Automated Pop-up Kitchen Spice Rack

This is a simple Kitchen Automation project. A Firgelli Automation FA-400-12-18" stroke linear actuator was used to pop up this spice rack. Of course the top would typically be the granite square that was cut out originally, and the spice rack could be a coffee machine, microwave, TV, wine rack or anything else you wish to hide in your kitchen.

The actuator sits pointing upwards and as you can see the middle of the spice rack has a sort of hollow column, this is where the other end of the actuator fits inside. It's not required if you use the Firgelli Automations column lift which is a ready to go remote control lift mechanism.

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Step 1: Kitchen Grannite Top

This customer wanted to have the spice rack lift up from the Kitchen island. 1st thing they did was cut a square hole in the granite top, the granite maker can do that for you. Typically you would use another square piece to fill the hole so that when the rack drops the granite becomes flush with the top lid to look like a single piece of granite

Step 2: Make a Spice Rack

The spice rack needs to have a hollow center so that the actuator shaft goes through the center and lifts the top, the bottom of the actuator is attached as shown below. the height is adjusted by propping up the base so that the limits of the actuator are such that when the actuator retracts and shuts off, the spice rack is fully closed.

Step 3: Controls

To make it go up and down you need a 12vdc power source and a DPDT switch all available from Firgelli Auto. the actuators are all 2 wire and the power source is too, here is the wiring diagram for the switch.

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    26 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This procedure does not show the 12V power source. Is there circuitry that will convert AC to 12VDC? How can we determine how long the DC battery will last?

    Paige Black

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, but I think I will customise it to cache a few bottles of wine :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh,this is nice. This should be available at HD or Lo's. Nice work, nice instructable.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hello im having a little trouble understanding how actuators work, could somebody please help me? do actuators work directly from current or do they need a controller? and if so, could you help me find one? i only want it to be in 2 positions, fully extended and fully retracted

    Thanks in advance

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago

    I see it's been a while and no one responded. These actuators drive directly from the current, no control board necessary. Most of them have an auto shut off at the fully open and fully closed end of travel to avoid damage. once you have then wired up you can slide the on/off switch to either side and it will travel to full open our closed unless you turn the switch off. They also usually have a fine adjustment to get it flush by manually screwing the lift push rod in or out with the power off. I bought a fairly cheap one on eBay for $45 US with 12" travel for a remote control door actuator for my shop. It had plenty of lift torque but is noisy. You pay more for the quiet ones.

    I have been wanting to make something similar to this to house my stand mixer in the "dead corner" space of my kitchen cabinets. Just have to work out a way to have it so I can access the mixer and be able to lift the bowl position without having to move the thing much. Think I might work on this some and even if I have to redo some of my pretty pathetic tile job I did as an original counter replacement, it should be well worth the work! Thanks for the ible. I can imagine a lot of things to hide away in those lame corners of older style cabinets without having to replace all the cabinetry!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is fantastic! I always wanted something like this since i saw the Fruit rack drop out of the ceiling in Back to the Future. I plan on doing this in a house im gonna probably buy in the next year. Definitely surprised how few spices are there though, I have tons of spices. An idea on making this better.

    1. One critical problem I see is spices falling over and or other things obstructing the unit from moving up and/or down correctly. I know how easily spices can fall over or get knocked over and it would be a pain to have the rack get stuck when your trying to cook.

    An easy way I see to fix this is to add a hollow plastic cylinder that fits snug around the edges of the circler shelves in the spice rack. The plastic would stay down underneath the countertop when the spice rack is raised so that you don't see it above and it doesn't get in the way of accessing spices. The plastic hollow cylinder would be angled or curved at the top and adhered to the underside of countertop to ensure it doesn't move and so the spice rack does not get caught on it when it lowers or raises.

    I love this idea and i might even consider 2 like this in the future. I would also probably making the spice rack it self a lazy suzanne. Theres no need for an electric motor to run it. I think this is much a much better solution for corner cabinets that people have lazy suzanne in and have to bend down and spin through it.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    :O!!! Such a good idea! i wish i could make secret compartments in my room...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    spring loaded drawer would probably be both simpler and more straight forward than this, as well as meaning you don't have to worry about broken motors and losing your stuff :p

    It requires a 12VDC power source, so you would use a 12VDC power adaptor that plugs into the wall.  The 12V power then goes to the switch described in step 3.

    Let me know if I'm not describing it well enough..