Upgrading perhaps the oldest unfinished Wilson TS in existence


Back in 2015 I bought a Wilson TS kit that, believe it or not, I am still in the process of completing. My excuse for the time lapse is work, learning ViaCad and refinishing the house area by area.

Every time I get back into this 3D printer project and start to read more articles I see something new that I would REALLY like to add to my printer before I complete it. I first added Marty’s angle braces which I made for a wonderfully rigid frame, and then I changed to the Bowden feed. I am going for less weight to move on the Y axis without having a motor on it. I’ll get to the Bowden feed concerns at the end.

I now really would like to use 8 mm lead screws on the Z axis instead of the 5 mm threaded rods. In addition, I would not mind just changing the Y axis to use 10 mm smooth rods. My theory there is that the LM8LUU rod bearings seem to be so small that a high percentage simply feel rough rolling. The 10 mm equivalent smooth rod bearings just seem to just roll better. Perhaps it is my imagination / perception. I was on Thingiverse and another STL site last evening and I saw a number of files and many I recognized as being from you Wilson users that I see! These seem available to help me achieve my desired changes but I could not tell if the files I found are “successful” files or experimental or if perhaps there might be updated files somewhere. Any thoughts, advice, links for these changes would be would be appreciated…or if any of you have created such STL files and would just be able to sell me yellow printed parts that would work as well.

The other thing I want to accomplish is incorporating auto bed leveling. With the Bowden change then the lead screws now the bed leveling and perhaps, eventually, a full Wilson II sized print bed if I do change to the 10 mm smooth rods I realize I will need to scour these forum comments completely to then make the Marlin changes to accommodate my new mongrel machine.

My 3 hopes to achieve: 8 mm lead screws - 10 mm bed smooth rods and bearings - bed leveling

Back to the Bowden feed: I now wonder if by placing the Bowden feed on that back angle brace if I may have made the feed tube simply too long. I saw a filament guide item on Thingiverse that will probably help unless, again, my feed tube is just too long. Any thoughts from Bowden users?

I want to include photos but I do nto see a way to do it in this “start a new topic” format I am writing this in. I thought it would be helpful for you experienced users to see where I am “restarting” from and for you to comment on anything that looks potentially problematic and that cna be improved upon.

I will likely get back onto this forum three times a week and I will read every reply and comment and get back to all thoughts or questions. Again, when I can see how to do it I will add photos so you can see what I am going on about with this build.

Thanks in advance,


I see now that I should have simply dragged and dropped the images. These are just for you to see the parts I hope to change and the long Bowden filament run. Also just to see if there is anything you see as problematic in advance.

Another reason for the Bowden motor placement was to to get the filament down off the frame and onto the wooden (orange) base. Again, I don’t know if this is filament line is a troublesome looking run.

While the hot end holder on the X axis is a lightweight item, it now presents a challenge for placing the bed leveler sensor.

My wife just commented, “Maybe you should just MAKE it as it was originally designed then us it to make the parts you need to modify it to be the way you want it to be.” I really do not like it when she uses logic like that. :confused:


I did a different search on Thingiverse and believe I found the solution to mounting the bed leveling sensor. Presuming the Wilson TS uses the same bolt pattern to attach the hot end holder to the X axis carriage, I searched for “Prusa i3 Bowden holder with leveler” and found over 20 STL files for different hot end holders that will make it easy to attach the leveler. I will have the part in perhaps four days and be sure it all fits.

I now still need for those X axis ends and TS frame top caps for the 8 mm lead screws. That is still a problem I want to solve before just finishing this printer.

Thinking out loud here a bit, I now recall Marty did a video about some TS modifications including a 200 mm x 300 mm print bed. . Maybe I can find a file in his obsolete group where he had end caps for the Y axis that used 10 mm smooth rods.


On the phone now, I’ll write up more detail later, but as someone who had an 18 month hiatus building his Wilson 2, don’t get tired down with paralysis over which direction to go, get it working then work out where you need improvement.

I got stuck in a cycle of not doing anything wanting to get the perfect combo of upgrades. Once I got over that and got something working it has been awesome fun since then… A great part of a reprap is how easily you can upgrade parts when you need.


Thanks Squid. I’ve come across few endeavors that are part computer, part mechanics and part art as much as these filament 3D printer seem to be.