Rerevisit: 3d Printing a swerve drive (SDS MK3 Swerve Module)

This is a project from the new Mk3 Swerve from SDS, Check it out here: SDS MK3 Swerve Module
From the looks of it, its a SOLID swerve design and i highly suggest you check out this forum!

This is a topic as a continuation of this topic here: Revisit: 3d Printing a swerve drive

As I promised to @PatrickW I would update you as soon as I started.

Well here goes the start of many headaches!

  1. The first step was choosing what motors i would use that i could modify and mount to the top plate.

-After many small personal debates, I chose two motors i have lying around from an old project, 1 46:1 ratio encoder DC motor (wheel power) and 1 72:1 ratio encoder DC motor (steering).

These motors fit perfectly on the plate and with some small mods to the mounting holes on the plate are now printed and mounted!

Next step was to print the gears that attach to the motors (as well as the small spacer), I don’t have a picture of them yet but they came out perfect

and last for this post, I just tried to print the bottom plate (one half because I had to cut it in half in order to print it on my Dremel 3D20) and sadly due to bad plate adhesion it came out horribly. I currently have it printing with a raft in hopes to improve it. I’ll update again when i have the two plates mounted together!

feel free to ask any questions!


Will you be adding in actual shafts and gears or will that also be 3d printed?


they will be 3d printed, the goal is to print as many parts as I can 3d printed and power it using small motors and control it using a MakeBlock Arduino kit, the screws will all be metal for ease purpose but all gears (and maybe even the larger bearing and belt) will be 3d printed

in my last post about this: Revisit: 3d Printing a swerve drive, @mpirringer posted
great examples of gears that were 3d printed and gave some good advice on how to tackle such a project

Small Update: The big half of the bottom plate is done printing, for ANYONE who wants to work with 3d printing, the first layer and its adhesion is CRUCIAL!

here is a piece that had multiple issues

  1. bad settings,
    The first layer had issues and wasn’t adhering to the plate, this was fixed by slowing down the print speed, upping the heat a little, and using a “Raft” as its adhesion type ( This add a whole couple layers underneath the actual print)
    Plus I lowered the print height to .2mm from .3mm

  2. My filament spool came loose and wasn’t feeding the filament properly, causing the strand to snap and stop feeding, this caused a sever layer skip that I wasn’t able to fix in time.

So after fixing these issues and making sure it adhered properly, here is the newer piece

This one looks a lot better!

this whole project is turning into a valuable lesson for a constant learner such as my self. we shall see how everything goes from here!

This is the other half printing before i left for work this morning


Are you printing this full scale or are you printing a 1/2 scale or something like that?

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Full scale

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What material is this? It looks like it’s warping quite a bit?

Plates can come out fine on printers (though if you have access to a router I suggest just doing them that way.)

I’ve since redesigned the top and bottom plates to connect to 2x1 tubes, haven’t gotten around to reprinting them yet.

Everything is pretty smooth moving though (most moving parts are on bearings and the shafts are properly machined). Sadly I haven’t gotten back to this in a few months because of some chaos around changing jobs, moving, and a global pandemic.


Another Update! I have been working on the model to suite some 3d printing limitations (such as bearings and small tweaks here and there)

I got the spacers connected onto the top plate and am currently adhering the two halves of the bottom plate

and the first REAL internal mechanism (the double gear) is printing as I speak!

Let me know if you have any questions!


Look into magigoo. This works absolute wonders for adhesion on heated print beds, and works with most FDM materials.

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sadly my printer is a non heated bed and only prints in PLA, which tends to wear down easily. Thats why this project is a low speed. Ill still check it out!

looks useful, may have to get myself some!

In the same vein as magigoo, I’ve found that just plain purple elmers glue stick works great on heated and unheated beds. I’ve used it on glass and blue tape and the main issue I’ve had is prints will stick a little too well and take a bit of effort to remove. I wouldn’t recommend using it directly on your build surface, but if you want to use a replaceable surface like painters tape, I’ve found that combination works pretty well.


I have used blue tape in the past with mixed results but the current bed I have is a similar material made by Dremel for their print beds, it usually works great but I think my main issue is that I’m using a “non-Dremel approved” PLA, I’m using jet black Prusament PLA 1.75mm with a .4mm nozzle. it works great but I’m still tweaking the settings.

The biggest thing I have fixed is the print height, changing it from .3mm to .2mm did wonders and it only gets better when I go to .1mm, its all a learning experience for me.

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That looks great! this is what I’m hoping for have when I’m finished!

The Material is 1.75 Jet black Prusament PLA
Yes it was warping but I believe it was cause the settings weren’t right for the print height I had set it to. The top one is what happened when i set it to .3mm and 55mm print speed, but once I set it to .2 mm with a 45mm print speed it got a whole lot better.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I shouldnt need an encoder cause the two motors I’m using are encoder motors


You’ll have to do something with an index for the module absolute position. Otherwise - yeah.


By the way, if you are using this for display, you can get clear 1" square tubing at McMaster

Id 2nd using plain Elmer’s glue sticks. Its especially convenient if you have a removable surface or bed, as the glue is water soluble and easy to wash away once it starts to build up on the bed. Works great for my Ender 3 Pro.


Very useful! Thank you!

sadly no new pictures, I had a busy weekend BUT i will say the bearing design i tried to 3d print didn’t work… (the gap was too close and the print had minor issues

Right now I’m working on a bearing design that will use 65 .177 caliber (4.5mm) metal BB’s as the balls in a 2 piece ball bearing (inner and outer ring
)… it should have the same tolerances as the regular bearing you can buy from SDS and fit perfectly (we will see)

I managed to get the central shaft attached to the base pully and the double gear to spin freely on its axis, so as long as I can get our steering mechanism printed without a hitch, we’re nearly home free!


Once again, no new pictures, (another busy weekend) but I was able to print the steering axle and got all gears and bearings working on it. spins nicely for the time being!

The large bearing for the base pulley is built and has the balls in it now, (its a bit tight but nothing a bit of grease and proper fitting later cant fix).

I reassembled the rest of it and I will be testing the steering later this week ( make sure the code i made will actually work [and it wont].

I will try hard tonight to get a bunch of update photos for it!

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