Introduction: Make a Big Metal Riveted Sliding Door [for the Mad Scientist in Your Life].
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We decided that we needed a dust-free room in our shop so that my partner Tina could make the weird little robots and monsters and stuff she does without sawdust all over them. I am in the process of setting up a space for her now (it's still crammed full of boxes but I'm getting there) and I had a bunch of old metal fire doors so I figured I'd try to make a sliding door, something that only a mad scientist would want for their lab. These metal doors are great - I've got about a dozen of them stacked in a corner - I use them for shelving and workshop tables and all sorts of stuff!
Here is a list of the tools I remember using for this project:
1/2" Self-tapping screws
Small fixed castors
Nuts n bolts for the castors
Angle grinder with zip discs
Metal chop saw
2x metal fire doors
3/4" black pipe (for the handle)
Step 1: Add Castors to the Base
The first thing I did was lay two of the doors down on my workshop table and try to fit castors on the bottom of them (I decided to use castors on the bottom because the mechanism for a top-mounted, hanging 'sliding barn door' style was a bit too costly). Anyway, I discovered that the base plate on the castors were wider than the door so I put them in the vise and cut strips off them with an angle grinder. I had to re-drill bolt holes and bolt them into the bottom of the doors.
Step 2: There Can Be Only One! (Weld the Two Doors Into One Door)
I used a long straight edge on the bottom of the castors and tapped the doors into alignment with the mallet. Once they were aligned I used ratchet straps to squeeze the doors together and then welded them. I beat them up a bit with the mallet to try to keep them straight, then filled them over and welded the other side. After that I added the rows of fake rivets. These were 1/2" self-tapping screws, spaced about 2" apart.
To make the channel along the ceiling I screwed to pieces of old angle iron into a 2x4 and mounted the whole thing to an overhead I-beam. I think I had about 3/16" clearance from the top of the door!
Step 3: Add the Door Handle
The final step was to add some door handles. For this I simply used some old black pipe and wrapped electrical tape around the handle so it wouldn't transfer smudge to hands any time the door is opened. And that's it - entrance to the mad lab! Now I just have to finish the inside and Tina can get back to her creature shop :)
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