Build a Linear Actuator

Project description

This project demonstrates how to reconfigure old drilldriver motors into high-power linear actuators. Linear actuators are valuable electromitive mechanisms in the field of robotics.

Build time: 3 hours
Apply safety precautions as needed
Linear actuator


  • Electric drill driver
  • Plywood
  • Wood screws
  • Threaded rod
  • Aluminum block


  • Electric drill driver
  • x/y drill bit
  • x/y drill bit
  • Handsaw
  • Circular table saw
  • Rotary grinder with a metal cutting disk
  • x/y threaded tap
Remove screws

Begin by removing the screws from the drill driver's plastic housing.

Cut away vent cover

Remove the top panel and use a small handsaw saw to cut out the vent cover.

Drill through screw holes

Use a 1/8 inch drill bit to drill through the screw holes on either side of the mandril.

Saw off handle

Saw off the handle flush with the bottom of the motor enclosure.

Drill with handle removed

This is what the drill will look like once the handle has been removed.

Wooden drill enclosure

You will need to measure and cut a wooden enclosure to fit the size of the drill you are using.

Attach drill to enclosure

Screw the drill to the wooden enclosure.

Drill attached to enclosure

This is how the drill should look with the wooden shrouding attached.

Drilled Aluminum block

I used an a x b x c block of aluminum. A hole was drilled through the center, and then tapped with a x/y inch tap to match the x/y threaded rod.