How to Build a Desk with a Hidden Monitor Lift
How to Build a Desk with a Hidden Monitor Lift

How to Build a Desk with a Hidden Monitor Lift

Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation when your friends (or worse – your parents) come blundering in and spot you browsing through some sites of dubious nature? No one would like that, same as no one would want unauthorized people to read his/her secret emails or get a peep of the research that is sure to change the world. After all, everybody is entitled to some privacy. If you wish to avoid these awkward moments, then you are in dire need of a contraption that will cause your monitor to disappear in a twinkling of an eye – a hidden computer monitor lift.

Desk with Hidden Monitor Lift

Desks tend to become rather cluttered at all times. Documents, folders, books, and paraphernalia of all kinds – from coffee mugs to good luck toys – make it into a mess. Yet when there appears a computer on top of it all, the need for more tabletop room becomes more of a necessity. 

Getting the system unit out of sight (under the table) has always been a band-aid measure that alleviates the need for space only temporarily. With more personal effects encroaching on what vacant space was left, the problem of the monitor came to the forefront. A hidden desk monitor lift is a perfect ergonomic solution that will win you additional desk space as well as make your home, office or classroom into a futuristic one. Compact and quiet, this device will conceal your monitor before one can say, Jack Robinson. 

How Does it Work?

As the name suggests, a desk with a hidden monitor lift contains a mechanism that will allow the monitor to slide down under the desk when you don’t need it and appear again at your command. The mechanism is essentially a motorized driving system letting the monitor glide down into a special compartment within the desk (sometimes, with room enough to contain the keyboard and mouse). As a normal computer table, such desks are provided with allowance to house cables and wiring, and sometimes even with power outlets.

Having such a desk will help you keep the screen protected from any damage, especially when there are some kids constantly running by. One more benefit of it is connected with health. Since you can adjust the height of the monitor to be comfortable for you, it will prevent or lessen pain in your back and neck which you may develop after spending long hours sitting in front of the computer.

Photo of a man sitting for a laptop

Moreover, it will be more than a nine days’ wonder for people discussing your impressive fancy desk that swallows your computer.

These desks made of various materials (from wood to tempered glass) can be bought readymade, but you can install or build a motorized monitor lift in desk that you already have. 

Parts You Need

Building a hidden monitor lift is not that hard for anyone ready to put some effort into it. If your fingers are nimble and you can handle glue and screwdriver, this task of creating your own gadget surely isn’t above your head. The materials and parts you are going to need are quite affordable since there is not many electronics required. To build a motorized monitor lift into your desk, you should get a couple of wooden planks, several mounting brackets and idler pulleys, two threaded metal rods and two ball bearings, a dozen screws and nuts and a timing belt. 

All of that can be obtained at your local hardware store. As for the tools, the ones you will need are regularly used for any basic work about the house, so a jigsaw and a drill will do. And, of course, if the lift is going to be motorized, you can’t dispense with a motor and/or a linear actuator.

Actuators to Use

You may buy a simple motor, but a much better option would be a linear actuator. This is an electric device containing a low-voltage DC motor that transforms rotational motion into pushing and pulling. Used in gadgets requiring, among other things, lifting and lowering, powerful linear actuators provide an opportunity for unlimited adjustability in installation and control. What is more, some models of linear actuators can be customized according to your requirements. Customization options encompass dimensions, stroke, and voltage. And you can add feedback control to boot.

Guide to Build Desk with Hidden Monitor Lift

Do you have everything you need to start working? Then you are on the verge of the DIY realm and your conquest of it will be determined not so much by the materials and tools you use, but by your craftsmanship which can’t be bought for any money. Yet if you possess some of it, you will be able to turn your humdrum computer desk into an amazing workmanlike showpiece which will make your friends go wow. And that’s without making a hole in your pocket, too.

The basic procedure of adding a hidden monitor lift to your desk starts with:

  • Building a wooden plank base to which you will attach a linear actuator. You should mind the speed of its motor not to send your monitor go rocketing.

  • Once the base is solid, you must drill two holes at each end through which the threaded metal bars will pass to provide the up-and-down motion of the monitor platform.

  • The rods will have to be secured with ball bearings and screws. 

  • Then, loop the timing belt around the threaded rods and the motor. 

  • The wooden platform must be fixed with screws at the other end of the rods.

  • To prevent the framework from being wobbly, four right-angled aluminum bars are attached at the angles of the platform.

  • By adding two switches pushed by the platform when it is in its highest and lowest position, you will make sure the platform will not go off the threaded bars and will stop where you wish it to. 

  • Then, slide your monitor down and add a plank to the desk in the place where it stood and voila – you have created an uber-cool engineering marvel!

Ideas for a Desk with Hidden Monitor Lift

When you have mastered the nuts and bolts of transforming your desk into a gadget of the future, any hidden monitor lift idea will seem a piece of cake to you. You can start with simpler projects and then move on to some more elaborate and chic ones. Just remember that it is the first step that is the hardest one.

>With all the technology we enjoy today, it is still amazing to be able to build things with our own hands at our own home. It is especially fascinating when these things are used in combination with modern hi-tech devices. A hidden monitor lift for your computer table is what a clever DIY person can easily make to free some space on the cluttered desk and add some know-how swank to the hackneyed piece of furniture.

Anna Sapiga

AZ Engineer