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Multi-functional gantry in lightweight design

This student project of the Institute of Engineering Design (BIK) Institute of Mechanical Engineering (BIME) at the University of Bremen involves development of an NC-controlled gantry for use as a multi-function machine tool. This machine tool has three axes and the construction is a lightweight design.
The linear propulsion in the x-direction occurs via a gantry composite of two stepper motors that drive two trapezoidal threaded spindles. These are flanged on over the spindle bearing blocks available from igus®. Via plastic spindle nuts made of iglidur® J, which per side are each mounted on two drylin® T carriages, the rotational motion of the trapezoidal threaded spindles is converted into a linear motion. Movement of the y-axis is ensured through this structure. The fixture for infeed in the z-direction is mounted on this diagonal axis in the work space. Crossbar and advance are each moved with a trapezoidal threaded spindle, four carriages (drylin® T) that run on guide systems, and a step motor. This gantry is capable – through mounting of the appropriate tools – of executing simple milling tasks, measuring operations and 3D prints.

Multi-function gantry  

The majority of the components, such as spindle bearings, nut holders, guide systems with appropriate carriages, energy chains, etc. were purchased due to the excellent price-performance ration offered by the manufacturer igus®. On one hand, igus® offers weight-optimised guide systems that are very well suited for the lightweight design aspect to be implemented, and on the other hand, ordering multiple parts from one manufacturer ensures the correct mode of operation and the mutual compatibility of these parts. Moreover, CAD models are available for all offered articles in the Download area at without prior registration. The CAD models can be integrated in the actual design, which significantly reduces design effort. When working on the project, the support offered by the competent igus® employees who advised the group in the selection of components with their expert knowledge, could be consistently relied on. In addition with the young engineering support (YES) program, igus® has an initiative for supporting student projects through sample parts and generous discounts, which made financing in the specified framework possible in the first place.

Multifunction gantries  
Crossbar and advance  
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