Stepper Motor & Drive Question

I have access to different length acme ball screws do you think it is a good choice for a laser or just
stick with belt driven.
Didn’t know if this would effect the laser in anyway.


I don’t think you can drive as fast with screws as you can with belts, all else being equal. Screws can deliver more power, but that isn’t really a consideration for a laser as there are no cutting forces to overcome. Just my opinion, hopefully someone can confirm this. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply that makes sense.


I agree and also screws provide better accuracy but again don’t need it for lasers. Routers is the way to go with ball screws

Ball/leadscrews sacrifice linear speed for torque amplification. Use belts unless you have a reason to slow it down and increase the torque. That said, using ballscrews for the driven mechanism on a Z table could be a great idea, but probably wouldn’t be suitable for X/Y due to how much it slows it down. You’d probably be lucky to get 100mm/sec from a ballscrew before the stepper/motor controller can’t operate fast enough.

What a great community forum it has been so helpful.
Thanks to all that have replied to my question.
Belts are the way to go.


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As I look around for parts that I have will this stepper motor Nema 23 Stepper Motor 4A 1.8 Deg need a driver or will the 3D board drive it.I know it may be over kill but I am trying use what I have. The bed size of the table is 48 x 72 if this makes a difference gantry riding on 2 linear rails.


You will need an external driver for any motor requiring more than 1.2A RMS, so yes, this motor will require an external driver. The drivers on the Laserboard will be generally undersized for anything greater than a NEMA 17 motor (and even some NEMA 17s will require external drivers).

Is that 48x72 in inches or cm?

These resources should help:

I combined your threads, we generally prefer one continuous topic instead of a bunch of individual ones, or at least something like:

  • Rudy’s Pre-Sales Questions
  • Rudy’s Installation Process and Questions
  • etc… a few threads is fine, 50 individual ones is not. Speaking from experience here, unfortunately.

48" x 72" inches thank you for the information we may have the drives somewhere in a box.

That’s definitely a sizeable machine. I definitely wouldn’t go any smaller than NEMA 23, and would honestly think about going a little bigger depending on the weight of the gantry.

I have 1 nema 34 could use it for the x and the 23 for the y I guess when you said go bigger thats what you where referring to.

It is exactly what I meant. You want the larger motor driving the heavier weight (so the full gantry with the NEMA34 and the carriage and shuttle with the NEMA23).

I think the mass of the ball screw and needed speed of rotation would limit the laser. Ball screws are great for precision and power, but not the best for quick movements.

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Can I use a npn proximity switch instead of a manual switch for my end stops. Will it work with the 3d board.
Thank you

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