More alignment…Parallel Rails!


fairly quick one here…..

Make sure your bed rails are parallel by slackening one screw and manually moving the bed……………..


The bed moves front to back on some parallel rails – those two in the middle.

It’s held on by two carriages as shown below, these hold the 3 wheels per carriage tight against the V Slot extrusion to form a fairly sturdy linear rail….

Those two V Slot extensions need to be parallel for the system to work correctly. …

I’ve been printing some test parts and, quite literally, overnight, I went from being able to print stuff….to not being able to print stuff – these things are darn finickitey!

During a quick check, I felt underneath and tried the wheels for wobbly-ness…Maybe a screw had come loose?…I found that one wheel (the back left one of the pair) was ‘freewheeling’ and not touching the v slot as firmly as the other five wheels….see the blue arrows below


This meant that the rails weren’t perfectly parallel….the left carriage was being pulled a tiny amount inwards, twisting and lifting twheel from the v slot when it traversed the rail

How to fix…..

Simple…see the screw right by the Wanhao Rhino below..the rails are held with 4 of them…Slacken one off, so the rail moves a little left and right…..Now, Move the bed manually and feel the wheels, if they’re all tight and moving, great, bring the bed closer to the screw and tighten it up.

you slackening the screw allows the rail to find it’s own parallel setting – if it’s running nicely, it’ll be parallel with the other rail!……

for me, the back left, as that’s the wheel that was clearly lifting – implying the back left was too much ‘in’ …making a narrower distance between the back of the rails than the front…


That should make your bed run nicely………….Of course, you’re stuffed if BOTH rails are off centre, you’ve now got a bed running perfectly on parallel rails that aren’t parallel to the frame…..which itself may not be paralllel….3D printer parallelogram inception!


Amazing Price for the Duplicator 9 in the UK – £349 at Box – FREE DELIVERY

I picked mine up for £399 just over 3 weeks ago!.

already it’s dropped by £50………wow!!



I get no benefits at all by linking to these guys, just highlighting a superb printer (so far!) for a superb price here in the UK


Immediate upgrades – Better wheels x 6 for the Y axis Bed (open builds type, see my other posts) and a better blower fan – <£40 extra and it’s a superb, 24V printer

Thoughts on technical things


Levelling 3D printers almost seems like some form of witchcraft..….Doubly so when you have a small amount of mechanical knowledge and have some electrical PCB tinkering ability

The Wanhao D9 is a Prusa style printer – it has a moving bed and a fixed gantry

A slight difference is that the D9 has Dual Z axis stepper motors – BOTH sides of  the Z axis are driven, which adds another dimension to the levelling whajmacallits.

Firstly – Frame Levelling –

See below for a picture of the D9 – Nice and studio like – this one has some quite significant differences to the shipped version that I received…(first one to list 3 wins a prize!)



These things really are quite easy to assemble quickly, however, you should pay attention to the small details….

For example……….See these images below for the top right of the printer gantry and the top left………


If you quickly assemble these printers, you’ll create problems for yourself.

There’s just enough ‘play’ in the mechanics to allow the whole frame to be tightened up so that it looks a little like a skewed rectangle, or if you’re lucky, a parallelogram……


This one’s an easy fix………Simply grab a thing with a known good ‘right angle’

A builders square or set square are great….If nothing, grab any square thing that’s sturdy, very thick cardboard, parts of flat pack furniture, or even a tablet device or phone!…as long as it has long-ish sides – longer the better

Slacken off the two hex nuts inside the gantry at the top

use your ‘squaring device’ to make sure the side and the top are touching your device…see image above – there won’t be a gap when the top is level……….

Tighten that side up…Repeat for other side and you’re good!


My first attempt at assembly actually had the printer gantry resembling more of a trapesoid as the space between the two upright parts at the top actually measured 1.5mm narrower than  the space at the bottom – and made it look something like the below!..


Other Levelling

Dual Z axis Motors……Twice as much to go wrong!?……….

See my previous post about how the Z axis went a little ‘wonky’.


I did wonder how well two steppers could be synchronised when the printer electronics are effectively an open loop system with no feedback…….My fears were assuaged when, one of the first thing the printer did was……….that above!

There’s some visual marking stickers on the rear of the printer to help you align the Z axis and make it level……

Anyways, all is well with the printer right now, it IS printing, and fairly well, but as always, there’s improvements to be had…….

Bed Levelling

it’s another subject entirely, but this one’s fairly simple really….there are 4 thumbscrews, raise or lower ’em ………



For a successful print on the D9, there’s quite a few things that need to be setup and the more accurately, the better..

  • Chassis / Frame – Make sure everything’s tight, square and level
  • Z axis – make sure that’s level – visually –
    • There are two points ‘sides’ to measure here to make sure the axis is level
  • Bed – tighten up screws and measure – how? – calipers?, ruler?, measure to what point?
    • There are FOUR points to measure to make sure the bed is level (assuming the bed isn’t warped….that’ll be another blog
  • SIX points in total to measure to ensure a day-day level machine!


Humans aren’t very good at being very precise when eyeballing stuff.  

So, there has to be a way that’s better than manually trying to jam your measuring device into some slot and tweaking / eyeballing things

Thoughts – Old school, mechanical but cheap and good enough

  • Z axis – Spirit level? – some type of ‘bubble’ that’s bolted on somewhere to allow a decent eyeballing of levelness
  • Bed – Multiple Spirit Levels – or a centre bubble device


Thoughts – Mechanical

  • Create a custom sized / printed Block that ‘just fits’ into the frame where measurements are needed…..To ‘level’ the machine, simply tighten / loosen or move bits till it hits the block!

Thoughts – New fangled elecronictrickery


Enter a fairly new component, the World smallest Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor

This device uses Lasers to measure stuff with a pretty good accuracy level……..

I’ve just ordered a handful of ’em, I’m thinking of maybe having a digital readout of each of the 6 major points that need measuring……..

I haven’t seen anyone else quite use these devices in this manner…..questions that need answering will be

  • Accuracy – reports of 3% accuracy for measuring distances…That’s 3cm every meter!…given that the printer has a 400mm / 40cm Build volume height, I’d expect to see an error of up to 1.2CM!!……’d think that would dismiss a device like this when it’s suggested you need to level within fractions of a millimeter But………I think it could work out…….
  • Repeatibility………..this is the IMPORTANT part……..when you’re levelling anything, you’re making one thing parallel to another, all you need to know is that the distance between the two things is identical all the way along the thing….for my use, I just need to know that the distance between A and C or B and D is the same as it was, or if it’s changed, OR, if they’re different!…….

So, I think, using SIX of these VL53L0X  devices I can measure each bed corner and each side of the z axis and use that to level everything…IF the sensors are highly repeatable in their inaccurate measurements…

Or, in other words….Provided that EVERY TIME I make a measurement I get the same number out of the thing, I’m happy!…..Now, if I measure a (say) 40cm distance ten times and get ten different readings, I’ll be unhappy, But, can work with that somehow

Now to wait for the slow boat……………..








Technical Stuff – Noise


Well, having left the printer on overnight to knock out an urgent print for a friend, I’ve discovered that, it’s a little on the noisy side!

Some googling…….

The Wanhao D9 has FOUR fans!  (yep, FOUR)

One 60x60x15mm fan in the power supply and Three 40x40x10


Two of these…AAA HZHZ 4010 MS 24V DC 0.10Amp fans


One on the extruder, right by the number 7, top yellow arrow

This one is the fan that cools the extruder block


The Bottom fan is a different model in some printers a xxxxxxxxxxxx, it’s the one that powers the blower (which has been suggested is a sub-optimal design, and will be subject to a future upgrade)

mk10 extruder close up2


And, in the power supply a DOCENG DC Brushless Fan – FD216015-SH1 DC 12V and either 0.18A or 0.13A depending on where you find the part – YES, it’s a 12V fan (inside a 24V power supply!)

same model number different current


Alternate current draw on this identical looking fan below!…..

FAN size and noise ovkx2gmqfhrh.jpg

Listening to  the printer, it really sounds like most of the noise is coming from the two fans inside the control unit – the 60mm fan in the power supply and the 40mm one in the enclosure


I may well need to research some replacements for these! Also will research alternate methods of cooling, as larger fans run slower for the same volume of air

Another possibility also – alternate power supplies – the existing power supply is a Meanwell LRS-350-24, a 350.4 watt, 24Volt power supply…it may well be that a larger power supply, or a more expensive / efficient one can run cooler and therfore quieter

Some specs for this 60mm fan……..

  • Connector:XH2.54-2P
  • Dimensions: 60X60X15mm
  • Air flow:24.66CFM
  • Rated Voltage: DC 12V
  • Rated Current: 0.12±10% Amp
  • Rated Speed: 5400±10%rpm
  • Noise: 28±10%dBm
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve
  • Cable Length: 18cm


Doing some preliminary googling on the suitable replacements –


the 40x40x10 fans – though this one’s been reported as noisier, it’s MUCH better quality

and for the 60mm one

I’ll need to try to find some research on quietness vs speed vs cubic volume airflow!, I remember back from my old PC overclocking days that there isn’t really that much difference between the sound the actual fans make, if you run them slower, they make less noise…if you run them in a different enclosure, they make less noise.

There’s a superb white paper I found for a USA based company that’s quantified some fan noise measurements….for me a key takeaway from this blog shows that

  • the meanwell fan location is less than optimal – facing directly above and so close to the PCB it’s generating a lot of noise
  • the meanwell stamped fan grille / finger guard is creating noise


So, long, waffley summary….the printer is LOUD, and it can be quietened…




Filament….Sooo many colours


When purchasing the Wanhao Duplicator 9 from, I realised that there were rather a large number of colours of filament…had no idea what to purchase, so, I took the easy route, TRANSPARENT filament!……..of course, I don’t expect this to actually print fully transparently (without much post processing anyway)…But, saves the kids arguing over their favourite colour, and as an avid procrastinator, saves me actually having to make a decision….

Report so far, the Filament seems to be doing it’s filamenty thing rather well, and was a deft purchase considering the request that just came in to try to print up a display beer glass with someone’s name on!


Shortly after the request to make a beer glass came in, I decided to do some research on filament providers…….

I honestly can’t remember where these boys cropped up, I think just in a general google search………however, given their active social media and seemingly rabid fanbase, I figured they’re worth a go, I certanly am not a believer of cheaper is better after reading so many woe stories on the net, i’m going with their basic range for now and i’ll expand horizons later once I’m dialled in. reading the reviews, I can see that the guys there really do go to the extra effort for their customers, that for me is worth the extra few quid alone!

I’ve gone and plunked down a hundy on several of their rolls


Figured Black and white should be compulsory nowadays….Gold and silver for the kids to make ‘tropies’ and general Tat……and, unusually planning well in advance for me, Glow in the dark, ready for Halloween!

I’ll report how they’re going at some point in the future, sooner rather than later as the parcel was showing as despatched and tracked only a couple of hours after ordering!, it’ll be here tomorrow, looking forward to testing some of the colour samples too!


One thing that’s been highlighted along my travels on the good old Google is that glow in the dark filament can be abrasive and can wear down your printer nozzles

Cripes, this 3D printer rabbit hole never ends!….on to research Nozzles……….



Blimey – first ‘comission’ job!

Have been posting a few of my 3D printer adventures up on social media sites for friends, family and others to laugh at my general nerdinessthings like My third ever print………Yes, that’s DizzyIMG_5113My son’s Present………minecraft TNT And, something for my daughter’s play-doh creativity A Peppa Pig Cookie Cutterpeppa pig cutter All the above courtesy of Thingverse and various authors, happy to flick over linksPrinter’s looking reasonably well dialled in by now – still some tweaks needed and haven’t adventured into the true scaling / sizing calibration or anything that challenges the build volume of this printer yet…….I did purchase a Bevel 3D back some time ago….i’ll be digging that out soon to see if there’s any use I can make of it Anyways, that ‘Comission’….A Beer Glass with custom text on it!, eep….it’ll be a freebie for a friend, but now i’ve gotta learn to get CAD-ing and do some community call out’s as there’s a very quick turn around time for this………..

First Prints……

I present to you, my first Ever 3D print

Yes, it’s a Sinclair Spectrum 48k!

Not my first, but my first favourite home computer (First one was a Commodore VIC20, but that’s a conversation for another time)

Yes, there’s issues – Scaling to something reasonably sized being one of them 😉

But, it’s mine!….and, i’ve now lost it, D’oh!


Now for something more ambitious –

The right hand idler wheel on the X axis gantry does look to lean a little to the left – causing some flex on the belt when moving

The photo below has been taken to exaggerate the leaned effect – but it’s clear that the whole thing’s leaning a little to the left –


Enter some nice bloke on Thingverse…….(and facebook!)


and, Here’s my first ever, complex 3D print!………


yeah, err, Oops!

Back to the drawing board!………

significant apparent under-extrusion on that right hand side – need to dig further

I can understand why people really get annoyed with 3D printing, it’s clearly NOT ‘out of the box’ ready just yet…………

Being truthful, I didn’t expect this print to even come out as good as this!, a lot of googling, research had suggested that trying something like this on a machine heavier than my child, that’s fairly fragile and has been shipped across the planet was, well, a little optimistic.

The print told me some key things though

  • My printer is seriously out of calibration


  • First thing I did was to dismantle the bed and replace the V Slot wheels (which had now arrived after buying them – See link – Vslot Wheels
  • Second thing was to tighten every nut, bolt, screw and visually inspect them – one of the carriages standoffs wouldn’t tighten fully – removed it and discovered some swarf / metal inside – removed that and now the X axis moves perfectly
  • Third – Re-level the Z Gantry – using a block rather than visual
  • Fourth – physcally level the bed by measuring from the Y axis rails to the bed using a digital caliper
  • Fifth – Parallel up / square the frame – the top was 1.5mm ‘out’ and wider than the bottom!
  • Sixth – Home X,Y,Z
  • Seventh – Set retraction to 0.6mm (default is much higher, more like a Bowden number!)

Now, my second ever complex print…..


………..Still some issues (cooling leading to sagging on the circular windows for one!)

….Much better………..


In between these prints, I knocked up some basic Alphabet letters for my kids initials, being simple, those few prints came out OK


DMT48270T043_07W – the LCD


DWIN.COM.CN Link to Screens

AliExpress link


Hmm, Looking at DWIN.COM.CN…There’s quite a few LCD’s that may fit the bill- quickly copy / pasted the parts into Excel – All are 2Gig memory and 4.3″ screens


Looks like the screen variation I have is a DGUSII screen…….Based around the DMT48270T043_07W  , my touch sensor cable is slightly different, the PCB is slightly different – no battery, probably no RTC on-board. Given the ‘standard’ config and comms, I’d be quite confident now that I can

  • Buy a replacement screen
  • Tinker with my original screen firmware
  • replace all the bitmaps for Homer simspon, Crazy Frog – or whatever
  • Abuse the unused ‘speaker’ terminal somehow!

Further research seeing if there’s any SDK or software available for DGUS has shown that DGUS is some type of ‘standard’ and there are many third parties that are producing DGUS screens – most of which follow a similar format of part numbers

Even Further clicking (second page on google)

Github for ADVI3++ No idea what ADVI3++ is, however, it DOES reference DGUS SDK

Scroling down – WOOOOOO..looks like we have an SDK software download!!!.

Great, just how far down does this LCD rabbit hole go!


Looks like ADVi3++ ‘may’ be something to do with 3D printers………The Circle is thus complete…Looks like the DGUS system is used on some 3D printers somehow, that’s for another day I think.

Reading the Home Page

ADVi3++ is a custom firmware for Wanaho Duplicator i3+ printers (and their clones like the Monoprice Select Plus).”

Looks like someone else has done a chunk of the work for updating the LCD firmware already!…..Don’t you just love the open source community and a few hours of googling 🙂

Now I know what to look for, there’s a fair few DGUS type additions to Marlin, LOTS of ideas for a future ‘hack’

Tune in next week for the next exciting episode of That middle aged fart’s adventures in 3d Printing   tearing down a brand new 3D printer to see how easy I can break it!

Wanhao Duplicator 9 – D9 – Technical ‘stuff’ – Part Deux, the LCD Part number!


As you can gather, I get a little sidetracked, this thing’s a 3D printer and, well, I’ve not done a huge amount of 3D printering yet……….Ah well

Lets go back to  

The T5 Processor on the back of the LCD


it’s a Custom jobbie!, 0851 based, probably can have some fun somehow on that one

they do other things also!


Smart LCM and IOT seems good!, (Smart LCD Module I assume?)


Now we’re cooking!, Seems that there’s a solution called DGUS which operates the DWIN OS – this shows the LCD is a packaged module consisting of –

  • DWIN custom PCB and chips –
  • someone’s Raw LCD panel,
  • someone else’s raw resistive touch overlay

DGUS is DWIN graphics application service software, is DWIN’s innovative intelligent GUI software.

So, lets try to find out more about DGUS

A quick google for DGUS and we have a hit!

DWIN DGUS Display Development Guide

Looks like DGUS is some type of SDK / software that you can use to create fancy LCD Graphical User Interfaces

having a quick flick through the PDF Page 14 jumps out……….

Example of Config. File
R1=07 ; Baud rate, 0x07: 115200bps.
R2=20 ; SYS_CFG, Brightness can be changed via screen clicking, the parameters set up in R6, R7,R8
R6=40 ; Brightness of backlight, 0x40: 100% brightness.
R7=10 ; Brightness of backlight of sleep mode, 0x10: 25% brightness.
R8=14 ; Light-up time,units: 1.0 seconds,0x14=20 seconds.
R3=A5 ; High-byte of frame header: 0xA5.
RA=5A ; Low-byte of frame header: 0x5A.

Immediately jumps out, it explains the CONFIG.TXT file found in the 0.161 firmware CONFIGTXTCapture folder!







Wanhao Firmware .161 CONFIG.TXT file explained
R1=07 ; Baud rate, 0x07: 115200bps.
R2=08 ; System configuration Byte - 
R3=5A ; High-byte of frame header: 0x5A.
R6=40 ; Brightness of backlight, 0x40 = 100% brightness.
R7=00 ; Brightness of backlight of sleep mode, 0x10 = 25% brightness.
R8=3C ; Light-up time,units: 1.0 seconds,0x3C = 20 Seconds
RA=A5 ; Low-byte of frame header: 0xA5.

R2 is the only one that’s not immediately obvious, Page 13 helps there

08 Hex is the same in Decimal – 00001000 in Binary , Reading the table, the values start at Bit 0 and work up to Bit 7

Binary reads from Right to left (typically), my config file has Bit 3 enabled and no other!

Bit Number 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Decimal 128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1
Binary 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Value 8

Which, using the table  R2 (SYS_CFG configuration Byte) translates to
7 – Normal Display
6 – Normal Display
5 – Brightness is not set by touch screen
4 – Disable CRC16 Checksum in serial comms (makes it a bit easier to talk to main board
3 – Enable auto-upload of key code or data
2 – Initialise 56Kb access variable data to 0x00 (again makes code on the main board easier)
1 – Both this and bit 0 are set to 0 – 200ms response time for variable display – increases onboard processing power a little
0 –

In Summary – we’ve learned that the LCD is very easy to talk to over serial, and really is quite ingeniously ‘dumb’ in that it just displays Bitmap files and sends key presses…..

Totally useless really, unless we want to get in there and change those Bitmaps (for whatever reason!)

Idle thought of the day  – as it’s just a serial type comms, shouldn’t be too tricky to implement this exact LCD  on other 3D printers that are using far older Monochrome LCD tech – a lot are using the ancient 4×40 HD44780 type displays!

LCD – Further Checking

Clicking through DWIN’s website – There’s loads of links – Download’s always a good place to start 😉

There’s a Kernel Upgrade File –


Which unpacks nicely using WINRAR – AND has a PDF file included…quick screen grab is below………I’ve highlighted the suspect screen! – DMT48270T043_07W

T5CPU Firmware PDFCapture

I can’t read the language on that, however, I can read what looks like PART NUMBERS. To me, this reads like a list of screens that are compatible with this Firmware! – I think we can find out the actual OEM screen model or version number as  the one on the sticker didn’t google


The Text Reads F480272T043

Looks like a typo on the model number, or potentially minor obsfucation on Dwin or Wanhao’s part –

Lets google DMT48270T043_07W


This screen in the D9 is a minor variation of the standard screen – just removing the battery backup part it seems, otherwise, it’s identical! – Phew, now that means I can probably buy a cheap replacement from Aliexpress if I damage it any more than I already have by accidentally scratching it whilst assembling the printer (another story)


Wanhao Duplicator 9 – D9 – Technical ‘stuff’


Getting right into the guts of this thing, there’s a few basic discoveries

There’s two names on the market –

Monoprice MP Maker Pro Mk.1 is an alternate supplier of this printer – Externally they look identical!


Main Board


Lots of Plugs and connectors!, it’s a custom developed board with an Arduino Mega 2560 clone on board! 




The LCD Hardware

Tricky one this

it looks, externally quite similar to the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus and the Wanhao Duplicator 7

A fairly clear, Resistive touch based display..


From the rear –


Printed on a sticker – Part Numbers – F480272T043

Bar Code – *180206*

PCB Silkscreen – 095P2E13732A0

Main IC is a 128 pin TQFP – T5  with the following markings N1GK32.00A-1 1742-CM8


Resistive Screen Overlay- T 8902 , SF 1746

very few of the part numbers google well…

DWIN though on the chip, that’s familiar!

Wanhao software / Firmware Page

One of the folders in the new 1.6.1 firmware is called DWIN_SET


Having a nose through the folder gives us a file called CONFIG.txt


STOP_DWIN_OS; looks great, that suggests that this thing is running DWIN_OS! connecting to COM7 at 115200 Baud (i assume, as 115200 rarely comes up in anything other than serial comms speed)

No idea what the other stuff means, can’t find a SYS_CFG file

Lets Google


3rd hit is a Wanhao hit!……..GITHUB, cool, we can get the source code, possibly? – those lines look great thugh, similar to my config.txt file in the firmware –

Clicking through brings us to a LCD code repository for the Duplicator i3 Plus – the OS looks broadly similar to the D7 – chances are, it’s the same, or similar LCD – which means at a later time, I can have fun ‘poking around’ in the code and possibly customising things a little

Lets poke here  – Opening this file in Notepad++

Wanhao-I3-Plus/LCD/i3 PLUS LCD/DWprj.tft 

Gives some gibberish and some clear text –

CDwinTerminal, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null

doesn’t mean much to me right now though, maybe later……


Opening this file though gives a nice text file….

Wanhao-I3-Plus/LCD/i3 PLUS LCD/DWprj.hmi


Which is 219 lines long and just seems a cross reference for actions, i.e. action 1, show 1.bmp, action 88, show 88.bmp

Nice and easy to design for – this now shows that the LCD is a self contained ‘computer’ that just responds and transmits simple serial data at 115200 baud, is 480×272..and runs DWIN_OS

That’s for the i3 Plus…which is now a couple of years old, but given the DWIN markings on the D9 chip, I’d probably say it’s going to be an identical, if not similar LCD type in the D9 ………we’ll see


…….waaay too much down the rabbit hole for today