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help with linear motion

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Mr.M:
So I need some sort of actuator to provide a straight linear motion.  What first came to mind was using a solenoid but from what I take on them is that they are more of a rapid back and forth motion with no control on how far it extends, where as I need a slow and smooth actuator where I can control the distance.  Am I wrong on how solenoids work? Is there a better option?  This may be simple to others but for some reason I'm stumped. Thanks.

Azraels:
well did you try googling linear actuators  :P

This was one of the first hits: http://www.servocity.com/html/12v_linear_actuators.html
Im sure there are cheaper on Ebay and just looking around.

If your looking for something tiny, cd players, cd-dvd drives have a small actuator that moves the laser back and forth for reading the disc.

newInRobotics:

--- Quote from: Mr.M on March 12, 2013, 12:33:02 PM ---So I need some sort of actuator to provide a straight linear motion.  [...] I need a slow and smooth actuator where I can control the distance.
--- End quote ---
Have You considered leadscrew? It can be easily made DIY style using threaded rod and a nut. Simply make motor spin threaded rod and see nut moving up and down the thread.

uirobot:
Sure you need a Threaded Rod Stepper Motor with Acme Leadscrew.

jwatte:
A "voice coil" might be an option. It's basically a solenoid with position control.

A higher-torque option is stepper motor (or gear motor) with a lead screw and drive nut or bearing. Perhaps coupled with an encoder of some sort. That's how most linear actuators you can buy are built.

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