View Full Version : Epilog ball bearings

Henri Sallinen
11-03-2015, 5:28 AM

Long time no posting.. I have a question that I haven't found an answer to yet:

Can you/should you maintenance the ball bearings that run on the Y-beams on both sides of the machine (left & right) in any way?

Are they safe to slide out of the holder and clean / lubricate with the same bearing grease as the I-beam or is this even necessary? I hear some ball rolling (which is expected as it's a ball bearing) that changes a bit during/when moving the I-beam on the Y-axis.

Bill Cunningham
11-28-2015, 9:50 PM
I've had mine 11 years now, and have only lubed them. (Hmmm why does that sound...never mind) ;=)

Henri Sallinen
11-30-2015, 4:02 AM
Bill: So you have only lubed your beams on which the bearings roll...? :rolleyes:

Dave Sheldrake
11-30-2015, 5:01 AM
Are they HiWin type bearings Henri?

Henri Sallinen
11-30-2015, 10:59 AM
This is what Epilog has to say about the bearings on their website:
Long-Life Stainless Steel Bearings

Epilog first used stainless steel bearings in 1988, and many of those first laser systems are still running - now that's a long-life for a bearing! There is no other bearing system that is as fast, smooth and reliable as our linear bearing system.
Built with at least 64 stainless steel bearings in each slider unit, our NeverWear bearings can operate at the highest speeds, day in and day out, without you ever having to worry about failure, replacement or the inevitable wobble that less robust bearing systems experience. Epilog's NeverWear bearings provide the accuracy, repeatability and precision that demanding laser applications require.

Dave Sheldrake
11-30-2015, 1:58 PM
Pic Henri?

That sounds like roller slides or HiWins, cheap to change if you know the part number

Kev Williams
11-30-2015, 3:17 PM
Since 1981 I've owned 4 lasers, 10 cnc rotary engravers and 2 20" vinyl cutters, all of which have X and Y axis rails of some sort. All but 2 of these machines are still in use daily, and I've never had an axis bearing issue. The Gerber-built Concept 2000 my BIL has used daily since new in 1982 is still on the original rail bearings. Nothing ever done to them other than a shot of 3-in-1 oil every so often. The table & spindle head have zero slop, and still move as smooth as glass.

I'm thinking a little lube is all that's necessary! :)

Dave Sheldrake
11-30-2015, 5:01 PM
I dumped a linear on a Vytek last week and an HX three weeks ago, the HX was 8 years old, the Vytek about 6 months :(

Easy swap out,

To lube the self adjusting ball races like the HiWin you need to pump that oil in or the tracks can wear like mine did :(

Henri Sallinen
12-01-2015, 3:16 AM
So we haven't had any problems with the bearings yet, I'm just being cautious. I'll just add some oil to the tracks now and then to keep everything going well. Am I correct?

Jim Fong
12-01-2015, 11:01 AM
I use THK, IKO, NSK profile linear rails in my custom CNC builds. I don't know that brand Epilog uses but it's probably from one of these companies since they are the most popular. They all specify a particular grease to use in the bearings. I wouldn't use a thin oil like 3:1 since it may beak down the thicker grease, causing premature wear. It's best to find out from Epilog what rails are used and buy the correct grease.

Jim Fong
12-01-2015, 11:16 AM
Also don't try to take off the linear bearing carriage from the rail. Not all linear carriages have the ball bearings captured in the ball races. They may all fall out and is almost impossible to put the dozens of ball bearings back in. I avoid buying those rail versions and prefer THK HSR rails.