How to make a DIY scissor lift
Recently, after pondering a way to level out long workpieces when working with my small bench drill, I came up with a rough design for what would ultimately become this nifty little gem.
I operate the lift using my 12V Bosch ps130-2A cordless drill.
At it’s lower point it offers a 132mm high working platform while the small scissor lift platform can reach 300mm at its highest point.
Although this small gadget was made specifically for my drill press, the design can be scaled and adapted to be used for a number of different applications.
In this post, I will be sharing my drawings and build process for my version of a small DIY scissor lift.
Lumber cutting list – (PAR’ed Pine):
A x (1) – 440x186x22
B x (4) – 440x44x22
C x (2) – 168x44x22
D x (8) – 230x22x22
E x (2) – 92x22x22
F x (4) – 50x22x22
G x (8) – 46×10 Dowel
H x (4) – 24×16 Dowel
I x (4) – 47X16 Dowel
J x (4) – 6×10 screws
K x (24) – 8×35 screws
L x (4) – 8×70 screws
M x (2) – 10×30 Penny washer
N x () – 10×12 Washer
O x (1) – 10x Threaded rod
P x (20) – 6×20 Washer
Q x (4) – 6×40 Penny washer
R x (8) – 6×90 Threaded rod
S x (4) – 6×70 Threaded rod
T x (4) – 10mm Nuts (Two lock nuts)
U x (26) – 6mm Nuts (lock nuts)
Get building – Step 1 – The top and base
The top is assembled by fitting 2 of the “B” components to the sides of the “A” component, as shown in the photograph above. Thereafter prepare and fit an “F” component to the center of each one of the “B” components.
Preparation of the “F” component is done by drilling a 10mm hole as indicated by the diagram.
The base is assembled in much the same manner however the “A” component is replaced with 2 “C” components.
The assembly of the top and base is fairly straightforward with the only aspect that needs to be noted is the orientation of the 10mm hole in component “F“.
This will be the point where the scissor mechanism will fix to the top and base.
It is for that reason that the center point of this hole should be inline with the center point of the sliders when the lift is assembled.
The sliders are made using 16mm dowels. Therefore the center of the 10mm hole that needs to be drilled in component “F” should be 8mm from the edge that will be fixed to the “B” components.
Step 2 – The scissor mechanism
Of the 8 “D” components, 4 will be drilled in a 6-10-10mm pattern while the remaining 4 are drilled in a 6-10-6mm pattern (6 and 10 referring to hole size) as shown in the above diagram.
One of each of these will be assembled along with 1 “G” component (10x46mm dowel) and 1 10mm washer (“N“) to make up 1 of 4 scissor legs.
Push the dowel through the middle hole on one of the pegs, then add the washer followed by the other peg.
The purpose of the washer is to prevent the wood from grinding up against each other when the lift is being raised and lowered.
A 6mm hole needs to be added to the center of the 10mm dowel. This can be done before or after assembling the scissor leg.
Repeat this step 4 times to make all of the scissor legs.
Step 3 – Height adjustment mechanism
In this step, you will drill 10mm holes in the center of the 2 “E” components to accommodate the 10mm threaded rod.
Fasten the threaded rod to one of these using 2 of the 10mm washers and the 2 10mm lock nuts, as shown to the left of the above image.
This will be the fixed point of the rod so the lock nuts should be fastened to a point where the rod can still turn within the “E” component.
As for the other “E” component, use a chisel and a mallet to enlarge the hole in the shape of a 10mm nut. (Refer to video for visual instruction)
After doing so the remaining two 10mm nuts (not lock nuts) can be inserted into the cutouts.
To prevent the nuts from slipping out of the wood when the jack is operated, they are secured with the 10mm penny washers (“M“).
By drilling 2 holes in the washers they can be attached to the wood using screws (“J“).
This will be the adjustable point.
When the adjustment mechanism has been completed, the 4 scissor legs can be attached.
This is done by simply using the 70mm screws along with 4 6mm washers to fix the legs to the assembled adjustment mechanism. Remember to add another 10mm washer between the scissor leg and the “E” component to prevent grinding of the wood when operating.
When attaching the scissor legs to the adjustment mechanism, the pegs with the 6-10-6 hole configuration should be toward the inside.
Note that the dowel is longer than the scissor leg assembly is wide. This means that when the screws are added and the legs are attached to the “E” components, the scissor mechanism should be able to move freely.
Step 4 – Attaching the sliders (16mm dowels)
Attaching the sliders is simple enough. Using the 4 short 6mm rods (“S“) for the short sliders (“H“) along with a 6mm washer toward the inside and a 6mm penny washer on the outside, attached the sliders with two 6mm nuts on either side of the rod (“U“). The process of attaching the long sliders is the same, however, instead of short rods and sliders, you will use the longer ones (“I” and”R“).
The important part of this step is the orientation of the scissor leg pegs when the sliders have been fixed. In the above image, it can be noted that the shorter sliders are attached to the outer pegs of the scissor leg while the longer sliders are attached to the inner pegs.
Also, the short sliders are positioned at the top at the front of the assembly while at the back, they are positioned at the bottom.
Step 5 – Bring it all together
The last step of the DIY scissor lift assembly process will start by turning the adjustment rod (10mm rod “O“) to a point where it would allow the scissor legs to overlap and the holes in the adjacent pegs to line up.
Then place the adjustment mechanism on top of the base as indicated above.
The spacing between the large 6mm penny washers should be slightly larger than the width of the base allowing the sliders to move freely when the lift is being operated.
At this point, insert of the remaining 10mm dowels (6mm hole drilled in the center) through the cradle (“F“), that is attached to the base, and also through the 10mm hole in the outer bottom peg. Remember to once again add a 10mm washer between the adjacent wooden components that will be moving on top of each other.
The inner peg will only have a 6mm hole. Through it and also the newly added dowel, insert 1 of the remaining 6mm rods (“R“) and tighten using 6mm nuts and washers.
This step will be mimicked to attach the top of the lift also.
Once the lift is assembled it can easily be operated using a cordless drill (like the 12V Bosch I used) or with some minor alterations can be driven by an electric motor.
You can also opt to add a ruler to the lift as to observe the hight adjustment value.
You can also add a fixed motor to the lift to operate the platform motorized.
I appreciate your feedback. Any suggestions or questions can be added to the comment section below.