Rebuilding Wilhelm: Part 1

Meet Wilhelm, my first 3D printer.

I built Wilhelm out of off-the-shelf components and a lucky score of several yards of lightly used 80/20 aluminum framing. It worked well enough to prototype 3D designs (sometimes), but never better than that. And it looked like pure mad science.

Once we launched DragonTech 3D, we purchased new printers that made Wilhelm totally obsolete, and so I left it to sit in my bedroom. The fact that it was giving me random electric shocks may have had something to do with it languishing. That, and the print quality was extremely hit-or-miss (mostly miss), and I didn’t have time for that!

I was only every able to use a small fraction of Wilhelm’s 300x300mm (12×12 inches) build plate because of the inconsistencies the printer had. A little bit of flex here, a little wobble there, and the next thing I know, I had a broken printer and a pile of plastic spaghetti.

Now that I have an entire 3D workshop, I can rebuild Wilhelm and make it better, stronger, and faster! My first step was to strip Wilhelm down to its’ frame. I knew that the frame wasn’t cut square or particularly even, because I cut it by hand with a hacksaw. So I took a chop saw and carefully squared up the beams of the frame:

Much better!

Once I had the frame settled, I 3D modeled and started printing new pieces to mount everything to the frame. I took a fresh take on almost all of the mounting hardware, putting to use everything I had learned since I first built Wilhelm. With nearly all of the mounting hardware printing, it was time to call it a night.

Read Part 2 Here!

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