3D printer use stepper motors for moving print head and extruding filament. They need to have good torque and resolution.
Microstepping improves resolution as much as 32 fold (I think) but reduces torque the higher you microstep.
Why not rotate the motor with microstepping at high RPM (which also reduces torque) and increase the torque by heavy gear reduction using a worm gear?
Won't the movement of printhead be even smoother and small errors in microstepping and unevenness of gears be averaged out using high RPM and gear reduction approach?
Does microstepping indeed provide accurate divisions of steps?
Can we get by with weaker motors because torque will be increased by gear reduction?
Can we get by with 48 step stepper motors instead of 200 step because gear reduction provides increased resolution?
There are extruders that use flex shaft to turn worm gear in direct extruder while motor is mounted on frame which turns flex shaft (zesty nimble comes to mind). Why don't they just use smallest possible stepper motor to rotate worm gear directly, instead?
Increasing motor RPM and using gear reduction should preserve the precision and torque, letting you use weaker, lighter motors, potentially reducing granularity of movement. I thought this was simpler approach and I wanted to understand what would I be losing as trade offs. I had considered more friction at worm gear and wear, higher heating of motor etc. But may be it's like "don't fix what ain't broken". 3D printers aren't that costly nowadays. I just wish they were even cheaper.