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Finding an actuator?

  1. Feb 17, 2012 #1
    I've been searching, and does anyone know where to get a small, cheap, rotary actuator (or really any actuator that can be used to rotate an object)? I've found lots of places saying stuff ABOUT actuators, but none selling them, or found them selling them for quite a lot of money, which I don't really have . . .

    I just need it to be small and quiet and have either full rotation or, even better, 180° rotation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2012 #2
    mcmaster carr?
    any place that sells stepper motors?
  4. Feb 17, 2012 #3
    Oh wow. How I missed them is beyond me. The 1183K103 looks pretty good. I'm assuming that, like with the linear actuators, that I can just connect the two wires appropriately to a switch to move it?
  5. Feb 17, 2012 #4
    "actuator" is too general a term to be googling and expecting a consumer grade product as a result.

    "Rotary actuator" = MOTOR
    That Spinning Thing that transducers electrical energy into rotational mechanical motion is generally called an Electrical Motor

    "Stepper Motor" is the easiest to conceptually understand, acquire, and implement for a beginner. Near plug and play operation can be obtained without EE expertise by finding an appropriate "stepper motor IC" in DIP form, sticking it into a breadboard, and following the datasheet for the IC to connect appropriate leads. Note that stepper motors constantly consume current and generate heat while in operation.
  6. Feb 17, 2012 #5
    that was just the initial search, but then adding in more specifics and purchasing terms like "buy" still didn't turn up much =\

    Wouldn't the "actuator" motor be more useful in making an object turn (the end goal is to have a "foot pedal" to control the angle using your feet)?
  7. Feb 17, 2012 #6
    *Sorry for the double post*

    So I searched for "Small Electric Motor" (as sparked by your post) and found this:


    Now all technical stuff aside (you know, like the DC part, 12v, whatever), I'm assuming this is what I'm looking for (turning my object). Sorry for asking so much. I've just ended up wasting a lot of money when I don't do a lot of research and asking around, so I've kinda made a habit of asking quite a lot of questions before every purchase.
  8. Feb 18, 2012 #7


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    There are also pneumatic rotor actuators. As found here

    May not be cheap, depending on your definition of cheap! They give a very repeatable rotation angle but will require some additional pneumatic plumbing.
  9. Feb 18, 2012 #8
    Small DC motors are definitely cheap to acquire. However they can only be easily implemented in a way that either lets you control whether they spin or not spin. Much more complicated control circuits have to be used, such as an in-line potentiometer in a feedback loop, if you require the motor to rotate to specific positions. That's called a "servo" motor in general. Lots of hobbyist sites sell small servo motors with the feedback circuits and gears and potentiometer already wired up in a package. They might cost more than the average stepper motor however, which doesn't require feedback circuits and can be driven "open loop". You can buy fairly cheap controllers for those as well. Try sparkfun.com
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