technical advice for a girl please :)

Hi there.

Im currently redesigning a previous concept and I am thinking about incorporating some more slightly technical processes that I am not entirely clued up about.

Basically… I have designed an extending aluminum pendant lamp. There is a main body, and then two smaller sections that extend from either side (looks similar to an aeroplane wing). At the moment these pieces are extended by hand on a drawer runner, but I have been thinking about making this action motorized (As simple and cheaply as possible), I have had advice from friends who have said to look into Linear actuators, and rotating servos but there all a bit big and I don’t really understand the rotating servos. I want the mechanism to be as small as possible as I havn’t got a lot of space to play around with.

Any advice, help would be much appreciated, or if anyone can point me in the direction of someone who can.


Servo’s can come in small packages. There are some real small ones designed for use use in lightweight R/C gliders that are less than half the size and weight of regular servo’s. The downside is that they have a smaller motor and are therefore weaker.

Linear actuators are bulky… unless you make your own with a small motor and a “screw rod”. (Maybe even from an old scanner?)

Can you give us some more details about the size of the device, the space you have available for a motor system, the amount of force required to move the parts, etc?

I agree that a small servo can do this, but just how small?

With the correct linkage, one servo can extend them both, saving space and money.

Assuming they extend horizontally, so that gravity is not much of an issue, you can use a small scale of the sort fishermen use to weigh their catch.

Pull the wings out using the scale, and make a note of the force required.

That will tell you how powerful a servo you will need.

How about some photos please so we can understand exactly what this thing is?