All of the machines have the three axes of motion and are houses in a moving frame. The frames are typically made from some type of aluminum alloy, though they may also have ceramic parts in them, as this can be beneficial for the scanning of the Z axis. In the past, they utilized granite frames, but there are only a few manufacturers that still make them from granite.
In addition, the machine also includes a probing system, and a data collection and reduction system. This includes the controller for the machine, as well as application software and a computer to run it. There are freestanding versions of these machines, as well as handheld and portable devices.
The portable machines, even though they are smaller, work on the same principle. They tend to be very lightweight and can be used in many different environments, including areas that would be impossible to get to with a traditional machine. While they are easy to use and take with you, they are not always as accurate as a larger bridge type CMM. This means they may not be the best choice for all applications.
When you are choosing the CMM, you need to think carefully about how and where you will need to use it. If you are typically going to be in a single location, then one of the larger machines is generally a good option since they are so accurate. However, those who are in need of a device that they can take with them to get into hard to reach areas to take measurements will certainly want to rent or lease of the handheld or portable devices instead.
CMM Machine Manufacturers
Some of the companies that are manufacturing these devices today include Coord2, Leitz, Zeiss, and Faro.