Introduction: Rotating TV

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I love being lazy. Watching television is a great way to zone out and be lazy, but how can I make it even more effortless? Lying down feels pretty good, but then the TV is sideways which kind of messes up my lazy mojo. If only there was a way to do both.

Now there is!

To maximize my laziness I built a motorized mount for my TV that rotates it 90 degrees (or more) so I can watch lying down (or doing a headstand, if I wanted). Though absurd, this rotating TV is functional and an efficient way to be lazy and amazing.

Using an electric motor for a powered car seat and free online gear templates I put together a rotating TV mount in about a weekend. Follow along to see how I did it.

Ready to take your laziness up to the next level? Let's make!

Step 1: Generate Gears

To make the gears for my rotating TV I used, a free online gear generator. You can easily input the characteristics of your gear assembly and download the plans.

The site saves your gears as an SVG file, which can be opened with almost any vector based software (like AutoCAD, Illustrator, or Inkscape). You can then print these onto paper, stick them to your wood and cut out the gear shapes. If you're lost on how to do this here's a great Instructable on how to fabricate digital files by hand.

Step 2: Cut Gears

I cut these gears out of plywood. Plywood is a great choice as it's dimensionally stable and sturdy enough to put up with the wear of gears meshing. I cut several layers of plywood and laminated them together to make beefy gears that would withstand the torque of the electric motor and the weight of the TV.

Due to the type of TV mount I was using I had to improvise on the gear assembly slightly to make sure they would mesh together. I cut an additional ring of large gears that stacks on top of the full gear, this allows for more surface area for the motor gears to mate with and provides enough height to make up the difference in heights for the mating small motor gear.

Step 3: Motor Mount

The motor I used was a high torque 12V remote motor. This motor is controlled by a small momentary remote and has 3 mounting holes around the flat sided drive shaft. I used a 12V AC Adapter (6A) to power this motor.

I made a mounting bracket from a scrap piece of plywood. I cut 3 small openings for the mounting brackets and a larger opening for the drive shaft. The mounting bracket was held to the motor with flush head hex bolts.

If you chose this exact motor you can find a PDF of the mounting dimensions here:

Step 4: Drive Gears

After attaching the mounting bracket to the motor the gear and spacer could be installed. The spacer was just a scrap of acrylic used to prevent the gear from rubbing against the bracket, and provide a smooth surface to reduce friction when the motor was engaged.

Step 5: TV Mount

I chose an articulating wall mount with tilt and swivel, this type allows full rotation which is perfect for this application.

The mounting plate on this TV mount is a socket connection that allows for a wide range of articulation. I wanted to only use the rotational portion and prevent the tilting. To solve this I made a small puck from a small piece of acrylic and inserted it into the articulating socket, this prevented the mounting surface from tilting but would still rotate.

The modified assembly was then put into the other end of the mounting bracket from the drive motor.

Step 6: Make TV Mount

The large gear can now be mounted to the TV. The large gear was mounted onto a piece of plywood, providing a sturdy plate for the gear to rest on and withstand the strain of torque and weight. The above picture shows how the large gear will mesh with the electric motor before mounting to the TV.

I took measurements of the mounting points on the back of the TV I was using and cut a scrap piece of plywood to use as the mounting plate.

I located the center of the mounting plate and then transferred over the mounting hole locations.

Step 7: Attach Gears to Mounting Plate

After pre-drilling the mounting hole locations the large gear assembly was attached to the mounting plate with fasteners.

Lastly screw the mounting plate and gear assembly to the TV on the mounting points, completing the rotational assembly.

Step 8: Wiring

The motor comes with a controller and a few remotes, but does not come with a power supply. Since the motor is a 12V DC motor I'll need a 12V AC Adapter (6A) power supply. This power supply is similar to the types used for laptops and converts 120V AC wall power to 12V DC power for the motor.

Step 9: Mount and Test the Motor

Test the motor before you wire up all your electronic peripherals. With the leads connected to the motor you can push the remote and see if your motor and gears are meshing and the TV is rotating as it's supposed to.

I had the TV fully cantilevered outwards, so there was a little vibration wiggle after the motor was engaged. Luckily this is easily solved by not having your TV cantilevered so far out, or using a smaller TV.

Step 10: Plug in Cable/HDMI

With the TV rotating I needed to make sure the cables didn't get snagged up, or caught in the gears. Allowing plenty of slack in the cables, I used zip ties to keep the cables in place and ensured free and unobscured rotation.

All done! Time to relax.

Step 11: Rotate, and Be Lazy

The remote will engage the motor either clockwise or counter-clockwise with the press of a button, and will travel that direction until the button is released which allow the TV to rotate to whatever angle you desire.

With a press of the remote you can go from seated upright to lying down relaxed, all without missing any TV action.

Sure, this project is a little silly, but I wanted to explore if this idea was possible and what it might look like. Of course, this rotating TV only works if you're watching TV alone or if everyone watching is all lying the same direction - maybe a slumber party?

Whatever your occasion, a rotating TV might be just the thing to keep your neck from aching for your next binge watching session.

Happy making! :)

(thanks DJ for being a good sport as the actor for this project)

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