Mount the Drawer Actuator

You can open all sorts of different things using your linear actuator. Doors, secret bookcases, chest and trunk lids, drawers, or even vertically actuated hidden compartments recessed into  pedestals or table tops!

Your connection methods will vary depending on what you're opening. Here I'll show how to open a drawer.

You'll need to find enough space to mount the actuator -- in the case of a chest of drawers or cash drawer, the easiest way is to use the space of the drawer below the one you'd like to actuate. You can build the mount the actuator in the drawer below and fix it shut, or use the drawer front as a facade and remove the drawer entirely, as I did here.

I mounted a small wooden bracket to the facade so I could fix it in place with industrial Velcro for removal later.

Next, I tested the position of the actuator to determine the mounting point for the actuator connected to the bottom side of the drawer I want to open. This needs to be a point that allows the drawer to fully close when the actuator is retracted. Some trial and error using double stick foam tape while the actuator is opening and closing on a loop is a good way to determine this. Since I wanted to mount my actuator on its side, I used a single wood screw to connect it to a piece of scrap wood I mounted to the case bottom -- using a small enough diameter screw to allow movement of the actuator. I marked the top clevis position with a pencil and then removed the drawer from the case

I then predrilled some pilot holes, using the actuator clevis bracket as a guide. Due to the construction of my case (there was a piece in the way), I needed to put the drawer back in before screwing the clevis to its underside. I've also put the cash drawer dividers back in place.

I used a small screw starter to grip the screws and allow me to turn them into the pilot holes, then switched to a short screwdriver to finish the job.

The actuator rod's end hole is held in the clevis with a clevis pin, or in this case, an M6 bolt.

This system doesn't have active braking or obstruction sensing, so be very careful to keep fingers out of the drawer when it's closing! I didn't mount the wood base permanently to the case, so it can lift and supply relief if there is an obstruction.
This guide was first published on Aug 25, 2017. It was last updated on Aug 25, 2017. This page (Mount the Drawer Actuator) was last updated on Apr 18, 2019.