Light Fixture "Elevator"
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
Hoppy
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Light Fixture "Elevator"


For more than a year I have been fascinated by the possibilities for using drawer slides to suspend a light above the tank - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...t-support.html I wasn't totally pleased with my first effort because the slide was above the tank and very visible. But, someone else posted a thread where he used a drawer slide hidden behind the tank. A couple of weeks ago I finally figured out how to do that, and have it attached to the stand instead of the wall, and using slides designed to withstand the load attempting to pull the slide apart.

Three days ago I started making one, using a pair of these: http://www.lowes.com/pd_79249-130-11...des&facetInfo= Here is where it stands right now:



Partial assemblies showing how everything attaches together are:




The aluminum angle I'm using came from my local metal salvage store, and is .75 x 1.5 x .125 aluminum. The light fixture will be my LED light now in use over my 65 gallon tank. It will be screwed to the bottom of the two odd shaped pieces sticking out horizontally. This will let me raise the light about 16 inches. The wood is a 8 foot long 1 by 4 Poplar, cut in half. That is cheaper than a 2' x 4' piece of 3/4" plywood! Total cost so far is $41, with about $5-$10 to go.

The next step is a counterweight installation, which will feature a counterweight made from 2" PVC pipe filled with the cheapest cost per pound steel dohickies I can find at the same metal salvage store. I will use 40 pound strength picture hanger wire as the "rope" and probably a thread spool as the pulley.
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Old 05-12-2012, 12:28 AM   #2
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Cool!
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:41 AM   #3
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Cool beans. So this is to allow you to raise and lower the light easily? It will just glide up and down?

I'm not seeing something or I'm missing something... is the other "half" of the slide attached to the wood?
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Cool beans. So this is to allow you to raise and lower the light easily? It will just glide up and down?
This type of slide doesn't exactly glide, but it does move fairly easily. The goal is to have it so I can easily raise the light, and have it stay where I leave it. Then, easily lower it back down.
Quote:
I'm not seeing something or I'm missing something... is the other "half" of the slide attached to the wood?
The first photo shows the slides assembled. The are just a half inch thick, assembled. The other half is screwed to the wood, just as it would be if it were supporting a drawer.
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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Hi Hoppy I really like your idea especially since I have a bunch of chassis slides That I would like to utilize. Did you have any problems with one side raising more than another or is the frame pretty rigid with no twisting?
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:52 AM   #6
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good idea!!
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:00 AM   #7
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Hi Hoppy I really like your idea especially since I have a bunch of chassis slides That I would like to utilize. Did you have any problems with one side raising more than another or is the frame pretty rigid with no twisting?
I haven't completed it yet, but with the two vertical support boards attached to the back of the aquarium stand, and the two slides attached together top and bottom, it can't do any twisting. With nothing attached to the two forks that the light will attach to, and with the two support boards just clamped in my portable workbench, it doesn't twist at all.l
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:13 AM   #8
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Good idea for the shelf brackets. I'm guessing they will do the job for you. At one time I used them to hold an 8 foot long shelf which was mounted to roll in and out under a table. They will take lots of stress without bending or much wobble. I used it to hold an HO model railroad yard which is something which has to align pretty close to exact each time.
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Guess what the cheapest metal objects are to use as a weight in a piece of pipe. It is pennies! They cost less than $2 per pound, while everything else I checked on cost from $2.50 to $4 a pound. And, I have big jar of pennies out in the garage, so they are free for me. A steel washer costs more than a one cent penny! For years now I have wished we could just stop using one cent coins, and round all prices to the nearest 5 cents. (Off topic, I know)
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
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For years now I have wished we could just stop using one cent coins, and round all prices to the nearest 5 cents. (Off topic, I know)
Welcome to Canada, lol. The last penny was minted on May 4, and already there are hundreds of "donate your pennies" campaigns. Think I'll keep mine for weights
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:13 AM   #11
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The counterweight works! I am using an empty electric hookup wire spool for the pulley, and a 1/2 inch black iron pipe for the axle. The axle is held on top of the vertical boards with a couple of 3/4 conduit clamps. I have just enough pennies in the weight to make it work without the light fixture attached - not many. When I finish painting the forks white I will attach the light fixture, and add more pennies.

The weight is a 10" long piece of 2" PVC pipe with the ends plugged with screw-in plugs, in adapter fittings. It is horizontal because there isn't enough room for it to move vertical inside my stand, and there isn't enough room behind the stand for the weight. I could have used an empty one quart paint thinner can if I had thought of it, and had one, which would have taken up less room.

The two vertical boards have two thicknesses of 3/4" poplar attached as shims to hold this back away from the back of the tank when it is attached to the tank stand. I will use 4 small angle brackets to attach the vertical boards to the stand, working from inside the stand.

The only remaining question, and possible problem, is clearance of the weight from the inside of the stand. It may drag against something - I don't think so, but I'm not sure. Total costs = $68 - little bits of hardware really add up quickly!
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:40 PM   #12
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It is installed and working. Today, when I fastened the light fixture to the forks I realized that the slide bars that move up with the forks will bend too much with the load of the light fixture. So, I attached pieces of the same aluminum angle that I used for the rest of it, to the slide bars to stiffen them. That worked fine.

Here it is installed:




The counterweight moves up when the light is on top of the tank, and down when the light is raised.



I suspect that the picture hanger wire isn't the best thing to use to hold up the weight, but I can wait to change that for when I have the tank empty and can pull the stand out from the wall. Ideally a length of aircraft steel cable would work best, but I didn't find that locally.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:03 AM   #13
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Hoppy: Aircraft Cable is available local to you, in Galvanized, or stainless steel....

http://tinyurl.com/Aircraft-Supply-Co-s-in-Sacram

go to this page, type cable in to "Search Words" window

http://www.sacskyranch.com/acatalog/index.htm

Search Result
http://www.sacskyranch.com/cgi-bin/ss012344.pl
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #14
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Hoppy,

that light elevator looks slick. I would like to attempt this sometime in the future. The counter weight could be replaced with a small pulley of some sort to make the design better. But that may cost more. Just a suggestion.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:54 PM   #15
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Yes, if I had used pulleys I could have reduced the travel of the counterweight, which would have been an advantage, but at the price of loading the support for the "elevator" to about 1.5X what it now is.

Once I recover from the backache from working under the tank to install this I may modify it this way.
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