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How To Build A Custom TV Lift

Learn how to build a TV lift discreetly tucked behind a fireplace mantel.

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Step 2: Select a Linear Actuator

A linear actuator is basically an electric motor attached to a worm drive and a track. When 12v is applied in one direction, a bracket on the worm drive moves up the track. When the 12v is reversed, the bracket moves down the track. Actuators are useful for a range of material conveyances and come in a variety of stroke lengths and weight capacities. The better ones will also have built-in end stops (limit switches) that make installation and wiring easier. When selecting a linear actuator (available online) choose one with a weight capacity at least 50 percent greater than the TV and a stroke length at least 1 to 2 inches longer than the height of the TV. Also pay close attention to the operating speed — a lift with a 1-inch-per-second speed will take 20 seconds to fully lift a 20" tall TV. Most manufacturers also offer a bracket kit, which simplifies attachment of the TV mount.

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