Cheap Alternative for Timing Belt Tensioners




About: 25 years old(god I feel old as shit), student. Hobbies include tinkering, getting my hands dirty/scarred, and trying not to kill/severely maim myself in the process.

Rather than paying out the nose for them($6 for ten), you can make tensioning springs for timing belts using clothespins. At Wally-World a huge pack of them was $0.97,, but many already have some laying around(I did but they were rusted from use outside).
Be careful cause these springs are deadly, we maybe not deadly but they will hurt like the Dickens if you pinch yourself.


Step 1: Separate Spring From Wood

Easiest way to remove the wood is to press along the side of one half and slide the wooden slivers while gripping the spring. Alternative would be to pile a bunch of them on a bar-b-que pit and make a mini funeral pyre but that's a little bit overkill.

Step 2: Bending

After removing the wooden bits, the two "arms" of the torsion spring will naturally come together. To make tensioners, we need to bend the arms back to a more usable angle. For my k800 printer(kossel mini) I'm using the GT2 belt and pulleys, and the spring arms at roughly 120deg angle. The exact angle doesn't matter, the good ole guess-&-check method works best.

Step 3: Install

To install the tensioners place one arm under(or over) the belt and push the spring with one hand while using the second to fit the belt over the other arm. The force of the torsion spring trying to bring its arms back together creates an arc in the timing belt which takes up slack. This way your belts will be tight enough that they don't skip over teeth on your pulleys, and will greatly reduce backlash.



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    To align it better in different direction, fit a machine screw in the round hole, best with a nut on the other end. Jan D, Sweden

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Pretty neat idea, thanks! ;)


    3 years ago

    This is for my 3rd printer, they are extremely fun. If you enjoy making things then you would like them.


    3 years ago

    Ya I have been thinking of using clip springs for a long while, unfortunately I do not own a 3d printer and could not put the idea to use