Introduction: Modifying "Euro-style" Cabinet Hinges to Limit Motion Range

Picture of Modifying "Euro-style" Cabinet Hinges to Limit Motion Range

A hinged panel in front of the kitchen sink is a great place to store the drain plug etc. but the self-closing hinges on ours would sometimes snap the door closed so hard that stuff would pop out of the bin. There is a cool cabinet door damper
(http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/MP-SC37/Grass-Soft-Close) that would allow the door to soft-close but the scissor hinge that came installed on the panel wouldn't work with the damper. I decided to swap the original hinge with a "euro"-style hinge but had to limit its 110 degree opening range to about 45 degrees.

I noticed that euro-style hinges had two "leaves" that got closer together as the hinge opened and decided to insert a screw through one of the leaves to stop the motion where I wanted it.

(The photos were taken after the fact so the hole is already there and threaded.)


Step 1: Stuff I Used

Picture of Stuff I Used

I used:
  2 Euro-style self-closing hinges;
  9/32" drill and 8-32 tap; *
  (2) 8-32 screws. One per hinge;
  an 8-32 nut to chase (clean up) the threads after shortening the screw;
  a soft-close damper; **
  drill, screwdriver, wrench (for tapping);
  hacksaw and locking pliers (for holding the screw during cutting/filing/grinding).

I also modified a 1-3/8" (35 mm) spade bit to bore the flat-bottomed holes for the hinge pockets. A drill press is REAL handy for this step Any local cabinet shop is already set up to bore these holes. I only did this to see if it would work. It'd be cheaper and easier to take it to a shop.

* I already had a 8-32 tap from some previous long ago project and some 8-32 screws in the junk box. Sheet metal screws would probably work just fine and you could avoid the tapping.

** I like these damper thingies so much I did all this so I could install another one!



Step 2: The Hinges

Picture of The Hinges

I noticed that the euro-style hinge had two leaves that got closer together as the hinge was opened. The photos show (not very well) how the leaves move as the hinge is opened.

By inserting an adjustment screw through one of the leaves I could limit the hinge range.


Step 3: Drilling the Holes

Picture of Drilling the Holes

Drill the 9/32" hole through the inner leaf.

A vice isn't need for this step. I wasn't sure that the screw trick would work so I hadn't bored the hinge pocket holes in the panel yet. Once the holes are bored, they would make highly handy hinge holders.

Step 4: Tapping

Picture of Tapping

A tap is tapered to let it start threading easier so the first couple turns don't cut the full thread depth.I didn't fully tap the hole because I wanted the interference to hold the screw from backing out. I tapped the hole until I could just force the screw in; that worked fine.

Using a sheet metal screw in place of a machine screw should also work. This avoids having to get/have a tap and the tapping.

Step 5: Shorten the Screws

Picture of Shorten the Screws

The screws had to be shortened to clear the mechanism and the cabinetry. I estimated the correct length and hacksawed it to length and ground the end. Interestingly, the screw for one of hinges had to be about 1/8" shorter than for the other.

(No, my camera is not that fast. The grinder is off. I'm not that dumb.)

(Tip: Cutting/filing/grinding a screw messes up the threads. if you thread a nut on to a screw before you cut it, unscrewing the nut helps clean up the threads. The nut is used just to clean up the threads and not installed in the project.)

Step 6: Adjust Hinge Travels

Picture of Adjust Hinge Travels

Follow the installation instructions for locating and mounting the hinges. (But do be careful. The instructions that came with these hinges weren't very good.)

This part really isn't a cop-out, but ...
Two precisely-located 35 mm (1-3/8") holes have to bored to accept the hinges. I ground down a spade bit to have a flat bottom and used my drill press to bore the holes. Any cabinet/woodworking shop can bore the hinge holes much cheaper than the cost of the drill bit and labor to modify it. Again, get this done "outside"; I only did it because I wanted to try it.

Set the hinge travel limits before re-installing the panel as the screws aren't accessible after the hinges are assembled.

Step 7: Ahhhhh!

Soooo soft.



You can see the damper installed in the middle of the opening.

Comments

Ranie-K (author)2011-01-19

I thought I'd tell you all that you can get hinges that will open at specific angles at IKEA. 130 degrees are the standard ones, but there's other ones too. I've worked at IKEA ages ago and still shop there once in a while.

saintrain (author)Ranie-K2011-01-24

Hi Ranie. Thanks for your comment.

I couldn't find any hinges that stop at 45 deg when opened. Most open to just past 90 degrees and some go to almost 180. None that open to less than 90 degrees Some hinges - like for corner cabinets - start at 45 deg then open all the way.

Whew! got me nervous. :-)

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