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How to Tighten 3D Printer Belt: A Step-To-Step Guide

How to Tighten 3D Printer Belt: A Step-To-Step Guide | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone


June 8, 2022

3D Printers are fantastic pieces of technology that allow you to bring any object into your home with relative ease. However, there is a lot of technical knowledge that comes with owning and operating a 3D printer. One common thing that you will run into is tightening the belt on your 3D printer.

While all 3D printers have the same idea, all of them have little quirks that make them unique. Below is a quick reference to the steps you need to follow to tighten your belt. We will be digging details behind these steps. Further down, we will specify how those steps can change by brand.

  • Check the tightness and positioning of the belt
  • Be sure you have the right tools
  • Clean your 3D printer
  • Locate the tensioner on the 3D printer
  • Loosen the bolts or screws
  • Adjust the belt as needed
  • Tighten the belt using your tools
  • Test the tension

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Table of Contents

How To Tighten Belt: 3D printer

Your belt may need tightening if you notice inconsistencies in your printer. You may see rippling along the edges of your object. While a belt is not the sole cause of this, it is one of the first areas you check.

Below, we will be getting into a step by step guide on how to diagnose and repair your 3D printer. Remember that these steps are to apply to general 3D printer designs.  

How Do You Check the Tightness of Your 3D Printer Belt?

If your belt is loose, you will notice ripples along with your 3D objects or misprints of specific locations. Start by turning off your 3D printer to avoid being shocked.  Unplugging your device is always step one of any repair process.

Next, follow the instructions on your owner’s manual to remove the cover or casing that protects the belts. Gently try and snap the straps to see if they ripple or are easy to move. If they are easy to snap, you will need to tighten them.

How Do You Check the Position Of Your 3D Printer Belt?

If you see your belt starting to slip off of the pulley, it can cause your belt to rub against the pulley and cause damage. Check to see if any teeth on the pully are exposed. If they are, your belt has possibly been loose for too long, causing it to slip over time.

If you catch this, compare your belt to a standard belt. If your belt seems thinner or shows clear signs of wear and tear, you need a replacement.

What Tools Do You Need When Tightening Your 3D Printer Belt?

All 3D printers will require one of the following tools during the belt-tightening process:

  • Hex keys
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers

Ensuring your tools are prepared is incredibly important. Using the wrong tool could cause you to damage the printer.

If you do not have these tools, any standard toolset typically comes with what you need. If you need help selecting one, try the Cartman 148-Piece Tool Set. It is a great set that comes with any hex key you will need. It also comes with other tools and screwdrivers that may help you should you replace your printer belt with another one.

At this point, you should take the opportunity to clean your 3D printer. You can use a needle to check for any clogs in the printer head. You can also heat the nozzle to aid in your cleaning process. Be sure to dust any sections that need it.

Where Is The Tensioner On A 3D Printer?

There is a y- and x-axis tensioner on your 3D printer. The x-axis tensioner is along the bottom while the y-axis tensioner is on one of the sides. Both of these have a bolt or screw holding the tensioner in place.

Some 3D printers also have tensioning devices. These devices are knobs that typically make things far more comfortable to adjust. If you have one, rotate the knob until your belt is tight again.

You can also use 3D print belt tensioners. Be sure to do this before your belt is loose, as it won’t help to have a warped tensioner. Also, be sure that the 3D printed tensioner is compatible with your brand. You will typically be able to find this information out through the schematics.

How Do I Loosen The Belt On A 3D Printer?

Unscrew the bolt or screw holding the tensioner in place. It will allow you to make any adjustments you need to the belt, which will be essential if the belt has veered off.

Do not remove the bolts or screws entirely, as you will need to put them back as soon as you complete re-applying the tension. If you are replacing the belt, now would be the time to remove the old one so you can put on the new one.  

Be sure that the belt is aligned correctly and covering the entire pully before beginning the tightening process. Failure in ensuring you are aligned will cause the belt to become damaged, bringing you back to square one. You know you are doing it right when you see the teeth from the pully wholly covered.

How Do I Tighten The 3D Printer’s Belt?

You will need to use either your print head or the tool as a lever to tighten the belt. If using the print head as a lever, you can use pliers to hold down the strap as you do so. If your printer design makes this impossible, use your tool as a means to tighten the belt.

You will need to do this very carefully, as you do not want your head to slide along the x-axis. If you are doing this to the y-axis, you will not have a printer head to use as a lever.

Be sure that the bolt or screw is firmly on there before testing. Try and get it back to the same firmness it was at before.

How Do You Test The Tension On A 3D Printer?

First, test the belt to be sure that it doesn’t easily slip off the pulley. You can do this by trying to snap the strap. If it moves, that means that the belt is too loose and needs to have more tightness.

Once you feel confident at this point, test it again by printing a simple object. A small cube will be your best bet. If you still have the rippling effects or any distortions in the cube, you may have to check over your work.

You can also look at the belts while they are operating. If they seem like they are shaky or are skipping around, double-check your work.

Can You Make The Belts On Your 3D Printer Too Tight?

If your belt is too tight, it can cause teeth to start skipping. This tightness will cause unusual deformations in your printed object. You can also increase the amount of stress on your belt, causing it to wear down with greater ease.

The idea is to keep it tight enough to eliminate any slack, but not to the point where it is impossible to pull the belt along with the pulley. If you have ever replaced a timing belt in your car, the same logic applies.

Does The Belt Tightening Process Change By Brand of 3D Printer?

Every 3D printer has a slightly different process for tightening the belt. While the overall process remains the same, the brand you choose may have another method. We will go into differences in belt-tightening based on the brand below.

How Do You Tighten The Belt On Your MakerBot Replicator?

The MakerBot Replicator comes with 5.5 and 2.5 mm hex keys. You also loosen four different screws when adjusting the x-axis motor. There are two screws on the top and bottom that use the 5.5 mm option on the y-axis.

In this mode, there is a gantry that requires gentle handling. Pull this gantry to the middle while holding on the motor to apply tension to the belt.

How Do You Tighten The Belt On Your XYZ printing Da Vinci?

There is a plastic panel you will need to remove while moving forward with the x-axis printer. After pulling this x-axis pulley forward, there is a single screw on the side which you can turn. It will pop the tensioner out, which should cause your belt to adjust automatically.

The tensioner is thankfully incredibly simple in these models, making them very easy to adjust.

How Do You Tighten The Belt On Your Qidi Technology X-ONE 3D Printer?

This one is a bit tricky, as you will need to take it apart to tighten the belt. Move the motor so that it is out of the way. You will need to loosen all of the screws with this and pull the motor while holding the frame for further tightness.

Please pay close attention to the belt in this one, as it is known to be tender.

How Do You Tighten The Belt On Your Ultimaker 2?

Using a 2 mm hex key, loosen four bolts so that you can slide your motor up and down. Pressing down on the printer motor will increase the tension. Do so until it is firm and retighten the bolts.

The same process is doable for both the x- and the y-axis motors.

How Do You Tighten The Belt On Your Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer?

To tension the belt, you will need a 1.5 mm hex key. There is a tension screw that you will need to loosen and tighten initially. There is a spring-loaded system that allows you to test if the pulley is allowing the belt to move freely.

How Do You Tension The Belt On The FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro?

Following the x-axis, you will need to ensure that the pully feed through the head. There will be two 5 mm pulley sections on either side that you should be able to press to one side. These are small, circular devices with teeth that your pulley will be going through.

Given that the FlashForge is a larger device, they are easy to go through. As long as your pulley is through the head and these two rounded sections, all you need to be sure of is that the belt is straight.

Why Do I Need A Zip Tie For My Belt?

In many cases, you will need a zip tie to hold down the belt. As a result, you may find yourself having to stockpile on zip-ties for regular maintenance and adjustments.

You may be able to 3D print a clamp for this as well. We will list out some belts that come with clamps a bit later.  Check out your owner’s manual for further guidance on ensuring that the belt stays secure.

How Often Do You Need To Maintain Your Printer’s Belt?

You should check on your belt every six months or when you run into issues. This changes depending on how often you use it. If you use it in a commercial enterprise, you may want to check it every one to three months.

Regular maintenance allows you to avoid wasting material. It also allows you to catch more serious issues before they get too bad. If your belt is off and slips in the middle of a printing job, it can cause some significant potential damage.

What Are Some Signs That You Need To Tighten The Belt On Your 3D Printer?

These are some signs you need to replace or tighten the belt on your printer:

  • Loud noises are coming from your printer.
  • Your belt seems lax when you look at it.
  • Your objects have ripples on them.
  • There are deformations on your objects.
  • You have an error message on your printer.
  • Your printer stops for no apparent reason.

Opening and looking at your printer will allow you to determine the location of the issue. Given that these issues potentially come from other sites, it may come from other errors.  

What Can Cause My 3D Printer’s Belt To Loosen?

A couple of potential issues can cause loosening belts. Below are some examples.

The Age Of Your 3D Printer

The older your 3D printer is, the older the parts. Older parts are more likely to fail, causing significant errors in your print job.

Older belts are more likely to slip or break, which can cause significant damage if not regularly checked. Regular maintenance ensures that you replace the parts before any errors can occur.

Repetitive Use

Repetitive use is especially concerning if you use your 3D printer in a commercial enterprise. The more you use the printer, the faster the belt can wear down. You are also more likely to run into errors with further use.

Hasten the maintenance schedule if you plan on using your 3D printer more than the average person.

Cheaper Materials

If you purchased a used 3D printer, there is a chance that they may have replaced the belt with something cheaper. Cheaper materials are quicker to wear down but are tempting to use because of the upfront cost difference.

If purchasing a 3D printer from a private party, be sure to ask them questions about their maintenance schedule. Those who hesitate on this answer throw up some pretty significant red flags.

Incorrect Installation Of Belt

If you incorrectly install the belt, it has a higher likelihood of slipping. It is also another issue you are more likely to run into when it comes to purchasing from a private party.

Be sure to pay close attention to the straightness of your belt when you install it. You can also run into loose screws or bolts, which shake as the machine operate.

Your Machine Is Rough On Your Belt

If the speed of your machine is beyond what your belt can handle, your device can destroy your belt. It is a larger issue if your speed settings are too high.

Letting this go for too long may cause your pulleys to become lax, loosening your belt.

Dirty Machine

If your machine is dirty, it is more likely to slip off of the pulley. Dust and grime can get in-between the belt and the pulley, causing slips.

Be sure to regularly clean your 3D printer to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Make it a part of your regular maintenance schedule.

What Happens If I Allow A Loose Belt To Go Unchecked?

An unchecked loose belt will cause you to continue to waste material. All of your fabric will be low-quality, and that will persist as you make objects.

Your belt may also break in the middle of usage, causing your machine to stop abruptly. It may cause the printer head to become damage or clog with the material.

How Do I Find A Good Replacement Belt For My 3D Printer?

If you found that your belt is old and worn out during your inspection, it is time to replace your 3D printing belt. We will be following a few steps to get through this process.

  1. Determine the size and type of the belt you need
  2. Purchase the belt online
  3. Follow the installation process listed above

What Size Of Belt Do You Need For 3D Printers?

The needs of your printer will determine the size of the belt you purchase. You can choose this by looking at the owner’s manual of your printer, which should list out the specifications. You can also check with your printer’s customer service team online.

Specify the size of your belt by the number of teeth. The more teeth you have, the higher chance you have to get more teeth on the pulley. The more teeth you have on the pulley, the less chance it has of slipping.

Most printers cannot handle anything beyond 20 teeth.

How Should I Pick The Material My 3D Printer Belt?

While there are many materials available, a rubber belt is still the most useful type of material. While it does stretch over time, it does cause the least amount of issue for your 3D printer.

Some companies will try and advertise steel core belts. But steel core belts have a history of breaking. Rubber is a bit more flexible, giving you a bit more time to deal with potential errors.

Where Can You Purchase 3D Printer Belts?

If you are struggling to find an excellent 3D printer belt, you can find them online with relative ease. A great place to start is on Amazon.com.

Five Different Printer Belts You May Consider Purchasing

If you are having trouble selecting a printer belt, we have five options for you to consider. We will list them out below.

KeeYees 5M GT2 Timing Belt

The 5M GT2 Timing Belt is an all-in-one package that includes the following:

  • 5m belt
  • Four pulley wheels
  • One alan wrench
  • Four idlers
  • Four tension springs
  • Eight screws
  • Two mounting blocks

It advertises as being compatible with most 3D printers. It also includes the parts you need to replace entire pulley systems.

FYSETC 10 Meter Timing Belt

The FYSETC 10 Meter Timing Belt is incredibly long, allowing it to be part of a variety of 3D printers. It also is advertised as being sturdy while taut, which is essential.

If you know your 3D printer’s length is 10 meters or are willing to cut down the excess length, this is an excellent option for you.

Linglong 5m GT2 Timing Belt

The Linglong GT2 Timing Belt is another all-in-one set that is for most 3D printers. It comes with the following:

  • 5m belt
  • Four timing pulleys
  • Two locking springs
  • One hex key

It is an inexpensive package when compared to the KeeYees option we mentioned earlier.

AIWAN LEZHI 5 Meters GT2 Timing Belt

At the time of this writing, this timing belt is the number one bestseller in industrial drive timing belts on Amazon. The Aiwan Lezhi 5 m Timing Belt is a fiberglass reinforced, 6mm belt for your 3d printer.

Being the top-rated belt on Amazon means that you have received high reviews. It does well to replace many stock belts.

SUNKEE GT2 20 Tooth

SUNKEE is another brand in the 3D printing world that you may see a lot. The GT2 20 Tooth Belt offers a 20 tooth belt in two meters with two pulleys, which is most of what you will need with these sets.

All of these belts typically use the same requirements. As a result, it isn’t too hard to find a replacement belt or replacement parts.

Are There Any Professional Services Who Can Repair and Replace Belts For Me?

If you feel like you don’t want to get into repairing or replacing the belt in your 3D printer, prepare to pay the price. Your local computer repair places may have some expertise in working with 3D printers. The cost of labor regarding computer repairs can be up there.

If you don’t have any luck with local providers, you may contact the customer service department of your manufacturer. They may offer repairs for a set price or have another company they may suggest.

Are There Any 3D Printers That Are Particularly Easy When Replacing Belts?

What you are going to want to look for is a 3D printer that has effortless access to their design. You don’t need any excessive coverings or complicated systems. Often the most straightforward styles are made like a typical box frame.

For example, The Easythread Mini Toybox 3D Printer has this design. The y- and x-axis belts are incredibly easy to identify. They are also easy to replace, given that you don’t have to remove the casing.  

You may also consider the Ender 3, which is even more open than the Mini ToyBox. Each of them is well known in the industry and has strong customer service backgrounds.


Tightening a 3D printer belt can seem like a daunting process. But it can be an incredibly simple process. The steps in this guide will help you along your way.

Below is a quick reference to those steps:

  • Check the tightness and positioning of the belt
  • Be sure you have the right tools
  • Clean your 3D printer
  • Locate the tensioner on the 3D printer
  • Loosen the bolts or screws
  • Adjust the belt as needed
  • Tighten the belt using your tools
  • Test the tension

Different brands have quirks for reaching this point, but they all follow the same general steps. Whatever the reason may be for the issue, it is essential to follow a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to avoid these issues.

If you do see that the belt is incredibly worn, it may be time for a replacement. Thankfully, any rubber timing belt for 3D printers is relatively interchangeable. Many of them will also come with complete replacement systems if you need new pulleys. If you keep all of this in mind, you will be ready for any belt issue that these printers can throw at you.

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How to Tighten 3D Printer Belt: A Step-To-Step Guide


William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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