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! [Read more...]

Large 7 Segment Display Made from Glue

We here at Hack A Day love LED’s, and all things LED related, but one of the biggest problems with LED’s are the small size. We want bigger and brighter, matrices the size of our TV, seven segments as big as a wall and a single white led the size of a baseball, and brighter than the sun!

I was recently commissioned to make a device which uses a pretty large number display, and I went out shopping. The seven segment we liked best was still quite pricey, and would not fit our enclosure correctly anyway. We ended up going a different route, but it really got me thinking… What if you wanted to make something with a fairly large display? And how could one go about doing it cheaply at home?

I first thought about acrylic rods, but no one near me had any of small diameter, or at a decent price. Never mind that I don’t have that many tools on hand, and I could just see me trying to drill out the end of a thin plastic rod using a electric hand drill, and my knees as a clamp. Looking around the HQ I found my stash of glue-sticks. I thought would make an interesting display and it is easy to work with.

Before I knew it I had a working (serial and expandable) 9 inch tall 6 inch wide 7 segment display. I will be the fist to admit, its not spectacular in quality, or brightness, though the display itself did only cost four dollars in material. A quick and easy project, especially if you need a quick scoreboard or large clock.

Join us after the break to see how the display and the controller circuit are made.

[Read more...]