Monday, 20 February 2017

Attention All Makers!



Are you a maker, hobbyist or DIY enthusiast?

Do you love to create? Maybe you have a great idea for a linear motion project but lacking the cash or motivation to build it. Have you used YouTube, Instructables or another such platform to feature your projects in the past?

Actuonix Motion Devices is interested in partnering with YOU. We're looking for somebody who is interested in featuring Actuonix Motion Devices in their next project. We're willing to donate the linear actuators necessary for your project and may consider a full sponsorship for the right project.
Some ideas for project builds:

  • Robot, robotic arm etc.
  • Lego projects using our Lego Actuators
  • RC vehicles
  • Home automation
  • Vehicle automation
  • Arduino projects featuring our linear actuators
  • Bonus points for projects with wireless control!
  • Whatever you can dream up, we want to hear it!

We're excited to see what people can build with our actuators. We're hoping that this opportunity will inspire you to get started on your next big project!
What are we asking in exchange

  • You be willing to complete the project within an agreed-upon time frame
  • Provide high-resolution photos as well as a build video
  • Share the project with your circle of influence

Requirements

  • Must be competent with electronics/robotics
  • Have a documented history of building similar projects
  • Be willing to give us feedback on how our products performed
  • That's it!
Do you think you may be our builder? If so, send an email to marketing@actuonix.com with some information about yourself. Include links to projects you've built in the past.

Thanks for your time, we're looking forward to working with you!



Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Linear Servo Projects

What are RC Linear Servos

RC linear servos are a plug and play replacement for standard rotary servos. They use the same 3-wire connector as standard rotary servos (power, ground and signal). The difference is that they offer linear motion. They are ideal for a variety of RC applications including sliding airplane canopies, retractable landing gear, air brakes, steering and various lifting functions on excavators, loaders, dozers and other scale equipment.

Why use linear servos

There are a couple of main reasons that hobbyists choose to use RC linear servos in their projects.

1. Rotary motion isn't great for all applications

Rotary servos are great, and can be used to create linear motion but it requires much more engineering to do so. 

2. Higher force

RC linear servos provide more force than can be achieved with a standard hobby servo. The L16-R for example, has an impressive max force of 45lbs depending on the gearing.

3. Simplicity

Some hobbyists just don't want to bother creating complicated linkages and mounts to make a standard servo work for their model. RC linear servos come with a hardware kit and clevises that make it easy to mount on any project.

Linear servo projects


Below are some examples of projects that have been built using Actuonix's line of RC linear servos. 

1. Sliding Plane Canopy

This 79" P40 model plane was built by Lou DiMarco. Wanting to add a realistic touch to the plane, he decided to make the canopy slide back and forth. For this, he used an L12-100-100-6-R linear servo. Lou has built an amazing model here and it's a perfect example of how putting in a little extra effort can really make your model stand out!




2. R2D2

This R2D2 model was built by Douglas Bickert. The attention to detail on this model is amazing. The R2D2 responds to voice commands by Douglas and performs various functions that are driven by Actuonix micro linear servos. This project is a great example of what's possible when you commit to building something truly unique.




3. RC Excavator

This machine is one of many custom builds by RCP57. Check out his YouTube channel for all of his amazing custom models. This Bruder Cat 320 conversion uses a continuous rotation servo to rotate the top of the machine, while four linear servos lift the boom and stick, as well as the bucket. This is a great example of an application where it just doesn't make sense to use rotary servos as high force is needed.




4. RC Quadcopter Retractable Gear

This Hoverthings VC550 was built by Ian Greig. The retractable landing gear is a custom built addition and is powered by four L12-R linear servos. The ability to retract the gear while in flight makes this model far more impressive.




The world of RC linear servos is rapidly evolving and as new models become available, talented hobbyists like the ones mentioned above find new and interesting ways to use these devices. If you are a hobbyist that needs linear motion for your next project, we offer the widest range of linear servos available.

Our 21 models range in stroke from 20mm through to 200mm and feature maximum forces from 2lbs-40lbs to cover a variety of applications.

Want more information? Check out our popular line of RC linear servos and their specifications here.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Announcing Our New T16 Track Actuator

Linear track actuator
Actuonix Motion Devices is proud to announce the launch of our new line of actuators, the T16 track actuator or as we call them around here "tracktuator". As the newest member of the Actuonix family of products, the T16 has been designed to push the boundaries of automation and highlights our company's commitment to leadership and innovation in the micro-motion marketplace. 


We have designed and engineered this new line of products specifically to meet the growing demand for tiny actuators across a wide variety of industries. With it's shorter overall length and side-load tolerance, the T16 is ideal for hundreds of applications in robotics, medical devices, automation as well as DIY projects.

Why Track Actuators

We're always on top of what's happening in the linear motion industry. We've been noticing a demand for micro track actuators for some time now. This is for a variety of reasons.

Micro linear actuators, although incredibly useful, fall short in a couple of key areas. By design, linear actuators are quite long as the shaft needs space to retract into the actuator. Track actuators are significantly shorter for the same amount of travel, effectively saving space in your project.

Track actuators excel in another key area - side loading. Micro linear actuators are only tolerant to minimal side loads. Track actuators are ideal for applications where there is going to be a more significant side load on the device.

Available Models

In development for over a year, all 18 models of our micro linear track actuators are officially available in limited quantities on our web store as of today. Products will come back into stock regularly as we focus on ramping up production of these new units. They will be available in larger quantities in the Spring of this year.
micro linear track actuators
Currently, there are 18 new models of track actuators available. They're offered in 100mm, 200mm and 300mm strokes. The 300mm track actuator represents our longest stroke product yet. They are offered with the same gearing options as our P16 line, 22:1, 63:1 and 256:1.

As with our P16 lineup, we're offering them as a P or an S series. The P series offer analog position feedback the can be used with an external controller. These can also be used with our Linear Actuator Control Board, giving you the ability to control it via USB. The LAC board allows you to adjust speed, sensitivity an set stroke end-limits right from the board. You can buy the LAC board for half price ($20) with the purchase of a P series actuator.

The S series features end of stroke limit switches that will turn the unit off if run to the end of it's stroke. These can be controlled via a dual pole dual throw switch or relay. For use with radio control, you can use a brushed reversible DC motor controller.

Choosing The Correct Track Actuator

With 18 new models available, it may be challenging to choose the correct track actuator for your application. To help you out, here's a demo video showing you how fast our P16 actuators move with all three gearing options. These are the same gearing options as the T16, but a T16 speed and power video is coming soon.


If you have any questions about this new line, or need help choosing the correct device for your needs, call or email our sales department via our contact page. We will be happy to assist you.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What Are Micro Linear Actuators?



Micro Linear Actuator


Micro linear actuators are small devices that convert rotary motion into linear motion. They work in much the same way as large-scale actuators, but are physically smaller in size. This makes them more suitable to tight spaces and applications where weight must be kept to a minimum.

There is no hard and fast rule for what makes an actuator 'micro' but generally speaking, micro linear actuators have a stroke of less than 300mm and offer less than 100lbs of maximum force.

You'll find these devices in thousands of applications across dozens of industries including robotics, aerospace, medical devices and radio control. RC linear servos are also compatible with arduino and thus becoming more popular with the DIY crowd.

Benefits

Of course the main benefit of micro linear actuators is their relatively small size. Size, weight and cost restrictions have kept linear actuators out of consumer products for a long time. Actuonix changed that in 2005 with the development of the first affordable, reliable micro linear actuator.  Electric micro linear actuators are slowly replacing pneumatic and hydraulics as the preferred solution for all types of automation applications.

Design

Electric micro linear actuators fall into one of two categories: inline or side by side. Inline actuators are typically thinner and a little bit longer than their side by side cousins. They are ideal for small spaces. Below is an example of an inline actuator and a side by side actuator


Micro Linear Actuator


Side by side actuators tend to be more powerful due to the added space for a larger motor. They have a larger cross section but also have a shorter installation length, which can be better for some applications.   

The shaft of a micro linear actuator can be either circular or square in shape. They will typically be constructed of aluminum or another high-quality metal. There are exceptions here, our PQ12 is constructed of plastic and is tough as nails with a max force of over 11lbs!

Difference between micro linear actuators and servos

Micro linear actuators and linear servos are very similar and the term you use can depend on the industry you're working with. R/C and robotics hobbyists will be more familiar with the word 'servo' as rotary servos have been popular in those spaces for many years. The term actuators tends to be used more by industry and the scientific community.  

For the purposes of this article, I'm referring to all products as 'actuators' with the exception of our 'R' series, which is a direct plug-and-play replacement for rotary servos.

Control

Most micro linear actuators are a simple 2-wire 12v device that is operated by reversing the polarity of the applied voltage. Simple and effective. This is great for some basic automation projects.
Actuonix Motion Devices leads the micro motion industry when it comes to control options. We offer 4 different control options off the shelf to better accommodate the needs of our clients.

S Series

Our S series is the simplest micro linear actuator that we offer. As described above, they use a 6V or 12V input and are controlled by reversing the polarity. Our S series actuators come with end of stroke limit switches to prevent motor damage.
The P series micro linear actuator, has an internal position feedback sensor instead of limit switches.  This sensor allows you to connect a position controller of your choice to automate the actuator.  We offer a control board called the LAC board which allows you to adjust the speed, set end limits and adjust the sensitivity.

R Series

Our R series linear servos are a direct plug-and-play replacement for regular rotary servos. They will work with most R/C receivers as well as arduino, VEX and Raspberry Pi.
The I series micro linear actuator has an embedded internal position controller that will allow you to send a variety of position commands which the actuator will follow. Designed for the industrial and scientific market, it can accept an analog voltage, PWM voltage, 4-20 mA current from a PLC, and RC signal inputs.

Industries and uses

The potential applications for micro linear actuators are endless. Any project that requires linear motion but has space or weight restrictions is an ideal candidate. Below, I've listed a few examples of industries or groups that commonly use actuators to give you an idea of how versatile these things are.

  • Robotics – OEM companies and hobbyists alike use micro linear actuators on everything from mass-produced robotic hands to carefully-crafted, home-built R2D2 models with full functionality.
  • Radio Control – Linear actuators are a popular choice among RC enthusiasts. Sliding canopies, retractable landing gear, excavator and bulldozer control as well as automated dump truck boxes are common
  • Arduino – Our micro linear actuators drive thousands of arduino projects from animatronic Christmas and Halloween displays, to auto-closing chicken coops.
  • Industrial – Thousands of potential applications



Choosing the right Micro Linear Actuator for your project

Start with stroke. Measure how far you need the actuator to drive to accomplish your goal. Next is force or speed, how much force do you need or how fast does it need to move?  Remember these two factors are linked because for any actuator the more load you add, the slower it will go.  Use our speed vs. force charts to pick the gear ratio that is most suitable for your application.

Now that you have a good idea what you need in terms of physical capability, you need to decide how you will control the actuator. Do you want a basic 12V reversing polarity setup, or do you need to control your end limits. Do you plan to use arduino?

If you need help choosing the correct micro linear actuator for your project or product, send us an email or call our sales department and we'll be happy to help you choose the micro linear actuator that will best suit your needs.
Monday, 23 January 2017

Why Choose Actuonix Motion Devices?



micro linear actuators


An Industry Leader Since 2005


Actuonix Motion Devices (formerly Firgelli Technologies) has been a leading manufacturer of micro linear actuators and servos since 2005. All of our products are designed from scratch, by our in-house team of engineers. We pride ourselves on providing affordable, quality micro-motion solutions to a wide variety of industries.

Whether you're designing a new product for an OEM company or customizing a scale RC model, we're confident that we can offer you the right linear motion solution for your project.

More Strokes, Gearing Options and Control Options

With over 145 different models, we have the widest variety of products in the industry. We offer strokes ranging from 10mm-300mm and forces up to 67lbs. In addition, we have 4 different series of actuators with different options for control. 

This means that whether you're using an RC receiver, an arduino, VEX, a custom controller or simple reversing polarity, we've got the right actuator for your project. Need something to work with a PLC or your DAQ? We've got you covered there too. You don't need to waste time trying to make the wrong product work for your application.

Quality

With more than a decade in business, our engineers are world-class professionals at developing linear motion devices. Constantly on the hunt for new ways to improve on design and functionality, our products are load-tested to failure to make sure that everything we sell lives up to your expectations. 

We also test every single actuator for quality before it leaves our facility to make sure that you're getting a device that will last.

Outstanding Service

Actuonix offers customer service by email or phone from 7:30am-3:00pm PST. Our trained sales and support staff know our products inside and out and will help you choose the best device for your application.

Custom Actuators

Actuonix Motion Devices offers a custom linear actuator design service. With a minimum order quanitity of 500 units, we can make customizations such as:

  • Adding your choice of electrical connector
  • Modifying the length of the connection wire
  • Changing the position of the limit switches to adjust stroke
  • Fitting the product with a custom rod tip attachment to suit your project
  • Fitting a custom gear ratio motor to change the speed/force
  • Using custom lubricants for low temperature operation

Bulk Discounts

We also offer our customers bulk discounts for orders of more than 10 actuators, as well as student discounts for actuators that are shipped to an educational facility. Are you on a FIRST robotics team? Our line of linear actuators is FIRST compliant to get your machine moving for the next competition.

Shipping

We ship worldwide via UPS or Fedex, and are happy to use your account with another carrier if you prefer. Orders leave our facility between 1pm and 3pm weekdays. For in-stock orders, we try to ship same-day

With a knowledgeable team and products that have stood the test of time, we're confident that Actuonix is the right choice to make your project move. For more information, contact us today!