[Raul] built a cheap linear actuator out of a drawer slide and a surplus flatbed scanner.
A few builds we’ve seen, like the PCB drill press or the horribly inefficient thermostat, used linear actuators as key components of their builds. These linear actuators are fairly expensive compared to other parts we usually have lying around so going the homebrew route to reduce costs is always a welcome idea.
The first step of [Raul]’s build is to mount a drawer slide to a piece of wood. A stepper motor is attached to one end of the actuator and a timing belt is strung along the length of the assemblage. After a bracket is connected the drawer slide and the belt, you’ve got a very inexpensive linear motor.
In our days of dumpster diving, we can’t count the number of times we’ve passed up on drawer slides in unwanted furniture. Stepper motors, gear trains and timing belts from old ScanJets can be found for pocket change any day of the week. For cheap and accurate linear motion, we couldn’t come up with a build that does better than [Raul]’s.