Motorized Slide for non-STEM project


I need to buy some motorized slides for a non-STEM, real-world project. I’m looking for Vendor suggestions.

This is a something of a one-off project (its the first prototype of what will probably be fewer than 5 or 10 eventual copies).

For that reason, we are giving soviet-style simpilicity, and ease-of-use/maintenance much higher weight than sophisticated function, when we are evaluating our options.

Who has a favorite vendor/brand/model that is in the same ball park as the “requirements” in the next few lines?

We need repeatability and accuracy that is probably at the high-end of belt-drive slides, and the middle or lower-end of ball-screw drives. We aren’t doing surgery or testing integrated circuits, but we do want repeatability in the +/- 0.125" range.

We are moving a target object in 3 dimensions and need unobstructed access to the target from our tool/sensors along one of those dimensions (axis).

The dimension of unobstructed access is also the direction in which our target needs to move the fastest. In the other two directions, it can move a bit slower, and then slower still.

Our Payload is in the range of 10-20 Lb.

We want to move the payload 24-48" in the fast direction, and 18-24 inches in the remaining directions.

We are thinking that we will create an H frame for the bottom two stages, and will support the fast & long slide on the crossbar of the H. We also think that we will mechanically link the two uprights of the H to keep them in synch and avoid having to use up a 2nd control channel to control the 2nd slide (that is supposed to do exactly what the 1st upright is doing).

Any suggestions? Like I wrote above, we are looking mostly for vendor/product suggestions (boring), not for alternative solutions (more fun) - sorry about that :wink:


A great open-source option:

makerslide is a community funded startup dedicated to making CNC components. This stuff can be your frame and sliding surface at the same time, and they carry belts and such as well. They also have some low cost stepper stuff.

As far as motor and controls - Servo? Stepper? Budget?

(Disclaimer, I work for an industrial automation and control manufacturer -

One critical spec missing is the movement speed. 1" per second is a large step from 24" per second, particularly at a 10-20 lb load.

Engunneer - That is a neat option, but with schedule pressures looming, I’m going to pass for this project. Too many unknowns for a first time rush job.

Don - I purposefully need to be a little bit vague to protect IP. The speeds are closer to your faster 24"/sec speed than they are to the slower 1"/sec speed you tossed out. We aren’t (re)creating an IBM Selectric typewriter type-ball driver; but we also aren’t building a log splitter.

Typically, the objects being moved will spend siginificantly more time at rest than they will spend in motion; but smooth complex motion (at non-glacial speeds) is a part of the requirements set too.

If one or two of the vendors anyone recommends turn into a dead-end, that will be OK. It’s in the nature of the beast for this situation.