Glue Stick + Servo = Linear Actuator

glue stick linear actuator

What do you get when you cross a glue stick with a hobby servo motor? A linear actuator, of course! Although this could be done with other household implements, the form factor of this glue stick seems perfectly suited to sit on top of a servo horn.

The servo, as you might have guessed, has to be converted to rotate fully instead of the 180 degrees or so that is typical of these types of motors. The trick to this, and what really makes it shine in our eyes, is that instead of attaching two resistors in a normal continuous rotation mod, the potentiometer is used on the glue stick allowing for position feedback.

The resulting force from this gear-reduced actuator is quite impressive, giving an “err” (over 3 Kilograms) on the scale used for testing. [Gareth] or [Chiprobot] gives a great tutorial of how to make one of these after the break, but if you’d rather just see it in action, skip to around 8:20!

Thanks [Jason] for letting us know about this hack!

23 thoughts on “Glue Stick + Servo = Linear Actuator

  1. Is that a hacked and modified gluestick/linear actuator servo in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? Ingenius in its simplicity. Love the homemade tape dispenser puppy…now that’s a primo hack! Wait, your not using the portable/butane solder gun to solder, I’m apalled! Also, everybody should wear Crocs when hacking, specially the steel toed versions. but cool hack.

  2. Cool stuff! I am not entirely sure how accurate his scale reading is, it seems he did that a bit backwards IMO, but all in all looks like a great build. I need me a hot knife. :)

  3. Cool idea. But that isn’t a good way to measure the force. Since the drive train is not back-driveable he could accidentally be pushing on the scale when he is trying to hold the glue stick in position. It’d be more accurate to have something rigid holding it in place.

    1. It’s good enough to see that the motor still keeps turning as he’s pressing it down, because that means it’s strong enough to push down at least that hard.

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