Modifiable Rotating Shelf Mechanism




Sometimes, when you need something from the inside of a cabinet, the shelving makes it hard to reach. You might need to stick your arm all the way in or take everything out in the front to get something. With this rotating mechanism that you can customize yourself, you won't have this problem.

Step 1: What You Need

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Tape Measure
  • One 4' x 8' x 3/4" particle board (or any shelves from an old cabinet)
  • Ten Philip head 1/4" machine thread bolts, 1 3/4" long
  • Ten 1/4" washers, 3/4" diameter
  • Ten Philip head 1/4" machine thread nuts, 1/2" diameter
  • Table saw
  • Hand drill with 1/4" drill bit & 1/2" drill bit
  • Impact gun with no. 2 Philip head
  • 6" wrench
  • Air pressure staple gun with no.18 diameter staple 2" long
  • Air compressor
  • Pencil

Step 2: Break It Down

I used an old cabinet that my dad was going to throw out for this project. The inner measurements of the side of the cabinet I worked on are a width of 14 3/8", a depth of 23 3/8" and a height 30 1/4". I dismantled some parts from it including the top board, doors, shelves and doors. I used the shelves for all the wooden parts of the project. After doing some calculations, I found that a 4 feet by 8 feet particle board with 3/4" thickness would be enough for the mechanism.

Step 3: Saw It

Using gloves, goggles and the table saw, cut eight trapezoids. The top side should be 2 5/8", the height should be 10" and the bottom side should be 6 1/8". These will be the sides of the shelves.

Step 4: More Sawing

Cut four 10" by 11 1/8" rectangles and four 5 1/4" by 11 1/8" rectangles. These will be the back and bottom parts respectively. Saw two squares with 13 5/8" sides. These will be a "wheel" what would connect the shelves to the sides of the cabinet to allow rotation.

Step 5: Drill Time

Use the pencil to mark straight lines from the alternate corners on the two square pieces. Use the tape measure to mark a line perpendicular to the other lines at each corner 8 1/2" from the middle x. These four x's along with the one in the middle will be where the hand drill with the 1/4" drill bit will be used to drill holes. Once the holes have been made, use a 1/2" drill bit to drill the four corner holes half way down. This is to sink in the bolt heads, so they won't scratch the cabinet walls when the square "wheels" are attached.

Step 6: More Drilling

Continue using the 1/4" drill bit to drill a hole in each trapezoid 7" up from the bottom edge and 1 3/4" from the straight edge perpendicular to the top and bottom edge. On whatever cabinet is going to be used to attach the mechanism, measure and mark the very middle of the two outer cabinet walls. Use the drill with the 1/4" drill bit to drill one hole on each outer wall. These holes will be used to attach the mechanism to the walls.

Step 7: Making the Shelves

Using the air pressure stapler, staple one of 11 1/8" by 10" back part in between two trapezoids along the straight edge perpendicular to the top and bottom edges of the trapezoids. Repeat this process with the other three back parts and six trapezoids. Staple one of the 11 1/8" by 5 1/4" bottom partsin front of the back part and between the two trapezoids. Repeat this process with the rest of the parts.

Step 8: Put It Together

Turn one of the square pieces down onto the side with the 1/2" holes. Take four bolts, and with their heads facing the ground, pull one through each hole from under the square. Add a washer to each of the bolts on top of the square piece. The washers allow space for the shelves to swing. Take a shelf and turn it onto its side. Pull the end of one of the bolts through the hole in the shelf side. Lightly screw on a nut. Repeat this with all the other shelves, and make sure all of them face the same direction. Turn the whole contraption onto its side. Use a wrench to hold the nut in place and the impact gun to tighten the bolt. Repeat this process to the other side of the shelves with the second square piece and the rest of the bolts, washers, and nuts.

Step 9: Attachment

Have someone help hold the mechanism up while you work with the last two sets of bolts, washers and nuts. Push the bolt through the outer wall hole. Place a washer around it, and push the rest of the bolt through the middle hole of the square "wheel". The washers allow space for the "wheel" to spin. Use the wrench to hold the nut in place while using the impact gun to tighten the bolt. Do the same to the other side, and voila! Done!

Step 10: End Notes

This mechanism is specifically for a cabinet with inner measurements of a 14 3/8" width, a 23 3/8" depth and a 30 1/4" height. The length of the sides of the square pieces could be longer, and the dimensions of the shelves could be larger to compensate for a bigger cabinet. All the dimensions could be shrunk to account for a smaller cabinet. This is why this project is "modifiable". After making this, I realized that a strap or another small piece of wood could be attached to the front of the shelves to ensure that none of the items they hold could fall off. I could not implement this because I had run out of materials as I only used what I had available at home.

Step 11: What It Should Look Like

This video compares the struggles you face reaching something in the back of a regular cabinet to the ease of rotating mechanism. The right side of the cabinet, though it lacks shelves, demonstrates the hardships of trying to get something from the back. The left side of the cabinet demonstrates the usefulness of the rotating mechanism. With some modification or without, the shelving could hold shoes, clothes, toys, or even tools.

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016

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Epilog Contest 8



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is a good idea, but here half the room is lost. It's the same as if you keep your static shelves by only filling the front.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, I agree with you. This was just an idea I expanded upon by making it for an engineering project. While it does hold less items, it may be useful as shelving attached higher up on a wall where someone may not reach as easily without a stool of some sort. Anyways, thank you for sharing what you think! :D


    2 years ago

    A great idea, I think I have to do this to all of my kitchen floor cabinets. If this works well, I may use this idea at my resturant for safety purpose.


    2 years ago

    That's awesome! I need this for my kitchen cabinets :)