Stepper Motor Cooling. 4 Easy Ways to Do It!

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: May 4, 2022

3D printers are amazing machines that can create three-dimensional objects from a digital file.

Stepper Motor Cooling

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But just like any other machine, 3D printers need to be adequately maintained to function their best. A critical part of maintaining your 3D printer is keeping the stepper motors cool.

Because motors are constantly working to move the print head or build a platform, they can run hot quite easily.

If the motors get too hot, they can start to skip steps, which will cause your prints to be inaccurately sized or even fail entirely.

There are various ways for stepper motor cooling and this blog post will look at four easy ways to keep your motors cool and have a smooth printing process as you produce high-quality prints.

Symptoms of Bad Stepper Motor

Before discussing various ways of reducing the heat of your stepper motors, let’s first go over some of the symptoms of a motor that is starting to overheat.

1. Missed Steps

One of the most common symptoms of an overheating stepper motor is missed steps.

When a motor starts to skip steps, you will notice that your prints are no longer coming out the right size or shape.

The reason for this is that the stepper motor is not moving the print head or build-platform the correct distance with each step. As a result, your prints will be smaller or larger than they should be.

2. Vibration

Another symptom of an overheating stepper motor is vibration. If you discover abnormal vibration from your motor, it could signify that it is starting to overheat.

3. Burning Smell

One last symptom of an overheating stepper motor is a burning smell. If you discover any form of burning smell emanating from your 3D printer, one of the stepper motors is likely overheating.

Related: 3D Printer Ventilation

What Is a Stepper Motor Cooling Calculator?

Before we look at various ways of cooling your stepper motors, let’s first go over what a stepper motor cooling calculator is.

It is a tool that helps you determine how much ventilation your 3D printer needs to keep the motors cool.

You can find many different stepper motor cooling calculators online. All you need to do is enter the number of motors your 3D printer has, the power of each motor, and the maximum temperature you want your motors to reach.

The calculator will then give you a recommended ventilation rate for your printer.

It is essential you be aware that the ventilation rate will vary depending on the make and model of your 3D printer.

Stepper Motor Coolers Active and Passive Cooling

When it comes to cooling your stepper motors, you have two main options: active cooling and passive cooling.

Active cooling involves using a fan or other device to circulate air over the motor actively. That is the most effective way to cool a stepper motor, but it does require more power than passive cooling.

Passive cooling relies on convection to circulate air over the stepper motor. This method requires enough surface area to allow sufficient airflow.

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That is the most power-efficient way to cool, but it is not as effective as active cooling.

No matter which cooling method you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your stepper motors are adequately cooled.

By taking steps to reduce heat, you can help extend their lifespan and keep your devices running smoothly.

Stepper Motor Getting Hot. What To Do?

Are your stepper motors getting hot?

The most obvious way to keep them cool is to have them well-ventilated. But you should also consider adding cooling fans or heat sinks.

Additionally, it’s essential to regularly check the heat of your motors and make sure that they’re not overheating.

By taking these steps, you can help extend the life of your motors and keep your devices running smoothly. In addition, with smooth working motors, you will be able to produce high-quality prints.

Stepper Motors Cooling. How to Do It Right!

Stepper motors are an essential component of many electronic devices, from 3D printers to computerized lathes.

But while they’re built to withstand a lot of heat, they can eventually overheat and fail if they’re not adequately cooled.

That’s the reason it’s of prime importance to ensure that your motors operate within recommendable heat.

4 Easy Ways of Cooling Down 3D Printer Stepper Motors

There are different ways of cooling down your 3D printer motors, and some are technical and complex. What you need is simple solutions to common overheating challenges during your daily routine.

How Do You Cool Down a Stepper Motor?

The following are four easy ways you can apply to check the heat of your motors:

1. Keep Them Well-Ventilated

The first and most obvious way to keep your stepper motors cool is to ensure that they are well-ventilated. If your motors are housed in an enclosure, make sure that there is enough surface area, vents, or openings to allow air to circulate.

Additionally, you can consider adding a fan or heat sink to help move air through the enclosure.

2. Add Cooling Fans or Heat sink

Another way to keep your stepper motors cool is to add cooling fans or heat sink. Cooling fans can help move air over the motors and help reduce heat.

Easycargo 40mm Heatsink Kit 40x40x11mm + 3M 8810 Thermal Conductive Adhesive Tape, Cooler Heat Sink for Cooling 3D Printer, TEC1-12706 Thermoelectric Peltier 40mmx40mmx11mm (Black, 4)

Check at Amazon

Heat sinks are copper or aluminum plates that help in heat dissipation from the motor to keep the temperature below the hot end. You can attach the heatsink to the motor using thermal adhesive or screws.

3. Regularly Check the Temperatures

It’s essential to regularly check the heat of your stepper motors and make sure that they’re not overheating. One of the methods to help you regulate the temperature is to use a thermal camera.

Thermal cameras (see at Amazon) can help you quickly and easily identify areas that are getting too hot, including the ambient temperature.

Additionally, you can use a multimeter (see at Amazon) to measure the temperature of your motors.

4. Use a Stepper Motor Driver

Finally, one way to help keep your stepper motors cool is to use a motor driver. A driver helps regulate the current flowing through the stepper motor, which can help reduce heat build-up.

Songhe 3D Printer Parts DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Module with Heat Sink for Ramps 1.4 StepStick A4988 (5pcs)

Check at Amazon

Some stepper motor drivers have built-in cooling fans to help keep the stepper motor cool.

3D printers are amazing tools that you can use to create various objects. But like all electronic devices, they rely on adequately functioning components to work correctly.

Do Stepper Drivers Need Cooling?

Stepper motor drivers are installed in the stepper motor to help prevent heat from accumulating in the stepper motor. They play an important role in helping cool the stepper motor.

So do the drivers need cooling? The drivers have cooling fans that also help in regulating the stepper motor temperature.

Ender 3 Stepper Motor Cooling

There are a few different ways to upgrade the cooling of your Ender 3’s motors (see at Amazon).

Creality Ender 3 Direct Drive Upgrade Kit, Ender 3 Pro/Ender 3 V2 Direct Drive Extruder with 42-40 Stepper Motor, Hot End Kit, Fan and Cables, Support BL Touch

Check at Amazon

WINSINN 40mm Blower Fan 24V, Ender 3 Fan Upgrade 24 Volt Fans Blower 4010 Dual Ball Bearing, Works with Ender 3 Pro 3X CR-10S (Pack of 2Pcs)

Check at Amazon

Conclusion

Motors generate a lot of heat, and it’s essential to have a plan for dissipating that heat, so they don’t overheat.

We have discussed at length the various methods you can use to cool stepper motors, such as airflow, water cooling, heat sink, and thermal compound.

Each of these methods has its positive and negative sides, so you’ll need to evaluate your specific needs to choose the best option.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.