Need help designing a stand that raises and lowers

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Forum topic by joshvb posted 03-23-2011 04:11 PM 1370 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2861 days

03-23-2011 04:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stand help advice question resource

I am in need of some creative innovation and I need your help…
For my church, I am building a stand that will hold various bulletins etc for different groups – I guess you could call it an information booth of some sort. The stand will be about 7 feet tall. The top half of the stand will be a square prism. The length and the width is about 2 feet while the height is 3 feet. The bottom half is a smaller square prism fixed to a larger base and some casters. The stand by it self is quite simple and obviously, the bottom must be heavy so it wont tip. Here’s the problem that I have: The top part must raise and lower at least a foot – if not more. Our church meets in a school for the time being. Each week, all our supplies are loaded into an enclosed trailer. In order for the stand to fit into the trailer, it needs to be shorter. We thought of making it 2 pieces but I am convinced the stand will get its fair share of abuse simply being moved in an out of the trailer each week. Making if 2 pieces definitely will increase the amount of abuse that it will receive.

Here’s what Ive thought of:
Gas shocks on the inside – some how, I would mount gas shocks – like the kind used to hold open the back hatch of a car. These shock would allow it to be raised and lowered. Ive also toyed with the idea of the mechanism used to raise and lower an office chair. That would be a very simple solution but I am unable to find one that travels 12 inches or more.
As of right now, I am using a long ram bottle jack. It would be mounted on the inside of the base and a little door would be on the bottom. The would add extra weight to the base and it would obviously have enough strength to lift the top part. The only draw back is that it takes a very long time to pump up the jack.
If you have any ideas please let me know. I do not want to have to plug it in or have a battery. I look at actuator arms and things like that a but that would be too costly for this. I am convinced their is a better way than what I am doing.
Please share your ideas.


10 replies so far

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 3067 days

#1 posted 03-23-2011 04:21 PM

I am stumped on this one because something that big is going to have some major weight to it. my only suggestion is a rack and pinion type of design.


View poopiekat's profile


4408 posts in 3974 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 05:53 PM

Hmmm… maybe the lower half of 2 identical office chairs…with the gas cylinder that lifts and lowers? Would need two people to operate it, though. It would already have casters, though.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 03-23-2011 06:50 PM

I think you need to reconsider the two piece option. Any mechanical device that you create will be subject to the abuse you are concerned about. Additionally, you stated that the lower portion is a smaller square prism. This means that the upper prism when lowered will have to cover the lower prism. This will significantly limit the functional depth of the upper prism and interfere with attaching any lifting mechanism to the sides of the upper prism for stability. Additionally, because the top descends over the bottom, their is no base on the top which weakens its structure. Just my thoughts. Good luck.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 03-23-2011 06:53 PM

I would simplify it, no gas cylinders to fail in the future, just use leverage to make it easier to raise and lower, and use a locking track to set the height, here’s an illustration. if you work in sketchup let me know and i’ll send you the file so you can examine it in 3d.

hope this helps.

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3271 days

#5 posted 03-23-2011 06:59 PM

Wow, that is a nice design.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3090 days

#6 posted 03-23-2011 07:46 PM

Thanks for throwing down the gauntlet on this one.

Drewnahant’s work is to be commended.

I’m just imagining the two telescoping pieces as he/she drew it, but two spring loaded clips that would pop out of opposing sides of the inside piece when the outside piece was raised past their home.

This would require handles of some sort on those sides of the outer piece, plus two people. It would be stable in the up position.

To lower it, again two people, lifting it slightly, pressing in the clips, lowering it down, and then playing scissors, stone and paper to see who gets to wheel it into the trailer!



btw, this week I noted in another church they used a boat trailer winch behind the raredos wall to raise and lower the banners. Wow, what a cool idea…I’m trying to adapt it to our setting which would put it in the room where the organ pipes live.

Whoa. How could we make a boat trailer winch work? Crank that removes? It wouldn’t add much weight, and would go up faster than the bottle jack idea, which is cool nonetheless. Next….

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3531 days

#7 posted 03-23-2011 07:46 PM

When you say the top needs to move at least a foot, do you mean you want it to be adjustable, or simply that it needs to be a foot shorter in the storage configuration so it will fit into the trailer?

I agree with Jack_T – if this is going to suffer abuse being moved around, a complicated mechanism is going to be that much more prone to damage. Also, the adjustable systems you’re describing are all 2 pieces (at least), so I don’t agree with the “not 2 pieces” premise.

Here’s my idea. Pretty simple, but bombproof. The upper half is a box within a box that just fits over the lower half. A crosspin goes into one of two holes to fix the height. The skirt around the bottom of the upper half hides the pin and keeps it from coming out. After a little further thought, you don’t even need the lower crosspin hole – just let the top rest down on the bottom. You would need a way to store the pin if you did that.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18424 posts in 3915 days

#8 posted 03-24-2011 09:01 AM

I would just make it in 2 pieces like the one above with one part sliding over the other or a socket affair like a mortise with a long tenon. Simple, cuts the weight for moving.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3328 days

#9 posted 03-25-2011 05:21 AM

Another Idea, if it is rectangular, you can make it so that the top section fits around the bottom, but when rotated 90 degrees, sits on two edges.

you just need to attatch the two with a shaft and tube which can telescope and rotate at the center. if you want to make it easier to lift, use your gas springs, or my preference would be a pulley and counterweight. a counterweight can add some mass to the base so it is more stable, and it provides a constant force, so it can perfectly balance the weight of the top. springs, even gas springs dont work this way, they apply more force when they are more compressed, so if it balances the weight at the bottom, it may have little force as it nears to top and not do much.

View brtech's profile


1054 posts in 3162 days

#10 posted 03-25-2011 08:54 PM

Also consider a scissor jack from a car. You can even modify the crank to use a drill/driver to run it up and down.

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