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3D Printer Accessories - Introduction to Timing Belt & Pulley

Blog  /  3D Printer Accessories - Introduction to Timing Belt & Pulley

3D Printer Accessories - Introduction to Timing Belt & Pulley

Jul 12,2024

JLCMC timing belts combine the positive-grip characteristics of chain and gear drives with the benefits of a flat belt. Unlike flat belts, there is no slippage as the timing belt passes over the pulley's teeth. The bearing stresses on the drive shaft are lessened since just a little amount of belt tension is needed to stop this slippage. These timing belts are very straightforward to use and maintain because they don't require oil, in contrast to gear and chain drives.

This article will look at topics such as:

  • What is Timing Pulley & Belt
  • Design of Timing Belt
  • Functions of Timing Belt& Pulley
  • Applications and Advantages of Timing Belts& Pulleys

What is a Timing Pulley & Belt?

Timing pulleys, *Fig.1, work in the maker's workplace as the unsung heroes. They are basic but essential, keeping everything from printing machines to automobile engines operating properly. We go over the ins and outs of timing pulleys at Maker Store and how you can utilize them for your projects in this blog post. Timing pulleys are mechanical devices that precisely convey rotational motion. They are often referred to as toothed or synchronous pulleys. Their circumferential teeth mesh with toothed belts to provide a positive connection that prevents slippage and keeps the driven component and pulley in precise time.

timing pulleys form JLCMC

A timing belt, *Fig.2, is made of rubber with strong teeth that can mesh with the cogwheels of crankshafts and camshafts. It is an essential part of an internal combustion engine that keeps the crankshaft and camshaft rotating in synchronicity. It allows the engine's valves to open and close appropriately during each cylinder's intake and exhaust strokes.

timing belt from jlcmc

Early in the 1940s, toothed belts were developed specifically for use in textile mills. The American 1954 Devin-Panhard racing car's engine, which was modified from pushrods to overhead camshafts by use of a toothed belt manufactured by the Gilmer Company, was the first known vehicle engine to use a timing belt. A rubber toothed belt is typically referred to as a "timing belt". The benefits of timing belts include their generally lower cost, decreased friction losses, decreased noise, and the fact that they have never needed to be lubricated. The primary drawback is that belts erode with time; consequently, it is advised to change them at specified intervals. Since the water pump is likewise prone to wear and is conveniently accessible when the timing belt is being replaced, it is frequently advised to repair the engine's water pump concurrently.

Timing belts are usually found in front of the engine and are shielded from dust and debris by a cover. In order to reduce friction, some engines have been using "wet timing belts" since 2008. In this method, the engine oil lubricates the belt. The timing belt of various engine types may also be utilized to drive other parts, including the oil and water pumps. Although some belts are composed of neoprene or polyurethane, rubber is usually used to make timing belts. The belt's toothed surface is reinforced with a fabric covering, and the belt's structure is strengthened with corded fibres that serve as tension members.

Design of Timing Belts

A timing belt, *Fig.3, consists of two primary parts: the plastic compound that forms the teeth and covers the cord, and the molded cords inside the belt that carry the torque load. For various kinds of timing belts, these parts come in a variety of material options. The intended usage of the belt must be taken into account when choosing the materials to be used. The cords used in timing belts are often composed of Kevlar, polyester, or fiberglass.

The detail of timing belt

In order for the cord to transmit the power provided to the belt linearly, the cord and the belt teeth are aligned at right angles to one another. The serpentine belt seen in automotive engines is an illustration of a belt capable of supporting enormous weights. Minimal belt elongation occurs in smaller driving systems.

Because the cord materials used in small drive applications are so strong in comparison to the loads they carry, belt strain is essentially nonexistent. Excessive weights can lead to pulley teeth cogging or belt teeth leaping, as well as damage of the cords. A mould is used throughout the timing belt production process to inject plastic. After that, the plastic is injected into the mould, which has already been cut into and contains the winding cord and precise teeth profiles. Since the mould must to have the exact same number of teeth as the finished belt, there is always a distinct mould available for each different length of belt. The goal is to create a polished, continuous belt that is endless. A sleeve with the required number of teeth and a width of 18 to 36 inches can be created using a mould. With the use of specialty slitting instruments, the sleeve is precisely cut to the required belt widths. Urethane is used to make food processing belts when FDA regulations are followed. Particles are less visible in urethane since it can be colored or left in its naturally transparent form. In the case of the black neoprene belts, it's different.

Neoprene is the standard material for timing belts because it keeps the teeth shape properly from the mould and has good wear properties. Neoprene belts feature a nylon fabric face to minimize wear. Engineered polymers are utilized to meet specific needs for low dust or particle applications, such as medical, clean rooms, and office copiers. An EPDM polymer is employed as the core, and all teeth wear surfaces are covered with nylon to produce less dust than neoprene. In contrast to urethane or neoprene belts, this also guarantees the precise retention of tooth profile over a prolonged period of service.

Timing Belt Teeth

The crank and cam shafts can be kept in synchronization with strong timing belt teeth, Fig. 4, and the teeth come in a variety of metric pitches. On a timing belt, pitch is the distance measured between the centres of two neighbouring teeth. Pitches affect the diameter and number of teeth on timing belt pulleys, among other things. When it comes to teeth design, older timing belts use teeth that are trapezoidal in shape. But because to advancements in manufacturing technology, curved teeth may now effectively address the issues of noise and durability that plague many belts made with trapezoidal teeth. When it comes to timing belt construction, it's crucial to remember that a shorter timing belt performs better because it reduces weight and friction.

Timing belt teeth

Timing Belt Tooth Profiles

Timing belt tooth configurations, Fig. 5, can vary greatly based on the intended use and surroundings. As was previously indicated, the initial design is the trapezoidal layout, although more recent timing belts have curvilinear tooth profiles.

Different tooth profiles

Trapezoidal Belts

The efficiency of trapezoidal teeth in transmitting forces is remarkable. However, teeth with this blunt design tend to wear down quickly at high torque and speed levels. Despite these drawbacks, trapezoidal teeth are nevertheless widely used and are usually the first option for linear positioning belts and precision conveying.

Curvilinear Belts

The tooth shape of curvilinear toothed timing belts is more rounded and smooth. These belts lessen the possibility of tension loss and ease the high force concentration that trapezoidal teeth endure. Despite the significant advantages that curvilinear timing belts provide over other teeth types, they are not without problems. There is more potential for play to occur between the teeth of a curvilinear belt and the pulley grooves. This problem, known as backlash, causes the timing belt to be positioned less precisely and may potentially reduce the timing belt's performance.

Modified Curvilinear Belts

The primary objective of these belt types is to combine the advantages of trapezoidal and curvilinear tooth designs. The sides of modified curvilinear belts are steeper and the tooth depth is shallower. As a result, they can efficiently transmit forces with greater speed and torque without sacrificing their longevity. These kinds of belts are frequently the first choice for demanding industrial applications.

Functions of Timing Belt& Pulley:

Positioning and Repeatability: Precise component placement in a variety of machinery and gadgets depends on the use of timing pulleys. This is crucial for applications requiring precise and repeatable movements, like robots, 3D printing, and CNC milling.

Power Transmission: With no chance of slippage, timing belts & pulleys effectively transfer power from one shaft to another. These can transform the motor shaft's rotating motion to linear motion (along an extrusion) when used in conjunction with toothed belts.

Reducing Backlash: Backlash is the undesired movement that can happen in mechanical systems when reversing direction. Timing belts & pulleys help limit this movement. Their toothed structure minimizes backlash by ensuring a solid connection between the pulley and the belt.

Speed Control: Timing belts & pulleys enable speed control in mechanical systems by utilizing pulleys with varying diameters and tooth counts. The speed at which the driven component functions in relation to the driving component can be changed by adjusting the ratio of pulley sizes.

Applications and Advantages of Timing Belts& Pulleys

CNC Machining: Timing pulleys are used by CNC machines to regulate the movement of the cutting tools or workpieces, resulting in precise and consistent machining operations.

3D Printing: In 3D printers, timing pulleys regulate the movement of the build platform and print head to provide accurate material layering.

Automotive Industry: Because they regulate the timing of the intake and exhaust valves, timing pulleys are essential to an engine's functionality. This guarantees the best possible fuel economy and engine performance.

Printing Industry: Timing pulleys are essential to printing presses because they keep the paper and print heads moving precisely, producing prints that are crisp and error-free.

Advantages of Timing Belts

Timing belts may have the following disadvantages as compared to flat or round belt drives:

• The cost of timing belts is considerable.

• The timing pulley must be initially aligned with them.

• Relatively little power is transferred using timing belts.

• The power they transfer is at comparatively shorter distances.

However, the advantages—which include the following—outweigh these disadvantages.

• Timing belt noise levels are lower.

• Their vibrations are low.

• Timing belt slippage is nonexistent.

• They have a high mechanical efficiency of up to 98%.

• Their ratios of velocity are constant.

• Timing belt maintenance is minimal.


Timing pulleys are tiny, yet they are very important in precise engineering. From cars to 3D printers, these toothed marvels guarantee the seamless and coordinated running of several mechanical components. Understanding timing pulley types, applications, and functions is essential for anyone working with machinery or in the manufacturing industry. Though the accuracy of a 3D printed product frequently astounds us, and the performance of your car's engine never ceases to astound, it's important to keep in mind the underlying parts. So, the next time you're admiring these accomplishments, remember to acknowledge the timing pulley—which is crucial but frequently disregarded.

Timing belts and pulleys from JLCMC are continuously upgraded to satisfy the most demanding particular application specifications. We are able to provide a broad range of products and solutions for every technical application, from the lightest to the heaviest, by utilizing an advanced test laboratory and putting a strong emphasis on application engineering solutions. To ensure a match for any circumstance, we offer a large selection of centre distances and ratios for our timing belts and pulleys.

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