Performance evaluation of a new taut wire system for straightness measurement of machine tools

Oleg Borisov, Simon Fletcher, Andrew Longstaff, Alan Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes evaluation of a method of measuring the straightness of motion of machine tool axes using a taut wire and an optical sensor head mounted at the tool point location. In contrast to commonly used taut wire instruments, straightedges or laser-based methods, this solution combines low cost, simplicity of setup and automated data capture while achieving state of the art accuracy suitable for application on precision machine tools. A series of tests are discussed which examine the performance of the new sensing head and different wires which highlight the suitability of the taut wire properties as a straightness reference. Experimental results obtained on a production machine tool are provided with respect to the accuracy and repeatability of both the proposed taut wire system and a laser interferometer operated under the same conditions. The reference errors of wires made of different materials are compared and the wire catenary is separated from the measurement results. The uncertainty budget for taut wire and laser systems is presented and expanded uncertainty of 4 μm obtained for both. During the experiment, the method showed excellent repeatability with two standard deviations of 1.5 μm over a measuring range of 1.5 m; this performance matches that of a commercial laser interferometer-based straightness reference to within 0.1 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalPrecision Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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