What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

What is a CoreXY 3D printer and how does it work? What are the advantages and drawbacks of the 3D printer? Read on to find out.

In a CoreXY 3D printer, the print head moves on the X and Y axes while the print bed only moves on the Z-axis. The printer has a longer belt and pulley system that reduces excess torque, which is responsible for faster wearing of the belts and gantry.

Generally, CoreXY printers are cube-shaped and feature on open design. However, some high-end models come with an enclosure.

The printer has two timing belts, each connected to a stepper motor, that move the print head. The print head moves in different directions, depending on whether the motors are spinning clockwise or anticlockwise. When only one stepper motor is activated, the print head will move diagonally.

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer? 1

The ways the axes move and the design of the frame give CoreXY 3D printers various advantages over their counterparts. However, there are also some drawbacks you should be aware of.

Advantages of CoreXY 3D Printers

Faster Print Speeds

CoreXY 3D printers generally print faster without leaving residues that can affect your model. The fast print speed is realized since there are no moving parts of the significant mass.

Other 3D printers typically have a moving gantry attached to the print bed or stepper motors. During the printing process, the gantry is moved back and forth, and this causes the printer to vibrate and consequently, the models end up with residue.

With CoreXY 3D printers, the print bed moves vertically while all the stepper motors are fixed. Therefore, the only part that will be moving during the printing process is the toolhead. Since it’s only the toolhead moving, the printer does not vibrate a lot unlike is the case with printers that have a moving gantry.

With the printer remaining fairly stable during the printing process, you can expect to have fewer quality problems usually experienced during 3D printing, for example, rigging and ghosting.

Compact Build

With CoreXY 3D printers, the printbed moves vertically. As a result, the printers offer the same build volume as their comparable FDM printers while having smaller dimensions.  The same feature is similar to what H-bot 3D printers have.


On i3 Prusa design printers, the base needs to be around double the size of the build volume to allow the bed to move back and forth without any problems and enable the toolhead to access the whole build area. This build design makes the printers to be longer than they are wider. The longer 3D printers may pose a challenge when you want to work on some workbenches.

i3 style 3d printer vs corexy 3d printer

Overall, the CoreXY 3D printer is smaller compared to the i3 style and FDM 3D printers.

Drawbacks of CoreXY 3D Printers

Belt Problems

The biggest drawback of CoreXY 3D printers is that their belts can be problematic if their tension is not set up correctly. The belts are core to the working of the printer. However, their tension should be set to be just right, i.e., not too high, nor too low.

When the belts are not properly tensions, they can wear faster, and this will reduce the accuracy of the printer. In some cases, the improperly tensioned belts can cause malfunctions, such as binding printer components, which will lead to poor quality prints.

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Given how important the belts are, the printers need good quality belts that will not stretch or wear out quickly.

Frame Design

The frame of the CoreXY 3D printer system is stable. However, if the frame is not assembled to be perfectly square, you can end up with accuracy problems.

To solve this issue, have a set square on hand while assembling the printer. You can also add corner brackets to ensure that the frame stays square over time.

Should You Buy a CoreXY 3D Printer?

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So, does it make sense to buy a CoreXY 3D printer? The answer is Yes!

The benefits of the CoreXY design are hard to ignore. This may explain why professional FDM 3D printers follow the CoreXY 3D printer design.

Also, CoreXY 3D printers tend to be compact and easier to assemble than other 3D printer systems. When you get the assemble and belt tension right, you can be sure of high-quality prints.

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