Amateur 3D printing viable for a build? (Ender 3... probably)

So I’ve been considering a 3d printer for a while now anyway, so this would be an additional cost for a build but would also have some other uses so it’s not too bad. (justification ftw).

Thing is, the normal home-grade printers are fairly small, and the Ender is only designed out of the box to use PLA, PETG and ABS (which I’d rather avoid).

I was thinking I could make things like motor mounts and pulleys, prototypes would be fine to make but would they hold up in actual usage?

Was also thinking of making prototype / temporary enclosures with it, but they would have to be printed in sections and then joined together… is this viable?

Just thought it was best to get some direct views from people who have actually tried it, rather than go from the 3D subreddit (which has very different use cases, and would insist I’d need to build a fume hood and enclosure and change to nylon / polycarbonate etc etc which I’m not goinng to be able to do… for a while anyway!)

Ender 3. I own 2 and have convinced several others here to get them as well. I have a pre - typed out settings list to get started and recommended upgrades as well. Some printed and some purchased. I highly recommend it.

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I would never ride something 3d printed but for proto and fun it’s awesome. There are a few modular 3d printed enclosures in thingiverse. Someone posted it here a few weeks ago if you can search it. Ender 3 build size is huge for price as well. Good luck!


Nice reply thanks!

I would never ride something 3d printed but for proto and fun it’s awesome.

Does that include things like pulleys and motor mounts? Or are you talking about making actual wheel hubs from it? (Which I’ve seen people do, but I wouldn’t risk it myself)

Nothing that handles any motor torque.

Things I would 3d print that are esk8 related:

-Remote covers



-Light mounts

-Lots of things here


Yeah I would agree with the above. You can get buy on 3D printed pulleys but they don’t last as long as metal ones. I know I rode printed ones for like a year. They were consumable item.

Once I got idler setup I could put a lot more force through the pulley under heavy braking. I started to shear them in half under heavy braking, that’s when I switched to aluminum pulleys.

Anything related to the motor mounting 3D printed can only be described as experimental and sketchy. If you have a really sturdy design it could work for a few miles but it will eventually fail.

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3d motor printed mounts are fine, its all about the design, printing skill (Its hard to print well, tonnes of variables), and an intuitive sense off where the stresses are, you are better off printing a frame, or linking both sides with threaded rod. 100% infill no exceptions here. Ive about 300 miles on my pulleys, i can still see the printing lines, hardly any wear.

Thingiverse files has been completely hopeless for me, everything is designed poorly and you only get access to stl files not the raw files. Thingiverse is great for ideas though. Design your stuff ith fusion 360, its free to hobbyists

  • PLA easy to print but is useless its glass transition is too low. Leave your board in a hot car and its all over.
  • ABS you need a very hot bed or it will warp. However it can be glued to itself perfectly with acetone!
  • PETG, by far the most versatile.

You have to learn how to print each material well. They all need different settings.

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I’m actually looking into (though I’m not sure yet on which use cases fit which best) using nylon and carbon for some things. Though most of the carbon filaments are PETG mixes anyway. I think mostly I’ll use PLA for prototyping and then PETG/Nylon for final products that require it. Will be doing a lot more research before I start experimenting with them though.

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3d printed motor mounts are not a good idea

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I’d say -Pulleys yes, but with caveats. Much better if you have the main torque-transmitting elements metal-reinforced (by bolts or similar).

-motor mounts, that’s more sketchy. Lots of mass on the end of a plastic a lever, subjected to very high shock loads. I wouldn’t try it, especially when there are $15 motor mounts out there. You’d probably go through close to that in plastic making prototypes if you use any plastic more exotic than PETG.

-remote enclosures, spacers, other bits and pieces, absolutely.

-enclosures, yes but only if all the stuff inside them is secured to the deck some other way, E.G. the enclosure isn’t taking the weight of the batteries, etc, only itself. You can design in fastener pockets or glue tabs and assemble multipiece prints.

Printed properly, nylon (I’m using Novamid 1030) is absolutely fantastic structurally, but it is finicky to get right. Not as stiff as PLA, but it doesn’t crack. I had trouble finding a bed material it’d stick to, and ideally you want an enclosure and a heated bed to minimize warping.


nylon is much harder to print, you will need a very hot bed, very hot print temps, and you will need to ensure the filament is kept in an air tight container, just minutes exposed to air will leave it unprintable. Its a pain.

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So I am not an esk8 guy but I am a 3dp guy and there is this guy on Youtube (Tom Stanton) who build the pullys for his e-bike so I think it should be possible, also rc life on did some 3dp for wheels, those didn’t work but still.

Motor pulleys are dirt cheap… Like $13. Why skimp here? 3d print NESE modules and build your own battery if you want your 3d printer to save you money on your build. If you ask any long standing member here, they will strongly advise you against 3d printed transmission parts.

My standard transmission parts would be metal, I just meant that I might try prototyping some options if I ever decide to play with gearing. Long term use would be metal again though. Things like pulley covers and motor housings id try in 3d printer. Also risers and drop-through covers. Things like that.

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Sounds like a great plan to me :+1:

Also why has noone mentioned NESE modules to me before! The last few days I’ve made forum threads and sent pms to several custom battery pros, all trying to figure out what to do about batteries, because I am not comfortable welding a battery so I’d need to use lipos but lipos need all sorts of extra care to stop them exploding…

… And now I learn about these things! Not one single build thread or battery thread has mentioned them before lol.

I guess it’s because they add a bit of size compared to just welding metal strips and heat wrapping. But personally I’d much prefer to have the batteries in plastic cases for extra protection. Easier to attach them to the board too!

I am forever in your debt sir.

Edit: I presume I just purchase the nickel connection strips, and 3d print the enclosures that they snap into. I’ll see if anyone has something existing that will be a tight enough fit.

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Bingo all around. Battery makers want to sell professionally wrapped packs. Nese takes up a bit more space. If you’re a purist hurting for space, it’s not a good fit (pun intended and nailed). You end up picking the size battery you would need and then ordering a kit that matches your battery size so it had enough tabs for everything.

If you get the ender, I would invest in the micro swiss hot end upgrade and make some kind of enclosure for your printer. Not sure what your aversion to ABS is, but its more suitable to functional prints than PLA or PETG. Having a PTFE tube in the stock ender hot end precludes the ender from safety printing ABS. If you’re printing functional parts, consider printing them at 100% infill, especially the pulleys and motor mounts. Enclosures can be printed in whatever is most convenient. I have printed all of my components in ABS and all have lasted without any issues. I’m currently running a idler bearing on my motor mount, and havent experienced any failures yet, but I’m still in the evaluation process. I’m fairly confident you wouldn’t have any durability issues running my motor mounts sans idler bearing.

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Nylon really only becomes difficult to print when the parts become larger. Depending on the manufacturer and nylon blend, warpage may/will occur. It is hygroscopic, meaning it will absorb moisture from the air, but its easy to dry, just pop the filament it in the oven for a few hours at about 160def F before you print. I would think that nylon would be a good material for wheel pulleys. Nozzle temps are similar to ABS and print bed temps are in line with PLA.

Agreed. Necessary purchased upgrades for Ender 3 IMO include upgraded ptfe tube, $12 metal extruder, $19 glass bed.

Microswiss if you want to print more materials. Got mine installed 2 days ago :smile:

Already planning a hot-end replacement, either microswiss or the other one I forget the name of. It’s needed for Nylon anyway, and it just generally a good upgrade.

My aversion to ABS is the fumes. I mean all of the plastics probably require some degree of care to be taken, but ABS needing full fume hood and activated-carbon filtration is not ideal for my setup. ABS needs a hot-end upgrade, and the same upgrade allows me to use Nylon which would seem to be a much better option.

I may get an enclosure sorted eventually as it’s a simple DIY thing, and it will help with temperatures, but filtration and fume hoods are simply not possible. An open window and leaving the room while it works is the best I can manage.