A micro linear actuator is a small device that is used to convert energy. Different kinds of motion, including pushing and pulling motions, clamping, and ejecting, are used to convert rotary energy from moving air, liquid, or electricity into linear motion. They function in much the same way as a full sized linear actuator, but with the advantage of a much smaller size that makes them more versatile for a variety of technological uses.
This incredible tiny technology is used in a variety of industrial applications by everyone from computer manufacturers to diagnostic technologies. Recent technological developments have even decreased their price to the point where they have a practical application for hobbyists as well! They are quite commonly found in RC vehicles and are sometimes used by designers to bring an element of motion to their projects.
Their size makes them ideal for battery operated projects, as the amount of power they require to run is remarkably low. In addition they are lightweight enough to use in applications like RC drones and boats. When choosing a linear actuator for a DIY project, keep in mind what its specific purpose will be to ensure the right fit for the job at hand. Consider things like the weight of what is going to be moved and the anticipated range in addition to space considerations. In applications like RC vehicles, this means that self-styled designers should choose an actuator that is large enough to efficiently move the vehicle and carry any additional weight that may be added in regular use.
Also consider how versatile the programmability of the actuator is. Most can be controlled via computer, phone, or independent remote control. Some can be programmed to perform specialized motions, stopping and starting on command to facilitate changing directions. Just be sure to purchase something large enough to perform the work it needs to without adding unwanted weight and complexity to the system.
For those interested in RC drones or multicopters, manufacturers produce systems that are specifically designed to mount actuators wherever necessary to perform different tasks. This allows airborne RC vehicles to interact to a greater degree with the world around them by pushing off of walls, or even picking up stationary objects. The possibilities are endless!