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Cubes and Brackets for 25 mm Rails


  • Build Right-Angled Structures and Enclosures
  • Construction Cubes Create Rigid Corners and Joints
  • Brackets Provide Reinforcement and Breadboard Compatibility

XE25W3

Quick-Install Corner

XE25A90

SH25LP38

Low-Profile Screws

RM1G

Counterbored on
Three Sides

Application Idea

Cubes Lock up to Three Rails at 90°

RM1S

Slotted to Accept Hardboard

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XE25 25 mm Construction Rail Accessories
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Features

  • High-Strength Plastic or Aluminum Cubes Form Rigid Connections Between 25 mm Rails
  • Right-Angle Brackets Reinforce Corners and Fasten Rails to Breadboards and Optical Tables
  • Low-Profile Screws Fasten Cubes to Rail Ends without Obstructing Through Holes

Thorlabs' XE25 Cubes and Brackets are designed to orient our 25 mm rails at right angles in two or three dimensions.

Construction Cubes
Our construction cubes create rigid corners in 25 mm rail assemblies, holding up to three XE25 rails at right angles. The RM1G and RM1S Counterbored Construction Cubes are manufactured from anodized aluminum, while the XE25W3 Quick Corner Cube is fabricated from high-strength plastic. The aluminum RM1S cube is slotted to accept posterboard and hardboard walls for the construction of light-tight optical enclosures.

Right-Angle Brackets
The AB90H and XE25A90 Right-Angle Brackets can be used to fasten 25 mm rails to each other, an optical table, or a breadboard. Both intended for use with 1/4"-20 (M6) cap screws, the AB90H has a total of two counterbored slots of length 1" and 0.5", while the XE25A90 has two counterbored holes.

Low-Profile Channel Screws

Low-Profile Channel Screws in Corner Cube

Low-Profile Channel Screws
Our Low-Profile Channel Screws feature a shortened cap height relative to standard cap screws, which is useful in situations with limited space. For example, standard cap screws installed in neighboring faces of our construction cubes would interfere with each other. As shown to the left, low-profile channel screws leave the neighboring through holes clear.

Thorlabs' accessories for assemblies made of 25 mm rails include corner cubes and brackets, T-Nuts, low-profile channel screws, breadboard mounting accessories, and rail joiners. In addition, we offer optical enclosures, enclosure accessories, and do-it-yourself tools like taps, tap guides, and drill guides for home-built XE25-based constructions.

Finished Three-Way Corner
Click to Enlarge
Home-Built 90° Corner

XE25 Construction Techniques

Thorlabs' XE25 rails and components are the building blocks for many types of modular systems, including custom enclosures. For the most demanding applications, Thorlabs recommends the "direct connection" technique for forming right angles with rails, detailed here. All the construction parts shown in this tutorial are available on our XE25 Construction Tools page.


Step 1: Drill Side Holes

A Ø4.6 mm hole in the end of one rail, as shown in the picture to the right, is needed to provide access for a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver.

For this step, you will need the T119873 Ø4.6 mm Drill Bit, the XE25DG Drill Guide, a hand drill or drill press, and a vise such as the TMV2.

The XE25DG drill guide is secured to the rail using the locking screw on top. A guide hole for the drill bit will be located 12.5 mm from the end of the rail. Now a hole can be drilled into the rail as shown in the figure to the left.

If your application requires a "three-way corner," such as that shown at the top of the page, you will have to drill a second hole in the rail at a 90° angle relative to the first hole.


Step 2: Tap the Center Hole, If Necessary

All stock and custom-length anodized XE25 rails have a 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped hole in the end of the rail. If you have cut a standard XE25 rail, or are using the XE25RL2 Raw Extrusion, you will need to tap a hole into the end of the rail.

For this step, you will need the 71598 1/4"-20 Tap (or the 71498 M6 Tap), the XE25TG Tap Guide, and the TW25 Hand Tap Wrench.

Fix the tap inside the tap wrench. Place the tap guide block over the end of the rail. The hole in the top of the guide will keep the tap square with the hole and minimize the chance of misthreading. Turn the tap to thread the hole.


Step 3: Attach Low-Profile Channel Screw

For this step, you will need a SH25LP38 1/4"-20-threaded (SH6M10LP M6-threaded) Low-Profile Channel Screw and a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver.

Insert the screw into the threaded hole in the end of the rail, and tighten down partway with the balldriver. If you are making a three-way connection, you will need to thread another channel screw into the end of a second rail.


Step 4: Join the Rails

Slide the head of the channel screw into the channel of the rail with the drilled holes, so that the hex head lines up with the hole. Insert the balldriver into the hole, and tighten the channel screw. If making a three-way connection, repeat this process with the third rail, as shown in the figure to the right.

For increased stability, the corners may be reinforced with the XE25A90 Right-Angle Bracket.


Posted Comments:
bdada  (posted 2012-02-24 09:48:00.0)
Response from Buki at Thorlabs: We would like to contact you to verify the components you have received and send you replacements if necessary. Please email us at techsupport@thorlabs.com so we can assist you further.
tcohen  (posted 2012-02-22 10:00:00.0)
Response from Tim at Thorlabs: Thank you for your feedback. The 1/4”-20 stainless steel socket head cap screw packaged with the XE25LS is 1.25”. We don’t have your email to contact you, but if you feel that the wrong SHCS was packaged with your XE25LS please contact us at techsupport@thorlabs.com and we would be more than happy to provide you with the correct screw.
user  (posted 2012-02-21 19:02:52.0)
The SHCS that comes with the XE25LS is 1", which is the same as the RM1G Corner Cube which is needs to span, hence the screw can't engage the threads.

Counterbored Construction Cubes for 25 mm Rails

RM1G Corner
Click to Enlarge
Three-Way 25 mm Rail Junction Using an RM1G Construction Cube
RM1S Corner
Click to Enlarge
RM1S Slotted Cube Securing a Hardboard Enclosure Wall
  • Hold up to Three Rails at Right Angles
    • RM1G: Counterbored on Three Sides
    • RM1S: Counterbored on Three Sides and Slotted to Accommodate Enclosure Walls
  • One-Piece Aluminum Construction for Excellent Rigidity
  • Parallel and Perpendicular to Within 0.002" (0.05 mm)
  • For Use with Low-Profile Channel Screws

These Construction Cubes contain three 1/4" (M6) counterbores on adjacent faces. They can be connected to up to three rails by tightening our Low-Profile Channel Screws (sold at the bottom of this page) through the counterbores, as shown in the images to the right. In addition, the RM1S cube has slotted corners to accept posterboard and hardboard walls for the construction of light-tight optical enclosures. Since both these cubes are machined from a single block of aluminum, they are ideal for constructions that need to be as sturdy as possible. 

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
RM1G Support Documentation
RM1G1" Construction Cube, Three 1/4" (M6) Counterbored Holes
$18.61
Today
RM1S Support Documentation
RM1S1" Construction Cube with Slotted Corners, Three 1/4" (M6) Counterbored Holes
$20.99
Today

Quick Corner Cube for 25 mm Rails

Attachment of an XE25W3 Quick Corner Cube to a 25 mm Rail
XE25W3 Corner
Click to Enlarge
Three-Way 25 mm Rail Junction Using an XE25W3 Quick Corner Cube
  • Holds up to Three Rails at Right Angles
  • Made from High-Strength Reinforced Plastic
  • For Use with Low-Profile Channel Screws

The prongs on the faces of an XE25W3 Quick Corner Cube are positioned to fit into the four alignment holes on the end of a 25 mm rail. Because the prongs and the alignment holes form a tight fit, it may be difficult to insert the corner cube by hand. We therefore recommend using our Low-Profile Channel Screws (sold at the bottom of this page) to fasten the corner cube to the rail, as shown in the image and the animation to the right.

Although these corner cubes provide excellent results when building enclosures, they are not recommended in cases where rails are being used to support optomechanics. In these situations, please use the RM1G Construction Cube shown above, or consider the techniques shown in the Construction Methods tab.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
XE25W3 Support Documentation
XE25W3Quick Corner Cube for 25 mm Rails
$5.34
Today

Right-Angle Brackets for 25 mm Rails

XE25A90 Reinforced Corner
Click to Enlarge

Reinforced Corner
XE25A90 as Breadboard Mount
Click to Enlarge

Enclosure Bolted to Optical Table
  • Brace 25 mm Rail Corners or Mount Rails Vertically
  • One-Piece Aluminum Construction for Excellent Rigidity
  • For Use with 1/4"-20 (M6) Cap Screws

The AB90H and XE25A90 Right-Angle Brackets can be used to fasten 25 mm rails to each other using a T-Nut (not included) or to an optical table. Both intended for use with 1/4"-20 (M6) cap screws and washers, the AB90H has a total of two 1/4" wide slots of lengths of 1" (25.4 mm) and 0.5" (12.7 mm), allowing for additional flexibility in positioning the rails on a breadboard, while the XE25A90 has two counterbored holes.

These brackets are ideal for fastening our optical enclosures to an optical table or breadboard.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
AB90H Support Documentation
AB90HCustomer Inspired! Slim Right-Angle Bracket with Counterbored Slots
$27.85
Today
XE25A90 Support Documentation
XE25A90Right-Angle Bracket for 25 mm Rails
$29.22
Today

Low-Profile Channel Screws

Low-Profile Channel Screw
Click to Enlarge

Low-Profile Screw in RM1G Construction Cube
Standard Cap Screw
Click to Enlarge

Standard Cap Screw in RM1G Construction Cube

Item # Threading Hex Head Height Length Material Quantity
SH25LP38 1/4"-20 1/8" 0.13" (3.2 mm) 0.34" (8.6 mm) Steel 100
SH6M10LP M6  4 mm 4 mm (0.16") 10 mm (0.39")

Our Low-Profile Channel Screws have a reduced cap head height relative to standard screws, permitting them to be used in tight spaces. In particular, they are recommended when neighboring screws are at a right angle and in close proximity, as in our XE25W3 Corner Cube or RM1G and RM1S Construction Cubes.

Shown to the right are a standard cap screw and a low-profile channel screw installed in an RM1G cube. The low-profile screw's shortened cap height prevents neighboring screws from interfering with each other.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Imperial Price Available
SH25LP38 Support Documentation
SH25LP381/4"-20 Low-Profile Channel Screws (100 Screws/Box)
$25.10
Today
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Metric Price Available
SH6M10LP Support Documentation
SH6M10LPM6 x 1.0 Low-Profile Channel Screws (100 Screws/Box)
$25.10
Today
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Last Edited: Dec 16, 2013 Author: Dan Daranciang