A wise man once told me, “If you want a long marriage, get a second TV”

Why two TVs?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love football, both pro and college (#GoPokes!).

And anyone who has ever watched football knows that it has its slow moments. A great solution to those slow moments is to have a second TV available to watch a second game, TV show, or video game. Last year I spent new years at friends house watching College Football with a football game on TV 1, a second game on TV 2, and an Xbox on TV 3. I was sold, I had to have a similar setup in my house.

The wife was not as trilled with this idea. Who knew, right? After some discussion, she had a few requirements. First, the setup had to look good. Second, she preferred that the second TV could be hidden when it wasn’t in use.

Challenge accepted.

The Result

tv lift demo

IMG_20151024_145146201_HDR

 

How

The first step was to get all of the ideas in my head out into the world. Therefore, I made a prototype from cardboard and tape.

Prototype - Lift Down
Prototype – Lift Down

Prototype - Lift Up
Prototype – Lift Up
Once I had the prototype, I knew how to make the lift.  It would be two U shaped pieces, held together by drawer slides, and ‘lifted’ by an electric screw-drive motor.  Finally the inner U piece would attached to a large wide base.

IMG_20151024_144737857

Inner U and outer U assembled
Inner U and outer U pieces cut and screwed together.

Heavy Duty Drawer slides are used to attach the inner and outer U's
Heavy Duty Drawer slides are used to attach the inner and outer U’s

Before
Tip: To make long straight cuts with a circular saw, make yourself a jig with a long straight piece of wood and some clamps. (Before)

After
Tip: To make long straight cuts with a circular saw, make yourself a jig with a long straight piece of wood and some clamps. (After)
Almost complete! The base and motor are attached.

IMG_20150829_165050945_HDR

Parts

Item # H-8491, Heavy Duty Full Extension Slide 250 and 500 lbs $65

Heavy Duty Track Actuator – 200 lbs, 40″ Stroke $260

Handles on the back side. Don’t forget that this is a full 8×4 sheet of plywood, plus a motor…. so this thing is heavy!

TV Mount from Monoprice $12

One 8′ x 4′ x 3/4″ Plywood Sheet

Paint, Wood Glue, Wood Filler

Things I learned about sanding

The biggest time sink believe it or not was sanding.  I really wanted the final result to look like it fit into the living room.  To me, this meant the wood had to be a dark stain or or paint with a nice gloss.  Pictures of sanding are about as boring as they get so I never took any.  Just know that getting from the pictures above to the black finish below was at least 2 full days of work.

Sanding Tips

  • Get a electric sander; don’t sand by hand.
  • Wood glue and wood filler can be a PITA to sand.  Get a good glue and a good filler that is known to be easily sand-able.
  • Instead of using wood filler, use something else like drywall compound or similar.  It will allow you to smooth out seems, hide plywood edges, and fill holes far faster than typical wood filler.

References I found useful

 

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