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M3-L Linear Actuator Modules

The world's smallest closed-loop linear motion system

The M3-L is a miniature high-resolution positioning system with integrated driver and closed-loop control. This compact, powerful motion system helps OEM designers improve performance and reduce the size of instruments in a wide range of applications.



The M3-L is ideal for precision tuning of optical and photonics systems. Defense applications including laser beam steering and targeting, UAV and UGV flight controls, and field-portable systems for biomedical and chemical detection and analysis. Medical applications include micro surgical devices and point-of-care systems. We have created custom M3-L modules for scientific instruments, for example electrode positioning systems.

Developer's Kits

M3-L developer’s kits provide convenient evaluation of the M3-L system and prototyping for your design.

The kit includes an M3-L linear positioning module and a USB stick to convert computer commands directly from New Scale Pathway PC software into SPI commands for the linear module. Standard tips included are bullet nose for push and eye end for pulling.

M3-L Linear Actuators

New Scale offers both standard and custom M3-L Linear Actuators. In addition to bi-directional (push/pull) systems and custom tips, we can create systems to address your requirements for travel range, module size, force, environmental conditions and more. Please see the module specification worksheet.

Download data sheet with drawings (278K PDF)

M3-L Module Specifications
The following specifications refer to the Developer's Kit module. We customize production modules to your OEM specifications.
Travel range 6 mm
Max module dimensions 28 x 13.2 x 7.5 mm 
including controller
Speed > 5 mm/s
Resolution 0.5 μm
Linear accuracy +/- 25 μm
Typical operating speed and load 5 mm/s at 0.15 N load
Maximum load (push-pull stall force with +/- 1 degree axial alignment) < 0.20 N
Maximum recommended mass 5 grams
Digital interface I2C or SPI
Input voltage 3.1 to 3.6 V
Input power* < 0.5 Watts (5mm/s at 0.15N) < 0.2 Watts quiescent
Weight of module (without tip) 4.5 grams
Control interface Via USB adapter from PC, 
or directly via I2C or SPI serial interface
Controller embedded

* Power depends on input voltage, speed and load.


M3-L Developer's Kit Ordering Information
Model Description Buying options
DK-M3L-1.8-TRK-6.0-S Developer's kit including M3-L actuator,  "push" and "pull" ends, USB adapter (SPI), connecting cables, mounting hardware and New Scale Pathway software.

Buy online (via ams)
 - Digi-Key
 - Mouser

Find a local rep
 - See listing

M3-L-1.8-6.0 M3-L Linear Actuator with built-in controller

Contact us

 Contact us for custom or high-volume requirements.


M3-L Module Block Diagram

The SQUIGGLE motor moves a mechanical assembly which is designed to fit the application. The NSE-5310 position sensor detects the movement of a multi-pole magnetic strip attached to the moving mechanical assembly, and provides the direct digital position information to the motion control processor.

The on-board NSD motor drive ASIC accepts commands from the processor and drives the motor. System input is provided as high-level commands from the system microprocessor via standard I2C or SPI serial interface. NO EXTERNAL CONTROL BOARD IS NEEDED. The M3-L operates on standard 3.3 V battery power.

Integration and Stages

The M3-L is a linear actuator and requires careful attention to loading under static and dynamic conditions. More information including integration guide and CAD file are available for download here (registration required). 

If you are developing or buying a translation stage to use with the M3-L actuator, consider the M3-LS Linear Smart Stage instead. This precision microstage has very high lateral stability, very low and uniform friction, and built-in absolute encoding. The actuator and controller are built into the stage for smallest size and optimal performance. 

Learn more about the M3 Micromechatronic platform