In the measurement of machine tool and robot geometric errors, one of the most extensively used instruments is the Laser Tracker (LT). Errors in the LT measurements will decrease the effectiveness of the error modeling and compensation methods that utilize these measurements. When the LT’s Absolute Distance Meter (ADM) is used without frequent referencing to a home position, large and long-term shifts occur. The ADM shift directly introduces errors in the radial component of every measurement in spherical coordinates, which will result in measurement errors in the Cartesian coordinates. Although the ADM shift is addressed in newer LT designs using internal referencing hardware, this paper presents a pragmatic and efficient software solution to ADM shift for LTs in which the internal referencing hardware is not embedded. The LT was measured for 22 hr in a temperature-constant room to examine the ADM shift effects on measurements. An ADM shift model was then proposed by assuming that the ADM shift equally affects radial components of all measurements wherever the target is, as long as it is within the measurement range. Another experiment was then performed to test the validity of the proposed model. After the model was identified and errors were corrected, the maximum temporal variation in the radial distance measurement is reduced by 80–86%.

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