In this chapter we will explore the various methods in which the individual axes of the machine derive their motion. All of the systems we will explore are considered to be “linear” guides, as that is the type of motion they yield. Regardless of which type, they all must provide the following:
• Rectilinear (i.e., back and forth) motion along the intended axis
• Smooth straight movement with minimal friction
• Rigid orientation, fixed at 90 degrees (i.e., orthogonal) to the other axes
• Rigid mounting with minimal play between the carriage and guide
There are literally dozens of companies that manufacture linear-motion guides and within each one they will typically carry several different types or styles of guides to fit ...