Basic Motion

Table of Contents

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1 Introduction

  • The difference between studying Systems and Control and electronics is that you will need to be able to use your circuits to make things happen in the real world. One of the coursework projects you might be asked to complete is a humane mousetrap, for instance. The first thing to understand is the four types of motion…


  • Rotary motion is defined as being, “rotation around a fixed axis”.
  • Examples of this could be a drill, a wheel or a desktop fan.


  • Oscillating motion is defined as, “repetitive change between two different states”. Examples are windscreen wipers, or a clock pendulum.


  • Linear motion is “motion along a straight line”. Examples are a paper guillotine, or a train travelling along a track.


  • Reciprocating motion is “a repetitive back and forth motion in a straight line”. Examples could be cutting with a saw or a piston in an engine.

2 Recap

Sample Questions

Task 1: Find two more examples of each type of motion.

In addition to these basic forms of motion, it is sometimes desirable to convert one type of motion into another.

Task 2: Find out how to convert each of the following: -

i) Rotary to Linear,

ii) Linear to Rotary,

iii) Rotary to Reciprocating and

iv) Oscillating to Rotary.

Tip: You may find this site helpful, as well as pages 61 and 65 of the textbook.

Past Paper Questions

June 2012, Q3a. Draw lines to link each motion description below to the correct arrow symbol. Then draw lines from each arrow symbol to the correct example at the bottom of the page. 2012_q3a.png

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