Wilson upgrades/ future versions


So I was having a think about what we could do to improve the current wilson and thought I would open a discussion what everyones thoughts are on it.

I think the Y needs quite a bit of rework. The printed carriage with cable ties IMO is just a flimsy solution. We could benefit from either changing to pillow blocks attached to a aluminium carriage or changing to linear rails on the Y.

Attaching the Y axis to the XZ frame needs a bit of improvement as well. Instead of using printed parts to join the frames we should use angle brackets and L clamps for the 2020. Using printed parts for these just introduces slop and wiggle to the frame.

Now the X axis should theoretically be fine however upgrading to makerslide could improve things quite a bit. The Z axis could benefit from this as well.


I am just about to get approval from the Uni of QLD to build them a 3D printer. I have sold them on a design between a Lulzbot TAZ 6 and a Wilson II and have reworked the TAZ 6 deign files significantly.

Lulzbot have their files available as part of the open source agreement but either they are overpaying a 4th grade student to do the CAD work or the TAZ6 just works because they are sort of hit most of the marks but with the blind fold still on. An example is there is aprox 3mm difference between the top plate and the Z axis motor mounts and don’t get me started on the STL files full of holes and errors. I do suspect that maybe the files available are not the final production files… or at least I hope not.

The brief from the Uni was to build an open, easy to work on 3D printer as a robust tool while they get the funds to buy a $30,000 3D system.

One thing I am implementing for the Y axis is SBR12-500mm Linear Bearing Rails and SBR12UU Sliding Block. So instead of having a 12mm smoothrod and a 2020 rail it will be replaced with the linear rails just as you mentioned. I think 10mm linear rails would be sufficient but they are more difficult to buy and I only paid $65 AUD for 2x500 rails plus 4x bearing blocks delivered.


Yeah I think the rails will be a win. Btw I see you designed a spool roller. How is that working out for you?


yeah I’m happy with it. I did reply in Thingverse I think… sorry if I didn’t


I also saw your spool holder too. There are a few around now, I do like yours :slight_smile:

On a more ‘on-topic’ note, I do agree about the rails too. However, I sort of like the plastic side of this printer. After all, the reprap scene does only exist because of self replicating printers which I’m fully in support of. So, I would say that this improvement should be done along side of the original design and not just replace it in the definition of this printer. Basically, what I’m saying is that while it is an upgrade, each plastic part that is replaced is moving the printer away from the reprap scene itself. So, if it were me (this is what i’ll be doing in the future) I would make a completely separate machine implementing what you deem to be upgrades that remove the ‘self-made’ parts with factory/mass produced ones.

Once I have my printer completely setup properly and calibrating perfectly to my liking, I will be joining in with attempting some possible upgrades to this machine. The first one for me is going to be replacing the MK7 drive setup, I’m going to implement a MK8 drive and therefor the extruder carriage needs a little work done to it for the filament to flow through in the correct line of path without straining the motor or the plastic of the carriage itself. The reason why I’m planning this? because I use a fair bit of low temp PLA (170 degrees, ish) and this seems to need slightly more force/torque to push the filament through properly.


Replacing some of the plastic not all makes it a better printer overall. I dont think it retracts away from the reprap aspect of the printer. minor upgrades which can be done fairly easily.


One aspect of the rails which didn’t mention… you would just bolt the Linear Rails directly to the 2020 frame without the plastic part connecting them. Then just a reconfigured the existing designed end plates with motor and belt adjustment.

Scratch that… as I sit here designing the end plates with the 12mm Linear rails in my hand, I didn’t realise how compact they where… so if I do a complete redesign of the Y axis nothing will be backward compatible to the Wilson frame… so I will keep the endplate layout the same so people can use this rail setup as a upgrade. The rails will connect to the frame by printed blocks but will attempt to make them quite rigid.

I would consider this as a Reprap upgrade in the “spirit of the scene” by reducing the amount of parts needed but improving the design.

A lot of the parts we now use like machined toothed aluminum idler pulleys are normal because the cost for some of this stuff is coming down so fast. Partly due to DIY 3D printer and CNC projects out there.

@eviltoy First attempt at Y axis with Linear rail. The 12mm rods are in the exact same position as the Wilson II 10mm rails.


I am thinking Ill be following your design as its what I want to do. But I suck at design and you dont :stuck_out_tongue:


@eviltoy Partly together Y axis with Linear Rail Mod. I had an issue with one of the bearings so I might just do it with 3 as it’s seriously solid. Very happy with the rails they look to be very straight indeed… I say that because they where pretty cheap so I had my doubts given these where the cheapest on ebay.

Clamp system which I already need to revise as it’s too close to the bearings and needs a better fit for the m3 through bolts.


Nice looks good. I actually thought you were going for the flat rails but this works just as well


Out of interest wouldnt it be better to bolt the rail to a 2020. Would need to redesign the ends a bit. What size rails are you using


Yeah there are a couple of different compromises I could go with. The rails are compact so there are a few things that need to be considered as you have the varying heights not just in the Y axis but the motor and frame in the Z axis but yes raising the frame so the Y and the X axis bolt together but there still has to be a good path for the Y axis belt.

I am working on a Y axis setup that is very squat with the linear rails direct onto frame which has the Yaxis motor rotated 90deg. If I can get this to work this will give the Z axis potentially about 20mm more travel with the same height as the existing frame… which would mean just a simple change to the original Wilson II Z motor left and right lower parts and you would have a very rigid Y axis setup.


Just came across this as my parts started coming in to do just this. Are there any STL files for this? I went with a 400x400x400 build and have way to much bed movement with all the additional mass and cannot even run close to speed accurately. Reinforced steel belt should be arriving soon as well.
My original plan was to mount the reinforced rails to the extrution with spacers on the pillow blocks and bolt through the plywood. However, if this has already been made, I would love to try them out.