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XT66 66 mm Optical Construction Rails
Standard 66 mm Rail
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(See Application Idea Tab for Details)
Thorlabs' XT66 Optical Rails provide the building blocks necessary for constructing stable, rigid, three-dimensional mechanical assemblies. They consist of extruded lengths of aluminum with a dovetail mounting surface that allows rails to be joined to each other, breadboards, or other optomechanical assemblies. Mounted objects can easily traverse the full length of these dovetails without interruption. The 66 mm rail series includes rails that have the dovetail on one, two, or four sides, as shown in the photos at the top of the page. These dovetail rails feature either a clear or a black anodized coating.
The standard four-sided clear anodized rails measure 66 mm to a side and are available from stock in lengths ranging from 100 to 1000 mm. Upon request, we can ship these rails in custom lengths from 50 mm to 2000 mm. The standard four-sided rails are also offered in a raw extrusion length of 2 m (6.6').
We offer two-sided rails with clear anodization in lengths of 500 or 1000 mm from stock. These rails are also offered as a 2 m (6.6’) rough-cut, unanodized extrusion for customers who prefer to machine and finish their own rails.
The single dovetail rails have a compact design that provides additional mounting flexibility when constructing optical rail systems. Thorlabs offers 500 mm and 1000 mm long rails with a durable clear anodized finish. They do not include counterbored holes for mounting or an engraved scale. We also offer one-sided rails that include counterbores for mounting to an optical table without the need for clamps. These counterbored rails have a black anodized finish and an engraved scale in 1 mm increments for precise and repeatable positioning along the length of the rail. They are available in lengths from 250 mm to 750 mm.
Thorlabs offers an extensive selection of accessories for 66 mm rails, including clamps and angle brackets, breadboard mounts, mounting platforms, rail carriages, rail platform positioners, rotation slide platforms, rail joiners, and lens tube adapters. Together with size adapters that incorporate 34 mm and 95 mm rails into an XT66 setup, these tools provide a complete family of rigid, versatile building blocks suited for virtually any optomechanical setup.
Application Idea: A Simple Periscope
The photographs to the left depict a simple periscope constructed using our 66 mm rail system. The two photos display the same setup from two different angles in order to clearly show how each part has been integrated. The labeled parts correspond to a row in the upper table, while the lower table shows the clamps and optical mounts used throughout the periscope.
Our standard 66 mm Construction Rails have a dovetail mounting surface on all four sides for use in one-, two-, or three-dimensional constructions. Objects can be slid along the dovetail before being clamped into place. The rail ends are tapped with four M3 holes for mounting lens tube adapters, mounting plates, rail carriages, or rail joiners.
These rails are offered in five stock lengths: 100 mm, 200 mm, 500 mm, 750 mm, and 1000 mm. If our pre-cut lengths do not suit your application, custom lengths from 50 mm - 2000 mm can be ordered by either using the XE66-CUSTRAIL field in the price box below or contacting Technical Support.
These construction rails are also offered as a rough-cut, unanodized extrusion (see below) for our customers who prefer to machine and finish the rails themselves.
The XE66RL2 is an unanodized, rough-cut extrusion for customers who prefer to machine and finish their own rails. Their aluminum construction makes it easy to machine them in your own machine shop.
Upon request, we can provide this extrusion in lengths up to 3.5 m (11.5'). Please contact Technical Support for a quote.
The XT66DP's double dovetail design allows two 66 mm rails to be coupled together using Double Dovetail Clamps. As shown at right, this feature allows aligned optical assemblies to be coupled to a base rail and moved as a complete sub-assembly.
These rails are also offered as a rough-cut, unanodized extrusion (see below) for our customers who prefer to machine and finish the rails themselves.
The XT66DPRL2 is an unanodized, rough-cut double dovetail extrusion for customers who prefer to machine and finish their own rails. Their aluminum construction makes it easy to machine them in your own machine shop.
Click to Enlarge CL5 Table Clamps
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XT66SD-250 Mounted to Table with our Standard Cap Screws
These rails each have a compact, single dovetail design that provides additional mounting flexibility when constructing optical rail systems. The XT66SP-500 and XT66SP-1000 are 500 mm and 1000 mm long, respectively, and have a durable clear anodized finish. They do not include counterbored holes for mounting or an engraved scale. Each can be easily mounted to an optical table using our compact table clamps.
The XT66SD series of rails ranges from 250 mm to 750 mm in length and has a black anodized finish. These rails include 1 to 5 central 1/4" (M6) counterbored holes and 4 to 12 surrounding 1" long, 1/4" (M6) counterbored slots for direct mounting to an optical table with a metric or imperial hole pattern. A schematic diagram showing mounting hole locations can be downloaded by clicking on the red icon to the left of each part number below. When standard 1/4"-20 (M6) cap screws are used, as shown in the leftmost of the three images above, full uninterrupted travel along the length of the rails is possible. A scale with 1 mm increments is engraved along the length of each XT66SD rail for precise and repeatable positioning.