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  • Linear Actuator

    I am incorporating a remote-controlled linear actuator with 18" stroke/travel into my Chest project for a hidden storage compartment. I am wondering if anyone here has ever incorporated mechanics like this into anything?
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  • #2

    Re: Linear Actuator

    Into my woodworking? No, but as part of my actual job yes. What in particular are you worried about?

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    • #3

      Re: Linear Actuator

      Same here .... I've worked with things like that, but have never done exactly that. It would probably help if you gave us some idea of what size the drawer will be and how far it needs to move.

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      • #4

        Re: Linear Actuator

        I got a 150lb, 18" 12 volt DC actuator. My thoughts were to create a platform that lifts out of the top of the chest (like a hidden bar). The actuator would be underneath pushing directly up. I am trying to decide whether I need some sort of guided rail system for the box that will raise or if I can simply rely on the ram to lift it up smoothly and evenly. I don't want the complexity and cost of putting two actuators and getting them synchronized. But I also don't want the box to bind since the actuator should be capable of doing some real damage. The width of the platform will be @ 30". This isn't exactly a budget build but the rails are an additional $100. I also thought about just using metal drawer guides. But then I thought maybe I don't need anything. I want the box to move up the full 18" ram length. I would have gone to 20" or more, but the total opened distance for the ram and the actuator body cannot exceed 50". The actuator I got is 40" fully extended.

        The above should work and all the parts exist. But if I had my druthers, I would make a pulley system like an elevator where a motor turned and spun up a cable so that I wouldn't be constricted too much by space. I think that type of system is just too much engineering for me with limit switches, cables, pulleys, etc.

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        • #5

          Re: Linear Actuator

          That actuator will be two-directional (power up and down), so, are you going to put limit switches in to prevent damage to the wood at the ends of travel of the tray? Sorry ... I'm kinda' thinking and typing...
          Could your lift mechanism be as simple as style of the scissor lift that works underneath lift benches (think motorcycle lift bench) and have the actuator drive a cable on pullies that draw the bottom of the scissor together and then push them apart?
          cheers

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          • #6

            Re: Linear Actuator

            Are you trying to make something along the line of a TV lift? If so I'd copy the way they do it if not actually use one.

            https://www.tvliftcabinet.com

            https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Ride-.../dp/B0083SGW58

            https://www.progressiveautomations.c...tions/tv-lifts

            https://www.tvlift.com/storage-lifts...SABEgL0E_D_BwE

            Pete

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            • #7

              Re: Linear Actuator

              Instead of an 18" actuator, could you use a scissor mechanism as mentioned, or an attached lever to utilize a shorter stroke to accomplish the same movement?

              I have used this idea when using an actuator on my tractor mounted snowblower. 4" of stroke for 8" of actual throw.


              As for a "rail" to keep movement in a straight line, a simple piece of quarter sawn wood in a dado would look clean and could alleviate any racking.
              [insert something witty here]

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              • #8

                Re: Linear Actuator

                Don't forget ..... whoever reads and comments .... this is supposed to be "hidden" until the remote control activates the mechanism, so nothing can show above the drawer when it's closed ??

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                • #9

                  Re: Linear Actuator

                  Originally posted by John Bartley View Post
                  That actuator will be two-directional (power up and down), so, are you going to put limit switches in to prevent damage to the wood at the ends of travel of the tray? Sorry ... I'm kinda' thinking and typing...
                  Could your lift mechanism be as simple as style of the scissor lift that works underneath lift benches (think motorcycle lift bench) and have the actuator drive a cable on pullies that draw the bottom of the scissor together and then push them apart?
                  cheers
                  I don't need a limit switch since the actuator has a limit switch on both ends of travel. A scissor lift might work but that is getting pretty complex and I would still need an actuator.

                  Add "tv" after anything and they jack up the price to ridiculousness.

                  Beakie - Can you tell me more how you doubled the stroke? This would be ideal if I could work that out. I have, however, already purchased the 18" actuator.

                  My feeling is to try the wood/wood method for rails and see where that gets me. I think also that it would probably be ok. Well waxed and finished so it slides easily.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Linear Actuator

                    Originally posted by John Bartley View Post
                    Don't forget ..... whoever reads and comments .... this is supposed to be "hidden" until the remote control activates the mechanism, so nothing can show above the drawer when it's closed ??
                    The plan is the top of the Chest will slide forward revealing the cavity for the hidden storage that will power up via remote (or maybe alexa enabled). I am thinking a small, maybe 5" void between the back of the drawers and the back of the chest. I plan on putting a simple limit switch (in reverse) so that unless the top is slid forward, power is cut to the mechanism. That prevents the lift from activating with the top closed. This is "version 1". Future plans I would like to automate the top portion.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Linear Actuator

                      You only need rails if the part that rises is flimsy or if it will come completely out of the chute it lives in.
                      WoodBob likes this.

                      Comment

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                      • #12

                        Re: Linear Actuator

                        Originally posted by WoodBob View Post

                        I don't need a limit switch since the actuator has a limit switch on both ends of travel. A scissor lift might work but that is getting pretty complex and I would still need an actuator.

                        Add "tv" after anything and they jack up the price to ridiculousness.

                        Beakie - Can you tell me more how you doubled the stroke? This would be ideal if I could work that out. I have, however, already purchased the 18" actuator.

                        My feeling is to try the wood/wood method for rails and see where that gets me. I think also that it would probably be ok. Well waxed and finished so it slides easily.
                        The snowblower is tucked away (for a while yet hopefully!)

                        but here is a simple drawing;

                        pivots are black dots
                        small/short lever moves longer end X amount depending on length of lever & position of pivot.

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200916_202308_copy_1368x3000.jpg Views:	0 Size:	639.9 KB ID:	1296766



                        as for a "scissor lift" it doesn't have to be complicated, and it doesn't even need hard attachments.
                        Dados could act as tracks for wheels to roll in.
                        The movable part can simple ride up/down freely inside the box, on the rollers.
                        The "scissor lift" also moves freely under the moving part.

                        Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200916_202844_copy_1368x3000.jpg Views:	0 Size:	692.8 KB ID:	1296767



                        So taking in account that 4" stroke can equal X" throw when designing the scissor mechanism (lever & pivot position)
                        Last edited by beakie; 09-16-2020, 07:35 PM.
                        [insert something witty here]

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Linear Actuator

                          Originally posted by beakie View Post

                          The snowblower is tucked away (for a while yet hopefully!)

                          but here is a simple drawing;

                          pivots are black dots
                          small/short lever moves longer end X amount depending on length of lever & position of pivot.

                          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_20200916_202308_copy_1368x3000.jpg Views:	0 Size:	639.9 KB ID:	1296766



                          as for a "scissor lift" it doesn't have to be complicated, and it doesn't even need hard attachments.
                          Dados could act as tracks for wheels to roll in.
                          The movable part can simple ride up/down freely inside the box, on the rollers.
                          The "scissor lift" also moves freely under the moving part.

                          Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_20200916_202844_copy_1368x3000.jpg Views:	0 Size:	692.8 KB ID:	1296767



                          So taking in account that 4" stroke can equal X" throw when designing the scissor mechanism (lever & pivot position)
                          This helps a lot, thanks Tom!

                          It also solves the issue of slower (and cheaper) actuators. With a lift multiplication, the speed would also be twice as much. I could get a 10", 150lb actuator and with a 3 to 1 reduction "X" member, it would raise 30" and move 3x as fast. Since i am actually only lifting like 30-40lbs the extra force needed shouldn't be an issue. I probably won't do this with this build but will experiment and see what kind of efficient mechanism I can come up with. Looks like I might need a fairly strong "X" (scissor) structure to handle the forces.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Linear Actuator

                            This thread makes me want to buy a linear actuator just to play around with scissor lifting.

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