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Dovetail Optical Rails

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Dovetail Optical Rails

Dovetail Rail Cross Section
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A cross-sectional view of the dovetail rails.


  • Compact Dovetail Design
  • Five Imperial and Five Metric Lengths Available
  • Engraved Scale with 1.0 mm and 10 mm Graduations
  • Ends 8-32 (M4) Tapped
  • CNC Machined Surfaces
  • Compatible with our Snap-on Rail Carriers

The RLA Series of optical rails are our smallest rails. These compact dovetail rails are precsion machined on all surfaces to maintain good lateral alignment, which is necessary for an optical assembly. The rails are compatible with our RC Series snap-on rail carriers. Our snap-on rail carriers are easily inserted or removed from existing rail systems.

Both the rails and rail carriers are machined from an aircraft grade aluminum, which ensures good dimensional stability during manufacturing. The rails feature numerous 1/4" (M6) counterbores for mounting flexibility. Rails 12" (300 mm) and longer offer mounting slots to provide additional mounting flexibility. The end of each rail is 8-32 (M4) tapped for vertical mounting.

The rails are laser engraved with graduations every 1.0 mm and labelled every 10 mm. The scale allows for precise placement of rail carriers and attached hardware, crucial for instrument designs involving distance-sensitive elements such as lenses and non-collimated beams.

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Posted Comments:
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2014-04-17 10:43:59.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We do not currently have a rail joiner for this. There are tapped holes on both ends of this and there's not really a good way to ensure good alignment when two rails tighten against each other. You can bolt one piece to the table and then adjust the position of the 2nd one until a rail carrier slides somewhat smoothly between the two. We can also offer the rails in longer lengths but without features like slots, holes, and anodization.
Poster: LNicoletti
Posted Date: 2014-04-14 18:29:36.723
Good morning, I have a question on product RLA600/M. is it possible to attach two of them in order to make a 1200mm length? thank you in advance Luisa Nicoletti
Poster: gyg2101
Posted Date: 2013-09-04 11:01:06.24
Hi, I would like to automate a system based on your dovetail rails. Is there any way to "motorize" the rail carriers? I would need a couple of inches of computer-controlled motion. guy
Poster: jlow
Posted Date: 2013-09-10 15:32:00.0
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: Unfortunately we do not have an easy way to motorized the dovetail optical rail carrier at this moment. You could possibly put a motorized stage on top of the rail, but that better on the 66mm rail than the RLA dovetail rails. I will get in contact with you directly to discuss about your application.
Poster: tcohen
Posted Date: 2012-02-22 17:15:00.0
Response from Tim at Thorlabs to Jiabin: Thank you for your interest in our dovetail optical rails. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide longer lengths than 600mm for this series. As an alternative, we are able to offer the XE25-CUSTRAIL/M up to 2000mm. We have contacted you with more information.
Poster: jiabin.tuo
Posted Date: 2012-02-20 11:54:52.0
I would like to buy a Dovetail Optical Rail for my test, I am wondering can I custom the length to 2000mm? Thank you for your time. Regards, Jiabin
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Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal/Imperial Price Available / Ships
RLA0300 Support Documentation
RLA0300 Dovetail Optical Rail, 3", Imperial
RLA0600 Support Documentation
RLA0600 Dovetail Optical Rail, 6", Imperial
RLA1200 Support Documentation
RLA1200 Dovetail Optical Rail, 12", Imperial
RLA1800 Support Documentation
RLA1800 Dovetail Optical Rail, 18", Imperial
RLA2400 Support Documentation
RLA2400 Dovetail Optical Rail, 24", Imperial
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Metric Price Available / Ships
RLA075/M Support Documentation
RLA075/M Dovetail Optical Rail, 75 mm, Metric
RLA150/M Support Documentation
RLA150/M Dovetail Optical Rail, 150 mm, Metric
RLA300/M Support Documentation
RLA300/M Dovetail Optical Rail, 300 mm, Metric
3-5 Days
RLA450/M Support Documentation
RLA450/M Dovetail Optical Rail, 450 mm, Metric
RLA600/M Support Documentation
RLA600/M Dovetail Optical Rail, 600 mm, Metric
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