I'm building a computer desk and I had the idea to hide some speakers in a compartment towards the back. I'd like the speakers to pop up out of the desk on some kind of mechanism that rises up, kind of like an old top loading VCR, maybe something hinged at the back. I'm fairly mechanically minded, but I'm struggling to imagine a way to make something like this that doesn't need visible handles and I'd love it if I could open the compartments by pressing on the top and having it open at least a small amount. I know this is a long shot, but are there any products out there that could help me achieve this? I genuinely have no idea what search terms to use.
Search for "Lift up" hinges. These will let you lift up a section of desk to reveal something underneath, but won't let you click in the desk to lift it up. For that, you'll want push latches.
I'm not quite sure how well those will work in combination. As a fallback, consider some kind of recessed handle. (There's a bunch of options out there.)
To hold it up there are cupboard door stays used in motorhomes/caravans (RVs etc.). Here (eBay) are some I've used. They're just a spring in a tube, and aren't all that strong, but should do this job. They're often used together with push latches.
If it's very heavy, look for small gas struts (a smaller version of those used in car boots/trunks). You'll want a good idea of the weight and geometry when you select them - so perhaps get the cheap spring ones first even if they up up being a prototype.
Another effective latch can use magnets, specifically rare earth magnets, and it's easiest to use the sort with a countersunk hole. You'd need an arrangement such that the magnet pair (or magnet plus steel bracket) come into contact when fully open. Note though that it may be prone to slamming shut once the magnet force is overcome.
These both assume a hinged arrangement, rather than a vertical lift. For the latter I'd look to a scissors mechanism but getting the parts could be hard (Meccano?). Latching down would be easy - gravity, but up would require something customised. If I went that far I'd motorise the scissor lift on a leadscrew made from M6 studding, under computer control of course - but I do a lot of hardware interfacing for home and work.
A further variation, inspired by some pop-up headlights on old sports cars, is for the section of desktop to hinge at the back (or lift vertically, but I think that lack of a flat top is a good thing because I'd put stuff on it) and for the speaker to hinge at the front, set slightly lower. A leadscrew or servo would tilt the speaker up, and that would push the lid up.
There are purpose-built products out there that are designed to do this.
Hard to show an example without it coming across as a recommendation, but you may want to explore something like this:
To stress, this is merely an example and not a product recommendation.
For my money, I think I'd save myself the frustration of trying to get something acceptable from a combination of push latches and lift-up hinges. Something purpose built is much more likely to "just work".
Nice idea. How about making a tilt-top cubby at the back of the desk?
- Cut the top across the width of the speakers (perhaps two compartments., for stereo, leaving the center as flat space even when open).
- Hinge the back of the top to the back edge of the desk.
- Mount speakers under that flap (or flaps).
- Use either a drop-down support rod or springs to hold it open.