Couch Potato Refined: Self-Rotating TV Uses Plywood Gears

When we first saw [Mikeasaurus’] project to rotate his TV 90 degrees in case he wanted to lay down and channel surf we were ready to be unimpressed. But it grew on us as we read about how he fabricated his own gearing system to make a car seat motor rotate the TV.

The gearing system is made from plywood and the design was from geargenerator.com, a freebie design tool we’ve covered before. You’d think you’d need a laser cutter, but in this case, the gear forms were printed out, glued on the plywood and then cut out manually. Each gear is made of several laminated together.

This is one of those projects you probably won’t duplicate exactly. After all, you’ll probably have a different TV, a different mount, and a different motor. You might not even want your TV to rotate. But we can think of lots of reasons we might make a plywood gear train and this project is as good an example of that as any.

The motor apparently had its own remote but we would have been very tempted to use an IR remote and an Arduino or similar to let us graft it into our universal remote setup. Or maybe it would be cool to integrate into a voice control system. “Alexa! Make the TV lay down!”

20 thoughts on “Couch Potato Refined: Self-Rotating TV Uses Plywood Gears

    1. No it’s not “Not a hack”

      It’s too much hack…

      From the GIF, it looks like the motor takes the initial strain and thus it looks like the motor mount will fail sooner. Unless there’s a spring buffer mechanism in there of course.. then that may take some of the impact off the wood.

    1. While gearing down will reduce the ‘clonk’ by virtue of reducing the rate of motion, it could be more effectively achieved through some motor control and apply some acceleration/deceleration to the motion.
      Likewise if there was some sort of spring/rubber mounting that provides some give to the inertia of the TV then that would also reduce any hard knocks when starting & stopping.

    2. Brushed DC motors can be very easily and smoothly controlled by PWM’ming a single MOSfet.
      Direction reversal could be done easily with a dual pole dual throw relay.

      Or an H bridge such as (2x) the BTS7960 half bridge, which is sold on Ali / Ebay for a few bucks on a pcb and with a heatsink.

  1. That GIF is almost 10 MB. Come on, can you please figure out how to use HTML5 video instead? If I accidentally loaded this page on my phone, there goes 2% of my monthly data.

    1. 10MB?
      Oh, it’s probably a moving gif.
      I disabled those a long time ago because I’m allergic to moving advertisements.
      Firefox -> About:config -> Image.Animation.mode -> none.

    2. I second this! It is something that has been mentioned several times before in many different articles, large GIFs are probably one of the most annoying fauxpas on the internet! In some countries data is incredibly expensive, and then there is the consideration that some of the audience are an incredibly thrifty bunch and may not be using the most powerful hardware to view this site.

  2. Nice to see this DIY in the era of flat panels.
    Haven’t you heard of the (german made?) LOEWE CRTs which sported this feature right from the factor?

    And yes: motorised portraitlandscape would be hot :)

    1. Agreed, I once cut several 5-inch and 3-inch diameter gears in 1/2-inch plywood using a jigsaw in construction of an apparatus to twist strings of Christmas lights. It wasn’t easy and the results were crude, but it worked well-enough. The gears were not nearly as “pretty” as these.

  3. If I’m lying horizontally I find it weird if a screen with video is rotated to match. Our brains are extremely familiar with knowing which way is down, no matter the orientation of your face. It makes sense to rotate text (for example a phone, tablet or… book) to match the orientation of your face, but I don’t think you’d want to be reading much from a television at normal television viewing distance (unless it’s the intro to a Star Wars movie).

  4. Not bad as a first effort. Charring wood just a little makes some wood harder. A wall mount ought to rotate, for $5 more, but one that would go to ceiling mount would be nice. I hate always having to freeze my ph to portrate so I can use it laying on my side. It should be an easier process to freeze and unfreeze.

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