How to Build a Motorized Monitor Lift on a Budget

So, you are looking for a way to save some space on your desk by hiding your monitor when you don’t need to use it. While a motorized monitor lift is a perfect thing to make it possible, the prices for a ready-to-use one may cost you a small fortune (they range between $200 and as much as $1,000+).

Fear not, you can always build one on your own (without going broke!). All you need to do is follow our handy DIY guide.

Making the Base

First things first – you’ll need to build a wooden base that would accommodate the whole mechanism. It’s simple in its execution: take two long planks, screw them to end pieces, make sure to attach the planks to the top and the bottom. Their sizes will depend, obviously, on the size of your desk and monitor itself.

Mounting the Actuator

Now, you can get your hands on the most interesting part – mounting the actuator that would move the platform up and down. Attach it in the middle. As for what actuator to choose, 12-volt linear actuators have proven to be the optimal choice for such mechanisms. They produce enough torque to raise and lower the platform at a suitable speed.

Adding Pulleys & Wheels

Mount the first pulley onto the top of the actuator and secure it in place using grub screws and thread lock. Then, attach the idler pulleys to right angle brackets with nuts and bolts. (Tip: use superglue or thread lock to secure the whole thing.) Once you’re done, mount the brackets opposite the actuator.

Making the Platform for the Monitor

You’ll need another wooden board to put your monitor (and/or other things) on top of. Its size will also depend on your particular case. Clamp the plank to the base, drill through the middle at each end and place the bearings with a bore into the drilled holes (make sure the holes are large enough to accommodate them).

To make sure the bearing stays in place, bolt three flanged screws around the whole from underneath with their edged slightly overlapping with the hole, insert the bearing, and secure it with three more self-tapping screws.

Adding Some Stability

Use two 12 mm diameter threaded bars to support the platform. Make sure they are as long as the table itself. Thread a pair of locking nuts onto the bars and add a pulley to each bar.

Making the Mechanism Move

Thread the timing belt around the pulleys on the actuator and bars, cut it while leaving a small overlap, and join the ends. The latter can be done in several ways, including using a fishing thread to sew the ends together.

Now, screw the T-nuts to two wooden blocks with a hole inside, both underneath and on the top. These blocks will move on the bars. Screw them to the platform for the monitor at each side. Add right angle aluminum bars to the base to stabilize the whole thing.

Adding the Switches

To make sure the platform automatically stops moving, add switches that will break the circuit when pressed. You can mount them to slotted pieces of wood so that you can adjust their height later. To activate the buttons, use a small piece of wood and attach it to the lift platform using a right angle bracket. Then, wire the motor and the buttons to a three-position power switch and connect a switch to it.


Now, you can place the mechanism behind your desk, lock it with the desk itself using some screws, and enjoy using it!

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