Printing small gears

I’m a newby to 3d printing. What I would like to do is print small gears. I can model them in fusion 360 no problem and have a cocoon create printer to play with, that I don’t expect to be able to print workable small gears with it as it doesn’t have the fine detail ability. But I do have access to other printers.
What I’d like to know is what sort of printer will be able to print such a small gear. Will find an example and place a link

What size exactly!

I have printed smallish gears (1 1/4" diam) on an Ender 3V2., .2MM layer height, with no problem and they work fine so smaller ones, maybe down to 1/2" diam might be good. Printed gears will run Ok for low load applications IE: : change gears on lathes and if they eventually fail then print a new one.

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Tooth size is the deciding factor, basically. With a 0.4 nozzle, for example, the tooth needs to be large enough for the nozzle to print it. Previewing the file in the slicer after slicing it can often give you a good indication if the teeth can be printed adequately.


Is using a resin printer an option?
I’ve made some pretty small and strong gear/cogs with an ABS like resin.

I’m sure it would work, as long as the OP has a resin printer. I don’t run any resin printers. The gears I occasionally print are done in Ninjatek Armadillo TPU. It is almost as stiff as PLA, and far more abrasion resistant.

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Thanks guys.

The gear I’m trying to reproduce is 23mm in diameter / 55 teeth.

I fear that a resin print will be too brittle.

I did a test run on my cocoon create and was pleasantly surprised. I think it will work, especially if I use one of the better filament printers that I have access to.

Will let you know how I go.


hi @Elecmuso

Welcome to the forum, Glad to have you here. Let us know how it works out, I am curious to see how it goes.


I’ve had mixed success so far but today realised the benefits of going to a smaller nozzle. Currently using a 0.4mm but have a couple of 0.2mm that came with the printer.
When I was playing with Cura I could see the benefits of using the thinner track and like MicroFarmModels suggested, you can see how the teeth will be better defined by previewing the print. I also found other settings such as setting Wall Ordering to be ‘Outside to inside’ should improve the accuracy of the outer layers.
Any other things I’ve missed?

I think you have hit the major items I would suggest.,

After printing one or 2 check for the layer bonding strength, If its weak try to up it maybe 5 deg at a time till its strong.

Close but not quite…

All were done using PLA, the black one on a better printer but no improvement.

The one on the left is the best example but zoom in and you will see that the teeth aren’t as deep as the melted plastic loses definition.

Would ABS or some other material work better?

For the record, there are 55 teeth on the outer gear, 18 on the inner gear.
Diameters is 23mm for the outer gear (can’t remember inner).

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As I mentioned earlier, I use Ninjatek Armadillo TPU for all my gears. It is quite abrasion resistant. I don’t know if it would help at all for resolution though, a smaller nozzle would do that. Armadillo TPU is expensive though; it’s around $100/kg.

there is a slicing option for tolerances, Especially with the internal teeth of the gears you may have to tinker with this setting to get the most accurate results.

If you need any assistance here let me know, I saw a youtube video on it that explained it very well when to use and when not to.

If I can find it I will post it here, I believe it was Angus (Makers Muse). Let me have a look,.

this is not the one I remember but Lost in Tech has one about printing screws.

Same problem though

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thanks for the idea - makes sense after I looked into what the setting does, but sliced and printed with that setting and could see no improvement.
I really think this is limited by the printer - maybe a better printer could do it.
Happy to send the model elsewhere if someone wants to give it a go.

I would give it a try at home, I am off tomorrow just for my own curiosity really. You can DM me one of the files and Ill have a look.


I was going to say the same. It is small but not that small… At least I think so anyway.

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Ditto. But I really want to try printing it in resin lol.

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I didn’t really have too many problems. I printed it at 0.2 with a 0.4mm hardened nozzle. It is in carbon fiber PLA. I used my Prusa MK3s+ .

This is straight off the bed no cleaning at all. I tiny bit of effort I think it would be quite usable.

My guess is your possible seeing elephant foot causing issues or the nozzle is worn out. I have been finding brass nozzles wear out really fast, they tend to blob, increase stringing and lose accuracy when they are worn. That is something else you might check on. Your z calibration too.

Thanks Alex. Perhaps I am being too critical of my own prints. Looking at yours I realised that the best one I’d done (to the left of the white original gear in that photo) has similar definition in the teeth. And perhaps it is the model that is not quite right. I need to check out the depth of the original gear teeth versis the model. The latter used a gear add-in within fusion 360 that may not be quite right.

Some of what you might be seeing is the way it is scaled. 10% the sharp edges of teeth could round off some. I suspect a bit of elephant foot adjustment might clean up the prints a bit. Also printing at .1 or so will increase the quality. I printed using PS .2 speed setting. It looks fine ish. Printed for detail I would assume it would be better.