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Thread: Linear Actuator

  1. #1
    69morpho Guest

    Linear Actuator

    Hi there,

    I am building 2 pendulums for a theater production. Ideally they would be some 26 ft long. We made a test with an electric tube linear actuator incl. slide rail mounted to the ceiling and a hinged 10 ft aluminum tube attached to the rod/plunger of the actuator. The actuator was controlled by a simple DPDT relay.

    The actuator used was Firingelli's high-speed actuator with the following specs:

    Dynamic Force: 22 lb
    Static Force: 44 lb
    Speed ("/S): 4.5" (9" at no load)
    Current: 5A max
    Duty Cycle: 20% at 100% load, 50% at 25% of load
    Input: 12v DC
    Stroke: 10 in


    It works quite well as long as you make sure you don't go over the 20% duty cycle.

    Once we tried out a 26 ft pendulum the stroke speed was unfortunately too slow to produce a significant pendulum swing.

    We also tested a different model with similar specs from Progressive Automations with a 16 inch stroke which actually made the pendulum swing less (see -

    My guess is that a higher speed and duty cycle would significantly improve the results. We've actually tried higher duty cycles up to 60% and achieved a much longer pendulum swing, at least for a while before the actuator burned out. Ouch!

    Question to the forum: Do you know of an electric high speed actuators 4 in/sec or more, 22 lbs or more and a duty cycle 20% or (much) more?

    I am aware that a pneumatic control would be much better but considering my deadline and the potential noise from a pneumatic actuator I try to stick to electric at this point.

    Do you maybe know another forum outside of Arduino that might be able to help out?

    Thank you for your help in advance!


  2. #2

    Re: Linear Actuator

    What's your budget? That's a pretty big thing to move, and thus will need a fair bit of force or torque.

    Also, you don't necessarily need to have a fast stroke, if you mount the actuation point closer to the hinge. On the other hand, you need more force capability for that to work.
    Also, tuning the stroke of the actuator to the natural motion of the pendulum (from gravity) at the natural speed, will make the actuator have to work less.

    Anyway, an alternative would be a regular motor, with a gearbox, or a large stepper motor. 26 feet of aluminum (or anything, really,) is still a large amount of torque, so you'd have to go for factory automation/industrial control type equipment.
    The kind that drives conveyor belts, etc.

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