Steel Core Belts Recommended?

I bought a used XL that has steel core belts. I have seen discussions about steel core belts. So are steel core belts not recommended. If so are fiberglass or kevlar recommend?

They are steel core because a magnet stuck to a piece I had to trim. The previous owner had too much belt under one of the Y belts making it not easy to push gantry all the way back and stay back. The gantry would rebound.

Please write in to us at and explain the situation and we will do our best to work through this with you.

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Will I bought it used and dont expect Carbide3D to replace them. Just want to know if I should replace them to prevent problems or just leave them alone until they fail. I have no idea if they came on the xl or were bought and replaced. The machine seems to be recent it has C3D router and mechanical homing switches.

It’s pretty obvious when the steel core belts fail — you’ll see a rippled area at the break.

The belts for X and Y are Gates GT2 profile, 2mm pitch, 9mm wide and are available in our Maintenance Kit:

or you could purchase them from a specialty vendor such as BB Man., SDP/SI, or Texas Belting — I believe some specialty 3D printer vendors such as Filastruder have begun carrying them as well.

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So it is ok to leave them alone if working and replace on failure with fiberglass.

That should be fine, if down time or a ruined project aren’t dealbreakers.

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FWIW, I have been running steel-core belts for two years with no issues, only had to replace them once (but I only cut a few hours per week tops).


I have been running steel-core belts for about 2 years as well. I just recently replaced all 3 after noticing some deformation (the belt will be wavy side-to-side) during routine calibration. Not sure how long they’ve been like that because they usually keep the machine running even after they’ve been deformed. I’ve liked them, but due to the recommended shift from Carbide3D back to fiberglass belts, I will be switching to those as well when I have the time or need to replace the belts again. The last time my machine had fiberglass belts on it, I was way too much of a rookie to understand what was going on and what materials affected what. Now with some years under my belt (pun intended), I’m curious to see how I like fiberglass in the future.


I say run them till you have an issue.

I have a steel belt on X thats about 2 years old, and the original fiberglass belts on Y that are about 5 years old. No issues with either and I have worked it fairly hard


You can also ensure they’re at a good tension and check for any changes in the belt tension which might warn you of ageing and failure by measuring the tension with the phone app method. I check my belt tension every few weeks to make sure it’s still what it’s meant to be.

Sticking to the lower end of the tension scale is best for the belts and steppers.


Thanks to everyone who replied. I will just leave them alone until they fail or IF they fail. Its been fun going through the machine and getting it ready. The previous owner did a good job of assembly but there are always things that another eye can improve on. I removed the leveling feet and put a piece of rigid foam under the XL. I did this to my XXL but the XL does not have the center support like the XXL and I may need to measure and put a spacer in the middle. I have seen reports of the XXL sagging in the middle but I dont recall the XL having the same complaint.

I got a good deal buying and XL, the adjustable work table, lots of bits, Trip Lite power ISOBAR Ultra strip, a 24" Dell Monitor with monitor arm, Frued CNC Router Bit Set, maintenance kit, C3D router, C3D T-Track and clamping kit and a BitZero. The Shapeoko name plate says 2019 on it so I guess it is less than 2 years old. The only short comings are already ordered, a BitZero and a Sweepy v2. The machine has a Z Belt but I had one of those for a long time on my XXL and I may update that in the future.

So I got all the goodies plus a bunch of Chinese 1/8 bits I have not yet calculated, all for $1700.00 and I calculated over $3000.00 worth of stuff new. I will use it a while but will most likely resell it. I buy and sell machines, fix them up and resell them. i have refurbished about 5 lathes in the last years some I bought stands others I made stands. I buy what appear to be basket cases, sandblast them repaint, replace the bearings and belts and make them look new. I get a few that I do not need to do anything to. I will also buy other types of tools as well and that keeps me busy. I just finance that with the money I make reselling them. It is not going to make me rich but it pays for itself and I enjoy it and buy myself more tools with the profits.


Not to change the subject, but that mobile workbench looks freaking amazing! I’m guessing it’s this?


Yes it is a Husky Work Station. It adjusts up and down and a short top drawer and a much bigger second drawer. I think the top drawer would hit a bar they use to wind up the other side. I like the bench and it is perfect 24" x 48" which t he machine is 24" x 45".

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I have a Husky 52x24.5" Tool Chest Workbench for my S03 Standard and use the extra space to the side for computer monitor and keyboard/mouse. It was cheaper when I ordered it in '19 (~$500) however. The 46" is more common and available in stores (when in stock) I also have one of those hosting another machine of mine.

I would recommend either one as well :slight_smile:

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