Introduction: Door Hinge Shims: Fix Doors That Will Not Latch

About: I am an aviation manufacturing engineer. I have a Prusa I3 MK2s at home and a MakeIt Pro-L that I run at work. I use Catia for modeling and simplify3D for slicing.

Interior doors can have misalignment between the latch bolt and striker plate. There are several ways to fix this issue but none seemed to work for me.

  • Moving Striker Plate
  • Widening the opening in Striker Plate and Door Frame
  • Using 3" screws to draw hinge securely into the Door Frame

The solution that worked for me was to shim between the door frame and door hinge. Shimming correctly can raise or lower the latch bolt to align with the striker plate. As you can see in the initial picture and video, the latch was lower than the striker plate. This means when you close the door it never latches and can be very annoying (when the central air comes on).

Step 1: Creating Your Shim

Most door hinges use 3 screws to secure the door to the door frame. I am fortunate enough to own a 3D printer so I was able to model different thickness shims and print them. Printing in a clear plastic has two major benefits; the plastic will hold up, and it is not an eye sore. All the files for shims you can download directly from here. I recommend printing in PLA or ABS with at least 30% infill.

You can also download the files from the following link

Thingiverse - Door Hinge Shims

If you do not have a 3D printer then you can really use any type of plastic you want and cut it to fit. If you use something like a gallon milk container, then you can stack several shims to achieve the desired thickness. It might help to super glue the shims together.

Step 2: Determining Which Hinges to Shim

Examine where the latch bolt makes contact with the striker plate.

  • Latch bolt is too high - shim the top hinge
  • Latch bolt is too low - shim the bottom hinge

You will then need to decide on which thickness to use. You need to use a shim thick enough to allow the door to correctly latch. If you pick a shim to big, you could cause the door to hit the door frame when closing. This is why different shim thicknesses are necessary.

Sometimes it may be necessary to use a smaller shim in the middle shim to create a gradual taper to the door alignment.

Step 3: Installing the Shim

  • To install the shim unscrew the three screws that are fastening the hinge to the door frame. Only unscrew one hinge at a time so the door does not fall off.
  • Align the shim with the screw holes in the frame and close this hinge. I used super glue to secure the shim to the door frame and to keep it from falling before you can get the screws started.
  • Another tip is to use 3" screws when you re-install the hinge to the frame. This ensures that the hinge is securely fastened to the frame since it is now thicker.

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