I got the Ikea SKARSTA desk http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49084965/, it's a sit stand desk that uses a manual shaft to rise and lower the desk.

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So I plan to make the desk motorized using a satellite dish motor and a satellite positionner to control the motor (I removed the linear actuator part and kept only the motor).

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The problem I'm facing is that the space between shaft and tabletop is about 1cm, so I'm not sure how can I transmit the rotation from the motor to the shaft (which is simply a long Allen key). enter image description here

I looked into pulley systems and cogs but couldn't find suitable pieces, please advise.

Many thanks.

Update Jul 9:

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The problem is how to transmit the rotation from the motor (green) to shaft (orange), motor can be placed at any position relative to table top but shaft isn't.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you fit a flat belt directly on the axis? $\endgroup$
    – mwurth
    Jul 8, 2016 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but I don't think a flat belt would work here, I thought about using a belt like the one in 3D printers (I believe it's called timing belt) but I couldn't find a small pulley to do the job and I think the belt is too weak to handle the high torque and the weight. Also the axis is a long Allen hex key so a pulley is necessary $\endgroup$
    – Issam Zoli
    Jul 8, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


You can couple to the hex shaft using a suitable socket wrench socket. (If you don't want to destroy the original shaft, get the correct size Allen wrench and cut off the short arm.) Then you can use standard socket wrench accessories to change the direction of the axis.

A quick search turned up options such as the MFE-6 flexible shaft or the M-140A universal joint in the Snap-On Tools catalog. Other vendors have similar offerings.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, I highly appreciate it, but the problem isn't how to turn the hex shaft but how to transmit the rotation to the shaft in the tiny space I edited my question please check and let me know what you think. $\endgroup$
    – Issam Zoli
    Jul 9, 2016 at 0:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I understand all of that. The whole point of the flexible shaft or U-joint is to allow you to offset the axis of rotation to match the spacing requirements of the motor. Keep in mind that the two do not necessarily need to be parallel. $\endgroup$
    – Dave Tweed
    Jul 9, 2016 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think I will buy these 2 ebay.com/itm/… and make the hex key go into the 5mm hole, make a connection with a 5mm steel cylinder and make a motor 5mm axis, what do you think ? $\endgroup$
    – Issam Zoli
    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looks good to me. Same idea as what I was suggesting. $\endgroup$
    – Dave Tweed
    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ I will go with this and see. $\endgroup$
    – Issam Zoli
    Jul 9, 2016 at 13:45

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