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.
Step 1: Drawer and hindges
The hindges are attached to the inside right and left portions of the drawer passage using several wood screws and connected to the drawer using pand head machine screws, washers and nylon lock nuts. I suggest investin in a "step bit" or "Unicorn bit" so you can drill out the necessary holes in the steel drawer. These bits are typically used in electrical work and will eliminate the burs left by a standard bit.
The facade of the drawer is made out of a solid piece of Birch attached with half inch pan head wood screws. I deliberatly made the screws smaller in order to allow the facade to be sacraficial, pending any forceful attempt to pry the drawer open.
If i did it again, which I may, I would have lined the drawer hole with a steel sleave and moved the drawer thickness up to 1/8 inch stainless steel. Cost was a factor here and considering the hidden nature of the project it seemed unnecessary.