This paper focuses on the on the design and calibration of an elastically guided vertical axis that will be applied in a small high precision 3D Coordinate Measuring Machine aiming a volumetric uncertainty of 25 nm. The design part of this paper discusses the principles of this system, the compensation of the stiffness of the vertical axis in the direction of motion, the weight compensation method and the design and performance of the axis precision drive system, a Lorentz actuator. In the metrology part of this paper the calibration methods to determine the linearity as well as motion straightness and axis rotation errors are discussed. Finally first calibration results of this axis show nanometer repeatability of the probing point over the 4 mm stroke of this axis. The causes of the short-term variations with a bandwidth of about ± 10 nm are under investigation. Error compensation may reduce the residual error of the probing point to the nanometer level.