Tindie Blog | Mini Linear Actuator

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I sometimes think stepper motors are the heart of the hardware maker movement. They occupy many positions in robots and other mechanical assemblies that we build. This Mini Stepper Linear Sliding Actuator definitely has the potential to sit inside some interesting builds.

It’s a tiny stepper motor mounted on a bespoke PCB. The output shaft of the tiny stepper motor takes the form of a threaded lead screw. The threaded lead screw has a small carriage on it which, when the stepper is driven, can travel up and down the small length of the threaded lead screw. Hanging off the side of the carriage is a small hook, meaning it’s pretty trivial to attach this to all kinds of systems. Linear actuators can be very useful any time linear movement is required. They’re a simple way to turn rotational motion from a motor into linear motion along a track or lead screw. Just remember that this conversion loses some of the torque from the motor!

To drive the stepper motor it is mounted onto a custom PCB which has a DRV8833 motor driver IC onboard. These are a common and excellent little motor driver and as such you’ll be able to find examples and libraries across many different platforms. Arduino, ESP32/8266, and Raspberry Pi Pico CircuitPython would all be fair game to drive this little actuator. For precision movement, you could add feedback using a limit switch or optical sensor.

So what will you build? The product page suggests projects like robot arms and crane assemblies. I think that you could probably make a very nice robotic hand using these!

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