Hand Crank TV Lift




About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. 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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    21 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice gadget.
    If you're going to motorize it, I'd recommend keeping it simple.
    Since you've already made the hand crank lift, just use your cordless drill to turn the crank, if you ever get tired of hand cranking it.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, one question.
    Did you have any trouble with the tv tilting left or right and not staying straight?
    I guess it might move while cranking it up, but will stay straight when it's not being cranked?


    Reply 2 years ago

    I don't see why it would move or tilt. The TV is anchored to the plywood, and the jack is anchored to the center of the plywood.


    2 years ago

    This would be a great, affordable way to make an adjustable sit/stand computer desk.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    interesting project, and by the commnents below, interesting how so many people seem to prefer a motorized version


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I can't tell what tool you're referring to - he mentions drills and routers but nothing specifically or by name.

    Personally I'd hang the monitor on the wall on a proper bracket and be done with it, but to each their own.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I counted five gratuitous appearances of Sear's Craftsman brand, including in the video at 00:31 a specific verbal mention of the Craftsman Bolt On(TM) system. The stand-alone use of the Craftsman logo at the beginning and end of the video makes it have the feel of a commercial.

    Here is my suggestion:
    If a contributor is being compensated to hype a product, there should be some acknowledgement - perhaps the word "Advertisement" in the top of the video and picture of the drill.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    My apologies - you are correct. I generally don't bother with the videos because they add little to the step-by-step flow.

    For me video only helps with the "how does it actually work" rather than "how is it put together"


    5 years ago

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/310808105701 all you'd need is a converter to convert the power source! Nice build!

    1 reply

    We have a be nice comment policy.
    Please be positive and constructive



    5 years ago on Introduction

    HA! I love the notion of putting forth a bit of labor before you can be lazy. More human power!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Two things. First, put a motor on it. mechanical takes very little power, there's not a lot of point in worrying about it for something used a few times a day like this. Heat or cooling is where it's effective to conserve, or maybe a large continuous motor. This would be maybe a dime or two a month, maybe per year even.

    Second, the large screw/nut system is used to take the load of a car. Since it's unlikely people doing this will use it as a jack again, you might consider using a dremel to cut this screw out, and putting a 1/4-20 or 8mm threaded rod and coupler nut in its place. Then it would be very easy to use a NEMA 23 or 17 or similar DC motor to run it, and have extra leverage to work with a smaller motor.


    5 years ago

    I too love this idea but with everyone else's comments I think that there are things missing and could use some more work on it like having hinges that allow the too to swing to the back when opened and then use drawer slide inside to guides to the lifting parts and keep your tv sturdier


    5 years ago

    Electric motor but good idea


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Do you have plans for the box? Maybe trim it up to turn it into a piece of furniture?
    i really like this.

    I've had a similar idea for a while but have lacked the motivation to do it.
    If I ever get around to building it, I'll make an instructable but it won't be anytime soon. :)

    Very nice Idea I love it
    but why not drive the crank by small motor like car window motor?