Category Archives: Ball Rail Products

Linear Motion 101 – Learn From the Pros

Just a click away are over 20 linear motion videos.  Want to learn the basics of a ball screw jack?  Perhaps, you need to load a standard ball nut?

Check us out :  Nook Industries!!


Making Motion Happen


Integral Safety Threads

Ball nuts can fail for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it’s fatigue of the bearing balls or the threaded surface, which is why proper lubrication (link to lube blog post) is so important. However, ball nuts can fail prematurely due to misalignment, impact loading, contamination, or external damage to the return circuits. Premature failure may result in the loss of some or all of the balls between the nut and screw. When all the balls are lost the nut is no longer engaged with the screw and therefore may not move when the screw is rotated or, in vertical applications, will free fall along the screw.

In applications where this loss of ball type failure could result in injury or death, this failure needs to be considered in the design. Possible preventative measures include the use of two or more screws supporting the load, use of nuts with multiple independent ball recirculation circuits, use of Ball Deflectors which prevent the balls from exiting the ball nut out the ends.

There is one more preventative measure that has proven itself in testing and in practical use; Integral Safety Threads. These unique solutions that provide the ball nut with a secondary safety thread – a reverse thread in the nut body itself. This special thread extends from the ID (Internal Diameter) of the nut to below the OD (Outside Diameter) of the screw without making contact. In the unlikely event that all the balls in the nut are lost, this “safety” thread will engage the screw and prevent free-fall. Although this thread can be used to lower the load to a safe position, it is not to be used otherwise. This can also be accomplished with the use of a special flange if the ball nut body cannot accommodate the Safety Thread feature.

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Get to Know Miniature Profile Ball Rail Lubrication Systems

mini profile ball rail

When dealing with miniature ball rail systems, having an effective lubrication system is essential for keeping the systems clean and running smooth. Miniature profile ball rail lubrication reduces friction and wear, prevents corrosion, dissipates heat and increases overall service life.

There are plenty of benefits to using industry-leading lubrication systems for miniature ball rails. Low-friction end seals effectively restrict dust while stainless steel endcaps act as scrapers, allowing for easy maintenance. Ball recirculation design, with hole and channel constructs fully sealed by a plastic frame and endcaps, reduces contact surface between steel ball and metal. This minimizes noise and adds to lubrication efficiency, reducing preventative maintenance.

A thin layer of oil separates the rolling elements from the raceway at the contact zone of the stainless steel ball rail. Lubrication systems allow the ball rails to move smoothly during short stroke movement. This lubrication assists in ensuring high-speed running production.

We recommend using LBL1, a lubricant formulated for rolling friction, with linear bearings. This lubrication is made to protect highly polished bearings from surface wear and corrosion.

Certain factors affect the reapplication levels, including speed, load, stroke length and operating environment. Practical observation is the only sure way to find a safe lubrication interval.

We recommend synthetic-oil based lithium with a viscosity between ISO VG32-100 soap grease if lubricant grease is required.

3D Printers – Leading the 3rd Industrial Revolution

Late last year, Design World editor, Danielle Collins, posted a great article about the “3rd Industrial Revolution.”

News flash—we’re in it, and 3D printers are leading the way.

Costs are coming down almost as fast as accuracy is increasing. From the industrial creation of finished parts, to the maker movement-led DIY creation of home models, 3D printers are increasingly becoming a more viable technology across different industries and applications.

Collins sorts printers into 3 basic categories, each with unique offerings and challenges:

  • Desktop
    • Generally 10x10x10 or smaller.
    • Low cost kits to fully assembled models.
    • Utilize FreeForm Fabrication, or FFF for printing.
    • Relatively low-tech linear motion solutions; typically round shafts or belt-pulley systems.
    • Prone to alignment issues, such as binding and torque spikes, as well as backlash.
  • Prosumer
    • Print areas around 18x18x18.
    • FFF or Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) methods of printing.
    • SLS offers more material choices including metal, ceramic and plastic.
    • Ideal for part modeling or rapid prototyping.
    • Rely mainly on linear rails and lead screws.
  • Professional/Industrial Grade
    • Print areas of up to a cubic meter.
    • FFF, SLS, Stereolithography (SLA) or in some cases unique, proprietary, deposition methods.
    • Highest resolution (layer thickness) as well as better surface finish and faster build times.
    • High-precision parts, functional prototypes, finished parts and printed electronics.
    • Utilized the most advanced linear motion solutions. But Collins notes that even these might not be accurate enough for some projects, and custom solutions will become necessary.

This handy chart, also from the article, helps lay out the features of all 3 types (click for a clearer view).


So, what has your experience with 3D printing been? Are you using them at all, investigating the options or already incorporating them as a part of your business?