Control Panel Winch System

By Ty’s Model Railroad - 1/24/2011 07:16:00 PM

Four stage photograph of a model railroad control panel being lowered down below the benchwork

The last thing to do was to create a method to lower my control panel under my layout when not in use and to raise it back up when needed. For this, I decided on a winch system. Simply turn the winch to raise the control panel into place and reverse the winch to lower. Because the winch is self locking, it holds the control panel up right when in use.

Locking winch with steel aircraft cable bolted to a 2 x 4 wooden support leg on model railroad benchwork

The system was quite easy to build. I purchased a mini-winch, a couple cable pulleys and the hardware to fasten it to my benchwork. For the cable, I used 1/16” PVC coated aircraft cable and aluminum sleeves to create loops at each end. I planned a path for the cable then drilled the necessary holes through my benchwork for the cable to run through. I used two small pulleys to guide the cable from the winch to the lift point over the control panel.

Steel aircraft cable from a winch travelling over a steel pulley and attaching to a control panel under benchwork

I used a fixed pulley which I bolter to the underside of my table, right over the control panel. After running the cable over the pulley, I attached it to a U-bolt that was fastened to the control unit. The cable is rated for 95lbs safe working load, so it’s more than enough to lift and hold the unit.

Steel aircraft cable from a winch travelling over a steel pulley and attaching to a control panel under benchwork

Locking winch with steel aircraft cable bolted to a 2 x 4 wooden support leg on model railroad benchwork

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