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Flexible PCB Actuator

The thinnest Magnetic Actuator!

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So far in my pcb motor projects the magnet was being actuated by the fix stator. With this flex pcb i have managed to do the opposite, have a fixed magnet that moves the pcb by its alternating magnetic field.

The pcb is dual layer and is 0.13mm thick. Although it has only 70 turns, the thin dielectric will improve the coupling.

RAR Archive - 419.09 kB - 07/31/2018 at 23:53

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  • New PCB

    Carl Bugeja08/31/2018 at 22:06 0 comments

    Just received the new flexible PCB actuators! I'll be selling some of these on Tindie! I'll just have to find some time to set up my store! So far I have only selected the name Microbots

  • Paper Robot

    Carl Bugeja08/26/2018 at 23:48 0 comments

    This week I came up with this simple tiny robot prototype which is made from a piece of paper and my magnetic pcb actuator! Check out the video bellow :)

    Someone on twitter suggested to draw on it. So I did and it ended up looking like a tiny minion. 

  • New Single Coil PCB Actuator

    Carl Bugeja08/20/2018 at 22:00 0 comments

    Designed a new single coil Flex PCB Actuator! I'm planning to use this as a tiny flap/fin. It the same number of turns as my previous 12 coil pcb.

  • SOFT ROBOTICS

    Carl Bugeja08/18/2018 at 14:00 0 comments

    This video shows the different type of soft actuator prototypes I have managed to build with my flexible PCB. These include flaps, fins and a very weak robotic muscle with a magnetic bone structure.

    It also shows a glimpse of a robotic fish prototype that I'm started working on.

  • The Magnetic-Bone Structure Prototype

    Carl Bugeja08/13/2018 at 20:46 0 comments

  • Testing

    Carl Bugeja08/09/2018 at 21:19 1 comment

    Before I can start building robots with this thing, I need to measure its characteristics and test its limitations.

    In this video, I have tested my Flexible PCB actuator and also compared it to my Linear PCB Motor which has the same dimensions but different layer count. The measured data is shown bellow:

      4-Layer Linear PCB Motor 2-Layer Flex PCB Actuator
    Resistance 32Ω 23Ω
    Maximum Temperature @ 5V 51°C 76°C
    Power 0.75W 0.9W


    The flex PCB has half the turns, so its resistance is lower. This means that more current can pass through it, so obviously it gets a little hotter. This means that this flexible pcb actuator can be used with lower voltages. The thin dielectric of this pcb also improves the coupling of the magnetic field.

    I was also able to reach a maximum operating frequency of 65Hz.

  • Open Source Files

    Carl Bugeja07/31/2018 at 23:49 0 comments

    Today I have submitted the Flexible PCB Actuator for the www.pcbway.com PCB-Design Contest! 

    You can now also buy or download the free open source gerber files from the link bellow!

  • PCB Actuators can get hungry

    Carl Bugeja07/31/2018 at 22:51 0 comments

  • First Test!

    Carl Bugeja07/24/2018 at 17:55 0 comments

    Ok so lets be honest. I did not expected this thing to work. I was afraid that its resistance is going to be too small that it will over heat. But it actually didn't.

    The pcb is dual layer and is 0.13mm thick. Although it only has 70 turns, the thin dielectric will improve the coupling. The flex PCB is made from a polyimide material which is highly resistant to heat, which makes the surface barely hot.

    In the video I am driving with a 5V voltage supply and it is drawing around 600mA.

  • Project Details

    Carl Bugeja07/24/2018 at 17:53 0 comments

    This project was inspired from my Linear PCB Motor (https://hackaday.io/project/158017-linear-pcb-motor) which is the same size board but stacked in 4-layers. In this project I have manged to have a fixed stator and move a magnet on top of it. With the flex-PCB I want to do the opposite, and have the printed board attracted to the magnet.

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Discussions

el jonco wrote 08/05/2018 at 06:28 point

With a row of magnets underneath the strip, pull coil 1, push coil 2 and 3, pull coil 4. This will bend your strip like an omega. Release coils 1-3 and you have forwarded your strip by 1 coil, caterpillar way.

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Simon Merrett wrote 07/24/2018 at 21:42 point

Fantastic! How about a swimming motion (like the Festo cuttlefish) by rippling that PCB up and down a "spine" and having fins down the side which follow the motion, transferring it to the fluid?

I also wonder if you can put two PCBs together and mechanically couple them for increased force.

Final thought - how about switching fluid flow with a valve made from this?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Carl Bugeja wrote 07/25/2018 at 01:39 point

Hi! I have already done some experimentation on ferrofluid and pcb coils - https://youtu.be/18ib3ojORBw

It certainly possible, if i add a ferrite core and find an easy way to make a pocket/valve.

Regarding the fish, have you seen the end of the video? That's exactly what I had in mind 🙂

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