Doggy Door (Simple But Effective)




Introduction: Doggy Door (Simple But Effective)

We recently adopted two pups.

Not having dogs before, our little home was not quite dog-friendly...and so, a few adjustments had to be made.

Most needed at this point with it raining quite a lot - Doggy door.

After shopping around for a while, I have concluded that doggy doors are severely overpriced for sub-standard quality and this prompted me to make my own.

This idea came from looking at the instruction of installing a doggy door and thinking "What a waste".

And although there are various upgrades I still want to make, this is the basic (workable) result so far.

Material Required:

- Door

- Aluminium pipe (I used 16mm thick)

- Metal rod (round-bar) (I used 14mm thick)

- Touch-up paint

- Glue

Tools Required:

- Jigsaw (alternatively a router)

- Sander (Optional)

- Sandpaper

- Grinder

- Beer as reward for a job well done

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Step 1: The Current Situation.

So a while back I painted the kitchen door with "panther black" chalkboard paint for us to make silly little notes.

I have also modified the security gate (outside of the door) to accommodate for the pups to get through (not illustrated in this instructable). So all that was left to do, was to make a whole big enough in the door and put some sort of barrier to protect against the weather.

Step 2: Size Plan Carefully.

I measured the opening in the gate from either sides, making provision for the slant in the floor, the distance from the door, etc.

The advantage of the chalk-board-paint, was that the planning and rough-marking was very easy to capture.

Mark the distances from the sides, the size of the required whole.

Step 3: More Planning...rather Sure Than Sorry

After removing the door, I became my normal I measured again...and was worth it.

As illustrated in [Image 2] here, I opted for rounded corners. This was simply to prevent and sharp corners pinching my pups' tails on the way out, or one of the pups running into a sharp corner when "the chase is on" through the house. (which seems to be a daily thing)

Step 4: The Swivel...The Door. at this point I need to make mention what the basis of this whole operation is.

Now that the whole is planned, what I going to form the actual door? simple...the piece you are removing to form the whole...the inside part.

But how will is open/close - again...simple - a swivel point.

I opted for a piece of (gold-plated) aluminium pipe as the 1 part of the swivel mechanism for two reasons.

a. It was readily available around the house (not entirely sure why or where it came from)

b. Aluminium is not magnetic (which is important later on)

The second part of the swivel is a metal "round-bar" rod, just thick enough to fit into the aluminium pipe.

In the images, you can see the planning continues to adjust itself, as I measure the length, bearing in mind that you will have to slide it from side-to-side upon assembly.

Step 5: Time to Make the Cut

So now that everything is's time to take the plunge and start cutting.

I used the jigsaw to make cut out the shape previously marked out.

Then to my surprise - half the planning went out the windows...

...Hollow-cast door.

Step 6: Pivot Points

So after reassessing the situation and amended my plans, I continued.

In the image, you can see the pivot points being made from inserting a piece of wood, to fill the void of the hollow-cast door.

in some aspect, this made things a touch easier, as I was able to drill the holes for the pipe (swivel mechanism) before inserting it into the door.

[Image 2] demonstrates the steel rod being places into the pipes on either side.

Step 7: Put It All Together

After reassessing the plan, I was also forced to re-look the swivel mechanism in the middle piece (now the dog door).

So after inserting another piece of wood (recycled from a pallet) and drilling very carefully through the wood length-wise, it was time to assemble the whole thing again.

I opted for glue as opposed to nails/screws as I wanted this entire process to look neat and not filled with nails.

Once the glue dried (about 2 - 3 hours), it was time to insert the new door into the frame and maybe give it some touch-up paint...

This is where the magnetism becomes prominent. I slipped the metal rod through the door and into the one side of the frame. Once positioned, this leaves a few millimeters to work with, which is not enough for moving a rod left/right with a pair of pliers. Thus out popped the Neodymium Magnet (which I feel should have a super hero logo by default)

Simply place the magnet on the wooden frame and slide it in the direction you want to move the metal rod. It might require a few jiggles where the rod gets stuck, but using a "N40" (pretty strong) strength magnet, not a lot of jiggling is necessary.

SPECIAL NOTE...keep this badboy far away from your smart phone, else your phone might not be as smart anymore.

Step 8: Done!

That's it!

Go and pop that door back on it's hinges and observe the fruit of your work.

Now the hard part - training your dogs to recognize that as a viable option to leave/enter the house...

But until then, it's time to crack open that beer and reward yourself.

Have fun!

A few notes will follow, but if you have any questions/comments/advise/etc...please feel free to note them in the comment section below.

Step 9: A Few Notes...

So here are a few side notes of what to look out for...

What I did wrong...

1. I made the mistake of making the swivel point on the corner. This causes the door to get a little stuck once it extents past a 90 degree angle (which it normally won't) but to make the entire pivot smoother, extent the size of the door upwards slightly and have the pivot on a straight section.

2. You need to accommodate for the thickness of your door, so the thicker your door is, the larger the gaps between the dog-door and the dog-frame needs to be.

3. In retrospect - a router would have worked easier than a jigsaw. Unfortunately, I did not have one available.

4. You can add a latch to lock the new doggy door with, but as i plan to do other things (below) i opted not to do this.

What I plan to still do...

1. Essentially, I want to build in an internal locking system which will lock the doggy-door from the bottom, driven by an electro-magnet and grant access through a RFID scanner. (still working on the RFID reader, but had to get the base going so long)

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