What are the Best Stepper Motors/ Drivers For 3D Printers?

If you have spent some time on research to find out the best stepper motor/driver for your 3d printer, this article can help in your decision. Generally, stepper motors are overlooked, often giving it less importance than it deserves. Exploring stepper motors and finding the best one rather than sticking with the default one that came with the printer is really essential. Stepper motors are the basis for the printer movements and printing operations.  

Most of the users have seen huge improvements in their prints after opting for a better stepper motor. So which stepper motor can be best for your 3d printer?

So stepper motor being such an important part, this blog helps you to identify the best stepper motor for your 3D printer. 

If you are looking for a quick answer, then the best stepper motor for your 3D printer could be StepperOnline NEMA 17 Motor. It has very good ratings on Amazon. Some of its features such as High Durability, Less Noise and no loose steps makes it a #1 preferred electric stepper motor.

Installation of this stepper motor is easy if you know a few how-to steps. It is named as the plug-and-play motor and after installing, it eliminates all your slipping problems that you’ve had. 

Driver for the Stepper Motor  is highly essential for optimal motor performance. So, the stepper motor you have can perform at its best only if it is preceded by a good Driver circuit. As per the 3D users feedback, the best stepper motor driver could be BIGTREETECH TMC2209 V1.2 Stepper Motor Driver available on Amazon. It is known for overall noise reduction in 3d printers and also supports smoother movements. 

What Functions Does the Stepper Motor Perform?

3D printing will not be possible without the use of a Stepper motor. 

Stepper Motor is defined as the brushless DC motor that rotates in steps instead of the full rotation. The stepper motor can either rotate or hold at any particular step at a desired torque and speed. 

If the motherboard wants to drive or control the 3D printer, then it does it through stepper motors. Through Stepper Motors, the motherboard controls various axes, speed, positioning and precision of printer operations. So it is an important part of a 3D printer.

Stepper motors are known for their numerous benefits such as precision steps, lightning torque, less cost, high reliability.etc This makes them used in 3D printers. 

Technically, stepper motors are highly reliable as there are no contact brushes inside the motor, and the bearing life solely decides the life of the motor.

How is Stepper Motor Better Than Other Motors?

To speak about stepper motors, they come in different sizes, characteristics, features and styles. However, there are some important motor parameters that are of interest in 3D printing. Below are those factors:

  • Torque rating of the Stepper Motor 
  • Motor Size 
  • Step counts.

Torque Rating of the Stepper Motor

The torque rating of the stepper motors will define how powerful the motor is. The torque rating of the motor is directly proportional to its size. Higher the motor size, it works with high torque and delivers more power. 

Some 3D printers like Prusa Mini need less power and less torque, small size motors would be sufficient

Motor Size: 

Stepper motors come in various sizes and powers, and most of the high power ones may be too strong for a 3D printer. 

Usually NEMA 17 stepper motors are preferred and the power they deliver is enough to handle the printer load. 

There are also larger NEMA motors which are used in CNC machines and industrial equipment. NEMA solely describes the size of the motor and not any other characteristics. Also, remember that 2 NEMA 17 motors cannot be the same; they may vary by their other characteristics although sizes look the same.

Step Count

Step Count determines the precision that is needed in movement and positioning resolution. 

It is also called as steps per revolution and it can range from 4 to 400 steps. The common step counts are 24, 48 and 200. If there are 200 total steps then each step is translated to 1.8 degrees. 

For higher resolution prints, the low speed and torque are enough. The higher the step count, the lower is the motor RPM and vice versa. 

Best Stepper Motors for 3D Printer 

StepperOnline NEMA 17 Motor

The StepperOnline NEMA 17 Motor is a preferred device for thousands of 3D users due its high quality and flexibility for customization. 

The motor package comes very neat, it is a bipolar 2A motor with 4 wires and has 1M cable. The only problem with this motor is that the wires are fixed and non-detachable. Wire colors are not meant to indicate that they are pairs. It needs to be determined.

Wire pairs can be identified by spinning the shaft and touching the 2 wires. If the shaft spinning is tight, then those 2 wires are pairs. Similarly, the rest 2 are other pairs. 

The performance of this stepper motor boosts up your 3D printer performance like crazy. 

Usongshine NEMA 17 Motor

Usongshine NEMA 17 Motor is another favorite for 3D users due to its small size and high torque. It is made of high quality steel and performs greatly. 

Usongshine has great quality control and builds effective thermal conductivity and quality to each of their motors. The motor comes in 38 mm size with 4 pin cable and a connector. This motor can be the best device to help you in 3D printing. 

The wires are laid out in a better way. The black and red wires constitute A+ and B+ while Green and blue wires indicate A- & B-.

Customer service is also great for this device, any problem could be raised and response can be expected. 

This stepper motor delivers great performance even if you are printing at a speed of 120mm/s or more.

Best Stepper Motor Drivers – The Brain of Stepper Motors 

Kingprint TMC2208 V3.0

You can find many stepper motor drivers in the market for your 3D printer, but the Kingprint TMC2208 stands out from the crowd. 

Kingprint TMC2208 V3.0 Stepper Driver is loved by many 3D users due to the noise reduction and great control they have experienced.

The users who had noisy printers along with jitters after installing this driver circuit started having a silent and smooth printing. The heatsink is large and installation is easy.

This driver is ready with pin headers used for UART access and no need to solder them additionally. 

One 3D user after using this driver was really surprised at how silent the printing has turned to. There was a significant reduction in noise after installing it. If your 3D printer is producing more vibrations and shaking the table, then it’s time to get this drive installed. With no doubt, you will become a fan of it. 

BIGTREETECH TMC2209 V1.2 Stepper Motor Driver

BIGTREETECH has a wide wings in producing reliable 3D printer parts. Similar to other parts, their Driver circuit by name BIGTREETECH TMC2209 V1.2 Stepper Motor Driver is the best stepper motor driver  endorsed by many 3D users. 

Bigtreetech also has another driver which is 2.8A made for SKR V1.4, SKR Pro V1.2, SKR V1.4 Turbo and SKR V1.3 Motherboard comes with 2 pieces. 

  • Has a large heatsink to reduce the temperature.
  • Eliminates the motor shakes 
  • Enables stall detection
  • Supports UART/DIR/STEP mode

The BiGTREETECH TMC2209 is an upgraded version of TMC2208 in which the current rating is increased from 0.6A to 0.8A. It has stall detection functionality and some cool technology within such as SpreadCycle4 ™, StallGuard3TM, CoolStep.etc

To conclude, TMC2209 offers more control, minimizes noise and enables smooth operation. 

Gunaseelan Murugesan
Author | Website

Experienced Project Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the field of Product Design & Development industry in Mechanical Engineering. Skilled in 3D Printing and Re engineering Technologies with CATIA V5 , Materials Science, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Mimics, ANSYS Workbench and Casting Simulation software. Strong engineering professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Industrial Metallurgy from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.

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