Monday, May 07, 2012

Hardware Hacking - The Anderson Storm Door

My friend Steve had a problem with his storm door, the wind got hold of it, and the screws holding the top 2 hinges got stripped out.

Stripped holes - not enough thickness to really hold things properly.

When we were discussing projects we wanted to get done at PumpingStationOne, this was top of mind for Steve, as he had only recently installed the door, and wanted to fix it before the bottom hinges also became detached, possibly destroying the door. The main problem we figured was that the metal is just too thin to hold something via a thread, or sheet metal screw.

We then made these blocks out of 1/2 inch square T6061 aluminum alloy. They are sized to match the existing holes, and threaded at standard 6-32 size. These provide adequate grip for machine screws, and sufficient size to spread out the load avoiding more tearing of metal.

Steve shows off our well built fix.

Once we had the door off and on it's side, we made the holes wide enough to easily fit the bolts to our backstop, using a tapered reamer.

Next we had to figure out how to get these into the proper position. We ended up using a piece of threaded rod as a stick to maneuver the backstops into place.

The key to placement is to have the backstop ride on top of the stick into position, then use a flashlight and a longer bolt to pull it up into place. You want some easy to break tape in place at this point, which is why we used cheap "magic" tape.

Once you've got the backstop to it's desired left-right position, shine a light down one hole, using the other hole, and rotating the stick to get it lined up you should then be able to use the long bolt to get a few turns into the backstop block, and pull it up into position. Insert and tighten the bolt into the other hole, and then remove the long one and repeat with the other bolt.

We did the top and bottom hinges first, then did the closer to the middle sets. Here's a shot of a completed hinge which should hold forever.

We hope this helps someone else in a similar situation. Thanks for your time and attention.

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