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Self closing Hinges

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  • Self closing Hinges

    Well, can't sleep again, and I find myself thinking about my major top-priority week end project. I've got to build a new vehicle access gate for my shop apron. It's a typical ~12' wide double gate, made of wood, and the AZ summers have taken there toll. I could patch it, but I hate wood work, and the maintenance that goes with it.

    So, I'm planning a 3 section bifold gate. One section is bifold, ~8' wide, 2 4' sections, hinge both ways. Easy to make the flush hinge with strap stock and pins. Very low use anyway since it's pretty rare that a vehicle passes through. The other door will be 4' and the main access door. It will have a simple latch accessible from both sides, and auto latching, but opens only one way.

    Here are my questions.

    1) On the bifold, I'll need a latch/brace that more-or-less locks it solid. I've got ideas for this that will work. One is based on an concealed bolt, the other with a channel "drop bar". But any of you notables have "cool ides" you've seen or done? NOTE: This side will also be securely pinned to the apron so that when locked rigid, it basically forms a wall panel. Main hinges are also a non issue for this one.

    2) I also think I know exactly how I want the main access door latch to work. Main point is it has to easily latch, and once latched, latch securely. One of the motivations for this effort is that the dogs have figured out how to unlatch the existing commercial (typical pool gate auto-latch) and I'm going to wind up with a fine or dead dogs if they keep getting out.

    3) THIS IS THE MAIN ONE. I had planned on getting to the local supply and buying some of their cheep ball pivot, spring loaded, auto close hinges. But work interfered and now they are close. So, I'm thinking I'll make my own.. Question is, what's he best way. I can do a ball pivot easily, but where is the auto close. I've go an idea to cut the hinge thrust surface on an angle so that it rises smoothly when opened, but the gravity makes it want to seek the low point when released. Problem is contamination with the AZ dust storms. Answers for that too, and that's likely what I will do. But what can you guys suggest for auto closing hinges on a sub 100 lb (probably sub 70 lb) gate? Springs are obvious, but clunky and ugly if exposed, too much trouble if hidden. Cylinders are also ugly/clunky. And I would like it to look nice since this is a heavy traffic area...

    Any thoughts, rambles, guesses are appreciated. But of course, detailed known good examples perhaps with sketches and pics are very VERY appreciated.

    Master Floor Sweeper

  • #2
    Oh, and of course, there is the offset hinge trick. But again, I prefer an semi-invisible solution. Maybe the ramped hinge with slight offset?
    Master Floor Sweeper


    • #3 page 2929 has spring hinges. They also have other self-closing hinges. Not necessarily cheap, but probably good.

      Personally, I think I'd explore the angled hinge idea. Simple, and gravity is always going to work. Do you even need special hinges? Can you tweak the angle of the support post a bit so the gate wants to close on its own? Like a refrigerator door....
      Last edited by SGW; 11-10-2007, 12:38 PM.
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      • #4
        You likely know that if you do the self closing hinges that the angle can't be exagerated. The ones I've seen only had the hinge tube cut at about a 20 degree angle. If you try making it too steep the weight of the gate won't allow it to lift up so go easy on the angle.

        Is this gate configured such that you could do the gate that slides along side the fence such as in commercial and military compounds? Then you could let gravity close the fence with ease.
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        • #5
          McMaster is going to be too late, I need this finished the week end. I should not have procrastinated till Friday, but what's done is done. <shrug>

          The walls are concrete block with roughly 2' x 2' pillars at the opening. It has threaded studs protruding near center for mounting gate hinge posts. Not really any way to put in a linear track that will look decent. But that would be a very good idea if the wall layout was different.

          I wasn't sure on the angle to cut the hinges, but 20* sounds about right. The auto-close gate is only ~4', so the lift and opening resistance shouldn't be a problem. If I do that, with the fully seated down position being a few degrees past closed. AND, offset the upper hinge maybe 1/4" toward the latch, and a 1/4-1/2" toward the direction of closing, then it should have some pretty strong tendency to closing.

          I'm also thinking it'll be a simple drop-on hinge, so I can make a thin sleeve to fit semi-loosely over the sloped intersection. That should help keep out dirt/dust contamination. Lube could then be heavy grease which would displace into the sleeve and form a sort of seal to keep contaminants our of the actual sloped bearing surface. I could also use "open gear grease", or maybe graphite based "Dry Slide", or maybe a Teflon spray?

          But I can't get too exaggerated with the offsets and all. Because it's in a high traffic area, I want it to be pretty compact and inconspicuous, so I don't' want a big gap with ugly hinges glaring at me. Best thing I can come up with is putting the hinges on the back yard side.

          OH! And if everybody missed it, seeing as how it wasn't clearly stated. The hinges and latch will be machined components. The angled surface of the hinge, the protective hinge sleeve, and hinge/hidden-latch of the bifold gate are all machined components. It's just that so far the discussion hasn't gotten to the machined details...
          Last edited by BadDog; 11-10-2007, 02:54 PM.
          Master Floor Sweeper


          • #6
            I agree with SGW, the easiest way to make it self closing is use standard hinges, and space the top one out just a bit so the door is slightly lop-sided.
            Gravity will do the rest.