“How To” Project- Making Hinges

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“How-To” Project-

Making Hinges

Author:         Gunisonbrook

Vehicles Needed:     Any

Special Tools:   Jewelers Saw with Blades -Fine or Extra Fine, Dremel with Cutting Disk, Small Files, Wire Cutters, Needle Nose Pliers, Sanding Disk

Materials:     Solid Brass Rod – .20, 1/16 Brass Tubing, JB Weld, Super Glue, Masking Tape

Rating:      Advanced

REMINDER: We want to remind everyone that you must take care when using a Dremel Cutting Tool. The tool can catch when making cuts and become erratic. Please wear safety glasses and gloves at all times.

#1 The process starts by checking your intended vehicle for door lines.

Not all cars have a door line around the window post to follow. The sample we are using does not so one was drawn in as a guide using a sharpie fine tip pen. Additionally, some cars don’t have a kick plate like this one does at the bottom of the door (picture # 2 colored in black ) this needs to be added or saved as well.

If the casting does not have a kick plate the cutting would be just 2 straight lines for the front and back of the door.

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#2 Setting the jeweler’s saw up and tilting the car on its side, install the blade in the rear of the saw and lock. To do this you will have to place the saw frame over the car and run the blade through the window as shown in the picture before tightening to the saw frame. A size fine blade for cutting these doors out.

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#3 Using a mini-vise to hold the car and for better control of the cuts, start slow and cut down the door lines.

When doing the corners, the jeweler’s saw won’t turn very precisely so start your turn before you get to the corner and go slowly. If the blade starts to bind, back up slightly and start again take light cuts as you go. Continue to turn the saw until you get around the corner. (picture # 5) the blade will tend to stray so keep on constant eye on your door line to avoid fleeing in to the body lines.

Slight variation can be touched up with JB Weld later in the process.

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#4 Keep going around the door lines until the door is completely cut out. This picture show the sample car opening after the door was removed.

The other side door should be done the same way.

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#5 Now for the hinges: Every door has to have a 45 degree angle on the end that will accompany the hinge. On the sample it is on the front. This allows the movement of the piece when open and closed.

If you were doing suicide doors, the hinge and angle would then be on the rear portion of the door. This process is the same if you are doing hoods and lids.

The door angle should be beveled leaving the front or exposed portion of the door the same and beveling inward toward what would be the inside of the door. Beveling the other way will not allow for the open mechanics and will leave a gap on the outside of the vehicle.

Picture # 8 and Picture # 9 show this process.

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#6 Now that you have cut and angled the front of the door clean/sand the inside of the door, including the front inside portion of the front door jam on the inside of the car. A somewhat rough surface will be needed for the JB Weld to hold when installing the brass hinges.

This is also a good time to clean and de burr the entire opening and check for a clean fit of the door.

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#7 Using a sharpie fine point pen, mark on both sides of the door jam (front) where the tubing will go – set the body on the frame then mark the distance by marking the floor line first then 1/16 in from the front door jam.

In this picture: red is the floor line black is the inside line, this is where the tubing will be placed and welded

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#8 This is what you should have – one 45 degree angle on each door, ruffed up for the JB Weld to hold too.

Re-check the door fit and if needed de-burr the door opening.

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#9 Now its time to cut the tubing for each side of the car.  This step is very important – the measurement will not work if car came with a dash . you must install the dash and floor back in and take a new measurements.

This car came without a dash or interior so one will be made for it when the hinging and other body work is completed. Because every car is different, new measurements must be taken for each car, however the process is the same each time.

Cut the 1/16 tubing 3/16″ long and cut one for each side – again these are the measurement for this car. The tubing should be long enough to support the door hinge but does not need to be too long – generally 3/16 – 1/4″ should be good for this scale and door size.

JB Weld to the side front door jam, just above the floor line making sure it is straight.

Let dry before moving onto next step. (JB Weld generally cures in about an hour and a half but it depends on what variation of JB Weld you are using. Read the instructions for drying time .)

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#10 Bend the brass rod end into an “L” shape. Making the making the “L” portion a little shorter then the remainder of the rod and just a little shorter than the brass tubing you installed on the inside of the body in Step #9.

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#11 Insert the short end of the rod into the tubing inside the body of the car. Cut the long end so that it fits inside the door opening. There should be a small gap between back door jam and the rod so that the rod can go threw the door opening. Each side of the car should look like the car in picture #15 when completed. .

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#12 Pull the rod to the out position and let it rest on the front door jam.   Mark the edge with a Sharpie fine point (red) this will be your first bend.

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#13 Remove the rod from the tubing. In this example remember that your doing the drivers side so your first bend will be to the left. This would be reversed if you were doing the passenger door.   Place your needle nose pliers on the mark you made and make sure that the (L ) is pointing straight down as it would be if it were still in the tubing inside the body of the car.

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#14 Hold the pliers in your left hand and bend the rod to the left. Again, it is the left because you are doing the drivers door first. It should look like the rod in the picture after it is bent.

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#15 Install it back into the tubing.   It should look this picture when installed and swung outward.

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#16 Now for the next bend, leave the door rod in the open position and mark the outside on the rod next to the fender.

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#17 Note: this is important! Bend toward the back of the vehicle again – make sure after bending that everything is straight. Remove the rod again and put your needle nose pliers on the mark you made and bend to the left keeping a straight line .

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#18   At the last bend you made, go to the inside bend with your needle nose pliers. Using just the very tip of your pliers you will make a right bend until it is straight (see picture 22 and picture 23 – Picture 23 shows the last bend) This is what you should have if you bent them properly .

Install the driver’s door with tape on the Exterior to hold the door in place. Slide your hinge into the tubing.

IMPORTANT: make sure your door is lined up all the way around after taping it to the outside.

Turn car over on it’s side. Install the hinge into the tubing making sure the door hinge lie’s flat against the inside of the door. If it does not, bend rod a little till it does (see picture # 24).

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#19 Almost done now!!

While car is on it’s side, make sure the hinge is all the way in the tube and mark where the hinge arm is lying on the inside of the door – this will mark where you will cut a groove in for the hinge arm to lay in.

Remove the door and cut the groove. Don’t go too deep, just enough for the hinge to fit nicely in.

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#20 Use a pliers to hold the door while the cutting groove.

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#21 After you have made your groove, reinstall the door making sure the hinge lines up with the cut groove. This is the last chance you will have to make sure everything is lined up correctly.

Using some 4 min JB Weld and weld the hinge to the door. Make sure the hinge is seated all the way in the tubing and in the door groove before applying the JB Weld. Let this dry for at least an hour to make sure it has cured properly.

Once the JB Weld is dry, open the door slowly. If it seems to be rubbing, look inside the car to see where it could be potentially hanging up. File or round the edges to free up the door.

To remove the door just pull up on the door, pulling the pin out of the tube and to reinstall tilt inward and reinstall in the pin in the tubing.

Keep making adjustments until door opens freely after door opens

Take door off and use styrene, body filler or JB Weld to make an interior door panel if you desire or the inside portion of the interior can be removed and glued to the door to make the existing interior.

Like all modification like this – it will take some time and practice to master the technique but you will be well on your way to opening doors and lids.

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Please check out Gunisonbrook’s other How-To’s in our How-To section of this site!!

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