Monday, January 24, 2011

Control Panel Winch System

With my electrical and control panel system complete, the last thing to do was to create a method to lower the control panel under my layout when not in use, and to raise it and keep it upright when needed. For this, I decided on a winch system. Simply turn the winch to raise the control panel into place, and reverse the winch to lower. The winch even holds the control panel up while in use.

Control panel winch cable system

The system was quite easy to build. First, I purchased a mini-winch from a local hardware store, as well as a couple cable pulleys and other hardware to fasten it to my benchwork. For the cable, I used 1/16” aircraft cable covered in PVC and aluminum sleeves to create loops at each end. I planned a path for the cable to run, then drilled the necessary holes through my benchwork supports so the cable would come out centered right where I wanted it to lift the control panel to. I used 2 small pulleys to guide the cable to this point and to also ensure the cable was not contacting and of the benchwork.

Winch bolted to 2x4 table legControl panel winch

I then used a fixed pulley bolted to the underside of my table top and ran the cable overtop, as seen below. This was then attached to a ‘U’ bolt that was fastened to the control unit. The cable is rated for 95lbs safe working load, so it’s more than enough to lift and hold the unit.

Control panel winch cable systemControl panel winch cable system

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