Building a cabinet lift for under $300

For more on building your own cabinet lift, check out our in depth Blog on how to build a cabinet lift for under $300

How to build your lift

So can you build a TV lift cabinet for less than $300? Well, that's what we're going to find out. We've already bought the materials, and we're going to use hardwood flooring for the outside of the cabinet. The great thing about using this stuff is it comes in a million different colors, different tones, different wood types, it's really easy to work with, and it's actually pretty cheap.

For the mechanism, we're going to use a FIRGELLI Automations TV lift, because it comes with two different types of lid mechanisms. you can either use a flip-back lid, or a lid that slides up and down with the cabinet. This mechanism comes with both of the brackets you need to be able to do that. It's very easy to operate, super quiet. It can lift TVs up to probably 90-inches, and you can fix this to the base of a cabinet, or you can use these holes to fix it to the back of a cabinet. And it comes with two controllers: a wired remote or a wireless remote. It's universal, fits with any TV, it's very easy to use.

Okay, let's start by building the cabinet. Okay, so here's a materials list. We bought seven, 2 x 4's, they're like $3 or $4 each, two, 4 x 8's and for the flip-back lid style cabinet we're gonna make we use a piano hinge. These are $8 from Home Depot, and then some hardwood flooring. Now hardwood flooring is where you can blow your budget because this could be anything from a couple $100 a pack to $60 a pack. This stuff is the vinyl flooring, because what we're going to do is we're going to put our TV lift cabinet outside and see how it holds up to the weather. And first thing you want to do is first, you need to build a frame for the TV lift cabinet, that's the most important part. That's where the TV lift mechanism sits inside, and the TV as well sits inside there. And then it's the outside of that frame where we put on the finishing material and it doesn't have to be hardwood flooring, it can actually be anything you want it to be.

To make it easy, this stuff is so easy to cut and use; that's why we're going to use this, and it's also pretty cheap. Okay, so we've nearly got the frame completed. And it's really just nothing more than a couple of 2 x 4's. And the size of the cabinet we are making here is for a 50-inch TV. So it's not a big TV. And so the cabinet is actually going to be quite small. Whatever size cabinet you make is really dependent on the size of the TV you watch or how big you want the cabinet to actually be. So this is quite small; it's almost done. And we'll add an extra couple of 2 x 4's in the back here so that then we can actually screw the back of the TV lift mechanism onto the back here and onto the base.

Then we'll make a lid. Two different types of lids. We're going to make a flip-back lid, and one that goes up and down with the TV. And then we'll add all the exterior hardwood flooring, and it's really going to be that simple. Okay, now we have the cabinet frame done with the flip-back lid using the piano hinge. And it's very simple; it's just another piece. And that fits on the top. And we'll show you it in action. That's how simple it is. And as you can see, it uses this roller feature that fits on the top of the TV lift mechanism. And that slides it back but doesn't slide it back far enough so that the lid falls backwards. It's just a couple of degrees. And the next one to add will be the one where the cabinet lid lifts up with the lift mechanism itself and we'll do that next.

But I just wanted to show you exactly how this rollback feature works. It's very simple; it's very easy to install and only adds an extra inch and a half to the top of the mechanism as you can see here. And we'll install the TV next so you can just see exactly how that works. So you can see it's rolling makes it nice and smooth as it closes down. And the good thing with this feature, if your hand is in the way, it doesn't really matter and nothing's gonna hurt, right because it just flips back and forth. And it's also a very easy way to gain access to the mechanism in the TV if there was a power cut or something like that. So this is a good solution.

The downside is if somebody leaves something on the top, and then it's just simply going to fall off as soon as it hits it right. So that's the downside. something else we need to show you is you can install the TV lift mechanism anywhere you want. Height wise, we can put some blocks underneath it to make it lift higher. So as you can see here when the TV lift goes down; it still keeps going further down and that's because we made this cabinet taller, to be able to accommodate the bracket we want to put on for lifting the lid with the lift all at the same time. But if we wanted, we could put some blocks underneath there and bring it up to probably say this height and that could be the zero starting point and that gives us more lift and we could use a bigger TV.

But for now, this is fine. And now we'll put the next bracket on the top and show you how that works. Okay, so just for fun, we added the TV to the frame, so you can see exactly how it works and how it looks all in proportion with the TV. We made this cabinet to fit specifically for this 50-inch Samsung TV. And that's why it's kind of a smaller cabinet, but it gives you an idea of how it all works. The thing you'll find is that you cannot see the roller top feature or the TV lift mechanism from the viewing angle when you're watching the TV, it's all hidden away. And you'll also notice that the TV lifts higher than as required. And that's because if you want to use a bigger TV, the bigger TV will actually, be taller. And you can get different size lifts as well, this is actually the medium size lift for TVs around 40 to 60-inch.

And next thing we're going to do is we're gonna add the fixed-top feature, so that when it lifts, the lid lifts with it. And that's great in case you want to have some flowers on the top or something like that. And then we'll start adding the hardwood flooring around the outside and to the top to make it look pretty, because that's what it's missing right now it just looks like a frame. But this is the basics of what the system looks like. Something else we should point out also is, this is where your gonna hide all your stuff. So this is where the control box is hidden away for the lift mechanism. There's also a wired controller in case you lose the remote or the battery runs out or something and you can just gain access to that from lifting the lid up. And you could probably mount that inside here if you wanted or just leave it hanging loose down below here out of the way. Okay, now what we've done is we've added this fixed-top bracket, which then when this is screwed on, and you'll notice the slots here so this can slide up or down depending on how high you want it to be. And then you just slide this on here. And with the screws that come with it, screw this in. And this TV lift also comes with this little spirit level that you can add to the top to adjust it to make sure it's perfectly level.

In fact, this also fits onto here to make sure this is level too. It's kind of nice to have this. And then what you do with this is you would screw the top on to here and adjust the height so that when the lift is closed, it pops in perfectly to enter the right height, so perfectly into place. So that's what we're going to do now, we'll add the TV, we'll add the top, and we'll adjust it so that it sits perfectly on to here when the lift is all the way down. Okay, so we've now added the bracket, we've added the TV, and as you can see, I've adjusted the height of this so that when the TV lift is all the way down; It sits flush with the top of the cabinet frame. Now it's ready; there you go. And now you see it's perfectly flush. Now it's ready for us to add the lid to it and see how that goes. And we'll give you a closer look here to see exactly what that looks like.

Okay, so there you have it. The frame is now done for the cabinet using the fixed lid. And as you can see, the benefit of a fixed lid is that things don't fall off when the TV is lifting out of the cabinet. If it was a flip-back lid, this would have just fallen over backwards and could have been quite disastrous. Now, you'll also notice there's quite a bit of space at the top here leftover and when it's lifted all the way there's quite a bit of space at the bottom. That allows us to use a much bigger TV for this size stroke lift. This is quite a small TV, it's only 50-inch. But this stroke would easily accommodate a 75-inch TV. One of the downsides of using a fixed lid, is that if you would put your hand or a child was to put their hand in the cabinet, when it's closing, that could get painful. Although the lifts do come with a built-in shut-off sensor. But another option is to install magnets on the inside of the cabinet lid. Because the bracket is already metal, so it would stick to it no problem. And that way, when it's coming down, the magnets would just pop-off and that would be a great solution.

So the next thing we're going to do now is start adding the drywall into the outside to make this thing look pretty and see if we can still make a cabinet for less than $300. That is the goal, can we do it? Let's find out. Okay, so now we're adding the hardwood flooring to the frame, as you can see. And what we're doing is we're glueing it on. So first thing we do is we want to cut 45-degree mitre angles on each end of each plank, and then we add some glue, and then we clamp them on and just let it dry. So let's just do this piece here so you can see how it goes, get it the right way up. And the glue we're using is this hardwood flooring glue. And we'll just add a bunch like this. And then what we have to do is we have to clamp it to the frame until the wood dries.

Now, normally, you would use something like this, which just clips on and holds it down. But if you don't have any of them, I have another trick, you just get some bits of wood, drill a hole through the middle and just use a regular wood screw. Let me just... screw it like that, just to hold it and then, when it's dried, we take it off. There we go. And then we do one-layer at a time all the way around. Let it dry for a few hours or overnight is best. Take the clamps off, take these off and then do the next layer until we get to the top. And so we're nearly there, getting there and you can see this stuff looks good. And you can have any shade, any color, any pattern you want. So we have almost finished, I've just put the last top-layer on which is what the clamps are for, on all four sides, I've just did the top.

And what we did is we finished the top edge at 45-degrees so that we can make it look a bit pretty by cutting a couple of two-inch strips to go all around the top. And so we put them two-inch wide with a 45-degree angle on so that we can just slide them on here, we'll add some glue, as well. And that will meet perfectly already got that one in, and then it's two side pieces. And once they're glued in, that will look pretty sweet. The clamps have all now been taken away and we've added the TV and you can see the cabinet part is now finished and all we've got to do now is make the lid. And you can see it's already looking pretty good. And I'll show you what the inside looks like. So here you can get a closer look of what the top-piece looks like. So we've used the hardwood flooring around here too. We just gave it a 45-degree angle cut on the outside edge, so it meets up with the side pieces nicely. And here is where we screwed it in the holder for the wired remote. That's in case you ever lose the wireless remote.

Still got the brackets on the top here. And you can see that this cabinet now is a perfect size for this TV. And now we're just going to build the top. And in fact, what I've done, you can probably see I left the roller top fixture on here, because if we wanted to convert the lid to the roller top feature, all we have to do is screw on the piano hinge on this back leading edge here and remove these two brackets and that will convert it to a flip-back lid. But we're going to use a fixed lid. And we'll also give it some magnets as well and show you how that works because it's surprisingly very effective. I am now making the lid for the cabinet and I'm using the same hardwood flooring material. I basically sandwiched them together with a piece of plywood in the middle and put 45-degree angles on all four sides and then cut four strips like this with also 45-degree angles. And they will just simply glue into place. And once they're glued into place, this will look like a solid, nice piece of wood. This could be any material you want. And then we're going to attach it to the lid, but I'm going to use magnets like these rare earth magnets.

And I've got four of these because we're going to have one on each corner of the plate, they have a countersink, centre with a hole through them. And we'll literally just screw these to the underneath of this thing. And then it'll just magnetically connect to this. And that'll do two things: One, we don't have to mess around with setting the height perfectly for when the TV lift stops moving, that this is perfectly aligned with the top. Don't have to do that with the magnets, because what could happen is the lift could just keep going down and the lid will just disconnect from the TV lift once it hits the top of the cabinet. The second feature that I really like is if a child was to put their hand here, the lid would just pop off without causing any damage or any problems at all. And actually, there's a third reason why we would use magnets and that is if there was a power cut, or I lost a remote control, and we needed to gain access to the wired-remote control, which is this. We could easily just pop the lid off, grab the remote and press the up or down button or whatever we need to do if you lose the remote. So there's three advantages of using these rare earth super strong magnets. These are pretty cheap; they come in many different sizes, even different strengths. And they just, literally just... They're quite strong, and they'll be more than sufficient for what we're going to do here. So now, let's finish this. We'll glue on the sides and then we'll add the magnets and show you how this works. Ok, the cabinet is now finished. And as you can see, this is all made of hardwood flooring, and I think it looks pretty good. I'll give you a quick demonstration here and what I like about the fixed lid approach is that things don't fall off when the lid is lifting. It doesn't flip back and flip things off which is one of the things I really like about having a fixed lid style.

And what we'll do, I'll give you a demonstration of what it's like when you put something in the way and the top pops off because don't forget for this, we're using magnets as you can see at the top here. And so the great thing is the magnets are connected to the lid and they just connect with the metal plate that's part of the frame of the TV lift system. So I guess we can leave that on there and what I'll do is I'll put my hand in the way here and you'll see the lid will pop off. But the lift will keep going which is a good thing about it. So here we go. There we go. So you can see this just literally popped off, which is great. I'll show you the underneath, what it's like and there you can see the magnets, and they're just screwed into this. And don't forget we made this out of hardwood flooring as well so that it all matches. We did the bottom, I did the sides and the top. And the other great thing about that is if the power goes off, or you lose a remote, you can reach in and grab the the hand-wired remote. And so there you have it. That was a very simple, easy project.

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