Cross table

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A cross table (also: XY table or cross support ) is a two -axis system consisting of two single-axis linear guide systems that enable an object to be moved in two directions within one plane.

Layout and function

Cross table of a milling machine
Cross table with ball screw drive

The two guides of the cross table define the directions of movement in the X and Y directions . They are incorporated crossed, here in the blue part. The angular offset is usually exactly 90 degrees. There are also cross tables where this angle can be adjusted; they are called swivel tables . The red machine table carries the workpiece to be machined and, thanks to the interaction of the two axes, can assume any position in the area of ​​the XY plane, as long as the position is within the range of the possible movement of the guides. In relation to this limitation, one also speaks of the working space or travel path.

The final drive of such a construction can motorized ball screws , other screws or linear motors can be realized. There is also the possibility of enabling the feed via cranks and / or turning handles.


Machine tools

A cross table can be an integral part of a machine tool or it can be attached as a special accessory.

Measuring systems

Precision cross table

Also measuring systems can be equipped with a cross table. For example, it must be possible to adjust the measuring arrangement for the surface inspection of optical components with certain optical test methods over a large travel distance in a reproducible manner in the micrometer range.


In a correspondingly fine mechanical design, a cross table is also a component of light microscopes . With the help of two very finely working adjusting screws, it is used to position the object to be viewed precisely and smoothly under the lens . A scale on the cross table also enables certain image sections to be found again.

Cross tables are mainly used in modern, high-quality microscopes for professional use in research. Due to the properties mentioned, it has prevailed over other solutions in this area, such as the fixed tables, which are particularly popular in the hobby area, in which the object is moved by hand.

Wood lathe

Cross tables can optionally be mounted on wooden lathes (lathe) in order to optimize simple work steps in series production. The carriages are usually moved manually with the aid of cranks or crank wheels.

See also

Web links