Tech Peak » How to Build a Motorized Monitor Lift on a Budget

How to Build a Motorized Monitor Lift on a Budget

by sophiajames

Whether you work from home or in the office, a motorized monitor lift can be an advantage. The idea is that you keep your screen protected. It stays hidden and only lifts into view when you want to use it.

Notably, you don’t have to purchase a readymade motorized monitor lift. If you’re on a budget, you can save money by taking the DIY route. You only need to purchase the primary components and carry out the installation. We’ll explain all about the process in this article.

Tools & Materials You’ll Need

First things first, you need to get the parts you’ll be working with. For the materials, here’s what you’ll typically need:

Plywood or MDF board for the base and frame

Lumber for support structures

Screws and nails

Linear actuator

Power supply for the motor

Control switch or remote

Pulleys and cables

Monitor mount or compatible bracket

Wood glue for bonding

Sandpaper for smoothing edges

Among the materials above, a major highlight is the linear actuator. That’s because it’s the device that handles the motion. Since you’re on a budget, linear actuators are ideal since they’re relatively affordable. While purchasing, ensure you get one that meets the size and weight requirement of your monitor. Additionally, you can consider getting a replacement actuator to have a handy backup when the need arises.

That said, here are the tools you’ll likely need:

Saw for cutting wood

Drill with bits for pilot holes and screwing


Wood clamps for securing pieces during assembly

Tape measure

Level for ensuring accurate alignment

Wire stripper and connectors for electrical connections

Paint or finish

Note that the last is optional, but it’s worth the aesthetic appeal. If you’ve gotten all materials and tools listed, you’re ready to build your motorized lift on a budget.

Getting the Motorized Monitor Lift Done

Now, let’s delve into how you can build your motorized lift. With the steps below, you’ll have the setup running in no time:

Planning the design

At the initial stage, you’ll describe just how you want the design to be. You can do this using a simple diagram. Major considerations here are factors like:

Motion range

Height adjustment

Overall appearance

Hence, you’ll pay attention to the dimensions of your monitor. Also important is accessing the space where you’ll set up the lift and the structure it’ll rest in. For recommendations, you can build the lift within a cabinet or desk.

Building the Frame

Suppose you have your design ready, building the frame is next. Here, you lay the foundation for the motorized lift. As a result, it’s notably important.

To build the frame, you’ll cut the plywood or MDF board. Its dimensions should match that of the monitor and the set lift range. Then, you’ll place the frame inside the structure you want the lift to sit in. The lumber will come into play to securely attach the frame to the structure.

There may be a need for additional support like using screws and glue. Whichever, simply ensure the frame is sturdy.

Adding the Motorized Mechanism

Simply put, what you’re doing here is mounting the linear actuator. You’ll find an ideal location on the frame and connect the motion device. While at it, it’s important that it aligns with your target motion range.

To ensure the actuator is secure, you’ll use screws and brackets. It’s ideal that these attachments be central to ensure smooth operation. You’ll also connect the motion device to its power supply.

Actuators are relatively simple to use. However, to ensure you get nothing confused, follow the user manual. After adding the mechanism, run a test to ensure everything is smooth.

Wiring and controls

In the previous step, you may have wired the linear actuator to its power source. Now, you’ll need to connect the device to its control. Most actuators will use remotes or control switches. These are relatively easy to connect.

With a remote, it is easy since you can operate the lift anywhere. However, with switches, ensure you place them in an ideal location. If possible, it should be on the desk where the monitor will sit when not hidden.

Ensure you conceal the wires using cable organizers and clips. This serves dual purposes. First, it’ll ensure you get a clean display. Secondly, managing the configuration becomes easier as there’s no mix ups.

Testing the system

At this point, you’re ready to place the monitor. But before you do that, it helps to test the motorized system. Here, you’re checking the full range, load capacity, and safety.

The motorized lift should be able to travel its set distance without any issues. Also, it should have the capacity to hold weight up to the size of the monitor. You can perform the load testing by using any alternative weight source.

While testing, it’s important to have safety at the back of your mind. There should be no emergency stops or limit switches. An ideal setup will run as intended with no obstructions.

Installing the monitor

To install the monitor, you’ll need your mount or brackets. Whichever the monitor supports, ensure that it matches the lift surface. Then, securely attach the mount or brackets to suit the desired height and angle.

When you fasten the monitor to the lift, confirm that it’s stable. You can gently run the motorized setup up and down for this. Like with the linear actuator, ensure the cables are concealed.

Final adjustments

Now, you’re almost ready to start using your motorized monitor lift. However, as you run your tests, there may be a need for some adjustments. Perhaps the angle isn’t perfect, or the actuator speed is too slow. Whichever, address them all in your final adjustments. Only certify the lift ready if the monitor remains stable while it travels and the controls work correctly.

Bottom Line

Building a motorized monitor lift while on a budget can be interesting. While it’s a technical task, that doesn’t mean it’s difficult. You can follow the instructions in this piece to get it done. That’ll save you money than hidden tech shops to purchase a ready-made one.

You may also like

Leave a Comment