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New Year, New Project: DIY Projects with Linear Actuators for 2021

New Year, New Project: DIY Projects with Linear Actuators for 2021

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
PA Engineer

2021 will be a particularly good year for improving your DIY skills thanks to many of us spending a lot more time at home. You might already have ideas to automate things we often do manually that you can finally get to, and we’re here to help if you need an actuator for a project! It could be converting the home office desk to be height adjustable, or the garage door that needs to be remotely opened so you can finally stop getting out of the car. It could also be the TV space you would rather use as a dining table, but still keep the TV by adding a drop-down functionality. A linear actuator has such a wide range of functions and applications, the only limitation is your imagination!

We have put together a list of our favorite DIY automated projects (using linear actuators) for 2021. Some of these projects may be familiar as ideas you have always wanted to do, others may be new but surprisingly easy to do with beginner skills. The good news is that; these projects are not time-consuming – let’s get started!

2021 DIY Projects with Linear Actuators

1.      Motorised window

Automating window positions provides extra convenience and comfort in your home, with all windows closing and opening at the touch of a button. A motorised window reduces the hassle of manually opening your windows to control the air quality in a room. It can also be connected to external signals, like a fire alarm, to open or close automatically, which is huge safety benefit. They are also quite useful for hard to reach windows, which are too high or behind other objects, such as a window blind.

Micro linear actuators are great when automating home window positions through a Wi-Fi actuator control box. These linear actuators have a small footprint and can be installed in the sidewall or a window frame making it completely hidden during operation. They draw low current from the control boxes and make less than 45 dB of operational noise. 

 
A micro linear actuator: Model: PA-07 by Progressive Atomations
12 VDC - Wi-Fi Actuator Control Box
Wi-Fi app
A micro linear actuator: Model: PA-07 12 VDC - Wi-Fi Actuator Control Box Wi-Fi app

 Figure 1: Components needed for the motorised window

2.      The Greenhouse Roof Hatch

Small greenhouses are springing up in many houses, even in urban areas. One of the ways to improve the quality and performance of the greenhouse is to release the excess heat that accumulates just below the roof to the atmosphere with an automated hatch. Hatches for home greenhouses are easy to install and its automation can be regarded as a simple actuator project. The mini linear actuator is the right fit for home greenhouse hatches. They are lightweight with little to no maintenance. They draw a low current but with a medium actuating force that is enough for the hatches. Consider a mid-size linear actuator if you have a big hatch or you intend to connect more than one hatch to a singular linear actuator.

With a temperature sensor and a bit of programming, the linear actuator can open or close the hatch based on the temperature below the roof. This ensures the plants have the ideal conditions always.

The Greenhouse roof hatch

 

Figure 2: A small greenhouse with a hatch that can be automated with a linear actuator

 

3.      Automated cabinets and bookshelves doors

Another innovative, smart house features is an automated cabinet or a bookshelf. This is one project you can implement with your kids over a short period. The cabinet or bookshelf doors can be automated with a linear actuator, which is quite simple to implement and requires no programming knowledge. The linear actuator shaft is bolted to the door and a fixed reference. After which it is basically “plug and play”.

Depending on the size of the door, choose between a mini or mid-size linear actuator. You can use a wired switch, wireless switch or download the Wi-Fi app to control the door through a control box.

Other Great Motion Control Products

Adjustable Height Workbench

If you like to work in the basement or garage, or wherever you spend those free hours for your electrical, electronic or mechanical inventions, an adjustable height workbench is a great addition for your comfort. This will require some extra lifting power than the traditional linear actuator for an adjustable height working desk, as it may carry heavier loads. The FLT-05 and FLT 09 models of the table lift set will have enough lifting capacity. Typically, when you decide to buy a linear actuator for a project, always check the documentation that it meets your load requirements.

Drop-Down or Popup Hidden TV Lift

Make watching television a smarter, more exciting experience! Our collection of motorized TV lifts have the holding frame and the linear actuator built into the unit to make it easy to install. Choose between the drop-down and the popup design based on your available space and TV size.

A Drop Down TV Lift

 

Figure 3: A Drop Down TV Lift: Up to 55" TVs. Model: TY-05-30

 

If you still have extra time in 2021, you can always use a 12v linear actuator for a project. Some other DIY ideas where this linear actuator works well are:

  • Solar tracking system
  • A free-to-air satellite tracking system
  • Hidden dining table

Conclusion

There you have our top list of DIY projects with linear actuators for this year! From the big projects that you plan for weeks and require some technical experience, to the projects you can execute within days with your children – there is something for everyone. Take advantage of the extra home hours and invest in projects that will make your house smarter!

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