[AntonB] has modified a servo into a powerful linear actuator (think: changing rotational motion into linear motion). The process is simple enough, modify a servo for continuous rotation and then add the custom built actuating shaft. You do of course lose the precision of the servo, but a small price to pay to be able to lift ~20 pounds straight up. Inspiration for such a cheap solution came from his Planetary Surface Exploration Rover. Check out a video of both after the break.