There are a number of sites and automaton makers out there that sell kits. They are, however, relatively large or made of paper. I think what I want to do now work on smaller desktop kits. Things you can put on the desk at your office. So that's my size constraint while I continue to work on this project.
Doing some research online I found out the mechanical feature called cams. They effectively allow an up and down movement. My original design would have caused the moving piece to be floppy, but this should allow it to smoothly move up and down.