Lift/elevator mechanics ideas please

For some decades I’ve wanted to code a lift/elevator control system. The coding interests me far more than the mechanical side, but I would have to build something at least else I’ll have nothing to control.

What are some simple ways to build a lift? I envisage it being a maximum of 2m (6’ in old money) high, probably 1.5 or so. Even just ground to table top? Maybe the box thingy (the part that goes up and down, the car?) would be a cube say 100-150mm on a side. Probably not going to have doors. 3-4 floors maybe.

I’m happy to spend some money: not huge amounts. Any thoughts on a) what the structure could be made of?- maybe balsa? and b) best type of motor- maybe a stepper or sail winch servo? Obviously it will need sensors, probably IR or micro-switches for sensing location. Those U-shaped IR ones might be easiest: easy to have a “tab” jutting out of lift to slide through the U.

Elf and safety not important, not going to be carrying anyone, and 12VDC I reckon.

The whole thing has to be just good enough to provide a vehicle for the control system, so I don’t care how cr@p it looks, long as the car goes up and down and is read by some switches.

All thoughts however wacky, gratefully received.

Sounds like a super project idea!

Just a quick thought - the first thing that came into my head really when I read your post - have you considered using Meccano parts for this? Not sure what type of kits are available, but might provide something you can use.

Good luck with it!

Meccano is ridiculously expensive though, and not an investment I'm keen to make for a one time project.

If you're more interested in the controller, have you considered a virtual lift? It might be useful as a test harness anyway. You could make a simulation of the lift on a PC and have it talk to an arduino over serial. Have that arduino provide the control inputs and outputs to another one that is the actual lift controller.

wildbill:
If you're more interested in the controller, have you considered a virtual lift?

That's a good idea. I'd need to brush up on some pc coding, but have used Python for Arduino comms before.

Learning the pc end might be more fun than cobbling the mechanical side together.

Cool idea, I was planning something like this as a goods lift at my place of work but it was decided against eventually.

My initial thought was that you would need several guide rails to keep you cart stable. You also would need a powerful motor, pullies and the such.
However this is not the case. If you have 4 threaded rods and attached a motor to all 4 you dont need guide rails as the threaded rods are the guides as well. You can also have 4 smaller motors instead of one big one. Its very safe as if a motor fails it just wont work, not fall down. So basically you have nuts attached the the four corners of your platform/cart. as the threaded rods turn your platform would go up or down.

I hope this is some help

Kind regards

I have often seen glass lifts which look like quite nice pieces of engineering, but spoiled by all those untidy wires and cables and thought that it might be interesting to design a lift where the motor was attached to the lift car with a drive like a rack and pinion type railway and the motor powered by batteries on the lift car which would be charged through contacts when the lift was at, say, the lowest floor. Communication with the lift car would be some form of wireless. Having said all that, I'd actually be surprised if someone had not already designed such a thing.

plakkies:
So basically you have nuts attached the the four corners of your platform/cart. as the threaded rods turn your platform would go up or down.

Threaded rod... that's an idea. For my model, only one would be required, straight thru the middle of the car. In fact, I don't even need a car: the moving nut will be the car. Ok, it might need a bit of a box to give the sensors something to see, but that can be cardboard or balsa.

I like the lifts that have a single long hydraulic ram that drops into a really deep hole in the ground (none of your telescoping nonsense). There is one in the Science Museum in London and another in the National gallery in Dublin.

(Sorry - off topic :))

You could make guide rails with L or U shaped aluminium or plastic sections - available from many DIY stores.

...R

Robin2:
You could make guide rails with L or U shaped aluminium or plastic sections

In fact I have a few sections of that in aluminium, or should say I had, since I can't find them. They were left here by the guys who did my electric garage door a year back. I was planning to ask them where they got them.

I am leaning to the threaded rod, as long as I can figure a way to a) connect to motor at one end and b) bush it at the other.

(Science Museum.... went there c1962 with my Dad. I remember being so impressed he knew how to catch a Tube. Years later I of course realised how simple Mr Beck made that.)