There are a few different types of 3d printer kinematics to choose from, with cartesian kinematics being the most common. Recently the corexy architecture has become more popular. In this guide, we will compare corexy vs cartesian kinematics in terms of their speed and print quality so that you can understand the difference in each motion system as well as the pros and cons when implemented.

CoreXY vs Cartesian

Cartesian Kinematics

Cartesian 3D printers can be described as the more ‘traditional’ motion system as they are the most common design kinematics of 3D printers. Cartesian 3d printers tend to be more straightforward and simple mechanical arrangement with movement along the X, Y, and Z axes.

Cartesian Kinematics

Not all 3D Printer Designs Are Equal

Rapidly slinging the print bed back and forth along the Y-axis as seen on many cartesian printers has limitations regarding the moving mass along with other issues compared to the corexy mechanical arrangement. 

CoreXY vs Cartesian

CoreXY Kinematics

The corexy motion system was initially designed by MIT and has recently grown in popularity. The difference of the CoreXY design is that the belt system moves in different planes from the moving printhead. This reduces the moving mass when printing objects results in a lightweight gantry system that can travel at higher speeds.

CoreXY vs Cartesian

There is some debate on whether or not corexy 3d printers are faster than cartesian printers given the different architectures and the mechanical advantage. However, it depends on the context. The corexy is a good solution but has it’s limitations and design constraints. The corexy design has the mechanical advantage of a high acceleration and inertia of the mechanical system, but is limited in size due to the length of the belt system. As the length of the belt path increases, the more problems with belt tensioning occur. This is the major reason why corexy 3d printers are medium or smaller sized machines.

Cartesian 3D printers, on the other hand, can be considered more flexible due to their design and mechanical simplicity which also makes the Cartesian setup typically cheaper and easier to manufacture.

CoreXY vs Cartesian

Print Quality

CoreXY printers can produce better results because the motor movement gives more accurate  positioning and faster print speeds depending on the belt length and layout.

The downside to CoreXY printers is that they can be difficult to build and have more complex designs. This makes the printer less forgiving if something goes wrong, such as a belt slipping off of its pulley.

CoreXY vs Cartesian

CoreXY Advantages

  • Less Moving Parts
  • More compact design
  • Higher print speeds due to less moving mass

CoreXY vs Cartesian

CoreXY Disadvantages

The downside to CoreXY printers is that they can be difficult to build and have more complex designs. This makes the printer less forgiving if something goes wrong, such as a belt slipping off of its pulley.

Limited in size due to belt length constraints of the corexy system. Longer belts mean more tension issues on the belt which translates into less accuracy, slower speeds.

CoreXY vs Cartesian

CoreXY Limitations

  • Belt Tensions problems with belt systems that can limit size
  • limitations in belt length

CoreXY vs Cartesian

Sumary

In conclusion, a corexy printer is a better solution but limited to size and scalability of actual print volume. Cartesian is better for larger build volume designs and more simple to produce.