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Thumbwheel M3 with scale 0.01 mm with grip (Nut on bottom)

by jamesarm97 Jun 10, 2015
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I was having trouble dialing in the right settings for bed leveling. I made a set of these and I'm delighted with the results. It's probably the best mod I've made for my printer so far. I'm getting perfect bed adhesion.

These were printed in white PLA then I colored the top with a black Sharpie marker so the numbers really stand out.


The ending of the nut cavity is too sharp, so it is always filled with gunk after a printer tries to deposit the hole walls mid-air :/

What printing material do you recommend? These things (like many other wheels I've tried) look painful to grasp and turn. Are you printing them in rubber or something softer than ABS/PLA/PETG?

ABS / PETG / Raptor, I have used them all. They are not painful at all to turn. For one, if you get your printer tuned good you shouldn't have to be turning them all that much to begin with.

hello is the first day I have my I3 Pro W printer and since I am now a noob, would I have to modify something and which of all download?

I wish I had seen the comment by Simon1604 before I did my print, as I had the same problem on my Anet A6. Putting these on the rear bolts for the bed means the bed cannot shift it's back end past the frame. I've kept them on the front of the bed but need a new solution for the back.

what is the difference between repair and normal version?

which should I print?

Nice and easy and quick to print. Nice to use but unfortunately too wide for the rear of the printbed on my Anet A8 (they were hitting the frame and stopping full Y-axis movement).

Printed the nyloc version at 105% and i cant get the nuts to sit in. The space for the nut is actually too big but the hole for the nyloc part isn't big enough so it doesn't sit flush and i can't push it in at all.

Make sure you are put the Nyloc in with the flat side going in first.

try pressing the nut in with a soldering iron to heat up the plastic

Confirmed 1.05 scaling is perfect for the m3 nuts.

Made on cura for the duplicator i3 plus

Just echoing that 105% scaling fits M3 Nylock nuts with a slight press fit.

I have printed it right now, but the holes for M3 nut are to small and it is not possible to set the nuts in place. The mouth width for 3mm nut is 5,5 mm, but the opening is only 3,5 mm width. Unfortunately I don't know how to improve it.

The nut "radius" is 3.07... so the nut opening should be about 6mm to allow for the 5.5mm nut. Did you shrink the part down when you printed it? If you need to modify it the parameter is the rm4_ac=5.5/2/cos(360/12)-0.1; so the 5.5 is the nut dimension.

Damn. These things look cool. I have the metal thumb wheels already on my maker select v2.1. Would these be any improvement besides looks?

I replaced the metal knobs with these mainly because I wanted the numbers. Printed it with two colors by pausing just when the numbers were showing and switched filament I used normal nuts, the friction between the bed and the knob is enough to keep them from turning. I used an M3 screw and washer to pull the nut into the recess, tight fit but it went.

Yes, that is my favorite way to print them. Having a dark color base and just a few top layers in white makes them pop. Enjoy.

I have the metal nuts on one of my printers and for some reason I like these better. I think the knurled edges are better on the printed one and easier to turn, maybe slightly wider also.

Not really. These were designed to replace the original wing nuts that were a pain to use. Over time Wanhao adopts the changes that the community makes.

But you can't put the lock nut on the metal thumb wheels; you'd have to print these to enable locking. Right?

Are these thumbwheels terribly sharp on the edges for anyone else? I just leveled my bed with them and my fingers are all tore up now. Maybe my nylocks are overly tight or something but it was a real struggle to get them leveled. Hopefully they will not move now.

Are these thumbwheels terribly sharp on the edges for anyone else? I just leveled my bed with them and my fingers are all tore up now. Maybe my nylocks are overly tight or something but it was a real struggle to get them leveled. Hopefully they will not move now.

I don't use the version with the Nylock nuts personally. I just added a small rubber o-ring between the thumbwheel and the plate and that helps keep it from turning on its own.

New to 3D printing. I printed and installed these. A couple of observations/questions, if you have any input it would be appreciated:

I found them to be extremely hard to turn once installed - I mean, yeah you want them to stay in place, but I mean ~really~ hard to turn to adjust. Perhaps that's just the lock nuts I bought are extra "stiff" or something?

It also seemed that with these installed and the bed leveled, the springs were compressed much more than with the original equipment - I don't know why that would be the case, seems strange.

Finally, with these in place and the bed leveled, I had a very slight bit of movement in the top plate that translated into a rattle as it printed and (obviously) sub-par prints. Wondering if you had ever had or heard of that issue?

In any event, I've removed them for now and gone back to the original equipment thumbwheels. My first inclination is that my printing was somehow off so I am re-doing them, now that I have added a couple of other mods for z-axis and rigidity and such. If anyone has any advice beyond that, it would be appreciated.

I try to print this but it is not printing the numbers and markings properly..
How can I fix this?

I printed these for my Malyan M150 but they hit the frame in front and back so I can't use them :(

I printed these for my Malyan M150 but they hit the frame in front and back so I can't use them :(

Maybe a noob question - How did you get that top finish to look so good?

I could be wrong, but I think he sanded the top, that way the numbers stay glossy.

Taking a closer look myself I think the top layers were actually printed with a translucent white (maybe natural PLA).

Is there a list of hardware I'll need for this mod?

4 M3 nuts (I use ones referred to as jam nuts, thinner I think)). You should also add a lock nut to the bottom of the bed while at it if they are not already there. See link:

TIP FOR NEWBIES: I was having to level my bed after every print using these. Log story short, it turns out that there's a big difference between a regular nut and a lock nut. So make sure to get M3 locknuts for these or your bed won't stay level!

These work great. I put an m3 lock nut below the top washer (fits inside of the spring) to keep the bolt from spinning and a standard m3 nut in the thumb wheel. Thanks for sharing.

Makes adjusting your bed much easier

New to 3d printing and thought these were a good place to start. I was right and got a good useable modification for my printer too. I rubbed wax crayon into the digits and graduations and wiped off access to make them more prominent. Worked a treat. thank you very much.

Today i was just thinking my printer needs something like this to improve the calibrations. Thanks a lot,

Where can you buy proper M3 nuts to fit these? Anywhere like home hardware ect ( Canada )

Just made a set of these and got the nuts at, surprisingly, Canadian Tire. They come in a package of 10 for $1.89 (Product #161-2538-6. See http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/hillman-metric-hex-nut-m3-0-50-1612538p.html ). I found them to be a very tight fit but I just squeezed them in using pliers. Did the first one straight and the other 3 nuts I put in boiling water first so they would soften the PLA when squeezed in. Both ways worked.

I checked a Canadian tire close to me and they didnt have any, will have to check again although I already found a hardware place that sells any and all metric hardware!

And that is not a Nyloc but still should work fine !

I also bought M3 nuts at ACE, but they don't fit the ...M3_repaired version. EDIT: They actually worked! You need to squeeze them in with plyers. Also, don't print them with a brim because that will mess with your ability to squeeze in the nuts.

I can't speak for Canada but I can get them from Ace Hardware and sometimes Home Depot. You can order from Amazon also.

These were literally the first non-stock thing I printed, and are so incredibly useful! Thank you!

Can please you create/upload a version that allows you to use the wing nuts with this?

I tried loading this into Repetier-Host V1.6.1 with Slic3r v 1.2.9 and got this error:
"The object is not manifold. This essentially means, that it is not watertight. This normally causes problems during slicing, resulting in unwanted results. We strongly advice [sic] to repair the file."

Any thoughts?

I opened it up in Slic3r and it showed it was manifold. I went ahead and ran it through the cloud repair tool and uploaded that version. It has been printed many times with no error so most likely that error isn't something that would affect the print.

I think the error was probably from line #79 in the OpenSCAD file. Make the following changes and it should be good.



Also for anyone who finds it fit too tight, add values to line #11. +0.3 worked great for me. Just need slight trimming with knife of the opening then press the nut in for a tight fit.


mehrmals hab ich versucht das Rädchen auszudrucken, aber die Datei ist leider nicht Ok.
Schade drum.

What printer are you trying to print it on? What is bad about the files? There are lots of others that have printed them ok. Maybe we can tune a few of your slicer settings.

hi, newbie question: let's say I download the ThumbWheelM3.stl and print it. Then I buy an m3 bolt. I also see some kind of little washer? So if i have the thumbweel, the bolt and washer, I just take off my wingnut, put the washer, then the thumbweel and that is it? thanks

ABSOLUTELY GENIUS! Downloaded the .stl and printed them out on my M3D printer using Polymaker PolyMax filament (super strong). NO adjustments what so ever. Just used my players to compress fit the m3 bolts (had a bunch on hand after using them to secure the Duplicator's printing bed) Thank you very much for this mod. VERY handy!.

I just printed these and they fit the Nyloc nuts I bought perfectly. I'm having a problem, though, where turning the thumb dial just turns the entire bolt, so now I need to use an Allen key as well as the dials to level my bed. Has anyone else run into that?

One of the recommended mods is to put M3 nuts on the screws and tighten to the backside of the bed. The other issue could be that the Nyloc nuts are just right and causing the bolts to want to turn. I know when I use nylocs on other stuff I can't turn them by hand so they are usually pretty strong. Try the nuts on the back of the bed first if you haven't.

Quick tip, if you print a set and you can't fit nuts in. Use a lighter and heat the opening for a few seconds then push the nuts in.

It works even better if you use the tip of your heated up soldering iron to heat the nut and press it into place.

Or the heated hotend of your extruder.

I did this today but had to scale up 110% to get the nut to fit snugly. Nice design, however!

Turned into press fit when I did this, almost perfect.

COMPLETE noob here, so pardon me if my question has an obvious answer, but...

What's the difference between the M3 and the M3Nylock files?


The M3 is for using regular M3 nuts (I used the "jam nuts" since they are thinner). The Nyloc once fit the nuts with the nylon thread locking mechanism and they are usually slightly larger.

Great item! Love it.
An idea of improvement though - Can you make the middle top kinda dotted or wrinkled somehow.
I think this would be an good idea because the ring would not move as easily from vibrations that way.
I mean if gets some better friction against the aluminium plate.

What do you think ?

I put a small rubber o-ring between the nut and my bed. This gives good friction and seems to hold the setting well

how would you calibrate it I mean guess you have all the numbers a certain way but you need a reference point?

The numbers help remember which way to turn. If you turn counter clockwise or when the numbers go from High to Low then you are lowering the bed or increasing the gap. Low to High you are raising the bed or decreasing the gap (printing more smooshed). The ticks and marks can be used how you see fit. I just mainly use the numbers to know which was to turn and visually adjust the bed as I print with a few skirts and before the print starts.

At 105% scale these worked out to be a good snug fit.

Id recommend printing one off to test fit your nuts.

I had to scale to 104% and that was a VERY tight hammer based press fit!

Darn. Printed a handful of them before getting the nuts from Ace Hardware. The M3 nuts they sell are too big. Will have to mod the SCAD file--thanks for including it.

I would have thought their M3 "jam" nuts should have fit. I have used them before for other things.

I did buy stainless. Might be the problem there. But still a good solution. Thanks for putting it out there.

Nice looking. What did you use.....PLA or ABS.......I take it is solid?.....

Sorry, I forgot to mention the settings. .1mm layers ABS (PLA shouldn't be a problem if it goes below the aluminum plate like these). Something like 10 top and bottom layers and 20% infill but it is almost solid since it is only 3mm tall. Used 2 shells. Also did a pause right when the number layer changed and switched from blue to while filament to give it some contrast.

what layer number is that when you paused to change the color?

Can you post an image of what you thumbwheel looks like with the color change?

Awesome! Just got my Duplicator i3 myself and am annoyed by the wingnuts, good alternative!