Introduction: Hand Crank TV Lift

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

TVs are great and all, but when they're not in use I prefer that they'd not be seen. They're big visual voids that don't exactly bring the room together. There are two options for this: covering them up or moving them away. Also, I'm using plenty of electricity as it is so I decided to go for a hand crank TV lift.

The operation is simple. Just insert the crank and turn it to get the TV up or down. The whole action takes less than 30 seconds. And it's fun to insert some kind of old-time action of moving things around to a high-tech device.

Step 1: What You Need

  • sheet of 3/4" plywood
  • scrap wood
  • wood screws
  • conduit brackets
  • RV scissor jack
  • 32" HDTV
  • table saw
  • cordless drill
  • socket wrench

Step 2: Measure Everything!

The two things we need to know all about are the TV with its stand and the scissor jack. First of all, I looked around for the scissors jack with the most vertical travel. This ended up being a heavy duty scissor jack that's meant for raising RVs and it has 19" of vertical travel.

With that information I knew that the biggest TV I could use was a 32" model.

OK, now with the items selected, it's time for lots of measuring! The platform for the TV needs to have a nice margin around the stand so it doesn't fall off so be sure to measure the footprint.

After that, measure the scissor jack in both its collapsed and extended positions. The threaded rod extends far out to one side when it's all the way up.

With this info, it's now possible to determine the minimum interior dimensions of the cabinet. That turned out to be 40" x 13" x 26"

Step 3: Cut the Pieces

By factoring in the thickness of the plywood this left me with these cut pieces to cut on a table saw
  1. 2 pieces at 30" x 13.75" (sides)
  2. 40" x 13" (front)
  3. 41.5" x 30" (base)
  4. 15" x 12" (top left)
  5. 15" x 30" (top right)
  6. 26.75" x 40" (back)
  7. 12" x 24" (platform)

Step 4: Base

In addition to the base piece, I also cut two support pieces 40" long from scrap wood and screwed them in place.

Step 5: Mark and Install Lift

I marked the location of the scissor jack and attached it with two large screws.

Step 6: Attach Platform to Jack

I attached the platform to the top of the scissor jack with 8x 3/4" screws.

Step 7: Secure TV Base

After that I drilled a couple of holes and secured two conduit brackets to the platform to hold on to the TV base. They're held on with two bolts and nuts.

Step 8: Add Sides and Front

From here on out it's just a matter of completing the box. I attached the sides and the front with wood screws.

Step 9: Route Out a Channel

The TV lift now needs a channel in the side for the crank to fit through. To keep the sides clean and straight I clamped two metal rails onto the cabinet. I started with a drill and then switched over to the router attachment. Once the shape was all set I changed to a roundover bit to clean up the edge.

Step 10: Put a Top on It

Next I secured the left top piece to the cabinet with some wood screws. The right top piece is still loose so that it can be removed for the TV to come up from below. 

The last step (not shown) is to attach the back piece to the back of the cabinet with wood screws.

Step 11: Crank It!

And there you go, you have a bit of an old-fashioned way to make your TV appear and disappear. Within less than 30 seconds you can transition the TV from one position to the other.

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