B2 High-Intermediate US 2515 Folder Collection
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How’s it going, everyone? I’m Tom and today i’m going to talk a bit about ball
bearing - and not just about the radial type, but also about the linear type. A guide on
different linear slides was one of the most requested topics, and instead of jamming everything
into a single guide, i decided to break them out and cover each option in depth.
So, let’s start out with # radial ball bearings, because they work in exactly the same way
as linear ones. The basic idea behind them is that, instead of supporting a motion by
having two surfaces slide on each other, you’re adding a rolling element between them, in
this case, balls, but other bearings use needle pins or cylinders. This reduces the friction
and increases the life span of the bearing. Radial ball bearings are usually use for belt
idlers, in stepper motors and everywhere else where you need to support a rotating element.
Now, radial bearings can support forces perpendicular to the shaft or, in a more limited way, also
along the shaft. They can not support torsional moments, for example when you mount a pulley
on a shaft and support it like this. Which is why stepper motors have two ball bearings,
one on each end, to support these kind of moments.
Radial ball bearings are available in a huge variety of sizes, the most common ones are
the 62x series or the lighter 6 #0 x ones, particularly the cheapest bearing of all,
the 608 skateboard bearing with an 8mm inner diameter and the 623 and 624 bearings with
3 and 4mm inner diameters. Now, each of these bearings is available in different configurations,
and the ones that are most often used are ZZ and RS types. ZZ means that the bearing
will have metal dust caps on each side, guarding its balls from larger foreign objects, while
RS types have an actual rubber seal on each side, which both seal the bearings lubricant
inside the bearing, but also keeps pretty much everything, including liquids, from entering
the bearing. Both types are about the same price, so i’d recommend using sealed RS
types wherever possible. And staying with the subject of price, brand-name radial bearings
are a good bit more expensive than no-name, Chinese bearings, but since our 3D printers
usually don’t put enormous forces on the bearings, which would shorten their usable
service life, it doesn’t really make a difference which ones you use, since even the cheapest
bearings are still pretty decent. Now, these bearings typically are mounted
in our 3D printers by simply using a metric screw, and that does hold them in place, but
won’t make for a super-snug fit since male metric threads are always a bit smaller than
the actual diameter they’re named after - a male M8 thread is only about 7.8mm in
diameter on the outside. Just something you should keep in mind when using or designing
for this kind of mount. Now, the other type of ball bearing you’re
typically seeing in 3D printers is the linear type, which lets you guide things along a
round shaft. Now, because the balls of those bearings directly ride on the shaft instead
of a separate inner race, the quality of the shaft itself will # hugely influence the quality
of the linear motion you’ll get. First of all, you will want at least a hardened shaft,
preferably even a hardened # and chrome plated one, instead of a mild steel or plain stainless
steel one. Aluminum rods or tubes can absolutely not be used with linear ball bearings. On
shafts that are too soft, what will happen is that the balls will gradually form grooves
in the shaft’s surface, which cause extra backlash in the bearing. Often that backlash
is the cause for things like irregular layers or z-wobble, if the shafts of your z-axis
are worn and have too much backlash. The other reason why you’d want proper linear shafts
is that those are made to tighter tolerances than other rods that # aren’t specifically
made for linear motion. Again, this would lead to backlash and a poorer, less regular
quality on your prints. Rods with an g6 or h6 tolerance rating are the ones that work
best with the LM UU style bearings. You can check how tight the bearing is on the shaft
by rotating it, a good fit is when you can feel some resistance when rotating the bearing
around the shaft. If it’s loose and wobbly at all, you already have too much backlash,
if it’s too tight, to a point where it’s even running rough along the axis, the bearing
might fail and jam prematurely. So the typical type used is the LM8UU bearing,
made for an 8mm shaft. But the bearings are available in sizes from the 4mm LM4UU to things
like a crazy large LM100UU, but typically, only the 8, 10 and 12mm sizes are used in
3D printers. When using a larger bearing and shaft, you increase the rigidity of that axis,
which is especially important for the rods of the Z-axis, which usually have to deal
with the acceleration forces from the X-axis. Because these bearings are completely open
on the inside, lubrication is somewhat important. I’d recommend smearing some heavy grease
inside the bearing before mounting it, and then occasionally lubricating the rods they
ride on to keep the bearings running smoothly and to keep them from randomly jamming. They
do have a rubber seal on each end, but that usually isn’t tight enough to permanently
keep all the grease in and dirt out, so also keep your linear shafts clean and dust-free
at all times. Linear ball bearings are also pretty sensitive
to misalignment, which is why most carriages only use three bearings instead of four. If
you mount two bearings in a way where they are not aligned or have no way of aligning
themselves, one of the bearings will inevitably run noisier or even jam. So either use precise
mounts or provide a way for the bearings to align, for example by using only one zip tie
per bearing. And just like radial bearings, linear bearings
are also available in a couple of different varieties. For example, for the standard LM8UU
size, which is the short type, you can also get an LM8 #L UU, which is same bearing, but
twice as long. They are also available pre-fitted into aluminum blocks as the # SC 8UU, or as
a flange type as the LM # F 8UU. There’s a huge number of other variations available,
but typically, you’ll only be using the standard or long type.
Now, just like radial bearings, you can buy linear ball bearings from high-end brands
like SKF or from your typical Chinese ebay vendor, and even though the Chinese linear
bearings aren’t as quite good as their radial ones, i’d still say go for the cheaper option
here. You might get a couple of bearings that are a bit too loose or too tight, so buy some
spares, but considering that brand-name bearings cost about ten times as much as no-name ones,
it’s still cheaper to throw out a couple duds than paying so much more up front.
So to sum things up about the linear bearings, use precision shafts and keep them clean and
lubricated and you should have a very precise and reliable motion system.
I put a couple of ebay links in the description, just to give you a starting point what you
should look for when going shopping for affordable bearings.
As always, thank you for watching. Please share and like this video if you found it
helpful and subscribe if you want to stay updated when i upload new videos.
See you next week.
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3D printing guides: Radial and linear ball bearings!

2515 Folder Collection
賴昱瑋 published on March 21, 2015
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