5 Linear Actuators to Get Your Robot Moving

Robots are some modern devices that humans have made to ease their work. They can perform both easy and complicated tasks without any difficulty, and the parts that help robots executevarious tasks are grippers, arms, legs, wheels, etc. These parts are made to move with the help of actuators inside them. The role of an actuator is similar to that of an engine in anautomobile; i.e., a robot is futile without actuator. With technological advancements and increased use in human lives, the quality of actuators is improving day by day. In this article, we will discuss about various linear actuators which can be integrated into a future robot; allowing them to function more efficiently.

Motorized Threaded Rods

A powerful linear actuator can be made using a threaded rod, a battery-operated drill and some matching nuts. If you want to make a precise one, you can make it with a stepper motor as commonly seen in 3D printers. A less complex lightweight linear actuator can be made with the help of a modified servo/motor, a slide potentiometer, and a recycled cylindrical glue stick.

Scotch Yokes

Motors or servos are used by many robots as actuators because both of them provide rotational motion. This motion can be turned into a linear motion with the help of Scotch Yoke actuator which further improves the efficiency of the robot. This actuator has a rod with a rectangular slot in the middle that is cut as a rectangular “yoke.” The rod moves back and forth with the help of a rotating wheel that has a pin placed in the rectangular slot.Scotch Yoke mechanisms have made many advancements in robotics applications.

Pneumatic Cylinders

Pneumatic Cylinders are the actuators that have simple mechanisms and are strong, durable, andflexible with many industrial applications. They are available in a variety of sizes. Pneumatic cylinders resemble the theory of fluid control and a force is created by pressurized gas. Once activated, pneumatics doesn’t need additional force. Pneumatic cylinders have the ability to maintain a continuous and unvarying force.


A push or pull movement of a rod made of iron or steel plunger is performed by Solenoids. An energized electric coil makes it possible. The steel plunger or rod of iron is mainly fitted along with a spring, enabling it to comeback to its native position after each successful motion. This kind of actuators is commonly used in electrically operated security instruments, such as door locks, vehicle’s door locks, door bells, valves, etc.

Pneumatic Muscles

These have a thin balloon that is integrated in a braided tube. Both the endpoints of the balloon are clamped-up in such a way that it makes impossible for the balloon to stretchthrough its length after inflation. So, it expands radically, thereby forming a muscle-like tooland braided tube also expands. It leads to the creation of Pneumatic muscle. The unnatural muscles work closely to that of humans’ and few pneumatic muscles can be enlarged up to three times of their original length.

These are the five basic and important linear actuators that usually get your robot moving

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