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How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:39 pm
by kraegar
So, time to address linear rails.
I recently put some new linear rails on my X axis. I didn't clean them before I did, which was a mistake. I've been getting some print artifacts I just solved by cleaning one of the new rails. Turns out it was filled with sludge.

So, how do you clean a rail? First, before you start, go to amazon or ebay and buy some 3/32 diameter bearings. G25 is fine, or you can go for ceramic if you want to be fancy.

Also buy some pipe cleaners. The real kind, for cleaning pipes. Not the fake plastic ones for making crafts.

Once you have spares, OVER A BUCKET OR BOX
Pull the block off the linear rail.
Take the screws out of the end of the end of the block
Take the red dust caps off.
Carefully pry the green end caps off, pushing in the direction of the springs. You DON'T want to bend the springs.
All of the bearings will fall out.

Dump the entire thing in isopropyl alcohol. I just put it all in a ceramic bowl in 1/4" deep alcohol. Roll the bearings around, and scrub the other bits with your fingers.

Take the green endcaps apart (they're two pieces). Scrub them with a pipe cleaner.
Run a pipe cleaner down through the races.
Scrub it all good.
Once the bearings are clean, take them out and roll them around on paper towel to dry them and get the last of the sludge off. If more comes off, drop em back in the alcohol.

Get it all really clean. Put it back together in the reverse order. Green caps together, green caps on. springs. red caps. screws.
Put a drop of lube (I use superlube PTFE oil) at each end, near the green cap, of one side. Put the bearings back in. Every few bearings add a small drop of oil. When it's "full" there will be a slight gap, not quite enough for one bearing without causing another to pop out.

Carefully do the other side the same way. If you're short any bearings, use your spares. If any bearings won't come clean, aren't smooth, or are rusted, use your spares.

Carefully slide it back on the rail.

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Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:46 pm
by mhackney
Approximately how many bearings are in 1 carriage? My carriages are about to go kaput.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:42 pm
by kraegar
it's around 65 per. 200 bearings did 3 carriages entirely, with a few left over.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:11 am
by Mac The Knife
McMaster-Carr has a decent selection of 3/32 balls, Steel, Stainless, Carbide, and Ceramic. The last two are rally expensive,,,, almost 9 bucks for 5 balls.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:10 am
by kraegar
I got my ceramics 200 for $40 on amazon, you can find them even cheaper on Ebay.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:40 am
by Xenocrates
Mac The Knife wrote:McMaster-Carr has a decent selection of 3/32 balls, Steel, Stainless, Carbide, and Ceramic. The last two are rally expensive,,,, almost 9 bucks for 5 balls.


If you know what you want, and need more than like 5-20, general rule of thumb is to order from a specialty supplier instead of MMC. I've paid 3.5$ for thumbscrews from them when in quantity the price is more like .6$ each (captive snap in thumbscrews), but the MOQ is 50 or so, to get them at only 1$ each. I've also priced out tubing and fittings from them. Automation direct is much cheaper for things like wire, switches, Etc, while others like Bolt-Depot give much better prices on most hardware, but MMC is one of the few places where you can buy nearly anything, and get a proper CAD model first. Another fun comparison is dual-color engraved label material. 10$ for a little under a half square foot. 400$ for 32 square feet. You can imagine why I ended up buying from MMC, but also why I suggest that you find another supplier. For example, Boca Bearings has AL203 ceramic balls for only 1.38 a piece if you buy at least 25 of them (and probably will do another price break if you wanted 200, or say, 2K for a bulk buy for Artemis owners)

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:04 am
by Mac The Knife
McMaster-Carr, One stop shopping and I can get it next day.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 9:19 am
by RanchRifle
I am curious, has anyone tried to build with misumi rails? Are they decent? Would they cost less, or more than Hiwin?
I do not have facebook, so I have not been able to follow the saga there.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 9:38 am
by kraegar
Misumi rails are in the same ballpark as hiwin.

I have a genuine hiwin rail now, and am awaiting the arrival of two clone rails that are supposed to be comparable in quality (and much better than the typical chinese clone), but at a much lower price.

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:46 pm
by Geirhart
Kraegar

Did you receive your hiwin knock off rails yet??? I am just starting my build and trying to source rail. Looking for good alternatives to hi win or Chinese.
I hope you are having good luck with the american knock offs.


Thanks in advance

Gary

Re: How to Rebuild Linear Rails

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:18 pm
by kraegar
I have not yet gotten the clones, only the single genuine hiwin. I'll update when I do get them.