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Old 02-23-2015, 08:34 AM   #21
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Just curious - why did you decide on a bulb seal in the "corner" and such a big air gap? The camper I'm going to replace with my own Skoolie project has about a 1/8" gap (maybe 3/16"...) and the seal is on the "face" of the inner flange. The cam latch then draws the door tight against the side, compressing the seal. I had planned to do more or less the same, and was wondering if you had some reason for it.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:55 AM   #22
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Looks like a good solid planned out design to me.

I hope there is a good, affordable metal working shop close to you so this can become a reality.

Nat
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:26 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by family wagon View Post

Finally, I've looked at some pictures of under-body tool boxes online and based on ideas there came up with this concept using piano hinge.

That's 8 bends per door (four in top and bottom shown, four more in left/right sides not shown), and I'd want 5 doors, plus the sill/jamb pieces. I don't have any idea whether that'll cost me an arm and leg to have manufactured. There's some bulb seal gasket in there hoping to keep the water and dust out. I'm thinking paint the steel parts first and then assemble with aluminum or stainless piano hinge.

Comments, criticisms, tales of woe (related to basement doors only, please! ) are invited..
I've looked at basically doing the same thing but with one exception. Personally I really dislike piano hinges as they scratch ff the paint with their operation and always look ugly after some time. I'm looking at using what's called "bullet hinges". They won't be rubbing against each other and the door can be easily removed once in the full open position to repaint or repair as need be. We're also not considering the storage areas to be weather proof. We'll be storing things in plastic sealed totes inside the basement storage as extra protection from things getting wet. Here's a product that might be of interest for sealing the compartment.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:00 PM   #24
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I have used the weld on bullet hinges before.

While I agree the paint falls off the piano hinges, I still love the strength. I also like the stainless steel flavor.

I wanted a piano hinge for my residential entry door, but could not find one strong enough in time.

Nat
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:50 PM   #25
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While I agree the paint falls off the piano hinges, I still love the strength. I also like the stainless steel flavor.
Are you guys painting them assembled or something? Piano hinges are all over the place in homebuilt aircraft and I've only seen paint flaking off one of them. The only surfaces that rub against each other are the mating faces and you don't want paint in there anyway. You do disassemble them before painting right? It's annoying as hell to tape the inside face of every tongue to keep paint out of there, but with the right prep you can totally get a durable finish on them.

If your bad luck has been with aluminum hinges, you should know that a lot of the "generic" options are super cheap alloys and they need to be alodined or similar before they'll hold paint - even then the bond sucks. Stainless sounds a lot better IMO. I'm not sure this is the right thread for this, but if somebody tells me where it's appropriate I can post pics of generic vs. mil-spec stuff. I have a few leftover lengths from my last project and they're totally different beasties. (Totally different price, too.)
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:12 PM   #26
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Are you guys painting them assembled or something? Piano hinges are all over the place in homebuilt aircraft and I've only seen paint flaking off one of them. The only surfaces that rub against each other are the mating faces and you don't want paint in there anyway. too.)
Every utility box truck and even the battery boxes on our skoolies (that I've seen) eventually succumb to rusting in the places where the hinge contacts another part shearing against it. This leads to very unsightly rust stains and extra maintenance I'd like to avoid, if possible. I even built my own heavy duty piano hinges over 20 years ago and they eventually rusted where making contact even with disassembling, painting (with a high end 3 part acrylic enamel)and reassembling. Working with steel has it's issues. Just trying to find a better solution. One could use stainless steel hinge as long as they riveted it to the door and frame. I'm looking at a totally welded situation. Bullet hinges with nylon washers will probably be the way I go.
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Old 02-24-2015, 04:53 PM   #27
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Gotcha, thanks for the tips. I've worked more with aluminum than steel and I still have a lot to learn!

Anybody ever try black plastic piano hinges? I wouldn't use them on a passenger door, but for a storage bin flap they're strong enough, and they'll never rust... I have some fiberglass "C" hinges left over from another project. Maybe I'll give those a go.

family_wagon, I kinda hijacked your thread there, sorry. I'm still curious about your choice of the bulb seal placement, though. Is there an advantage to doing that as opposed to putting it on the face? For face installations they have "flange mount" bulb seals that would go right onto the edge of the interior lip that you drew above and you'd never have to worry about gluing it on. Not this size but this shape:



Reason I ask because I've had one fall off my current camper, and I'm looking for a more durable solution.
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
Just curious - why did you decide on a bulb seal in the "corner" and such a big air gap? The camper I'm going to replace with my own Skoolie project has about a 1/8" gap (maybe 3/16"...) and the seal is on the "face" of the inner flange. The cam latch then draws the door tight against the side, compressing the seal. I had planned to do more or less the same, and was wondering if you had some reason for it.
I just kind of threw the drawing together.. The top 1/4 gap came about because that's the thickness of the arbitrary piano hinge I found on McMaster, and I guess I just figured I'd carry it all the way around. You're right, though, it would look very large on the 3 non-hinge sides. I'll have to do a full-size drawing and maybe a mock-up to figure out how small the gap can be on the side opposite the hinge. Probably it's a function of door height (swing radius) vs depth of the return flange.

The bulb seal placement was just "somewhere around here" without actually shopping for what's available. The products you and sojourner referenced are probably what I'd end up with, and they have the nice perk of covering the exposed metal edge on the jambs.

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Every utility box truck and even the battery boxes on our skoolies (that I've seen) eventually succumb to rusting in the places where the hinge contacts another part shearing against it. This leads to very unsightly rust stains and extra maintenance I'd like to avoid, if possible.
Hmmmm, good point. The rust trails tip is especially applicable to my build as I may end up painting it white. I was thinking about painting the door and jamb separately, then riveting an aluminum or stainless hinge. Do you think body seam sealer between the hinge and the painted steel would help matters any?

Bullet hinges might be a good idea here, too. I've just used a handful of those on a break-away trailer fender design. A long-ish door about 4-5 feet long might need more than two though because the door and jamb will flex. Do you have tricks for positioning several hinges all in-line so the door doesn't bind?

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Are you guys painting them assembled or something? [...] It's annoying as hell to tape the inside face of every tongue to keep paint out of there, but with the right prep you can totally get a durable finish on them.
I had to read this about 4 times before I finally got it.. You're saying pull the hinge pin, put a little piece of masking tape on both sides of every tongue where it rubs against the other half of the hinge, and then spray paint? Yep, I did it wrong (I've only painted one piano hinge, and it was just on a utility trailer anyway). Thanks for the tip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
If your bad luck has been with aluminum hinges, you should know that a lot of the "generic" options are super cheap alloys and they need to be alodined or similar before they'll hold paint - even then the bond sucks. Stainless sounds a lot better IMO. I'm not sure this is the right thread for this, but if somebody tells me where it's appropriate I can post pics of generic vs. mil-spec stuff. I have a few leftover lengths from my last project and they're totally different beasties. (Totally different price, too.)
Wow. At least at McMaster, the mil-spec hinge category is on a whole different price schedule. The 6 ft 302 stainless in mid-$60, and the aluminum is double that. Apart from paint adhesion on the aluminum, are there other reasons to pony up for mil-spec over the generic stuff?
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:26 PM   #29
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McMaster's strength is selection, not pricing. Might want to use google to find other sources for your hinges.
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:12 PM   #30
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I'm using stainless piano hinges on a couple of my hatches. Found some very cheap on Ebay. Lots of different widths & lengths too. Will use stainless rivets to put them on.
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