Who are the favored suppliers of smooth rod & linear bearings?  McMaster seems expensive. 

Who are the favored suppliers of smooth rod & linear bearings? McMaster seems expensive. Thanks!

If you want really cheap linear bearings, check Aliexpress. Not going to vouch for the quality, but they’re the cheapest your’e likely to find.

A location might help. We’ve got 3D printers all over the world, so my suggestion for a place would be terrible if you lived in NZ, or the EU for example… if you live in the USA though; I uses Alexandria Precision.

You might want to look at VXB - http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/CTGY/LM - they have some rods in stock. And lots of bearings.

Another one for VXB. Don’t forget to check eBay for VXB products as that’s how I got mine.

I’ll vouch for VXB as well, at least for bearings.

I don’t know if you already made a decision, but there is http://us.misumi-ec.com/ - they were given to my schools senior design groups

I don’t have personal experience with them, but I keep hearing from other people how much they like Misumi. If I ever have another project where I want to use aluminum extrusions, they will be on my list.

I’m in California. I’ve used Misumi for extruded aluminum, but missed that they have rods. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

They have rods but they are more expensive than mcmaster.

i go to my local hardware store for smooth and thread rods(i direct drive with 3 42" screws ) and cupplers and order bearings from china (12 for 25$) just have to wait , but better then 25$ a piece here , my bootrap is still under 200$ budget with all hw purchased and a Z axis short from "functional " completion , thinking of celebrating by blowing cash on a laser cutter for the tool (i do have a router head and bit waiting for the z axis), granted it looks like cookie monster coming out of it’s garbage bin, but still good enough to do the parts for a much better looking offspring

Local hardware stores in the US generally don’t have metric rods.

Are hardware store rods appropriate for linear motion?

I don’t know what’s available at your hardware store, but O1 tool steel rods from mcmaster work fine. They’re not as smooth as chrome-plated, precision-ground linear rods, but they’re sufficient and the cheapest thing I’ve found.

I usually go to the local Fastenal store and get 5/16"/8mm drill rod (precision ground smooth rod) for about $3.50 for a 36". No bearings though. Looks like the same price as MSC, but no shipping.

You can’t substitute 5/16" rod for 8mm if you are going to use linear bearings or bushings. For a Sells mendel it would work, but not for modern designs.

Someone using 5/16th rod would use 5/16th bushings, and would take the bushings along to the store when buying the rod to test the fit to get a set with compatible tolerances.

I haven’t looked at bushings that closely, but I know that (even in the US), non-metric linear bearings are hard to find and very expensive compared to metric ones.

There are also problems with using inch threads for the Z screws, so you should always use metric parts for that.

5/16th +/-0.0010 brass bushings are under a buck. If you can be picky about the rod you get it’s good. If you’re ordering online the tolerances on cheap rod would be an issue.

I don’t think I’ve ever found a 5/16th linear ball bushing that didn’t have a really ridiculous price, so that’s probably not an option.

@Chris_Horton , McMaster is expensive. You are paying full retail and then some for their service! But, oh how wonderful it is to be able to get whatever you want, sometimes the same day!