Today, lifting mechanisms are widely applied in both domestic and industrial purpose automation. Featuring a simple construction controlled by the push of a button, automated lifts can help solve a wide array of tasks like freight transportation, position optimization, automated opening/closing of doors and windows and so on. In this article, we will discuss how to make a lifting mechanism and which tools one will require to do it. We will also highlight our top-3 DIY solutions that employ the discussed means of automation.
What is a Lifting Mechanism
There are many ways to generate linear motion, which lies in the essence of any lifting mechanism. The most common option employs a rod (slider) that moves linearly in a set direction. This construction builds the body of a linear actuator. The screw-gear is usually used to create linear movements in the linear actuator construction. The male screw rotates clockwise or counter clockwise while the rotation causes the linear movement of a slider connected to the female screw to move along the male screw. Engines used in linear actuators are mostly the devices powered by the direct current (DC). Although, there are also pneumatic and hydraulic engines.
In order to change the linear actuator slider’s direction of the movement, i.e., make the mechanism move down instead of up, it is necessary to change its engine’s direction of the movement. If we are talking about using an engine that is powered by the DC, one must change the power polarity by switching the two engine power wires. The most trivial solution to this task would be to use a special switch to configure the polarity. To stop the rod in end positions, an actuator is featured with the built-in micro switches that work at the moment of the screw reaching the extreme position inside an actuator body. In a lifting mechanism, this means stopping its movement and fixate in a certain position. Such microswitches are equipped with special indicators, one of which is installed on the extreme position, another on the opposite extreme point.
These indicators help shut down the engine power when the screw touches extreme points. Drives also use such elements like a reducer to achieve sufficient speed of rotational power. This element can vary the speed of rotation in the rod, which eventually affects the final speed of linear movements. It also affects the force with which the rod moves, the higher the reducer’s speed ratio, the more force, and less speed there is. However, even if your drive is of the most primitive construction and does not employ a reducer, the rod speed is still dependent on the force put into making it move. The higher the speed of rod movement, the less the force and vice versa.
Types of Linear Actuators
As we have already mentioned, the most accessible way to build a lifting mechanism is to place a linear actuator at its core. Linear drives can be subdivided into electric and pneumatic.
Electric linear actuators convert regular electricity into motion defined by the laws of mechanics. They use electric rotary engines that transform the rotational movement into a progressive-linear one. Thus, a rotary element moves a rod with the help of the mechanic transformer like, for example, via the ball-screw or roller-screw assembly. It also causes smooth direct movement. Pneumatic linear actuators are characterized by featuring a forcer inside a hollow cylinder that is enabled with the help of pressure generated by an external compressor or pump. As pressure grows, the forcer moves endwise. In order to return the forcer to the initial position, a spur or pressurized gas is injected from the other side of the forcer. A hydraulic lift mechanism based on the hydraulic linear drive works similarly to the pneumatic actuator’s scheme. However, it employs liquid that is being pumped in externally.
It is noticeable that the most popular type of actuator is the electric one. They rarely break and can be enclosed in the maximum compact form factor. Moreover, this type of actuators is regarded to be the most efficient one from the movement speed, preciseness, and push/pull power perspective.
How To Create A Lifting Mechanism
In order to implement the construction single-handedly, one will need two things. Firstly, a properly selected linear drive and a switch to control it. Other parts, such as the mounting parts of a lifting mechanism, will directly depend on the structural peculiarities of a certain device or equipment using the linear drive.
Choosing the correct linear actuator is an essential task. These devices are compact, cost-efficient engines that consist of the guideway and the worm gear type screw. The slider normally required 12V or 24V of power to move, although, there are models with various technical specifications. This power will be quite enough to make an object connected to the sliding element move up and down according to the guideway. They are available in a wide range of characteristics, such as carrying capacity, length of guideways, and power. This means that you can select the fitting option depending on how fast the movement is which one needs to achieve or how heavy the weight needed to lift is.
It is important to select a model that can handle the weight heavier by about one and a half times than the maximum planned weight to carry. The length of movement should also be 1 inch longer than what is needed. Finally, consider the speed of movement. In certain cases, the devices move too sharply, especially when it comes to high precision equipment. As for the selection of a switch, a Double Pole Double Throw switch (DPDT) that allows the change of direction and stall the movement with the push of the lever is ordinarily used. In order to utterly facilitate the build of your lifting mechanism, we strongly recommend considering remote controls. They will strip you of the necessity to include an excessive cable.
Implementations of Lifting Mechanisms
The field of the application here is very wide and various. Linear actuator-driven lifting mechanisms can be used universally from regulating the TV position to lifting wheelchair ramps to automating industrial equipment. There are many domestic applications, for example, a scissor or table lift. This article will glance at the use of a TV Lift.
Building a TV Lift System
You will need 1 or 2 actuators, gas springs, mounting brackets, guide rails, and wood materials. There is an option to set up the system using AC or DC power. If AC power is used, you will need a PA-30 with an AC adapter or PA-20 control box. This will allow you to control the system using a wireless or a wired hand remote. If DC power is used you will need a 12V power supply and rocker switch to control the system.
There are two different types of motorized TV lift systems one can build. One system can bring the TV down from the ceiling and the other can lift the TV from inside a cabinet or similar furniture. Building a TV lift system is a cheaper alternative than buying a fully-assembled system.
- 1 or 2 Linear Actuators, depending on the size of the TV.
- 2 x Mounting Brackets (BRK-14), 2 for each actuator.
- PA-30 or PA-20 control box if the AC power is required.
The video below demonstrates how such a system will operate.
As you can see, it is not too difficult to build a lifting mechanism for domestic purposes. You can select the most fitting option for your particular case model right in our web store. We couple all our models with an 18-month guarantee and configure them according to your individual requirements and needs. Additionally, you can also choose from readymade lifting mechanisms made for tables and TVs and so forth.