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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    22 Discussions


    10 months ago

    Ha, very cool...I'd also like an option to move into vertical mode for pinball games


    10 months ago on Step 11

    The plywood gearing is priceless. I will use that somehow.

    The viewing problem was solved by fixing a monitor on the ceiling at an angle right over my LazyBoy.


    Question 10 months ago

    Thanks for posting! any recommendation of products that are a good source for 12v motors? I'd like to salvage one but always struggle to find a good 12v.

    6 answers

    Answer 10 months ago

    Try getting motors from old printers... they are often surprizingly powerful for their size and they may already be attached to gears, and other mechanisms that you can use.


    Answer 10 months ago

    The one in this project is a replacement for a powered car seat, but there's all kinds of motors that you can get to work assuming you can find a power adapter for them. Windshield wiper motors and power door lock actuators come to mind. You need something that an handle high torque, not high speed.


    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks! Auto parts make sense! always looking for one with permanent motors for power generation. Cheers


    Answer 10 months ago

    A car window wiper motor from your local car dump? Most (all?) comes with a (self locking) worm drive.

    Those for the rear window is usually smaller, so less strong and less power hungry.



    10 months ago

    Where did this project come from!?!?! Did you dig it up out of the ground?

    3 replies

    Reply 10 months ago

    It was a stormy night, with only the pale cast of the moon guiding my silhouette across the forgotten graveyard. Rain at my back I sunk the rusty shovel into the mud at the foot of an old tombstone. On the gray slab were a duo of letters etched into the tombstone that read "DJ"; worn, but clearly legible.

    The digging took hours, with much debris that had covered the open grave from years of neglect prolonging the effort - mostly electrical wires, a few Edison boards, and a lone Raspberry Pi with a few arcade buttons still excellently soldered together in a macabre digital daisy chain. Late into the night my shovel finally hit casket.

    Drenched and exhausted, I opened the casket and summoned strength to read the old scriptures passed down from long ago: "Deus Ex Radio Shacka".

    In a flash I has resurrected the ghost of DJ. A flesh and bone apparition of what was once a pile of dust and SD cards.

    "Will you help me one last time, friend?", I asked. "I will" he said with a solemn nod.

    And with that we started workshopping ideas. Plans were hatched, prototypes scuttled, and eventually a project emerged. Before the next full moon the rotating TV was installed and documented. At the stroke of midnight DJ disappeared in a bright spark, like shorting out a car battery on a hastily planned Caraoke setup.

    "Thanks, buddy", I said to the space where DJ stood. And, that was the end for our brief partnership.

    It's been a few years since DJ helped me with the Rotating TV, but I've seen him a few times since. The thing is that he's actually really easy to return from the dead, you just need to know how to summon him. Sometimes the incantation isn't enough and you need to bribe him with tacos, but it's always worth it. I think a few months have gone by now and I'm due for some graveyard tacos - brb.

    TL;DR - I dug up the ghost of DJ for one more adventure!


    Reply 10 months ago

    Woah! I had no idea that you actually did raise the dead!


    10 months ago

    Hmmm. How about using this to rotate a monitor between landscape and portrait mode? Would need to tell monitor to rotate image to match orientation. Have a live movie of ravens in Alaska partially filmed in portrait mode (ahem!).


    11 months ago

    Haha this is awesome! Now I just need glasses with bendy sides so I can keep them on when laying on my side to watch the sideways tv!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 months ago

    I solve that problem by falling asleep the moment my head hits the pillow while watching TV, negating both the pain of bent glasses and the benefit or a rotating TV :/


    10 months ago

    Silly me, and here I was just using our brains natural ability to realign it for me when I lay down. :)

    Just joshing with you OP, nice idea, but I would think your view is 100x more interesting than anything on that TV! I could watch that all day.

    That motor and gear work though, that's fit for a ton of cool ideas, thanks for sharing.

    1 reply