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Recirculating Ball Slide for 1" Square Tube

by LoboCNC Jul 26, 2015
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When I see the marks on your tube, you really should use anodized aluminium tube cause it has a much harder surface!

Probably better to used anodized tube, but the plastic balls don't really create much wear on the tube - the mark look like scratches in the photo, but they are actually more superficial.

Howdy LoboCNC,
Nice piece, and something I believe can possibly work for my application...being a bit of a 'noob', how precisely do I reduce the file "75%" to work with 3/4" conduit (I'm presently just using Tinkercad)?

Many thanks in advance for any useful advice on the subject. ; - )



You could scale the part in Tinkercad, but the simpler thing to do would be to scale it using using your slicer software. Most slicers include an option for scaling the model before printing it.

I wonder if there is a way for a metric size (20mm square tube), and the use of metal spheres.

It might be possible to scale by 80% and use 5mm balls. I'd stick with plastic balls, though, as metal ones will probably cut grooves in the aluminum tube.

This has been a wonderful design to play around with. I remixed a version of your slide that can be used for 3/4 inch tubing and the air soft pellets. also a version that uses 1.77 cal bb's good for 3/4 and 1/2 inch tubing.
I guess all that's left is to scale is a bb version up to 1 inch tube like your original design and possibly a airsoft pellet version down to 1/2 inch.... guess ill get started.
Ill tell you the reason im so jazzed about this bearing slide is im working on a new version of my cnc plasma cutter with a water table... I was always worried that splashes of water getting into normal bearings would probably not be good. I think your plastic pellet version scaled down to 3/4 is going to work great for me...

Very cool design!

For those experimenting with alternative materials, Delrin balls might be worth a try. They're what Johann used on his Kossel recirculating bearings: They're quite hard, very true, inexpensive, and available in lot of sizes. Search for 'Delrin ball' or 'Acetal sphere'.

This is awesome! I bet it is a lot quieter than bearings sliding on the aluminum too. Can't wait to print it.

The ones I made last year (based on Johann Rocholl's design) were quite noisy, so set your expectations accordingly.

This is an awesome design! Any idea what the maximum load rating is?

I actually have no idea of the load rating. I don't even know for sure what the airsoft pellets are made of (ABS?). My gut feeling is that it could handle straight vertical or horizontal loads (where at least two full rows of balls are fully engaged) of at least 20 lbs, but who knows - maybe a lot more. That would also be equivalent to a torsional load of about 15 in-lb. Moment loads would be a lot less because only a few balls are supporting the load, but for that type of loading, you'd probably want to use two carriages anyway.

That's really cleaver and i think i have a use for some of these. I don't have airsoft pellets on hand but i have some BB's so will be printing this off and most likely scaling to work with steel bb's 4.35mm. possibly could make for a good remix or if you'd like to redesign it?

If you scaled it for steel BB's, it would probably work for running on 3/4" square tube instead of 1". You might also want to use steel tube instead of aluminum because the steel BB's will wear grooves in aluminum.

Finished printing a set and it looks really nice. When my airsoft pellets arrive ill post a picture to prove it :-)
I believe scaling for smaller track should be simple also. Im thinking splitting the model at the valley or the v remove a few mm of width should work if someone were using smaller tube possibly same could be done to go larger also.
While tinkering with the scale think ill try and add captive nut holes.
Bellingham Wa cool im just south a ways in Renton.

I think your right. I plan and have square steel tube. 1inch and 3/4 so ill be able to do some scaling i think. I'm starting to wonder how a thin sheet metal ball track with two holes for the plastic ball return track would work..
I ordered a bunch of airsoft pellets also so i can see how they work as you intended.