Linear Bearing

Welcome To Linear Bearing

Linear bearings are rolling-element and fluid-film devices which reduce friction in motion systems where the motion acts along a straight (or, sometimes, curved) pathway. They are distinguished from radial bearings where motion is rotary. Linear bearings are used in machine-tool ways, in sliding doors, 3D printers, and in a variety of automation settings where reducing friction and guiding linear motion is needed. 

They can be loosely grouped as ball and roller types that use the rolling motion of rolling-elements and sliding types that rely on lubricant and low-friction surfaces. 

Linear Bearing

Linear bearings are used in applications where a component needs to be moved along a straight line with high accuracy. The object may also need to be returned to its origin with high repeatability. Linear bearings come in a variety of styles and have wide load capacities.

Bearing Material

Choices of bearing materials for linear bearings include bronze, ceramic, graphite, plastic, and stainless steel.  Special material features include corrosion resistance, self-lubricating, and rotary motion. 


Important specifications to consider when selecting linear bearings include the bearing width, length, inside diameter, and dynamic load capacity. 

Linear Bearings Features

Features and options for linear bearings include adjustable preload, clean room use, lubrication port, recirculating bearings, self aligning, vacuum compatible, and wipers or seals.

Linear Bearing Types

Choices for linear bearing styles include air, flat ball cage, ball spline, ball bushing, needle roller cage, cam follower, crossed roller, guide wheel, hydrostatic, plain or journal, linear motion guide, flat roller cage, and linear roller. 

Air Bearing

An air bearing is a very low friction bearing that rides on a cushion of air.

Flat Ball Cage

A flat ball cage is a non-recirculating or recirculating bearing design where the balls are trapped in a frame that spaces them at equal distance. 

Ball Spline 

A ball spline bearing has balls that contact grooves in a matching spline shaft on at least four sides, depending on the number of splines. 

Ball Bushing

A ball bushing is similar to a bushing in construction but has rows of balls to reduce friction and increase stiffness, accuracy, and smoothness.

Cam Follower

A cam follower is a wheel on an axle and that wheel runs on bearings. Roller and cross roller bearings are used on linear ways where straightness and accuracy are critical.

Linear Hydrostatic Bearing

A linear hydrostatic bearing works much like an air bearing. The bearing body rides on a thin film of oil or water that provides for near frictionless movement. 

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Considerations include the precision of the application, from lowbrow operations such as drawer slides, to semi-precision operations such as saw guides, to exacting applications such as machine tools. Bronze bushings might be appropriate where loads are high, smooth motion is required, but neither speed nor accuracy is important. On the other hand, where loads are high and accuracy is necessary, a recirculating roller bearing and profile rail might be the preferred choice.


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