How To Make A Lifting Mechanism

Today, lifting mechanisms are widely applied in both the domestic and industrial purpose automation. Featuring, as a rule, a simple construction controlled by a push of the button (locally or via remote control), automated lifts can help solve a wide array of tasks (freight transportation, position optimization, automated opening/closing of doors and windows etc.).How To Make A Lifting Mechanism 1

In this article, we will discuss how to make a lifting mechanism and which tools one will require to do it. We will also highlight our top-3 DIY solutions that employ the discussed means of automation (linear actuator).

Lifting Mechanism Description

There are many ways to generate linear motion, which lies in the essence of any lifting mechanism. The most common option employs a rod (slider) that moves linearly in the set direction. This construction builds the body of a linear actuator.
The screw-gear is usually used to create linear movements in the linear actuator construction. The male screw rotates clockwise or counterclockwise while the rotation causes the linear movement of a slider connected to the female screw that moves along the male screw.
Engines used in linear actuators are mostly the devices powered by the direct current (DC) (although, there are also pneumatic and hydraulic engines out there, which, however, are a bit out of date; we will discuss them below).
In order to change the linear actuator slider’s direction of the movement (i.e., make the mechanism move down instead of up), it is necessary to change its engine’s direction of the movement. If we are talking about using an engine that is powered by the DC, it only takes to change the power polarity (i.e., switch the two engine power wires). The most trivial solution to this task would be to use a special switch to configure the polarity.
To stop the rod in end positions (in the context of the lifting mechanism, this means to stop its movement and fixate in a certain position), an actuator is featured with the built-in microswitches that work at the moment of the screw reaching the extreme position inside an actuator body. Such microswitches are equipped with special indicators (one of which is installed on the extreme position, another – on the opposite extreme point). The indicators help shut down the engine power when the screw touches extreme points.
Drives also use such element, as a reductor to achieve the sufficient speed of rotational power. This element can vary the speed of rotation in the rod, which eventually affects the final speed of linear movements. It also affects the force with which the rod moves – the higher the reductor’s speed ratio, the more force and less speed there is. However, even if your drive is of the most primitive construction and it does not employ a reductor, the rod speed is still dependent on the force put into making it move: the higher the speed of rod movement, the less the force (and vice versa).

Types of Linear Actuators

As we have already mentioned, the most accessible way to build a lifting mechanism is to put a linear actuator at its core.
By the working principle, linear drives can be subdivided into:

  • electric;
  • pneumatic;

Electric linear actuators convert the regular electricity into motion defined by the laws of mechanics. They use electric rotary engines that transform the rotational movement into the progressive-linear one. Thus, a rotary element moves a rod with the help of the mechanic transformer (e.g., via the ball-screw or roller-screw assembly) and causes smooth direct movement.

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Pneumatic linear actuators are characterized by featuring a forcer inside a hollow cylinder that is enabled with the help of pressure generated by an external compressor or pump. As pressure grows, the forcer moves endwise. In order to return the forcer to the initial position, a spur or pressurized gas is injected from the other side of the forcer.
Last but not least, a hydraulic lift mechanism based on the hydraulic linear drive works by the similar to the pneumatic actuator’s scheme. However, it employs liquid that is being pumped in externally.
It is noticeable that the most popular type of actuators are the electric ones. They rarely break and can be enclosed in the maximum compact form factor. Moreover, this type of actuators is regarded to be the most efficient one from the movement speed, preciseness, and push/pull power perspective.

How To Create A Lifting Mechanism

So, how to build a lifting mechanism? In order to implement the construction single-handedly, you will need two things: properly selected linear drive and switch to control it. The rest – mounting parts of a lifting mechanism, in particular – will directly depend on the structural peculiarities of a certain device or equipment using the linear drive.
Thus, let’s talk about selecting a linear actuator. As you have already understood, it is a compact and cost-efficient from the electricity consumption perspective engine that consists of the guideway and the worm gear type screw. The slider normally required 12V or 24V of power to move (although, there are models with various technical specifications). This power will be quite enough to make an object connected to the sliding element move up and down according to the guideway.
The linears are available in a wide range of characteristics, such as carrying capacity, length of guideways, and power. This means that you can select the fitting option depending on how fast the movement you need to achieve or how heavy the weight you need to lift. In particular, pay attention to the models that can handle the weight heavier by about one and a half times than your maximum planned weight to carry. The length of movement should also be 1 inch longer than what you need. Finally, consider the speed of movement. In certain cases, the devices move to sharply, which must be avoided if we are talking about the high precision equipment.
As for the selection of a switch, it is, usually, a Double Pole Double Throw switch (DPDT) that allows to change the direction and stall the movement with the push of the lever.
In order to utterly facilitate the build of your lifting mechanism, we strongly recommend considering remote controls – they will strip you off the necessity to include an excessive cable.

For Which Purposes You Can Use Lifting Mechanisms?

The field of the application here is very wide and various. Linear actuator-driven lifting mechanisms can be used universally – from regulating the TV position to lifting up and down the wheelchair ramps to automating the industrial equipment to the marine manufacture and even the air-space technologies.
If you wish to practice in the creation of lifting mechanisms and try to build one personally, you can try to create one of the following three domestic automation options:

  • scissor lift;
  • tv lift;
  • lift table.

All of them are utterly primitive in terms of construction and require minimum skills from the creator (the main thing here is to properly mount the lifts into furniture).

PA Actuators to Use in This Project

As you have already found out, linear drives differ in the length of drive. That means that various items are built with the various slider and body lengths. Apart from the drive length, other important properties are the speed and force of the slider.
Progressive Automations offers a wide range of linear actuators at affordable prices. Each model displayed on our website can be employed in the wide array of industries and niches depending on the conditions of use (there are IP67 protection level devices available) and our individual desires.

Best Lifting Mechanism Projects

As a matter of fact, linear actuators can help create wonderful automation solutions even strictly for domestic purposes. Below, we suggest you take a look at our top-3 solutions that employ linear drives and that can be an interesting project to complete for the DIY fans:

  • scissor lift mechanism;
  • standing desk lift mechanism;
  • bed lift mechanism.

Perhaps, these examples will motivate you to build something similar with your own hands.


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We hope very much that our article helps you understand how to make a simple lifting mechanism in a nutshell. As you can see, it is not that hard to build something like that for your domestic purposes. Though if you need a lift for the manufacture tasks automation, you would better allow the professionals to assemble it for you. You can select the most fitting your particular case model right in our web store. We couple all our models with the 18-month guarantee and configure them according to your individual requirements and needs. Additionally, you can also choose readymade listing mechanisms (for tables and TVs, for instance).

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