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Wanhao Duplicator i3 Z-Axis Alignment Posts

by zolan, published

Wanhao Duplicator i3 Z-Axis Alignment Posts by zolan Nov 18, 2015
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NOTE: This one works just fine but I recommend checking out my other version http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1241496 It has a customizer so you can tweak the size just how you want it as well as other nifty tweaks.


This is by no means a mind blowing item but it was handy for me so I'm sharing. I'm also not a guru when it comes to printers so keep that in mind and use at your own risk.

This is to help you align your Z-Axis in case it ever goes wonky or you just want to double check it. You should print 2 of these.

A Note Before You Begin:
If you twist one side of the Z-Axis and the other one doesn't move at all, you may want to consider following Jetguy's fix for that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaroNfMVE4M

I did it and now when I rotate one side, the other side moves along with it and my Z-Axis very rarely gets out of alignment anymore and when it does it is very minor.

Guide:

  • Raise your Z-Axis high enough that you can fit the posts between the frame and the X-Axis bars.
  • Turn off the stepper motors. (This is important)
  • Place the posts on the far left and far right side with the square part on the frame and the curved part under the X-Axis bar.
  • Hand twist the Z-Axis until the X-Axis bar is resting on the posts on either side. (If you haven't done the Jetguy fix mentioned above, make sure if you have to do a lot of twisting that you don't twist one too far without twisting the other. Try to keep them level while you are doing it.)
  • Slide the posts off of the frame parallel to the bar so you don't accidentally bump one side up or down.
  • Celebrate because your Z-Axis is aligned.

Print Settings

Printer:

Wanhao Duplicator i3

Rafts:

Doesn't Matter

Supports:

Doesn't Matter


Notes:

None of the settings really matter but I would like to point out, however, that you should print these at the same point along the X-Axis so they are in line with the Y-Axis.

The reason is, if they were along the X-Axis and the Z-Axis is askew, one may end up taller than the other and you'd still end up with an alignment problem when you used them to help align the Z-Axis.

If they are in line with the Y-Axis the worst that would happen is one side of both of them would be slightly askew but they would be identical in the most important ways.

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Printed these because in my excitement of unboxing and setting up I forgot to plug in the right hand stepper motor! I didnt realise until the left had moved up about 30mm....

These printed perfectly and I had fixed the issue in second!

Glad they helped!!

I have the duplicator i3 also, when you say you should be able to turn one leadscrew and the other turns also, do you mean for both up and down?. If I turn one in the down direction the other side will move in sync, if I try to raise Z by turning one, only that side moves up and the axis does not keep level.

Trying to confirm if I need to go through all the calibration steps as my prints look fine (to me). Thanks!

Hey, So mine seems to work the same as yours. Prior to following Jetguy's video when I would screw one either way, the other would not move. Now when I screw one down, the other moves but it doesn't move much when screwing up.

That part of the process, however, is just to help make it so you don't have to calibrate the Z axis nearly as often. Sounds like yours is fine.

Just use these every once in a while to make sure it is still aligned and you should be good to go.

Thanks - I appreciate taking the time to respond. I plan to print these tonight!
(Maybe one day I will be done printing things to fix/improve this printer and can get to the fun stuff ! )

lol yeah. Hell, I'm still finding small tweaks for my printer. For me, that is part of the fun of it all.

By the way, I have noticed one thing on my printer. The place that I rest the posts are not totally even. For some reason one is 0.5 mm higher than the other.

In the long run, it doesn't matter as the most important part is your bed being level with the x axis bar so these alignment posts get you close enough. I just thought it was odd.

When I level mine, I now give the right side a quarter twist to compensate as I was noticing I had to tighten the leveling screws more on the right than the left (which is how I came to realize they were separate different).

Anyway, that is just informational for anyone who happens to read this.

As has been said, great idea. But what if the frame itself isn't the same height on both sides?

Great point. I have a customized version here. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1241496

If you can figure out the precise difference, you could use it to build one at one height and one at the other height.

You can flip the settings around so that it only makes one post and doesn't make a holder.

Hope that works for you.

Z Axis Alignment Posts
by zolan

Another thought - why not move up the Z axis till near the top and measure against that? The top is one piece, so it's more likely to be straight, I'd think?

That would certainly work. I personally wouldn't do that because I'm horribly impatient and waiting for the head to go all the way up and then all the way back down might literally kill me. :D

Also I've recently found that getting the bar level is more of a grenade thing. If you get it close enough it should be fine. The extra important part is making sure the bed is level with the bar. It is just better practice having the axis as level as you can before leveling the bed.

I've gotten to the point that once I've used my posts to level the axis I raise the right one a quarter turn to offset the slight difference in height. It is not exact but my prints come out looking amazing anyway.

All,

It looks like someone took the same idea and made it for a different i3 printer. So if this Wanhao one won't work for you it might. I'm planning on releasing a new version over the weekend that is totally configurable but in the mean time you can see the other one here. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1207696

prusa i3 Zonestar p802 z leveing tool

This is a great item thank you!

You are welcome!

I created a holder for these posts, but am out of PLA at the moment so it is not printed yet. In any case, here it is. Hope that you don't mind me posting it here in your comments. If so I'd be happy to remove it.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1198375

WanHao Duplicator i3 Z-Axis Alignment Post Holder

I have actually been considering making an openscad version so people can customize it and make it work for more than just the Duplicator i3 If you don't mind I will also make a holder for it based on your design.

Got for it!! If we all share, we will all benefit going forward! I am totally happy to inspire others and I hope to continue to be inspired.

We need more humans like you in the world.

Not at all. I kept meaning to make a holder as I have to hunt for mine each time... Thanks for doing it!

Thank you for this!!! When I saw it I felt so stupid for not thinking of it myself! I was going to try hanging a bubble level on hooks till I saw this. So simple and worked so perfectly!

Glad to hear it!

what a great idea. it will save a lot of time instead of using the calipers.

Totally. When it comes to brilliantly dumb ideas I'm your idiot! :D

This really helped me fix what turned out to be pretty large misalignment!

That makes me very happy. Thanks for sharing!

Nice idea! Thanks

You are welcome.

For full disclosure, I came up with the idea based on a comment on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBEEquE68UM where someone named 'animateclay' recommended using a wooden block on one side, then the other instead of a ruler and your eyes.

When I got my 3D printer a few days ago mine were way off and I'm still not sure if that was a one-time situation or if they slowly get unaligned after time. I did notice that when I went to use my posts for the first time the alignment was off just slightly. I think that is just because, as that person's comment implies, just doing it by ruler and your eyes isn't very accurate.

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