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I'm looking for something I'm sure must exist but simply cannot find to improve the ergonomics of both my workspace and my TV wallmount. Essentially, I need to be able to quickly and easily adjust the vertical position of both the VESA wall-mounted TV and the VESA articulated arm mounted monitor. Not necessarily together.

For my monitor I could buy an insanely expensive replacement arm with vertical adjustment. I'm not kidding when I say insanely expensive, though, and they're often not good for the weight of a decent quality 24"+ monitor anywya. An arm is not appealing for the TV even if I could find one capable of holding a 32" TV without breaking, because they're big, ugly, and can't be mounted flush with the wall.

The Question:

Does anyone here know of a VESA-mount-to-VESA-mount slider adapter, something that'd let me vertically adjust the position of my monitor and TV without having to mount and demount? I've been searching around and haven't found anything like it in ergonomics stores, DIY/home stores, electronics stores, etc.

Think, rotated 90 degrees to the vertical:

 _____     <--- VESA plate to mount TV/monitor on
   |
   ------------------------
   |    SLIDING RAIL      |
   ------------------------
              |
           _______     <-- VESA plate to connect to wall / monitor arm

If nobody knows of anything like it off the shelf: Any idea what'd be involved in creating one? I can source or make VESA mounting plates, both male and female, quite easily. The challenge would be finding a rail that would stand up to the load and one that could ideally be balanced with a gas lift, spring, or whatever to suspend the display at the selected height while allowing easy adjustment.

Most display arms with vertical adjustment seem to use some kind of internal friction brake within the rail, combined with a spring to offset the weight of the display so it's as easy to move up as down. Any ideas whether this might be a practical approach for DIY, or whether I'm better off with something like a small locking gas lift?

For that matter, is it even possible to get small gas lifts - ones sized for devices not chairs and people?

I'm wondering if server rack mounting rails can be adapted for the job, combined with a weight-balancing spring and a friction brake. Ideas?

Sorry if this is OT; I wasn't really sure where the best SE site to ask it would be.

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Typical, I give up, ask for help, and then find a ready-made product for the job. It isn't a VESA-to-VESA sliding adapter, it's a wall-mount, but it's perfect for the tv. lumi.cn/en/productsd.php?pid=244 . Another is almost right for the monitor: lumi.cn/en/productsd.php?pid=242 . Still interested in DIY options as those ball-and-socket rotation mounts suck when you're rotating regularly, they come loose and need regular tightening. –  Craig Ringer May 1 '12 at 4:50
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

A real cost-effective way to position a slide is to use a screw drive. These can handle the load, move the payload rapidly and, if geared properly, stay where you put them.

You should be able to make a unit cheaply like so:

(Click an image to see it full-sized)
Slide mount, top Slide mount, bottom

This would use:

  1. Two good-quality drawer slides.
  2. Plywood for the moving platform, and optionally a plywood base for the whole thing.
  3. 3 feet of "all thread" rod (the larger the diameter, the better).
  4. A matching nut or a threaded block for the drive rod. If a plain nut is used, then you also need some means to affix it to the moving platform.
  5. A reversible motor and gearing. Old drills, shredders, electric car-window lifts, etc. are good sources for this. Or you could buy something new.
    This is the part that will require most of your ingenuity, as there is nothing off the shelf that I am aware of. But it's not too hard to rig something up if you've a little fab know-how.
  6. If the motor was DC, a power supply for it. Old computer supplies often put out plenty of juice at 12V, if a 12V motor is used.
  7. A suitable switch for the motor, usually DPDT is required.
  8. Misc hardware, paint, axle grease for the drive screw.
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That's a GREAT idea. Handily, the motor is the easy bit for me, as I do a bit of embedded electronics work. I wouldn't even need a microcontroller for that, it'd just be a rocker switch, a power MOSFET (if DC motor) or relay (for either AC or DC motor but costs more) and a little motor, really easy. The coolest thing about that is that I could combine it with my plans for a height-adjustible desk to (with a microcontroller) make the monitor auto-switch its height when the desk does to maintain the right ratio. Easy to rig up an optical or linear potentiometer position sensor. –  Craig Ringer May 2 '12 at 1:27
    
Fixing the drive nut in place is easy, too: Using a hex nut and inset it into a hex-shaped hole in a block is the classic solution and seems to work well, but welding/brazing it to the backplate would work too. Not sure about the right-angle geared drive to gear the motor down but I suspect it won't be that hard. Thanks! I never thought of using a screw drive mechanism and it's a great approach. –  Craig Ringer May 2 '12 at 1:28
    
If you are going to right-angle mount the motor, use a worm drive. This will make the system even more resistant to back-driving (slipping position with the motor off). ... Please let us know how it works out; hearing a DIY success story is always fun, and you could probably make an Instructable out of it, if you wished. –  Brock Adams May 2 '12 at 2:23
    
Great idea re the worm drive - that handles gearing and right angle transmission in one. I'll see what I can find; I don't have the gear to machine that sort of thing so it'll be down to what I can get in parts form. I can fall back on a geared direct drive and in-line motor if necessary. –  Craig Ringer May 2 '12 at 4:12
    
Didn't mention it before because I remembered these as being very pricy (I used to work for a company that charged 5 figures for actuators). But apparently, linear actuators are much cheaper now. Here's one for $130. Ebay has similar cheaper. –  Brock Adams May 3 '12 at 13:18
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I know this is a fairly old post, but I've just been googling around - I also need an inexpensive vertically adjustable monitor mount. I just had a brainwave and thought I'd share it, I'm going to try adapt an electric car window mechanism, I only need about 20cm of movement so think this will be perfect.

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