What is a good actuator for my robot?

Deciding which kind of actuator to use has bothered me for quite some time now. I would like to use this post to create a summary of what options are out there with pros and cons.

But first a definition. What exactly is an actuator? Actuators are used to move stuff. In my case I need actuators to move the legs of my robot. As you can se in the list below, there are a lot of different kinds of actuators to choose from:

  • Electromechanical
    • DC motor
      • Gears
      • Lead screws
      • Servos
    • Stepper motor
    • Solenoid
      • Spring return
      • Single acting 
      • Double acting 
  • Pneumatic
  • Hydraulic
    • Cylinder
      • Spring return
      • Single acting 
      • Double acting
In my next posts I will cover the pros and cons of each type of actuator in more detail.


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