It generally does not matter if it is longer at the other end as long as the lead screw provides the desired travel for that axis. The lead screw will only need to be long enough for the travel, plus any structure and lead-nut positioning.
- The motor that will turn the lead screw will need to be mounted at some position (generally at one end of the axis). In many cases, this positioning will be mounted where some of the lead screw will not be used (the lead nut will not be able to moved close to the coupling of the lead screw to the motor shaft). Add some of the length of the lead screw to be inserted into the coupling.
- If the lead screw will contain bearings at either end of the travel, that portion of the mechanical assembly will need to be considered in the lead screw length.
- The lead-nut will need to be mounted in a position on a structural member of the part that is to move. The distance from the part of the structure that will extend closest to the motor will have some distance to the position of the lead nut. This distance will need to be added to the lead screw length.
Add these discrepancies to the length of the lead screw and the travel length and you will have the final length.
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How to determine lead screw length needed. My Thomson 1 1:4 rails are 60 inches long roughly for the router I’m building. I know I have to have it long enough to couple up with the stepper motor of course but does it matter if it’s a little long on the other end