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Step Gauge improve accuracy of CNC machines

Using Step Gauge (check master) to improve the accuracy of CNC Machine

Currently, many companies use laser Interferometers to verify the positional accuracy of CNC machine. But, if we only verify the accuracy by laser interferometers at the production field which have a poor environmental conditions, the result would not be accurate because of the temperature, wind, humidity. During any one specific day, the results would be different between AM9:00 and PM3:00.

In order to solve this issue, more and more companies are now using the Step Gauge to test the CNC Machine, especially using high precision step gauge. Because it has the same expansion coefficients as the CNC Machine after 2-3 hours of idleness.

Step Gauge is used for calibrating CMM - Coordinate Measuring Machines. ISO 10360-2:2009 recommends manufacturers test products' linear dimensions with CMMs. And Step Gauge is now widely used for calibrating the CMMs. Click here for continued reading on Researchgate

Citing a field inspection episode: A company who purchased a 3m Coordinate Measuring Machine from ZEISS of German, the ZEISS’ engineers used a 1m step gauge to inspect and calibrate this machine which sits in workshop.

(1) Step Gauge VS Laser interferometers

Contrast factor

Step Gauge/Step Gage/Check Master

Laser Interferometers


Both of them almost have the same accuracy when they have been placed under a standard laboratory. But there are many factors which will affect the function of Laser Interferometers such as temperature, humidity, material properties. And it requires a high technological level for the operators. The measuring accuracy of Laser Interferometers will reduce once it goes out of laboratory. 

Step Gauge has same expansion coefficients as the machine which has been testing. So it can give a practical and precision result.

Date Consistency

The coefficient of thermal expansion of step gauge is same as grating ruler. We only need to put it together with the machine and wait for them to same temperature. In this way the measuring error caused by environment variation can be eliminated. So it has a good date consistency.

The Laser Interferometers doesnt have coefficient of thermal expansion. (big different from grating ruler), very sensitive for the temperature even with temperature sensor.


Step Gauge better than Laser Interferometers

Date Drifting

Step Gauge better than Laser Interferometers


Step Gauge better than Laser Interferometers

Operator's skills needed

One person with common technical skills

At least two persons with special training

Field application

Easy, convenient


Calibration Cost



Item Cost

Cost of Step Gauge is almost 1/10 of Laser




Operating Life

Step Gauge longer than Laser Interferometers

Author: Andy Wang

Date: 2013-12-20

Email: trade2@anyii.com

Website: www.anyimeasuring.com

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