Doesn't everything look better when it's moving? I'd like to display the things I make for my YouTube channel on a turntable, so went about building one. In this Instructable I'll show you how to make a motorized rotating display turntable for less than $15. I'm sure there are loads of other uses - maybe a display stand for an exhibition, or the basis of a 3-D scanner. Let me know how you'd use this motorized turntable in the comments below.
$15 gets you a lazy susan from Ikea, a second hand microwave motor from eBay and some vinyl to cover the turntable. If you happen to have an old microwave with a decent motor and some paint to paint the turntable you could complete this project for less than $10. There are a few other parts to the build - I found them in my junk box!
- 1 x SNUDDA Lazy Susan - Ikea - $9.99 or £5.50
- 1 x 2nd hand microwave motor - eBay $2.50 or £2.00
- 1 x 45cm x 45cm white vinyl - eBay $2.50 or £2.00
- 1 x 5cm hose 10mm OD - free scrap
- 1 x mains cable with plug - free recycled lamp
- 3 x 16mm screws - free spares
- 3 x 5cm scraps of wood (for the feet) - free off-cuts
- 10cm heat shrink - free off-cuts
- Medium Phillips Screwdriver
- 13mm Socket wrench
- Electric Drill
- 16mm spade drill bit
- 10mm wood drill bit
- Craft knife
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- 5 min Epoxy
- Lighter/heat torch
- Soldering Iron and solder
I started this build without having researched what others have done. I had intended to use part of a microwave triple-arm to couple the top plate of the lazy susan to the motor spindle (you can see this in some of the photos). As it turned out the triple-arm was not deep enough for the job, so I sought inspiration from the web and found this video from Project DiY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rBqBPMfShc) where he uses some hose as a coupling. This is a great idea and so I incorporated into my build. As it turns out we had a very similar approach to creating a motorized turntable - i'm guessing we both shop at ikea!
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Step 1: Disassemble the Lazy Susan
First off we need to take apart the Ikea lazy susan. Start by flipping it over so the large wooden rotating plate is face-down on the table. You should see a nut in the centre of the lower wooden plate. Undo this with a 13mm socket/wrench. Once the nut has been removed, lift of the lower plate to expose the bearing mechanism. You'll need a medium-sized Philips head driver to remove the 3 screws attaching the bearing to the large wooden plate. Be sure to save these as you'll need them later. All that's left to do in this step is to lift of the metal bearing and remove the dome-headed bolt that was used to attach the small bottom plate. Put this in you box of spares along with the nut that was removed earlier. Neither are required for this build.
Step 2: Attach Hose to Top Wooden Plate
Next we need to attach a piece of hose to the underside of the large wooden plate. The hose should be a tight fit over the spindle of the microwave motor. We're going to use the hose to transfer rotation from the motor to the top plate.
First mark the centre of the top plate, use the bearing assembly removed in the previous step as a template.
Next use a 10mm wood drill bit to drill a hole part way into the underside of the top plate. Do not go all the way through the wood! You could use a piece of tape around the drill bit to mark the correct depth. Of course, if you're using a different diameter hose you'll need to adjust the drill bit accordingly. I'm using a 10mm drill bit for a 10mm OD hose.
Finally, mix up some 5 minute epoxy and glue the hose into the hole.
Step 3: Attach Motor to Bottom Plate
Now our focus switches to the smaller wooden bottom plate.
Start by removing the large non-slip rubber ring - it should pull off easily. Then enlarge the hole in the centre of the wood plate. It needs to be large enough to allow the 10mm OD hose to rotate freely. I used a 16mm wood drill bit. This step is not easy as there is already quite a large hole in the wood. If you have a drill press available, now is the time to use it!
With the 16mm hole drilled all the way through the plate we need to screw on the motor. It needs to be aligned such that the motor spindle is in the centre of the plate (which is hopefully also the centre of the hole you drilled). I managed this by placing the motor on the bench with spindle facing up, then placed the wood plate over the top, so I could check the centring. When I was happy everything was aligned I held the wood plate and the motor and turned them over. Before anything moves, use the pencil to mark the position of motor mounting holes. Secure the motor to the wood with 4 small screws. I had 16mm screws left over from an earlier project, so used those. Whichever screws you use, just make sure they don't go all the way through the wood.
Step 4: Reassemble the Lazy Susan
Now that we've modified the top and bottom plates of the lazy susan its time to reassemble it.
Start by replacing the bearing. Slide the hose through the hole in the centre of the bearing. Secure the bearing to the underside of the top wooden plate using the 3 screws that held it in place originally.
Next the hose needs to be trimmed to length. It should be long enough that is passes through to the underside of the bottom wooden plate and can be pushed onto the motor spindle. Use the bottom plate as a guide to mark the length of the hose then cut it off with some wire cutters or scissors.
Then we need to attach the bottom plate to the bearing. Originally I used hot glue for this, but later replaced with 5 minute epoxy. I strongly recommend you go straight for the epoxy. Whichever you choose, you need to spread it over the lower ring of the bearing, then push the lower plate onto the bearing, making sure that the 10mm hose locates properly over the motor spindle and the wood plate is lying flat on the bearing surface.
Step 5: Solder Cable to Motor
Now that most of the mechanics are completed we need to attach the motor to the power source.
A word of caution: Microwave motors run directly from mains electricity. You need to make sure that your final assembly is safe and that the terminals or bare wires cannot be touched by the operator when in use. I highly recommend you supplement the heatshrink I use in this step with an additional form of isolation. For example some electrical tape and secondary cover.
Start by tinning the terminals of the motor.
Then prepare the ends of the mains cable assembly and tin those. slide heatshrink over the cable - you'll need 3 pieces, one to cover each of the terminals and a final piece to cover the "Y" split in the cables as they leave the outer insulation.
Solder the cable to the motor terminals - it doesn't matter which way round they go. Now apply heat to the heat shrink to cover any bare metal.
Step 6: Add Some Feet
The turntable is almost complete. Before we can call the assembly complete and move on to decoration we need to lift the motor off the ground.
You need to find 3 pieces of material that are deeper then the motor. I found a small piece of scrap timber and cut three sections of ~5cm. Hot-glue the timber to the underside of the small plate, spaced evenly around the circumference (120 degrees apart).
While you've got the hot glue gun out, use a bead to secure the mains cable. You might even use this as a secondary isolation layer around the electrical connections.
Step 7: Cover in Vinyl
All that's left to do is decorate the turntable. I use mine against a white backdrop and want it to blend in. I bought some white vinyl from eBay (you need about 45cm x 45cm). Lay the turntable on the bench face-up carefully remove the backing from the vinyl and stick to the top of the turntable.
When the turntable is covered, flip it over, trim the excess to a few centimeters and stick to the underside of the top plate.
Turn the entire assembly over and stand back to admire your new creation.
Hopefully there'll be no air bubbles under the surface. If they do appear, use the tip of a craft knife to make a tiny hole in the vinyl at the centre of the bubble. Use you finger to gently push the air out of the hole. If you're careful the air bubble should disappear and the tiny hole be too small to see by eye.
Now just plug in to the mains and the table should rotate by itself.
I hope you enjoyed this build!