3D Positioning System for 3D Printers

The 3D positioning system of a 3D printer corresponds to the overall operation of its x, y and z-axes. Depending upon the machine, only one axis will be movable, or two, or even all three.

3d printer positioning system xyz axis

Description of the 3D Printing System

The 3D positioning system therefore enables a 3D printer’s operation. The fact that there are 3 axes will provide depth to your 3D file and thus to your object’s design.

If there were only 2 axes, your object’s design would not be accounted for in space, andonly an image without depth would emerge from the printer like when printing with a conventional inkjet printer.

The 3D positioning system is therefore composed of 3 axes. The x and y axes correspond to the 3D printer’s lateral movement, and the z-axis corresponds to vertical movement.

The 3 kinds of 3D Positioning Systems

Current 3D printers use 3 kinds of systems:

  • The print bed: a 3D printer is comprised of a  printing head (extruder) and a print bed. In this case, the extruder doesn’t move but the print bed does. The x and y axes are therefore fixed and the z-axis is the only one to move. 
  • The crane: in this case the extruder moves, not the print bed. Therefore the x and y axes move while the z-axis remains fixed. 
  • Deltabot: the printing head  is controlled bythree movable control rods. The x, y and z-axes are therefore all movable, which requires a complex motor to increase precision and printing speed. 

In general, the greater the number of axes, the more flexibility is gained but at the expense of reduced precision.

If you want to learn more about 3D printing, download our eBook: 3D Printing vs. Traditional Printing .