The thermal deformation affects the accuracy of a precision machine tool. There are various heat sources in machine tools such as motors, spindle units, and friction in LM-guide systems. In this work, the thermal characteristics of composite sandwich structures for machine tool parts were investigated both by FEM analysis and experiment. Then the machine tool slide of a high speed CNC milling machine was designed and manufactured with composite sandwich structures combined with a welded steel structure-a hybrid machine tool structure. In addition, the reliability of adhesive joints between the composite sandwich and the steel structure was investigated in terms of adhesive joint strength and thermal stress induced by heat generation of linear motors. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.