3D printers use NEMA 17 stepper motors or NEMA 23 stepper motors
While 3D printing is a different process than CNC machining, stepper motors in desktop 3D printers have the same function in that they are at the core of the motion system. In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), the most widely used 3D printing technology, the number of stepper motors depend on the machine configuration or mechanical arrangement.
For example, on a typical Prusa-based 3D printer, there are usually four or five stepper motors: one each for the X-axis, the Y-axis, and the extruder, and then one or two for the Z-axis. The stepper motors designated for the three axes are connected to either a leadscrew or a pulley system, with the latter offering faster print speeds. The stepper motor on the extruder is used to pull the filament from the spool and push it to the hotend, with help from small gears to bite the filament.
The majority of 3D printers on the market use either NEMA 17 stepper motors or NEMA 23 stepper motors, both of which can be easily bought at online stores. If you want to convert your CNC tool into a 3D printer in the future, you can still use the stepper motors, assuming their specs are in line with your design.
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