November 15, 2017

MakerSlide Lite Project

Based on the original Makerslide, I designed the Makerslide Lite linear rail, allowing Makers greater flexibility and value for money.
The original Makerslide (MS) by Barton Dring, is a fantastic product and was my inspiration when designing the Makerslide Lite. I designed this rail to compliment the original MS rail system. The goal is to be able to make MakerSlide Lite available for Makers, Hackers and Designers in Europe.
The Makerslide Lite (MSL) is dimensionally identical to the original MS rail, however just 4mm thick, while maintaining its rigidity.
This project was presented as a Kickstarter Project in June 2015, but unfortunately did not materialize due to insufficient backers or interest despite gaining positive feedback.

One of the biggest challenges when building a machine is sourcing the linear slide rails and bearings. When I built my first machine I found sourcing Makerslide in the UK and other linear rails that they often expensive because of the low quantities being purchased. Hobbyists, DIY, Makers, often pay a premium on small quantity sales. The goal is create a linear rail system that is open to everybody, affordable and open source. Once the Kickstarter has finished the dxf. and stl. files will be available to download from www.futurelab3d.com.
This method based on the tried-and-true system of V-groove bearings running on V-rails. Delrin V-wheels run on the V-rail and stay true to several axes at the same time, creating a firm and sturdy linear bearing systems.
msl rail
The rail has been prototyped and the drawings are now finalised. A UK based supplier has been sourced so the delivery costs remain low and the communication and quality can be controlled much easier.
 
msl rail side
msl rail top
 
The size of the MSL was a key aspect of the design brief from the start. I wanted to able to ship 4-5, 1 metre lengths inside a cardboard tube with a diameter know more than 60mm. The tube helps to protects its contents until they arrive at their destination.
The decreased size and weight of the MSL makes logistics easier and more affordable in comparison. Shown below are the different ways the MSL can be fixed to the aluminium profile extrusions.
 

The blocks are machined from aluminium and have M5 threaded mounting holes on the top surface. The sliding blocks are machined from white acetal, a low friction plastic.

 
They are adjustable with the M4 grub screw mounted in the back side of the block. Once the blocks are joined together with a plate or carriage and positioned on the rail, the grub screws may be tightened until desired. The plastic sliding system clears the rail of any debris as it travels along it and is self-lubricating. This is an advantage over the wheel system operating on bare rails.
Oil or other lubrication MUST NOT be used with this style of bearing. The block may be completely tightened if the user wishes to use the rail for hanging low load weights, sliding mirrors,etc.
Each Block comprises of; Aluminium block, white acetal slide, 2x M4 grub screws.

POM advantages:

Low water absorption
High abrasion resistance
Low coefficient of friction
High heat resistance
Good electrical and dielectric properties
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyoxymethylene

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