Incorporate hinges early to save money and frustration

Part 1 in a 10-part series on specifying hinges

External HingesIt is not uncommon to wait until the last minute to incorporate hinges into a design.  We know that not everyone has hinges at the top of their list of important things to think of when working on a new car, enclosure, or life-saving medical device.. However, considering hinges late in the design cycle can limit your options. You might have to compromise your design or force nonstandard parts into your product risking increased cost and reduced performance.

Over the next 10 weeks, we will examine multiple factors to consider when specifying hinges. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll keep your options open (and your project costs down).

Let’s start with one of the first considerations when it comes to hinges: strength.

StrengthHow much load will the hinges bear?  And many times it’s not just the weight of a door but all external sources of load. Will equipment be mounted on the door? Make sure to account for dynamic loading.

Another tip to keep in mind: the as the ratio of door width to height increases, so too do the stresses. For maximum strength, place hinges as far apart as possible on the longest edge of the door. Or, depending on the design, use a closer hinge spacing to stiffen the door or ensure sealing against a gasket.

Next week: How strong a hinge is needed? I’ll share four specific factors (and a handy formula) to help you out.

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