Linear Guide Explained

Linear Guide

Linear guide can be divided into:

  • Roller linear guide
  • Cylindrical linear guide
  • Ball linear guide

It is utilized to aid and direct moving components, enabling them to make repetitive linear movement in a specified direction.

Depending on the nature of the friction, linear motion guides can be divided into:

  • Sliding friction guide
  • Rolling friction guide
  • Elastic friction guide
  • Fluid friction guide


It can be divided into:

  • Square ball linear guide
  • Double shaft roller linear guide
  • Single-axis linear guide

Working principle

A linear guide can be understood as a scroll guide. It consists of a fixed component (guide rail) and a moving component (slider). The steel ball rolls infinitely between the slider and the guide rail, allowing the load platform to move linearly along the guide rail with high precision, reducing the friction coefficient by 50 times compared to conventional sliding guides.

The design of the slider and guide rail end unit enables the linear guide rail to bear loads in all directions, such as up, down, left, and right. The patented recirculation system and streamlined structural design make HIWIN’s linear guides smoother and quieter in motion. The slider converts the motion from a curve to a straight line.

The new rail system enables the machine to achieve fast feed rates, making rapid feed a feature of linear guides. Machine tool builders only need to machine the parallelism of the mounting rail and alignment rail to ensure accuracy. In most cases, installation is relatively simple. The guide rail is made of hardened steel and is finely ground and placed on the mounting plane.

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Compared to flat guides, the cross-section geometry of a linear guide is more complex, as grooves need to be machined on the guide rail to facilitate the movement of the sliding member. The shape and number of grooves depend on the function of the machine.

The fixed element (rail) of the linear guide system acts as a bearing ring and serves as a bracket for mounting a steel ball. The bracket wraps around the top and sides of the rail, and a set of linear guides has at least four brackets to support the working parts of the machine tool. The number of brackets can be more than four to support large workpieces.

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