Introduction: Pnuematics for Robotics

This is an Instructable on Pnuematics. The medium that
uses compressed air. Like the air under pressure in a

bike or car tire. A pump (air compressor) provides the

air pressure to move an air cylinder. Air cylinders are

one of the main components for robotics. It is the

hardware that makes robots move. The medium is

simple, safe and reliable. They can be made incredibly

sophisticated and complex or quite simple.

You could spend your life studying this field, it is quite


Here is a pnuematicly operated Handshaking Robot of mine;

Step 1: Air Clylinders

Air Cylinders
You can attach the object you want to move to the end of the cylinder or attach

a linkage to the end of the cylinder to get more complex movements.

Pneumatic cylinders (sometimes known as air cylinders) are mechanical devices

which produce force, often in combination with movement, and are powered by

compressed gas (typically air). There are 2 ports on most air cylinders, at the top and bottom. If you send air

to the bottom of the cylinder the rod extends, if the air goes to the top of the

cylinder, it retracts.

Here is a pnuematic robot I built with many air cylinders and valves.

AND, another;

Step 2: Air Valves

Air Valves

We will use an air valve made specifically for air cylinders. The valve routes the

air to the cylinder extending the drive rod or retracting it creating

movement. Compressed air creates kinetic energy. The action of an air cylinder is

to drive a piston, and so, ultimately, the function of the entire machine can be

anything that's operated or actuated by the movement of piston.

Read more :

There are a lot of variations of air cylinders and valves. A coupleof photos and a drawing are


There is a wide spectrum of air valves. Essentially there are 3 main valves. One

way single acting valves. 2-way valves and 3-way valves. They can be manually operated or electrically operated. Manual valves use a lever to operate them. Electric ones can be operated by a push button sending the appropriate amount of electricity to actuate the valve. Sensors can also be used and are what are being used in the previous videos of my work.

Here is a video of an air valve operating an air cylinder;

Here is a A Robotic Hand of mine.

A human hand operates an air valve. This triggers an air cylinder, the cylinder opens and closes hands.

Here is a piece of mine that uses pnuematics;

Step 3: Resources and Parts!

Here is a very informative scan from the Grainger catalog.

You can find parts on ebay, Grainger, many more places and,

used here;