There are many applications with space and weight limitations that would require small and portable electric linear actuators to operate. In some cases, there may also be a need for these devices to have the additional feature of water resistance. The PA-07 Micro Linear Actuators are among the smallest actuators we offer for a compact form factor while also offering an IP66 water resistance rating and simple plug-and-play controls. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the popular applications that benefit from Micro Linear Actuators.
Donut Bot by the University of Waterloo
A team of engineering students from the University of Waterloo created the DonutBot which can decorate high-quality, customized donuts on-the-spot using a robotic arm with actuators and an automated controls system. This customization process would be accomplished within a few minutes of creating an order via an iPad user interface.
In order to pick up, dip, and drop off a donut, vertical motion was required to move up and down. Because donuts are not heavy, a smaller-sized actuator with a lower force rating would be sufficient. The PA-07-4-5 Micro Linear Actuator was chosen for the vertical translation of the robotic arm as it met all the project requirements. This model also had the additional benefit of decreasing the DonutBot's overall weight and bulk since it is the smallest actuator offered that still has 4 inches of stroke length.
Miniature Models and Prototyping
The use of portable 12 VDC batteries would be able to power the PA-07 since each Micro Linear Actuator only draws 0.24 A of current. This would allow for portable and lightweight project replicas at conventions and trade shows where larger projects would be too bulky to transport. An example of our Micro Linear Actuator being used with a miniature model of a project would be the 12:1 scaled “Cat D6T” Caterpillar dozer.
Our 12 VDC control boxes would allow for convenient wireless control of the PA-07 Micro Linear Actuator. By passing around the wireless hand remotes, convention attendees will have more opportunities to participate and operate the miniature models of a project.
Cosplay and Movie Props
Cosplays of sci-fi characters such as Robocop, Ironman, or original superheroes may sometimes require actuators to open a face shield, mask or hidden gadget compartments. Although the use of larger actuators and motors would be possible, overtime user fatigue may occur from carrying around a heavy costume at conventions.
Since the PA-07 is lightweight and easy to conceal under decorations and covers, it can be used for cosplays and smaller movie props that are wired to hidden rocker switches. Another reason the PA-07 would be a good actuator choice for costumes and props would be that it has an Ingress Protection rating of IP66 (water resistance), useful for when the costume needs cleaning or if there are rainy scenes in a movie that require filming. One example of this would be the robotic exoskeleton arm by Nathan Bong which has a tactical flashlight attachment that uses high beam covers driven by a PA-07 Micro Linear Actuator.
Hairdresser Robotic Arm Assistant
The hair-dressing business is a competitive market where many salons need to find ways to stay efficient and productive while maintaining customer interest. The Hairdresser Robotic Arm Assistant known as ‘Maurice 2.0’ by Joseph Dukes is a perfect example of keeping things fresh and innovative!
The primary function of Maurice 2.0 is to hold a blow dryer at any height or angle that was required. Every client has different heights and hair types, so getting the exact position is key and Joseph adjusts the position with our RC-08 joystick as he goes on with the blow dryer. It cuts drying time by half by allowing for the use of two blow dryers at the same time. Working with just one blow dryer feels primitive now! This Robotic Arm uses our PA-07 Micro Actuator to hold the blow dryer steadily and securely, even capable of holding the blow dryer in a 180° position and upside down.
Halloween Decorations and Animatronics
If you were considering having multiple DIY Halloween projects and props to fill a large empty room, an automated pumpkin project is just for you! Pumpkin carving is a classic Halloween tradition and there is no better way to practice your skills while making a DIY Automated Pumpkin such as the example we have of Mike Wazowski from the movie Monsters, Inc.
Certain Halloween projects will often have space constraints due to the size limitations of their decorations which also serves as a housing to conceal all electronic components. By programming a timer function to an Arduino microcontroller, we were able to activate the wired H-bridge speed controller to drive our PA-07 Micro Linear Actuator. The linear actuator was then mounted into place with our BRK-07 for controlled eye movements. These components combined had the compact footprint we needed to fit in a pumpkin while still providing the needed drive for moving Mike Wazowski’s eye:
Many applications may encounter space limitations while still requiring an electric linear actuator with light-duty force ratings and simple operation. In these cases, Micro Linear Actuators excel by offering a compact form factor and simple plug-and-play capabilities. This would prove that although the PA-07 is one of the few actuators that does not have customizable options, it is still a versatile and capable unit in its own way.
If you have any queries about our Micro Linear Actuators or wish to discuss our other products further, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! We are experts in what we do and will be happy to assist in any way we can.
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