To ensure smooth, dependable motion of the cutting head and carriage in its latest XYZ router, Routout CNC, a specialist manufacturer of routers for woodworking applications, has chosen to base the machine’s design on the use of bearings and linear guides from engineering polymer expert, igus UK
Key benefits of the igus products in this application are that they require no maintenance or lubrication, and that their operation is unaffected by the presence of dust. The linear guide system uses polymer sliding bearings that run on a hard anodised aluminium rail, giving a low-friction and wear-resistant linear slide.
In the Routout application, the bearings are used to support the router cutting head and the carriage, allowing the cutting head to move rapidly, smoothly and accurately along the X, Y and Z axes.
Eliminating lubrication is a crucial benefit in the Routout application, since oils and greases tend to combine with the fine wood dust produced by the routing process to create a sticky grinding paste that is hard to remove and quickly impairs machine performance. In contrast, as the igus bearings and guides are designed to operate dry, without the use of lubricants, their performance is completely unaffected by the presence of the dust. Further benefits are that the lubricant-free bearings and guide requires no maintenance, and that the possibility of the workpiece being contaminated by oil or grease is eliminated.
Michael Gaylor of Routout CNC says: “We have been using igus products in our machines for some time as we found that conventional bearings and slides were very rapidly affected by the dust that is inevitably produced during routing. Since we switched to igus bearings and slides, these problems have been entirely eliminated, and I can honestly say that, although we must by now have used hundreds of igus products, we haven’t had a single failure. That has to be good news for us, and for our customers.”