Cost and performance trade-offs for commercially available linear stages

Katie Schwertz, J. H. Burge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The following paper provides the practicing engineer with guidelines on the relationships between cost and various performance factors for different types of linear stages. When multiple precise motions need to be made in a system, stages are typically the solution. A number of factors should be considered before choosing a stage: cost, load capacity, travel range, repeatability, resolution, encoding accuracy, errors in motion, stiffness, stability, velocity of motion, environmental sensitivity, and additional features like over-travel protection and locking mechanisms. There are a variety of different bearing types for linear stages, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. This paper presents charts that provide relationships between the cost, travel range, angular deviation, and load capacity of various types of manual one-axis linear stages. The stages considered were those that had less than a 2.5" travel range and sold by major optomechanical vendors. The bearing types investigated were dovetail, flexure, ball bearing, double row ball bearing, crossed roller bearing, and gothic arch ball bearing. Using the charts and general guidelines provided in this paper, a more informed decision may be made when selecting a linear stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical System Alignment, Tolerancing, and Verification IV
StatePublished - 2010
EventOptical System Alignment, Tolerancing, and Verification IV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2010Aug 2 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical System Alignment, Tolerancing, and Verification IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Bearings
  • Cost
  • Linear stage
  • Optomechanics
  • Stages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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