Make Hinges Inexpensively




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

Sometimes I want a hinge or two, but what is available in a store is the wrong size and shape, not heavy enough, and they cost far too much. I devised a way to make my own hinges the way I want them for very little in time and money.

Nomenclature: The flat parts of a hinge, the parts that are fastened to a door and its jam are called the leaves. The hinge pin is self-explanatory. The round tube that contains the hinge pin is the body of the hinge.


  • Drill press
  • Drill
  • Stepped drill, or center mill countersink, etc.
  • 3/16 inch twist drill
  • Angle head grinder with metal cutting disc
  • Welder
  • Spring clamps
  • Aluminum angle
  • Vise


  • 1/8 x 1/2 inch mild steel
  • 3/8 inch steel rod
  • 3/16 inch steel rod

Step 1: Parts

I am making a basic hinge.

The parts are two pieces of 1/8 x 1/2 inch steel bar 1 1/4 inch long each, a piece of 3/8 inch steel rod 1 1/16 inch long, and about 1 5/16 inch of 3/16 inch steel rod.

The 1/8 x 1/2 inch bar could be adjusted in size if the hinge needs to rise or be offset in any way.

Step 2: Drill

Twist drills tend to drift off center. A center mill countersink bit 3/16 inch in diameter, or a spotting drill bit, or a stepped bit with a 3/16 inch tip provide more rigidity and more precision for starting. Once an accurate hole has been started, a twist drill can do the rest of the work.

I made a notch in a piece of 2 inch wooden stock and clamped the 3/8 inch rod into it to keep the rod vertical while drilling.

Another option would be to use a metal tube with a hole already through it. Tension pins are available at hardware stores and would work very well. A 5/16 inch tension pin has an internal hole that is just a tiny amount larger than 3/16 inch in diameter. But, that adds to the cost of making the hinge.

Step 3: First Welds

I used a piece of 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch aluminum angle to hold and position leaf pieces for welding to the 3/8 inch hinge body rod. The end of the leaf on the left in the photo is placed 3/16 inch, or half of the diameter of the 3/8 inch rod, above the bottom of the inner corner. The other leaf piece will act as a spacer for the welding setup. See the second photo.

I dropped the 3/8 inch rod into the corner of the aluminum angle and welded the first leaf to the body of the hinge. See the third photo. I clamped the welded leaf to the flat surface of the aluminum with a spring clamp. I welded the second leaf to the body of the hinge.

(There is a text box on the second photo, but it does not show. Click on the photo and you can access the text box.)

Step 4: Weld the Leaves on the Underside

For strength I turned the assembly over and welded the ends of the leaves to the body of the hinge. Grind the weld beads so they are flush with the face of the leaves on the underside.

Step 5: Cut the Body in Half

The leaves are 1/2 inch wide each, but the body is 1 1/16 inch long. The extra 1/16 inch is for waste when the two halves of the hinge are cut apart with a cutting wheel on an angle head grinder. Try to cut squarely to the body so the hinge works smoothly. This is not always easy when "eyeballing" and cutting by hand. Make corrections with a grinder.

Step 6: Weld the Hinge Pin to Half of the Hinge

Allow about 1/8 inch of the hinge pin to extend beyond the bottom of the body. Weld it in place. Slip the other half of the hinge onto the hinge pin. Cut the hinge pin to length and round the top edge of the hinge pin.

Step 7: Finish and Use

Grind away any rough or sharp edges. Drill mounting holes for screws in the leaves. Align the hinge pin with joint between the two pieces to be hinged. Drill screw holes and mount the hinge.

The hinge does not really need a cap on the upper end of the hinge pin. The user may want to lift one hinged panel off of the other. If both hinges are positioned with the open end of the pin up, one panel can be lifted off of the other. Or, the open end of the bottom hinge can be set so it is up. The top hinge can be set so its open end is down. That arrangement locks the two panels together.



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    24 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Cool, check out my magnetic hinges:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I get the cylindrical parts already turned on a lathe, very cheap though, and weld the wings as needed. I enjoyed going through all remarks.

    Best regards

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I've welded hinges like this for various machines I build, and use a thick seamless steel tubing or DOM tubing. Either one is fairly inexpensive. I weld with the hinge pin in place to keep everything aligned, and put motor oil on the pin beforehand to keep if from binding when the tube distorts from heat.

    Phil BMihsin

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your comment. A lathe would be a big help. I have a wood lathe, but not a metal lathe. It sounds like a good idea.


    4 years ago

    To minimize drill drift use a punch to start the hole. Only suggestion i could come up with. Thank you for this instructable.

    3 replies
    Phil BUnclejake

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for looking. I did try a punch as you suggest. I have also had success in the past using a punch and starting with a small pilot hole, and then expanding progressively until I reached the size I need. I tried even that this time and still had some problems.

    fzumrkPhil B

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You need a drill press vise or something similar, but try this to keep your hole centered:

    Put the drill into the drill press chuck upside down (point up).

    Extend the drill into a drill press vise. Clamp the vice onto the drill bit and clamp the vise to the work table.

    Release the drill bit from the chuck and raise the drill back up.

    Chuck the rod you are going to drill into the drill press.

    Drill out the rod with the rod spinning in the drill press and the drill bit fixed in place with the drill press vise. This results in a perfectly centered hole.

    Phil Bfzumrk

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I used a stepped drill because it has a heavy, rigid shank and rewrote step 2 while also eliminating step 5. The hole remained on center when I completed it with a twist drill after getting a good start. Thank you for your suggestion.

    Phil BNinjarooster

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    The simple ideas always take the most thought and time to develop. Thank you for looking.

    Phil Biceng

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If the body were in two parts before drilling, chances are the holes would not be concentric and the hinge would bind during part of its rotation. Thank you for looking.


    4 years ago

    Hey, nice project . I have had similar problems in the past. I found that 3/4" steel/galvanized water pipes and 5/8 round rebar makes a decent pretty accurate hinge.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    the hinges look great.
    I think the old fashioned way was to hammer roll a pice of flat stock around a piece of round stock and then weld it, but that is not very precise, and would be hard for smaller hinges.

    1 reply
    Phil BUltra-Indigo

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have a carbon arc torch for a stick welder, and can get metal very hot and easy to form, but everything has to go just right or there are problems. I opted for a drilled hinge body.