Step 5: Test it out / patch up the wall

Picture of Test it out / patch up the wall
After countless cycles of testing and tweaking the door operation with the wall open for a month or two, I finally felt comfortable closing up the wall. Here you can see some of the new drywall starting to go back up.

From there it was just a matter of painting the wall, and it was back to looking stock. I purchased a blank white wall plate from Home Depot. I drilled it out for an illuminated pushbutton and a 3-position keyswitch, both of which I bought from McMaster. I also purchased a plastic hatch door from McMaster for the control box. Lastly, I added an air conditioning vent above the door. This lets the air venting noises be heard, and it also provides me access to the valve and pistons should anything go wrong.

After you've tested the door and patched up the wall, that's about it!  Good luck with your project and feel free to post comments and ask questions if I skipped over anything you might need help with.  Thanks for reading!
DarthCaniac3 months ago

This is fantastic, good job! I am totally going to build one of these some day!

GodOfGreen4 years ago
I love this instructable. I love this project. Why? because it REALLY took guts, know-how and hard work for a totally selfishly motivated unique zesty custom doorway! You rock! Nothing but love from here. I custom designed and built our swimming pool, my secret laboratory, our bathrooms, and an Arizona room. I'm now building big, heavy robots in my "laboratory", and I run an algal biodiesel plant during the day. Your carpentry and compressor set up is well thought out, durable, and was even finished like a pro! Solid core wood doors? Your weren't messing around from the start!
Hats off to all your work :)
-=Dr.Who=-4 years ago
This is very cool. An automatic door is always nice. There is a question of safety that comes to mind as yoguy121 brought up. What if the door were to get stuck? What if you lost power or worse, there was a fire. If you don't mind some suggestions, this may save your life or your child's.
The "return action" of the Star Trek Turbo-Lift doors didn't really have a sound to them (until much later in the series that is). So, perhaps the "return spring" method of closing isn't such a bad idea.
The thing I find dangerous is that you didn't incorporate any kind of "Manual Override" in your design. Since you're using compressed air as the actual power for the door pneumatics you wouldn't need electrical power in an emergency. Just a bypass valve in one of your access panels or add a new panel or two. One for both sides of the door, because you never know what side you're going to be on when power goes out and you need to get in (or out) of the room.
Also, if you're thinking that a battery backup will suffice to answer these issues, you're just begging for problems. Battery powered UPSs are notorious for having the battery go bad from non-use. Yes I said NON-use. Plus the power that compressor takes at start-up will just pop the weak little breaker on the UPS leaving you still stuck on one side or the other. So I wouldn't bet my life or my kids life on a $50 UPS you got at Best Buy.
This is a mechanical device and it should have a manual bypass. Seems to me that this is a no-brainer and all that's needed is a couple 1/4turn ball valves and a couple anti-reversing valves installed.
A "Neat Door" is not worth dying over because you cheaped out. In my opinion, there is never a "Good day to die".
This is very cool though. There are still other things that you could do to it. Like add an RFID system or Thumb-print scanner or freak out your friends with an Ocular or Handprint Scanner to open the door! How about Voice operated command system or just a simple contact pad (like in the grocery stores) or a short range motion detector to activate it.
Also, there is a "single ram" method to open both doors that goes hand-in-hand with the "spring return" closure, using a thin cable and a couple small pulley-type wheels. Super simple design uses only 1 air line to the ram! This would decrease the cost and complexity of the build by a factor of 4 (don't ask, it just sounds good). So, you could have done either 2 doors with the parts you now have or just saved youself from buying the second ram, the extra hosing and fittings and the time it took to install all that extra stuff.
If you're interested, PM me and I'll send you a drawing of the modification.
These are just some things to think about.
Good job with the instructable. I liked it and so did a bunch of other people!
uiproductions (author)  -=Dr.Who=-4 years ago
I really appreciate all the comments everyone posts, but you wrote an awful lot for not reading much. There is a manual valve right by the door to release the pressure. Check out my site for more details. There are a few things that I left out of the instructable to keep it simple. I can't tell you exactly how to build your own door, but I can at least show what I did.

Having two cylinders was the simplest option for me at the time, not having any fancy tools to fabricate a pulley system. I don't understand how adding two pulleys, a cable, and brackets would simplify things more. They are both equally good options in my opinion.

A battery backup is just a convenience. If the power goes out, the door will still function normally. It doesn't replace the manual override or the fact that you can just force the doors open by hand if you need to get in or out, which I have done before. I wouldn't be buying a UPS from best buy, I would design a PCB for battery management. That's what I do for a living now.

Nobody is dying because I "cheaped out". If the power goes out, there is a manual override. If the compressor doesn't run, the lines will eventually lose air pressure and the doors will be even easier to open by hand. And heaven forbid, if the door doesnt open and the room is on fire, just climb out the window that's two feet away, don't be stupid.

But seriously, there are always going to be more "nice to have" features. I built it to be practical and unnoticeable, which it is for the most part. I don't even live in the same city anymore, and the door still works great 4 years after I built it. It saves space, it is easy for ANYONE to operate, and it looks cool! There are plenty of other uses for it to, such as in homes of people with disabilities.

Thanks for the constructive criticism.
I went over your instructions a few times and nowhere in it did I see a mention of a manual release nor could one be seen by any obvious means. I must not have been the only one who missed it as I saw a couple of comments about these things.
The reason I wrote so much was to make my point clearly understood. I'm glad to see it was, thanks for answering.
I just think it's kind of strange that you didn't mention these things as they would undoubtedly come in to question the first time someone else tried this and stuck in or out of the room. And I'm always looking at the safety of things in our everyday lives to see if I can improve on the original design. I'm a hobbyist inventor and I have a some experience with these types of doors. You see, I used to work on elevators. And the worst part about losing power to an elevator is that there is no manual release for the outer doors. They can be opened but I had to create the tool to do it. What a pain! But, it was part of my job and that's part what I do for a living.
So, not finding any info on releasing the door manually and your response to one commenter with the Worf quote, made me think that you totally overlooked these things. I know how these things work. You build first, then test, THEN put in safety devices. I do it all the time. it just would have been nice to have had that included in your instructions. That's all I was saying.
But you did this and took all the pictures over 4 years ago? When did you post this?
uiproductions (author)  -=Dr.Who=-4 years ago
Check out the control panel at the top right of the door. In my demonstration video at the start of the instructable, I mention that you can shut off the air supply to the door from that panel.

Yeah, sorry, I thought I had linked to my blog from here. The instructable was done in a little bit of a rush and probably deserves some updating. Full details are at my site.

I built the door 4 years ago and never posted anything about it. Every time I go home for the holidays I see the door and realize how cool it is. This Thanksgiving I decided to take a video, and I dug up the pictures I took during the build from my old computer.
Hey, I'm not knocking ya, this is some slick work, for sure. I know it was a lot of work to tweak everything and get it all working the way you wanted it before you sealed up the walls and painted everything. It looks picture perfect too.
I didn't watch the video (at first) because I just wanted to read through everything first to get an idea of what your total project was about. Besides, people forget to include important details in most videos. They just aren't worth wasting time on unless it's clearly stated that there is information in the video that details something not easily explained in writing, like knot tying. Try explaining in writing how to tie a Turkshead or Monkeyfist to someone without showing them. Then, I would expect to see more mention of the video and that it needs be watched in order to understand. Even though it was mentioned, it just sounded optional.
But isn't the purpose of this site to put up ALL the information on how something is made and how you did it so someone else can do it too? Or, is it just a means to drive traffic to your site? (Now that I'm thinking about it, that's really a good idea, but it doesn't seem fair to use the site like that). But, when in Rome, right? LoL!
Either way, I totally dig the end result. I just wanted to point out the one thing I thought was overlooked, so others would stop and think a bit and maybe come up with their own way of implementing some safety measures.
Even more impressive than the door, is the fact that you built it 4 years ago and were able to pull together such a great instructable! I know my example of the house on fire is a bit much but I used to work in the Nor-Cal 911 call center.
I'm glad that you were thinking and did have a manual release in it somewhere at least I lust wish you would have shown how you did it. What can ya do now, right? ;)
One last thing... In the original Star Trek series, the doors weren't air-powered, they were powered by FDAs or Flunky-Drive Actuators. (Flunky-Drive Actuator = a stage hand)LoL!

"Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor not a brick layer!"
Dr. Who? you have too much time, stop wasting time and get back to work!
Uiproductions, great ible. You've inspired me to make an air powered door in my basement! I might even include a safety release on both sides(an ax because valving etc is too complicated).
Elevators have been around for how long? and a device/procedure had never been created in the past to open an elevator door from the outside?
That's right. There's no easy way to open the outer doors when something like a power failure happens. You can lower the car to ground level but the doors are still locked closed and there is no panel you can open to release the outer doors. That's why it takes so long to get people out an elevator. Not too sure about elevators that use cables, but the hydraulic ones I've worked on were all like that.
Have you ever worked on Ben Dover Elevators or ever worked on any type of elevator for that matter?
BRAVO ! You may not have said IN the 'ible about the manual release...but I DO recall a little something like, "...Check my site for ALL the details.." To paraphrase a bit :) Hey - GREAT JOB !
1. How do you figure a factor of 4?
2. So you actually made a drawing of a random modification to someone elses project, yet you decided to skip the video and go right to the instructions for fear of wasting time? lol
1. I guess you don't understand satire because I said "don't ask, it just sounds good". But if you want to get technical... There are 3 complete air lines and 1 ram that you wouldn't have to buy and install. That's 4 components. So, factor of 4, per-say.

2. I didn't make a drawing. It says "PM me and I'll send you a drawing of the modification". Meaning I could draw it up, not that I drew a picture for him.
"These are just some things to think about." You must not have read that last line...

And I did watch the video, after I read threw it, but all the suggestions I made are based on first-hand experience with the different technologies involved with the controls and mechanics of automated doors.
And as I said, the video wasn't all that useful. it just showed the final product in action but it didn't show the build process. But he had a lot of nice pictures that did. So watching the video first wouldn't have given me the information I was looking for.
Just because something is at the top of a page, doesn't mean you HAVE to start there. It's just a suggestion.
So thanks for trolling.
u000tbm4 years ago
Please note that some extra lumber will be required if the door is in a load bearing wall. You can quickly determine if the wall is load bearing with a stud finder. If the area about halfway between the top of the doorway and ceiling indicates all wood and no spaces, it is a load bearing wall. Find an intractable or DIY page for widening a doorway in a load bearing wall.
creatively4 years ago
My daughter had weak hands for twisting, had trouble with REGULAR doors and knobs. I bet she could have easier pushed these open!

Hey, no motion sensor? Then its Capt Archer and 'Enterprise'! They had to press buttons in the 'primitive' 22nd century! ;-)
SenKat4 years ago
VERY SLICK ! I love it ! The ingenuity is mind-boggling :) Keep it up !
GordieGii4 years ago
I like the idea of a pulley system so the doors would automatically be synchronized but the separate cylinders is technically less complicated to design.
Great 'ible!
leovalk4 years ago
Did you consider adding a movement sensor? B'cause captain Kirk never pushes a button to get in or out.
great job, could you come to my place and do one for me :)
also consider that the doors on enterprise are Script aware.. they will not open or close unless some one turns to someone else and says something dramatic.
we dont have this technology here on erf... YET.

but in the meen time, I would imagine a infra-red motion sensor would be too much of a PITA for this scenario, however, a floor mounted pressure switch could be advantageous.
BES1054 years ago
I hate you.................!!!!! You have the go ahead from your wife /mom-dad.
This was always an Idea to convert my room door but had four votes against it.
from family members.................????
This must be voted the best DIY project on Instructables.
Bradweather4 years ago
What happens if there is something in the way when the door closes?
hammerpb4 years ago
This is AWESOME!!!
Did you consider mounting your control box behind the mock air vent, instead of off to the side with separate access, and if so were there any reasons not to? Love the lock and key, btw.

Is the door sturdy in the middle at the bottom? I have a rather large dog that I'm sure would push on it to try to get in if I were to build something like this, and was wondering if it might be worth putting some tracks on the bottom as well as the top.
Tracks on the bottom and top would be the safest way of doing things, not just so the dog cant break it, little sisters come to mind to.... :-) just kidding! On a serious note, it would keep the doors from any type of warping and making a gap in the door frame, making it more aesthetically pleasing.

-Live Long and Prosper
milesduggan4 years ago
Do you have a video?
yoguy1214 years ago
what would you do if the door were to get stuck and you couldnt get in or out