Friday, February 24, 2012

Linear Guide Wheels and Track for Woodworking

When you're sawing, drilling or carving wood, chips and debris are gonna fly. That's why a self-cleaning motion system is a must. A story in this month's issue of Custom Woodworking Business magazine about the latest woodworking technologies, namely computer-programmed boring, drilling and cutting machines, prompted us to take a coffee break with our Senior Project Engineer Ariel Oriel to talk about the subject. Here's a wrap-up of our conversation:

THE CHALLENGE In an environment choked with sawdust and wood chips, jamming becomes a problem. Pair that with required speeds of up to 600 inches per minute and loads ranging roughly from 50 to 300 pounds, and you've got yourself a linear motion challenge — because of the speed and load, these machines need a motion system with quick field adjustment and durability.

APPLICATION EXAMPLES Think about all the different machines that go into manufacturing wood products — something to drill panels, solid wood or composites and another to make dowels or insert them. Manufacturers turn to CNC machines to do all those things and more.

A three-axis XYZ movement CNC router allows for a full array of cutting actions for materials like wood, plastic, composites, non-ferrous metals, aluminum, ceramics and foams. These computer-controlled routers often have drill spindles, some type of design software, a control center and different sized tables.

SOLUTION Some of our customers use six DualVee wheels on each slide plate to make it sturdy and long-lasting. The wheels allow the X and Y axes to move along the table with the Z axis motion of the cutting tool.

Oriel told us during our talk that one of the most discussed issues in woodworking machines for linear motion solutions is debris and how to deal with it. Basically, how do you keep your CNC machine from clogging up? Linear guide wheel technology is a proven solution for many woodworkers. The 90-degree design creates a velocity gradient (because the circumference of the wheel is greater at the major diameter than the minor diameter) that causes a constant sweeping action that cleans debris off the track.

"The inherent self-cleaning attribute of the [ DualVee ] guide wheel and track components make it the ideal choice for this type of environment," Oriel said. "Basically, it's just not prone to getting jammed up. The rolling elements are impervious to the wood chip debris that's just unavoidable in the industry."

The article in Custom Woodworking Business also touches on another important element: quality. Vibration is reduced when the design engineer uses high quality tools and tool holders elsewhere on the machine, extending the life of the router motor bearings and other important elements.

PRODUCT BREAKDOWN A variety sizes and types exist when it comes to linear motion components, so it's important to talk specifications with a project engineer when considering your perfect fit. From one machine using 80 to 100 DualVee wheels and track [ view story ] to a DIY cnc router with just a dozen linear motion components, we've helped many designers create their perfect woodworking solution.

Want more on the DualVee product line? Check out this video example posted below. DualVee can move more than 30 feet per second, and can withstand temperatures ranging from 20 below to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The track and wheels come in a variety of metal, including stainless steel, ideal for heavy industrial applications like woodworking.

[ Click here to read more about DualVee — and don't miss the video! ]