I have been wanting to replace what plastic parts I could with metal ones for my Wanhao i3, and was surprised to find quite a few options exist already, although I had some questions about a few of them.

The first one that caught my eye (and the main one I cared about) was the CNC-milled metal extruder from Micro Swiss:

Pretty much exactly what I wanted (I was originally planning to see how possible it would be to use lost PLA casting to produce such a thing myself before I saw these), although I was confused why it seems to include a pre-drilled hole so one could add PTFE tubing for the flexible filament mod, instead of just using the design that raises the upper guide on the extruder plate to narrow the gap instead. Is using PTFE tubing instead of just reducing the size of the gap itself superior somehow?

I also noticed that an all-metal hotend and an improved carriage plate were normally purchased with these as well:



I remember reading before about an all-metal hotend being highly preferred, but I admit I am at a loss about what exactly it would be replacing. I don't notice any non-metal parts on my hotend other than thermal tape that came wrapped around it. Also, while reading up on it, I saw several issues people had (namely with PLA) about this metal hotend causing jamming. Can anyone help clear this one up for me?

As for that third one, the carriage plate, all I could find out is that it's more rigid and thus helps with bed leveling and preventing the bed from becoming un-level from bending/warping. Is that all it does, or does it help keep movement on the Y axis smoother too? I already have a glass plate on my bed, would I need to bother this this if it's only for keeping the bed straight if I already put glass on it?

Also, while unrelated to the other three, I also found this:

A Z-axis bearing mod was also something I was planning, but I couldn't decide on a material. I was previously considering PETG over PLA for rigidity, but was told that it's just as flexible as PLA, PLA would also not be ideal, and ABS would be tricky to print. The only real issue I have with that one is that as others mentioned, it's kind of on the pricy side, but metal certainly seems ideal over plastic for the purposes of bracing an axis, especially since this will take up much less room than the plastic versions as well.

So, has anyone used any of those above four metal mods for their Wanhao i3? Do they have any advice on if I should use them or stay away?

As for the bearing block mod:

Most of the versions of this mod I see replace the three bearing blocks with two instead, and I was curious as to why. Is having two actually superior to having three? Does having three actually cause more issues than having two would?

And another reason I am asking is because I was looking for replacement bearing blocks (From what I understand, the one the Wanhao i3 uses are SCS8UU type?) and most of them come in packs of four. Would using four be better or worse than using three (I was wondering if the reason for this would be because three were an uneven and asymmetrical design)? Or would using two still be better than either three or four of them? Another problem is trying to find a decent supplier of them, since many of the ones I found had some reviews of people complaining that there was at least one if not more that both appeared different and had defects included in the set.

Right now, the main ones I am focusing on are the metal extruder and the bearing block mods, I do also want to apply the metal Z-Axis brace although it's somewhat expensive, and so far I don't understand what the point of the metal hotend or replacement carriage plate are.
My thoughts on:

Metal extruder - looks like a gimmick that'll only make your X-Axis more heavy. What is supposed to get better with that mod? Feeding flexible Filament can be achieved with the original extruder as well and if you want a hole for a ptfe-guide, just drill it.

All-metal-hotend - essential if you want to print with higher temps than 240°C (for PETG, PC, ABS,...) on a regular base. Also the nozzles available for the all-metal hotend come in a nice variety of sizes and materials. Downside: you need to print hotter and have to decrease the retraction distance. So this will worsen your bridges and introduce more oozing. Plus: there are chances of jamming your hotend if you don't pay attention when installing that part. It's called all-metal because the original one features a small PTFE tube inside that acts as a heatbreak.

Y-carriage-plate - my stock carriage plate is ok and I never realized why someone would want to install a different one. Except maybe for saving weigt. But this one is even more heavy than the original one and therefore makes ringing/ghosting more likely. If you're having problems with your bed-levelling there's a good chance, lock nuts and a printed thumbwheel (there are dozends of desings for that on thingiverse) will do the job. Plus: I've seen some people using carbon fiber carriage plates. They are expensive as hell but seem to make the y-axis more lightweigth.

Z-brace-frame-support - didn't know this even exists for buying. There are some designs on thingiverse to make your own for virtually no money. It will reduce Z-wobble on your taller prints. Especially if you feed your filament from the top-frame position.

Z-axis-bearing-mod - I don't know what you're talking about. Just to correct the material-flex stuff: PETG is much more flexible than PLA (but it's possible that this won't make a difference on some applications). If you want to make it really stiff, you're ok to go with PLA unless it's getting hotter than 50-60°C.

Bearing-block-mod - The X-axis on this printer is the main source of ringing/ghosting. So there's space for improvement on that one. People are printing their own belt tensioners whis is supposed to work out great... and I guess this bearing block mod should also give some improvements on that issue. But be aware: the recent v2.1 of the duplicator has different bearing blocks. So the info on the wiki that states "This modification applies to all versions of the Duplicator i3" might be outdated. It also says something about the belt rubbing on the bearing block with the original design... this isn't the case on my v2.1 anymore. As for the amount of bearings: it's possible to overconstrain your axis, that's why an asymmetric design (like on the Y-axis) can enable smooth sliding on the rails. Plus: I see a risk of limiting your X-axis with this mod.

There's one mod, you haven't mentioned here which can have significant impact on your print quality: replacing the original extruder gear with the one from the duplicator D4 gives a firmer grip on the filament and eventually will improve the steadiness of flow. It's very cheap and easy to replace. Just make sure to calibrate your e-steps afterwards.
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