Many kinds of mechanisms and profiles are used inside the machines that we use today, such as 3D printers, waterjet cutters, and the like. One of these mechanisms is called linear rails or also known as guias lineales. These are the type of mechanisms or common motion components used to achieve a smooth sliding motion. One of the things a linear rail consists of is a stiff steel rail with a carriage slide. Most of the time, the carriage slide consists of ball bearings. These will provide contact between the rail and the carriage.
The ball bearing will provide a smooth sliding process as the balls roll through the surface. In addition, the shape of the shaft will enable the carriage to stay locked on with tight tolerances. As a result, it restricts the motion to only one linear direction. One of the most common machines is 3D printers, which utilize the advantages of liner rails because of their smooth motion and precision. So if you want to know the main advantages of a linear rail, read on to find out.
Linear Rails are Stiff
One of the main advantages of a linear rail is that these are stiffer. So they flex significantly lesser than linear rods. So some of the factors are the shape and the metal stiffness. You can bend a linear rail, and they will not bend as much as a linear rod. A decent rail will have far less give than a rod. That’s why 3D printers use a linear rail due to reducing backlash and ringing artifacts. As a result, you get cleaner print surfaces and edges. Most 3D printers you see today use linear rails for this advantage.
You Can Use Only One Linear Rail
Linear rails don’t allow for rotation of the carriage, not like linear rails do. So when setting up a motion system, one linear rail can achieve a strict linear motion even on its own. But if you use linear rods, you will need at least two to prevent rotation. As a result, it leads to complications with proper alignment and introducing weight considerations. With the help of a linear rail, you can achieve a more straightforward, lighter, and more elegant operation. With 3D printers, it can significantly reduce the ringing, which you will mostly experience with linear rods.
High in Precision & Swift in Motion
When acquired from a well-known and high-quality manufacturer, most linear rails are made in much tighter tolerances than linear rods. Due to these higher tolerances, they are reduced to play and binding. As a result, they yield a smoother motion that’s more consistent. Plus, they are a lot easier to mount compared to linear rods. Both the carriage and rails have regularly spaced mounting holes, so you only need a couple of bolts to lock them down. In comparison to linear rods, you’ll need a much better and creative way to mount them, which are mostly less precise.
Overall, linear rails are better compared to linear rods in so many ways. That’s why it’s used in most modern machines today that require a smooth motion, such as 3D printers. So if you’re searching for a 3D printer, make sure they have linear rails profiles locked in and not linear rods.