Jan 26 2011

Bi-folding metal gates design and build

As most projects and experiments do, this one began with a problem. I was determined to have to driveways in front of my house, but didn’t have the room for the gates.

Installing swinging gates was not an option. Swinging gates would require the vehicles to park far in enough so that they would have to clear the vehicle for then to close.

I got a few estimates and ot suggestions from fence contractors and they settled on what they knew best, rolling gates. Unfortunately, it looked great on paper, but when I actually measured it out, the criss-crossing gates were not going to look good with the cement columns.  One of the gates would have been about 3 ft from the sidewark.

So I figured, “OK, I’ll have to design them myself”.  And, inspired by the wooden closed bi-fold design, the mission began.  I originally had no intention to design them on the computer.  Once I realized that the wheel was not going to be mounted at the tip of the gate, and I had to make each half of the bifold a different size, I decided to draw it.  It’s easier to deal with mistakes on CAD than after welding, so I put some WD-40 on my Into to Solidworks skills, and went at it.  Once I started, I was hooked.  And this was the final product.

When I started to weld, I realized that I didn’t have a flat surface to weld on, and could make a perfect cube structure this way, so I designed a jig…

I poured and installed the tracks first, and built the gate to the tracks.  It took a lot of tweaking, but in the end they look great. 

…and after the driveways.

Once I can afford 4 swing motors (or until another ENG course teaches me how to make them), I’ll complete the set up.