Z Brace Yourself - Alternate Straight Braces for Wanhao i3

by OmNomNomagon, published

Z Brace Yourself - Alternate Straight Braces for Wanhao i3 by OmNomNomagon Aug 20, 2016


An alternate set of Z Braces to improve the rigidity of the printer. Compatible with the Wanhao i3 (aka Cocoon Create, Mono select). Made from scratch, based on the principles of Typhons https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1359774 and Azzas excellent https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:921948.

These braces are designed to have straight rods for aesthetic reasons, with the rods positioned as close together as possible to maintain rigidity. Typhon's Top Braces impede into the build area of the printer which decreased the usable Z height by 20mm. These braces regain that space by moving the rod mount to above the bottom inner screw. These brackets also clip around the front and back of the base to improve rigidity.

Build Of materials

Update June 2017

Added a number of additional parts to increase the rigidity of the printer.

  • Optional Tower feet (Increases lateral stability)
  • Optional Front brace (with zip tie gap to brace Y-pulley)
  • Optional Rear brace (Reduces Flex)
  • M10 Metric Editions of the existing parts by popular request.

New photos are attached which show the new parts and also the rubber vibration pad used to isolate the printer from the ground.

Tinkercad source link: https://tinkercad.com/things/9eYjIPDR2y8

Print Settings

Printer Brand:



Cocoon Create










PLA recommended at 45%+ infill.
Supports not required 4 outlines plus recommended.



Install the top mounts first with 4x M3 screws each. Do not completely unscrew all 4 screws at once to prevent the frame from shifting. The Inner Bottom screw is hidden behind the area where the nut is held.

Install the Bottom Rear left and right brackets with 3x M3 screws each.

Screw the threaded rod into the top mounts and lock it in with 2 nuts on each side.

On the end of each rod, screw in a nut - front bracket - nut. Attach the the front bracket to the frame. Use a square against the vertical frame to ensure the printer remains 90 degrees square to the ground. Screw the rods in back and forth as needed till the vertical frame is perfectly level.


Cut the dampening pad into the shapes of the bottom brackets and glue them to the base with gel or superglue. The pad decouples the printer with the ground which reduces vibrations and makes the printer much quieter.

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Any thoughts on compatibility with the i3 Plus models?

The plus uses a single larger screw instead so it is not compatible, I believe there are a few plus compatible ones around through.

Should the metal parts on the bottom still touch the table? Mine come just short of the bottom of the printed parts.

I have tried printing that same calibration test that you have in the first few pictures. Mine comes out terrible did this z brace mod help the quality of the prints a lot?

Yeah, this fixed a lot of issues I had with print quality. Especially when printing taller objects. Did you make sure all the axis's are square with each other? Otherwise you may have any number of other issues like loose belts or may need to tweak your retraction settings. Do you have any pics?

I haven't installed the mod yet I am trying to see what i can do to help my print quality. Thanks for the reply. I will start working on this mod.

Getting ready to give this a shot with my new printer. Would you mind adding a photo of the zip tie around the front brace? Thanks!

Sorry mate I pulled apart my Wanhao recently so pics aren't possible.. I had a 35mm m5 cap head bolt with a couple of m5 nylocks to lock it in and the zip tie wrapped around the head of the bolt to secure it.

Hello,. I haven't printed any out yet because Im trying to figure out which set to use between this and the other one at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:921948 . What I am trying to figure out is the difference. I know you said yours keeps that extra 20mm because its straight, but from looking at the pictures, they look the same. Could you please let me know what Im missing here.

Z braces for Wanhao Duplicator i3, Cocoon Create, Maker Select, and Malyan M150 i3 3D printers.
by AzzA

You gain 20mm compared to this version https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1359774. The ones you linked above have the same clearance as these but those rods are angled.

Wanhao Duplicator I3 Z brace with adjustable feet (Hardware store special)

Is that a zip tie that goes thru the optional front support? Or what goes thru the hole in it?

Yep. Use a zip through there and around the head of the M5 bolt. This is a weak point in the printer design and the zip tie ensures the idler pulley stays perpendicular. Not sure if the stock bolt has enough space for the tie, I have a longer one installed.

Can you make a version for 8mm or 5/16" threaded rods?

I tried modifying the files for 8mm for you but at that stage it causes problems with the screw underneath the threaded rod. The gap clearance becomes too narrow to properly install the screw. If you can't get access to 3/8 rods you should be able to use 5/16 but add a couple of washers into the top bracket nut area.

Something is a bit off with the rear bottom pieces. (M.P. Maker Select V2)
z_braceyourself-_Rear_Right / z_braceyourself-_Rear_Left
once installed using M3-.50 x16 hex screws, it's easy for me to rotate / twist them around the Y-axis of the printer. They aren't rigid somehow.
no problems like this in front or top with the same screws.
honestly with 3 screws, it shouldn't be possible what's happening.

Thank you for making these designs, and for any suggestions you might have.

Sounds like only one or less of the screws is not actually in the thread. Try to see or feel how many screws are actually protruding through. You may need to unscrew them all, screw one in till you can just see it is properly in the thread and then screw them all in evenly after that.

You don't recommend this any longer ? https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1572655

Wanhao Duplicator i3 (Plus) dampeners for AzzA's Z braces

Never tried them myself so i can't tell you how effective they are. I've always used the anti vibration damper pads linked in the thing details, or soft rubber feet. They definitely make a massive difference in sound and is worth doing.

Bought some nuts and the threaded rod. I notice it was really hard to get the nut in place.
Should you be able to turn the that is in the top part ?

Couldn't find the right size for the screws :( I have look for them at another store

There isn't any need to turn the nut in the top part, simply put the nut in the gap in the top frame and screw the threaded rod in from below. The bottom nut in the bottom section should have enough room so you can screw it in or out slightly as needed. You may take a few tries to make sure the frame is 100% straight with the tower exactly 90 degrees to the ground. Once these are lined up tighten up the two other nuts and you should have a square and sturdy frame. Screws don't have to be 100% exact, there is a a few mm leeway in length each way.

Hard to align the nut and bolt. Need to bed so much that I bed the plastic and rod don't have the same angel.

Comments deleted.

what do you mean with "4 outlines plus recommended.?

I use Simplify3D which specifies perimeter thickness in # of lines. Some other slicers use outline thickness in mm, so around 1.6mm You want a decently thick perimeter outline so that the parts are very strong.

I have hade 1.2 as default settings on my printouts. could up it to 1.6

My first test warped and the hole wasn't good ( PLA) Going to keep the heat on the the whole print.

I would love to the have the 3d files so I can mix it to M10
My hardware store don't have imperial rods. Imperial isn't that common here in Sweden

Hey Mate, no worries. These were created on tinkercad but the current version has janked up the models for some reason. I'm in the process of fixing them and will link once its all correct. Since I'm rebuilding i should be able to build in a metric version for you.

I did this out of the STL file, I'm not sure if it's correct

that sux, Well thanks for making it in metric too.
I was about to print them and then draw them in Fusion.

Hey Mate, I got the tinkercad issues cleared up and added an M10 metric version for you. I haven't printed these out so If you have any issues with clearances please let me know.

Im new to the whole Z-brace thing. What is the point of bracing your z axis? is it for printing at a faster speed or something?

So although the printer is metal, the frame still has considerable wobble especially if you have the spool mounted on top. By bracing it and making the whole assembly much more rigid, the print quality goes up significantly.

With your design (which I just finished printing and will be installing shortly), do you not feel you need a back and front Y brace?

I was thinking of printing the back and front braces found in other designs and trimming them to length or do you think this is not necessary?


The current feet are longer than most other designs and clip to the frame which adds a lot of rigidity to that panel. Im whipping up some tower feet and then will probably create a Y bracket in the future, even if its only because it would look cool.

Hey, 3/8" is M10 in metric right ? Thanks for your job !

About 9.5mm. Most hardware stores should sell both metric and imperial rods so try to get the imperial if possible as the clearances are fairly tight.

Ok i will try to find it ! Thanks man !

Can i get the files.PRT to do a remix for M10 ?

Checked my lokal store and it only hade metric (sweden)

My compliments and thanks to OmNomNomagon. Lovely design. Easy to print - easy to install.
3/8 hardware is very sturdy.
I had already added the leveling feet by Mal3d at
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1175712 so I didn't need the bottom braces.

Level Foot for Wanhao Duplicator I3
by Mal3D

Thanks Mate, glad you're happy with it.

How do you print the top parts? What worked best?

Looks like a lot of overhang to me in this position, but I'm new so I don't know! :p

Laying them flat (90 degrees from original position in Cura), worked well for me.

I like this design and plan to make it in the near future. Did you ever make the feet for the towers ? The idea of them just sitting in the air is not sitting well with me. I feel like it will introduce shake in the x direction.

Again nice design and great work.

I added a set of tower feet for you mate :)

Hi Mate, life has been a bit chaotic lately and I haven't been able to find the time, but I'm planning to get them done in the next few weeks. I put vibration damper under my braces which has led to the towers being slightly elevated. However without these, the braces sit flush with the original level of the legs so there shouldn't be issues with the tower dangling. I also added some of the damper to the bottom of the nema motors so they have solid contact with the ground.

Are you replacing the feet on printer? Do the main posts still touch the table?

Any chance of getting a STEP or IGES file of these? I'd love to see how rigid I could make the i3 with aluminum versions of these mounts on my mill.

I whipped this up in Tinkercad and I don't think it has an IGES or STEP export option sorry.

I like it. I might just have to migrate to this from Azza's when I have some empty project time. Well done!

Would you be interested in making designing dampeners for this style as well? http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1572655

Wanhao Duplicator i3 (Plus) dampeners for AzzA's Z braces

Cheers mate, I'll be happy to give it a go when I get a bit of spare time. I'll also probably create some feet parts for the vertical posts as well.

Do you need any of the azza parts or are these sufficient?

These should be sufficient by themselves. Not sure if Azzas extra parts are compatible as the bottom of those parts might be different to the bottom of mine. The bottom of my parts sit flush with the bottom of the printer legs..