3 Axis Linear Stage

3 Axis Linear Stage

Build your own 3 axis manual linear stage

Carve a linear stage out of a block of ice. Store in your lab refrigerator and then use quickly!


LoL, just kidding. I just had these printed in ‘cool blue’ and thought they looked like ice.

This is a design you can have 3D printed with SLA or (untested) PLA. Don’t have an FDM printer? Support the ONE Core and order though us!!!! Or use an inexpensive outside 3D printing shop. Rosenberg Industries is aware of ONE Core projects, and requirements and has proven success with ONE Core projects.


This is an inexpensive 1, 2, or 3 axis linear stage (sorry, no angles). The linear stage can mount to breadboards (6 mm metric or 1/4”-20 standard) or your basic stereotaxic 8 mm rod. It is assembled with basic nuts and screws, glue, metal rods, linear bearings. and springs. It slides along two rods per axis, with excellent tolerance because of the use of linear bearings (four linear bearings, so technically “over-constrained”, but it works well), does not wear over time with the use of a ball bearing, and advances slowly along a fine screw thread (same advancement per turn as a micrometer screw gauge).


Igus Bearings: RSM-0506-05

McMaster Screw: 91390A099
Spring: 9654K969
Screw: 91864A042
Nut: 90480A175
Rod: 5544T242
Ball Bearing: 9292K33

File File Type
AssemblyXtoZ.iam .iam
AssemblyXtoZ.stl .stl
AssemblyZtoX.iam .iam
AssemblyZtoX.stl .stl
Linear Stage Top.ipt .iam
Linear Stage Top.stl .stl
Linear Stage X.ipt .iam
Linear Stage X.stl .stl
Linear Stage Y.ipt .iam
Linear Stage Y.stl .stl


You can use only one axis. For more than one, you could simply stack these together, but we went ahead and minimized print material by combining parts (called Assemblies here). This will minimize the volume of the parts in your setup.

For 1 axis only: Print Linear Stage X and Linear Stage Top.

For 2 axis: Print Linear Stage X, Linear Stage Y, and Assembly Z to X.

For 3 axis: Print Linear Stage X, Linear Stage Y, Assembly Z to X, and Assembly X to Z.


Cut the 5 mm rods to 8.5 cm with a hacksaw or similar tool, but try not to roughen the outer surface where the bearings will slide. To prevent this, you can wrap the rod in a towel and hold it in a clamp before sawing. Push the linear bearings into place in the Linear Stage X and (optional) epoxy the bearings in place with any old 5 min epoxy (super glue can work too, but this is messy). Feed a cut 5 mm rod through the bearing (Linear Stage X), through the Linear Stage Top, through the bearing of the Linear Stage X, and again through the Linear Stage top. (Optional: You can epoxy the rod to the Linear Stage Top to prevent it from sliding out.) Repeat for the other side.


Note the dark red linear bearing in the Linear Stage X. The top piece does not have linear bearings and the rod does not move relative to this part.


Epoxy the ball bearing in place such that the screw will make contact with the metal at a point. Epoxy one nut in on the side facing the ball bearing. For added stability, you can also epoxy a second nut in on the other side as well (long nuts are crazy expensive, so this is a cheap work around).


Two M3 screws can thread right into the holes below. This can hold the spring in place ensuring the two stages are always pressed against each other. (Sorry, you’ll have to use your imagination with the spring, I’m working from home #Covid19).


Additional stages can be mounted on top of each other, or separate pieces can be attached to this using the following hole pattern, M3 screws and nuts. But note that we have optimized the design and minimized materials for getting multiple axes to align (example: Assembly Z to X)


ONE Core acknowledgement

Please acknowledge the ONE Core facility in your publications. An appropriate wording would be:

“The Optogenetics and Neural Engineering (ONE) Core at the University of Colorado School of Medicine provided engineering support for this research. The ONE Core is part of the NeuroTechnology Center, funded in part by the School of Medicine and by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under award number P30NS048154.”