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I need to transport my FDM 3D Printer because I am moving.

What are the precautions that one should take?
Should I dismount the motors and axes?
I would definitively unplug the electronics as far as reasonable and fix the motors to the frame so they don't slide during transport.
Should I have a housing to avoid dust and other mechanical issues?

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  • $\begingroup$ If you have PLA parts, protect them from heat. A car can get hot enough to make PLA soft. $\endgroup$
    – creuzerm
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 14:28

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Yes, fix the motors and any other loose/movable parts. Remove the bowden tube if it's there, and any other parts that are sticking out. Put the whole thing in a a bag to protect from dust, and put the bag in a box to protect it from getting beat up. Remember to calibrate it when you're ready to set it up again.

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    $\begingroup$ I just moved house, and here's what I did: 1) zip-tie moving carriages to a stationary position 2) pack up glass build plates in bubble wrap and boxes 3) remove filament and loose parts like spool holders and feed tubes 4) put the six 3d printers in the back of my SUV, with suitable straps through the frames to keep them from falling over. Worked fine. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ sorry for OT, but: 6 printers? Wow. I see now why you call it 'a serious 3D printing addiction' ;) On topic: Thanks for the info, it could've been it's own answer, in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – kamuro
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ What is the reasoning for removing the bowden tube? Is it just to make the printer more compact and easy to handle during transport, or is it for "safety" reasons? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden: Just to make the printer more compact, and to avoid kinking the tube or putting too much strain on the mounting points for the tube. Better safe than sorry. (And at least with my Ultimaker the tube tends to always get in my face when I lift it.) $\endgroup$
    – Dampmaskin
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ I also like setting them on a board to prevent flexing of the frame. My Prusa has a big plastic box I move it around in. A bit like a pelican box. Just dumb luck the top of the printer fits in a grove in the lid so it can't slide around. My Rostock gets set on it's back on 2 boards that straddle the center column so I don't put pressure on the rods. Support the whole printer to prevent flexing. Things like to shift forward in a vehicle so orient and protect with this in mind. (Protect from slamming on the brakes). $\endgroup$
    – creuzerm
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 14:23
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Transporting a 3D printer does not require special precautions.

Obviously you should package it to protect it from damage (but this depends on the mode of transportation and how sturdy your printer is; if you are just placing it in the back of your car with no chance of it bumping in to anything, no packaging is required at all).

It might be wise to secure the carriage(s) in place so they can't move around, but I would definitely not bother with unplugging anything (apart from the mains power, naturally). Leaving the motors plugged in means they will provide some holding torque, which might be advantageous to keep your axes from sliding around.

Dust is not too great of a concern, as 3D printers can handle it (to some degree) thanks to the seals included on linear bearings.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would unplug the motors to avoid induced voltages on the motor drivers from sliding axes (which would be fastened anyway, - so that's already contrary to my argument). I've heard that certain drivers are sensitive to induced voltages... $\endgroup$
    – kamuro
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @kamuro Do you have any source stepper drivers are sensitive to this? It seems rather unlikely to me, given that they already have to handle large voltage spikes during normal operation. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ It was mentioned in a reprap forum, but I can't find it anymore. Some few people were reporting about burning their stepper drivers by moving carrages by hand. You are right, I also found it hard to believe, but I'd rather be safe and not fry my drivers ;) $\endgroup$
    – kamuro
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ One of the youtubers (I forget who) did a test/debunking of that, backdriving the motors at high speeds with the power off, and was unable to damage anything. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 18 at 21:36
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You just need to take basic security actions. like fixing all movable parts simple as that

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    $\begingroup$ Dan can you expand on your answer? In your opinion, what is the best way to 'fix' (to prevent movement) all of the movable parts? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ The way to fix it depends of the printer, but just making it unable to move, that's all $\endgroup$
    – Dan Boyko
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 0:03

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