
We also have one that runs with a combination of rack and pinion and ball screw. Much smoother, reliable and much less mess. 6 years running 16 hours a day and never a breakdown or miss-set load.


The lubrication / dust-and-chips combo seems like it’d be an utter killer for a router system using chains. Bad enough with unlubricated belts that DON’T attract dust like magnets!

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These guys use chain drives in their homemade line of CNC’s…

As with what others have said the chain would require more continued maintenance and the introduction of dust would really gum up the lubrication. Here are some good guides i found helpful on the differences of the chain, belt and ball screw drives.

I have seen some openbuild projects where i really liked how they positioned the rails that located the carriage assembly and wheels away from the cutting bed, thus reducing some of the dust accumulation.

Ask a chainsaw guy what happens to chains and sprockets. It would take a lot longer with the less strenuous use of a cnc router, but the chain will stretch and the sprocket will wear.

Midway through a larger, 5 ft X 5.5 ft project, I have concluded that rack and pinion with a timing belt reduction may be the way to go. If it were smaller, I think ball screws or acme wiith some kind of anti-backlash strategy could work out well. (I’ll be running 1200 oz nema 34 motors and a 3.5 horse router.) Belts seem appropriate for light duty, low stress stuff.

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I have the chain and drive sprockets for converting the XCarve. I have been working with Richard Moller at Shade Tree CNC over Facebook we worked out the last bit of sprockets and spacers I just have to get the cash to buy em. He has successfully ran his home built unit off Chains for a while no stretching or wear.

I own 2 Gryphon CNC’s and the machines perform extremely well with the rack and pinion. I would be happy to answer questions if needed.