While building my entertainment center I decided to one up my standard design by combining a hidden gun safe drawer. The project worked rather well with my original design but did require a few modifications and quite a bit of research on my part. Seeing as this project is so closely connected to my entertainment center, I'll try to put a little more detail into the research and information portion of this instructable.
When building a hidden drawer there are a few important decissions that need to be made. Location is one of the primary decisions you will be faced with. Luckily, I was in the middle of designing a piece of furniture where the safe was easy to integrate but the overall design of this slide motion/latch/trigger mechanisms can be moved into any "draw" type project. Next is reigning in the slide motion/latch/trigger design. I'm going to cover this in a little more detail before I venture into my project just to give an understanding of why I made some of the choices that I made.
When building a drawer, the slide motion begins with a drawer slide. In this case roller drawer slides are pretty much only going to vary by length and strength. I used 24" TopSlide® Series Heavy Duty Slides that I purchased online from Rockler.com.
Next, and a bit more complicated is the motion. Options for motion include Springs, Electric motors, or Hydrolics. I'm going to stay away from the Hydrolic options and focus on the motors and springs. Electric motors or linear actuators, give you the ability to open and close a drawer with the push of a button and can be smooth, quiet and strong. If you prefer motors great but, I ran into a few negatives when trying to rationalize a motor for my design. The first issue that came with the motor was the latch. A motor eliminates the need for a latch because you can establish its limits electronically. As long as the motor is reasonably strong you should be ok. however, I ran into issues when it came to the failsafe I wanted. What I mean by this is that the drawer, using a motor would require a complicated disengage so that you could still open the drawer in the event of powerloss or motor failure. This is by no means impossible but I found it to be more complicated. A motors motion control options are quite tempting though... just not where I felt I should go. This brings me to the Gas piston spring. The 24"easy lift from www.bansbach.de/com ended up being what I decided upon. This gas piston cost a little over $100 but offered a controlled slow release and an adjustable pressure level. Using a gas spring required a latch assembly but gave me all the features I wanted. So Materials break down to
Drawer (steel in my case) $120
Drawer Slides $50
Gate Latch $10
Electronic door strike $25
Gas Spring $120
Misc nuts bolts and screws $5
Electric knife $25
Oh and I have plans for some polished concrete medallions to decorate the entertainment center with. A laser cutter would go a long way in helping with the molding design process. Sounds like another instructable to me.