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Working with angle iron for DIY novices

keith_n's picture

I am rebuilding a large shed/garage. There are three doors that are of different widths but range from 8 to 9 feet. I want to construct angle iron frames for these doors. I have a several friends who have agreed to weld them for me if I will get the materials, lay it out and cut the pieces. I have never worked with metal. My questions are:
1. How do I cut these things? recip saw? angle grinder?
2. How do I spec the size (thickness)? I was thinking of using 1.5 inch width so I could put screw a 2 x 2 for a mounting surface for plywood. Obviously, the main objective is to prevent sag or warping. On the other hand, I want to keep the weight down so I don't pull the framing members out of wack on this old shed.
3. Do I cut the ends on a 45 or square? I know nothing about how to do this for the welder.
4. Is there a good internet source of information for a novice?
5. Whatever else I need to know that I am too ill-informed about this to ask.
Thanks.

Keith

(post #106078, reply #1 of 28)

1. How do I cut these things? recip saw? angle grinder?


jigsaw... good accuracy...


porta-band...


sawzall...



2. How do I spec the size (thickness)? I was thinking of using 1.5 inch width so I


1.5" angle 1/8" thick...


could put screw a 2 x 2 for a mounting surface for plywood.


skip the 2x2 and fasten the ply straight to the angle...


these would be the cat's meow for that...


TEK Screws Thin Wafer Head

pad
TEK Screws Thin Wafer Head
pad


Obviously, the main objective is to prevent sag or warping. On the other hand, I want to keep the weight down so I don't pull the framing members out of wack on this old shed.
3. Do I cut the ends on a 45 or square? I know nothing about how to do this for the welder.


45...


but what design do you have in mind...


how about more details...



4. Is there a good internet source of information for a novice?


For????



5. Whatever else I need to know that I am too ill-informed about this to ask.


final product???


hingeing???


design criteria???


 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #106078, reply #8 of 28)

As to design, my plan is to simply make rectangular frames to size for a carriage house style swing door- two to an opening. The hinges I was either going to weld on or bolt on. My guess is that welding them would be stronger. My sense is that these frames will hold shape, not sag and be OK when sheathed in 1/4" or perhaps slightly larger ply. The building is old and there is settling. I am squaring up the openings tomorrow and trying to bring it back plumb or least closer to plumb and level. Unless I tear off the interior wall, I can't really do much to reinforce the studs where the doors will be lag bolted so I worry a little about weight. I have a "bow" in one of the studs where there was a previous door and no middle hinge. That stud will be replaced. Any idea how much 1/8" x 1.5 angle iron weighs per foot? I have searched the internet and don't find very much. There is one very old publication that leads me to 0.26 lb pr cubic inch. If I am doing the math right, that gives roughly a 40 lb frame with 33 linear feet. For some reason, that sounds light but if it is correct, then I am very pleased. My biggest problem will be transporting the 20 foot lengths on my 10 foot trailer.
Thanks

(post #106078, reply #9 of 28)

1.5x1.5x.125 A36 angle wieghs 1.23 #'s per LF....


the same in galvanized will wiegh 1.293 #'s per LF...


1/4" ply is way under sized go 1/2 or 5/8.... the ply will be an integeral part of the door's strength...


 


take yur cordless jig sawith you and some extra batteries and cut them into handy take home sizes....


 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #106078, reply #10 of 28)

Thanks. I'll do exactly that. I appreciate the assistance and information.

Keith

(post #106078, reply #14 of 28)

Are you only going to have ply on one side?

If you only have ply one side and just a rectangular then it will surely warp and twist. Diagonals would help.

But if you use a C channel then you can put ply on both sides and make it a stress skin unit.

But I would still have some intermeddiate blocking.

Just realized that you are talking about 8 and 7 ft doors (by 7', 8'?)

That will require 2 sheets of plywood perside. It definite needs some blocking at the joints.

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A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #106078, reply #17 of 28)

The openings are between 8 and 10 feet. I plan two doors per opening so the maximum door is a little less than 5 feet. They range in height from about 7' to about 7'9". I was planning to screw 2x2 around the exterior of the angle as a nailing surface for the inside and for strength and put plywood on the inside as well. Blocking will include a horizontal piece of 2x2 which will also catch the middle strap hinge. The reason I am moving towards the angle iron is that the previous doors did in fact warp. I hope that the iron will prevent that.

(post #106078, reply #18 of 28)

Just a silly question but wouldn't square tube work better?

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #106078, reply #16 of 28)

The hinges I was either going to weld on or bolt on.


Do not weld any hardware on. The hardware will wear out and you would need a complete welding outfit to replace it. Use bolts instead.


~Peter

(post #106078, reply #19 of 28)

Good thought. Thanks. As I sit here and think this through, I am going to have to drill a LOT of holes to screw plywood to the iron, mount hinges, etc. I don't have drill press. Other than fatigue, is there any reason I can't just create a jig and use my old porter cable drill?

(post #106078, reply #21 of 28)

You can use self-drilling sheet metal screws to attach plywood to 1/8" angle iron. One of the previous posts showed a picture of one type of these.


This is a good excuse to buy an impact driver.


~Peter

(post #106078, reply #22 of 28)

impactor kills those styles...


but let's encourage to get a Bosch just the same...


 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #106078, reply #23 of 28)

while I was reading these I had one more thought, and would be an idea for your hinges

one of the older hands who was also a blacksmith showed me a trick using old motor oil, he would use a torch to get the metal very hot, almost cherry, then toss it into a bucket of his old oil, there was plenty of smoke and a bit of flame but the piece would take on a very nice darkened appearance and ...... would never rust. at least the rusting was retarded greatly

he was one of the electricians who worked in the fab shops at the steel mills welding and cutting, and he still has a forge at home, in fact he is a neighbor that live just a few miles away

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(post #106078, reply #2 of 28)

this is what I have for all my metal working cutting.


http://industrial.jettools.com/Products.aspx?nav=ByPart&ClassID=333042&Part=414458


But I am an amateur. 


If you want a clean weld you need a clean cut.  If your welder does not have something like this then I would question the ability.


For an eight or nine foot span you are going to need something way larger then 1.5 inch stuff.


A lintel for that would have to be well over 3.5" IMHO with no load

(post #106078, reply #3 of 28)

the OP said frames (rails and stiles) not lintels..

 


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #106078, reply #4 of 28)

I have one of these and use it much more than I ever thought I would:


Milwaukee 6180-20 15 Amp 14-Inch Abrasive Cutoff Machine


 


Cut your corners at 45°.


This place is as good a source of information as anywhere!

(post #106078, reply #5 of 28)

  You can get a metal cutting blade that will fit a chop saw. I have an old chop saw I use just for that.

(post #106078, reply #6 of 28)

Yes! I cut up all my T-bar for a drop ceiling that way. Slick!

Slick and sparky, that is.

(post #106078, reply #7 of 28)

cutting miters that are going to be welded are a waste of time IMO, so just cut them square

if you have a 4 " grinder try using a metal cutting blade.... buy several since you'll go through them quickly ! we use a Metabo 61/2" grinder and those blades last a bit longer but those tools are a bit pricey

also buy a soapstone marker and a small 6" combo square sharpen the soapstone with your new cut off wheel and make your marks with a thin line and then use the grinder to cut trough and don't forget a face shield, earplugs and gloves

you will have to notch one side of every joint to accommodate the other piece of steel,
also give your welder buddy a small bevel at each joint so he can get a nice root pass

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(post #106078, reply #11 of 28)

With that cutoff saw a miter would take 1/10 the time it would to notch with a hand-held grinder....

(post #106078, reply #13 of 28)

without a doubt, but the little grinder is a bit cheaper. and when he's done he still has a grinder. which he will need to grind a bevel in the miters and the welds flat anyway

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(post #106078, reply #15 of 28)

Good point

(post #106078, reply #12 of 28)

Not sure of how sharp you want the corners to look but you can notch one leg of the angle with a 90 notch set on a 45 to match the miter and then bend the remaining leg to a 90.  Only need to weld or gusset one leg of the angle since the other leg remains intact.  It works good and is pretty strong.  The cut can be made by hand or with a grinder.  See the pic for clarification.


 

(post #106078, reply #20 of 28)

I did three years of structural steel supply, welding and fitting etc. We cut almost everything with a torch and cleaned it up with a grinder for welding. We had bandsaws but only used them rarely for "finish" work.

I'd probably cut everything by torch, simply because it's fast. A sawzall will also cut structural steel. We've cut a lot of I Beams with a sawzall and the same blade that we cut nailembedded wood with. The regular sawzall blades actually work better than the steel blades!

I'd probably mitre the stuff but I wouldn't be oposed to butting it. Either way would involve about the same amount of cutting. The mitre would be straightforward. The butting would include a little notching. Its six of one, half dozen of the other.

Be careful not to buy hardened steel.

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07

(post #106078, reply #24 of 28)

I spent the weekend squaring up one of the openings and using my water level to get an idea of how out of square/plumb the other two openings might be due to fairly bad settling (at places 1 1/2 inches). I understand that I can run a level line across the top and bottom and build to that. My welder has said to bring him the metal and give him the specs and he'll handle it. How close should the dimensions be for the doors? For example, if I have an opening that is 107 inches wide by 92 inches tall and I want two doors of equal size, that would, WITHOUT allowing for any variance or decrease in size mean that I would build each door 53.5 inches by 92. Of ocurse, that doesn't allow for minor deviations in the rough out, hinges, etc. So, the question is how much should I back it down. 1/8 all around? All thoughts very welcome.

Keith

(post #106078, reply #25 of 28)

How squared up is good enough for the door openings? I've got a 10' by 82" door now at about 7/16" difference on the diagonals. The 4' level shows a good centered bubble in all planes. I am about convinced that the variance is because of the poor quality of the lumber. There is nothing else I can do with it short of tearing the building apart and re-doing the openings from scratch. Am I close enough?

(post #106078, reply #26 of 28)

You could get a pack of 60 grit sandpaper and start sanding the lumber till its smooth and plumb and level. Finish up with 80, then 120 grit.

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07

(post #106078, reply #27 of 28)

You're right, I could sand or plane it but this is a shed and my wife is pushing me to 1) finish and 2) go back to the day job. So my original questions stand: how much is good enough and how much should I subtract when giving the welder the specs. See several posts above for the issues. Thanks.

(post #106078, reply #28 of 28)

You have to create a frame that is substantially smaller to accomodate future variances. I'd create a 1" gap with the steel (it's "rough size") and then use wood to fill the gap to it's finished size.

Bob's next test date: 12/10/07