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motorized drawer?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Steve, Dec 6, 2003.

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  1. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Hello there! I'm dreaming up an idea that includes having a motorized
    drawer come down from the top of a wooden structure, about the size of
    a refridgerator. I would like this drawer to slide down at the touch
    of a button, and then retract at another touch. I have no problem
    dreaming up this stuff, I just don't know enough about electronics to
    wire myself out of a paper bag. Do you guys know of any kind of prefab
    kits that would be able to help me out? If not, how about any kind of
    tutorial that might help me out? If I had instructions, I'm sure I
    could do it (I'm technoligicly adept, just electronicly ignorant :))..

    More specifics: The drawer would be about 9" wide, 3" deep and 9" deep
    (or tall, since it would be coming out of the ceiling). Inside this
    "drawer" would be an LCD screen surrounded in plexiglas, so maybe
    weighing in at about 2 pounds?

    Thanks for any assistance you can provide.


    P.S. In the (likely) case that I cannot get thos sophisticated, I
    think it would be doable to use gravity as a method for openning the
    drawer and a latch for keeping it closed. I would just need something
    to make it come down smoothly instead of just slamming down..
    Something not dissimilar to those things that close screen doors, or
    the piston things that keep your hatchback 'trunk' from slamming open.
    Any ideas on how this might work would be appreciated as well.
  2. As a start point you need say, a small electric winch and some small steel
    wire and pulleys.
    Chuck in a remote control unit and some limit switches. Arrange for
    substantial third party insurance.
  3. Larry Green

    Larry Green Guest

    Can you adapt the mechanics from an old CD ROM drive (or two)? Those piston
    things are 'gas struts' and I have seen them in quite small sizes on some
    equipment. How about a rack and pinion system with a small motor (that's
    basically all a CD ROM drawer is anyway)? Just some thoughts.

  4. Ooops, thought the downcoming was the size of a fridge !!
    How much room in the enclosure to fit the gear ?
  5. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Ooops, thought the downcoming was the size of a fridge !!
    Heh :) No way! That would be quite the trick though.. The actual
    'box' will be about 9" tall by 10" deep by 29" wide.

    Okay, so when I wrote that last message I was quite tired and I
    probably should have waited until today to post so that I have all my
    facts together.

    I'm currently building an arcade cabinet that's going to look a lot
    like this: and

    (this isn't mine, as mine's still a WIP, and you wouldn't be able to
    get an accurate view of the final product if I pointed you to my
    pictures @ <cough>
    </cough> :D)

    Coincidentally, I have a spare 3COM Audrey
    lying around that I thought I might be able to use to display things
    about the arcade game I'm playing.. like high scores, control panel
    layout, etc. So I got to thinking about how I can smoothly combine
    the two, and maybe impress a couple friends while I'm at it..

    So, now, wouldn't it be hella-cool to have it come down from the
    top, where the marquee is? And by the touch of a button? Sweet..

    So there you have it... That's my idea. If anyone plans on
    implementing it in a cooler fashion than I, at least let me post
    pictures of ot first ;)

    What do you guys think? Do-able? Am I crazy?

  6. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Hmm.. That might work - I've never opened up my cdrom and looked at
    the motors and checked out how they work though. But I do have a
    couple old spare ones I can take a look at when I get home tomorrow.
    Do you think those motors will support the weight though?

    Thanks very much for the suggestion!

  7. Larry Green

    Larry Green Guest

    I don't really know as I don't know how much weight you are hoping to
    lower/raise. The 'rack' may be a bit flimsy seeing as it is probably only
    plastic but it may give you some ideas to play with.
    No problem.

  8. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    You need a set of constant-force springs to suspend it. They roll
    up just like a tape measure, but it takes X lbs of forrce to extend
    it. And with the right gearing, you could raise/lower it with a
    clock motor. :)

    Come to think of it, just a set of counterweights. That'd probably
    be safer, anyway. Just run a cable to your Flex-O-Gym. ;-)

  9. TV satellite dish positioner, as in Jaeger linear positioner, cheap ish and
    possibly from Rich`s suggestion, tool balance as used in production lines
    for hanging air tools from...

  10. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Heh, yeah, I appreciate the suggestion, but I think this is a little overkill :)

  11. Steve

    Steve Guest

    This sounds like something I might be able to design.. Hmm What kind
    of 'right gearing' would I need, and how would I make the drawer go up
    and down?
    Safety is second to geek-factor :) The 'Flex-O-Gym' would work, not
    to mention getting a little exercise in with my video gaming, but I'm
    a little space-conscious! :)

    Thanks again,
  12. Steve

    Steve Guest

    Actually this might be very helpful. A CD-ROM tray seems like the
    ideal solution, because I have a spare one and I can automatically
    control it with my PC.

    Like you said, the downside is the tray would be a little flimsy..
    But what if I could rig it up with a (very high tech <cough>) system
    of pulleys, like this:

    (side view)

    \ |
    O O---:::::: <-- CD-ROM
    | (with a string attached to the tray
    ::: <- Audrey on "drawer"

    With the CD-ROM tray in, the drawer would be closed. When I ejected
    the CD tray, it would lower (and open) the drawer.

    Do you think that would work? How feasible is this idea? Am I still
    on the crazy side? :)

    Thanks for the great suggestion!
  13. its not rocket science, 12" stroke is about 35 GBP retail in UK,not fast as
    built for accuracy but reasonable torque:

    use decent guides , old printers for head guide rails and bushes.

    Tool balance reels can be found in factory liquidation sales but have mimum
    weight as well as maximum. hardwre shop that stocks parts for sash windows ,
    pulleys,rope and counter weightsor use jam jar full of sand. Counterweight
    takes lot of hassle out of it.

  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Well, actually, since you've got to go up in the attic anyway,
    just put a few pullies on the joists (or beams, or rafters,
    or whatever they're called) by the fridge and by the wall.
    Then just suspend the counterweights inside the wall, just
    like they did with window weights. You might want to put
    them in some kind of sleeve, so they don't rattle around. :)

    Whatever you decide, I hope we get to see pictures and stuff!

    Have Fun!
  15. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I may have exaggerated a bit here. ;-) Maybe a car window motor.
    Only instead of the lever that moves the window, you turn a
    drum that winds up a cable. And with a few pulleys there,
    you could get some mechanical advantage.

    Here's a kind of unrolled diagram:

    motor output O O O O O O <- pulleys
    cables -> \ / \ / \ / \ / \ /
    pulleys -> O O O O O

    Have Fun!
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