February 28, 2013

Biker garage door: TUTORIAL ALERT

OK, it is Thursday morning and I am back on schedule, mostly.  The aquarium stand has not come together as I would have likes and I am now back to square one on the supporting frame.  But that is not what this morning's report is about.  Today I want to show you a garage door, nearly complete.

The garage door is assembled and working properly.  I am thinking I need to add a hinge in the middle since the door sags when it is open, but can not make up my mind yet.  If you are following along just to see what I am doing and have no cares for how to do it you may want to skip through to the bottom, but stop along the way to look at the pictures.

Here is what you will need to make your own Vertical Bi-fold hangar door.
  • Card stock: this is my material of choice for most of my metal like pieces.  You can find it for free or purchase it rather cheaply and it has a multitude of uses.  I grind it with my dremel, sand it with paper, burn it on the edges, and even wet it down to get a rusted ripping effect.
  • Toothpicks: I keep both round and square toothpicks on hand at all times.  The are nice and small, easy to work with and can always be cut in half and used as stakes or spears.
  • Floral wire: I find this to be a must for any Ork builder.  It comes in a variety of strengths and thicknesses, as well as being non-coated, plastic coated, thread coated, or even paper coated.
  • Tubing: Tubing is one of the few things I really have trouble getting ahold of.  I tend to buy it from Plastruct and don't keep enough on hand lately.  A cheaper way to get it is to buy electrical wire and pull the copper out, this would also give you material similar to non-coated floral wire.  I used 2 sizes of tubing here, one that the floral wire fits through and a second that the round toothpicks fit through.
  • Magnets: I fell in love with magnets for building, they are becoming more versatile for me every day.  In this case I found some strong cylinder magnets and semi weak flat magnet strip.
  • Beams: I used I beams pushed into the foam to make the guide rails on this project.  My tubing fits into it without any sticking so it worked perfectly. 
  • Tools and glues: scissor or tin snips preferably, it cuts the thick card stock better, knives, a small saw blade, files, and of course PVA and CA or super glue.

Hinges first, they took a while to get right and a lot longer to dry properly.  Cut 4 small even strips of the smaller tubing, and glue one to the squared section of a toothpick.  This will give you a little extra surface to glue to as well as help glue the piece to the garage door without gluing your hands.  I did this in pairs and there is a little trick that lines everything up if you leave a lot of the toothpick available.  Allow all 4 strips to dry to the toothpick, adding more glue to fill the gap between toothpick and tube, sand smooth again after dry.

While the hinges are drying, measure out the doorway you have to work with and then take off 1/16" from the width and 1/8" for the height, mark and cut out your card stock.  By cutting your door this tight you will have very little room for error, but it looks great if done right.  You will need to cut this door nearly in half, I went a little large on the bottom for no reason other than not having it perfect.  The split here needs to be straight across the door or it will fold wrong and fall out of the guides.

Right about now your tubing/toothpick should be usable.  make a tiny bend in one end of the floral wire and feed it through 2 of the tubes from the unbent end all the way down.  If you push the wire through like the picture above, the toothpicks become guides to make sure everything lines up.  Carefully glue the toothpick and tube to the card stock over the split between garage door halves.  Do this again for the second hinge and any other hinges you feel you need.  In the picture above, the garage door for the bikers is getting a mid door hinge.

That is all it took to make the door itself with a working hinge.  To finish the door you will need a pivot, I chose a tube large enough to fit a toothpick into it, shown on the right of the picture.  I placed a magnet behind it as a stop point for the toothpick and to help hold my door in the open position.  On the bottom, left in the picture, is my guide roller with another magnet, set to grab the top one.The roller doesn't roll but it still keeps the door in the groove and moving properly.

Play around with the amount of space on the pivot and roller.  The pivot has to be placed high enough that minis won't hit the finished door, but low enough that it won't buckle when opening.  This has a lot to do with the thickness of the materials used, here a tube of the same diameter as the pivot catch was used to space the catch.

For those interested I hope you find this helpful in making your own doors or similar projects.


Here are some pictures of the almost and now completely finished garage door.  As I took the first couple of pictures I realized there is no window to see who is outside, and promptly fixed that.  First is the door closed followed by it open with the magnets holding it in place, there is enough weight on the door now that it slams shut rather roughly.

 Here is a close up of the door on the garage before adding the window and  after having added the window while the mesh dries in place.  I didn't need anything more than a peek hole for them
And finally the back of the door.  I will eventually make the back look a little better but getting the door working so I could carry on was the priority here.

One final picture and a thank you to Bugbait_nz on Terragenesis for showing off this innovative technique, The Orks have been welding repairs onto the kannon, and added a few patches.  The welds are just PVA glue put down thick and allowed to dry without touching them and the patches are card with liquid beads.  I need to get better at the liquid beads, which BTW are all over the garage door in case you were wondering.

Thats it for today everybody, time to get some sleep and prepare for work this evening.

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