Choosing an air table

Hi all,

I wonder if anyone would have some advice on what to look for when you choose an air table?



Thorlabs and Newport have guides. It depends on your application, budget and facility.

  1. A colleague working on his own super-resolution systems, had to change to an actively damped table. Work on an subway line extension commenced directly under the campus.
  2. People working on 2P who thought they needed an air table but managed to make due without by simply adding those sort of interlocking foam baby mats to high traffic areas around the table.
  3. Someone bought a “generic” table to save a little money, only to find out some time later that when it was cleaned, it began to rust. The steel was not really high quality stainless.
  4. One thing that drives me nuts are tables without what it is referred to as “sealed holes” whereby there is a thin layer of plastic which helps cover each hole from the inside of the table. Without it, small screws/parts disappear forever when you drop them. Worse still is that animals waste or liquids are near impossible to clean once inside. Its worth the little extra and make sure the table has sealed holes.

Have also seen things such as people not anticipating the size or weight. Tile flooring cracking, or rubbery/linoleum flooring causing the legs to sink…and even not thinking ahead enough to measure the door and make sure it would actually fit through.


Hi Cedric,

We have a lot of TMC tables and they’ve been really good.
That being said, we received a STED from Abberior the end of 2020, and it’s on active stabilizers. I’m not sure of the cost to accuracy (vibration suppression) balance, but it’s certainly an advantage to not have to worry about tanks.

Also, whatever direction you go, get arm rests and maybe the suspended boards that can go either side. They’re great for losing too much air and avoiding random bumps.