The Mighty Lip Balm Linear Actuator

Make one from a Blistex tube, mini hobby servo, and an aluminum shaft.

Written by MATT PEICK

image

Nate Van Dyke

I needed a small linear actuator (a mechanism for creating motion in a straight line) for a project and was finding only oversized or cost-prohibitive solutions. Industrial automation actuators have plenty of muscle but rarely come in small packages. Hobby linear actuators come with a smaller footprint but can be costly. I’ve often wondered about the load capacity of the screw and nut contained in a standard lip balm tube, so I collected all the lip balm tubes I could find and started testing.

One stood ...

Get Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 34 now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.