I’m the Product Manager at Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation. We are a diamond level supplier for the 2014 season FRC kit of parts. For this year, we donated a substantial amount of our DualVee linear guide track. These parts are available to order on the AndyMark website using your team credits.
I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about using these parts for your robot builds. I hope to provide some useful content and some real-world applications of linear guide wheel technology. Our customers are involved in designing and fabricating industrial equipment and automation systems.
Look for our display table at championships in St. Louis. I hope to see you there!
Here is a link to BWC DualVee track on AndyMark: http://firstchoicebyandymark.com/en/bishop-wisecarver
One of the questions about the DualVee track is length. We are thinking of building a CNC table with DualVee as the precision track, but the lengths are somewhat shorter than what we were considering. Can these be joined together at the ends seamlessly, to make a track of, say, 60 inches long for example, that does not have a “bump” at the seam? (We’d prefer to use a single length to avoid this altogether)
We also note that the track offered is undrilled for mounting. Assuming we have good fabrication equipment and can hold good dimensional tolerances, are there any issues we should beware of when drilling mounting holes?
I’d heard or read somewhere that DualVee was self-cleaning (to a point). Does this effect come about from the different rolling diameters of the bearings as they rotate down the track, creating a ‘wiping’ action? Our concern here is dust contamination as the machine is being used causing damage to the bearings or tracks.
Lastly, for the carbon steel tracks, would oiling (like a lathe way might be oiled) be a good practice for corrosion protection?
The donated track lengths were intended to be used on robot kits and that is why they are of shorter lengths. You can butt-join the track when mounting it but you will have a bump. It is much better to simply order tracks in the lengths that you need. DualVee is available in standard catalog lengths up to around 72" or 6 feet long. They are available with mounting holes pre-drilled or without mounting holes. You can also order DualVee track up to 20 feet long if you have a long application.
I’ll make a new post about how to cut and drill DualVee tracks, so see that entry for more details.
You are correct about the constant sweeping and self-cleaning action of DualVee wheels and track. Due the the angle, and the associated variation in diameter, a velocity gradient is created for each revolution of the wheel. The speed is slower near the center of the vee and it is faster near the outer diameter. Debris is typically ejected rather than steamrollered under the wheel.
DualVee was designed for very harsh and dirty environments. It functions better than any other linear guide technology in sawdust, grit, and particulates.
It is recommended to use a light oil as a lubricant for DualVee track and wheel applications. The addition of lubricant greatly reduces the rolling friction, reduces noise, and significantly increases life. Lubricant oil can be applied to the track surface with an oil soaked rag. The other benefit of oil is a reduction in corrosion.
HOW TO CUT DUALVEE TRACK
DualVee track is made of either AISI 1045 carbon steel or AISI 420 stainless steel and is either hardened or unhardened. The surface hardening process leaves dark discoloration marks on the vee surface.
The best method for cutting DualVee track to your desired length is to use an abrasive chop saw. There are many types, but an abrasive disk saw will cut right through the steel. If you don’t have an abrasive chop saw, and relatively few cuts to make, you can use a simple hand hack saw. Another method for cutting would be to use a milling machine and a carbide end mill. The milling machine is very useful for precisely trimming the ends.
HOW TO DRILL DUALVEE TRACK
The heat treatment on the vee surfaces penetrates a little beyond the vee onto what we call the track heal. This is the longer surface with the embossed lettering. You will see that most of this area is unhardened. You can drill your mounting holes into this section very easily using HSS (high speed steel) drill bits, or anything harder like cobalt or carbide. When drilling, some of the material may be somewhat harder than the soft heat treated area. If heat is a problem, use some coolant and feed the drill slowly. DO NOT USE A HAND DRILL (Cordless). To safely drill the track, make sure that the track materials is securely clamped in a vise. Use a drill press or a milling machine.
You can drill through holes in the track and use bolts to attach it to a base with threads. Another idea is that you can drill and tap threads into the track, and then attach it to a base with through holes. This works great if you want to hide the bolt heads in a counterbore.