Every week, Team Protocase is bringing you a Proto Tech Tip video, where we’ll give an informative look at a particular aspect of sheet metal fabrication and CNC Machining. This week, Chris provides an overview of the three types of hinges for your sheet metal enclosures. At Protocase, we offer: piano hinges, lift-off hinges and adjustable torque position hinges.

Watch the full video below – or, if you’d prefer to read Chris’ Proto Tech Tip, we’ve got the full transcription below.

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Hey everybody, Chris here with another Proto Tech Tip and today we’re going to be talking about hinges for your custom enclosure.

A hinge is a mechanical device that joins together two solid pieces to allow for rotating or opening between both parts. So hinges are commonly used to create a door or a lid which will give you easy access to the components that are going to be inside your enclosure.

At Protocase we stock three different types of hinges: piano hinges, lift-off hinges and adjustable torque position hinges. So first off we have piano hinges and these are made from either steel or aluminum and they come in different sizes and thicknesses and we also have a chart on our website that lists every type that we stock.

Piano hinges do not have set mounting holes which means that you have the flexibility to choose how you want to mount them to your enclosure. You can request for mounting holes to be drilled into them so the hinges can be mounted using self-clinching fasteners or screws or you can just opt to having the hinges welded to the enclosure. All the piano hinges that we do stock can be powder-coated to match your enclosure. If you are leaving it as a bare metal, we do recommend that you opt for stainless steel or aluminum, because those are the corrosion resistant options.

Next, lift-off hinges. These are narrow block-shaped hinges that are diecast zinc and have a black powdercoat finish. So these types of hinges have two different parts one contains a pin and one contains a receptacle and what this means this is going to make it much easier to remove the lid without actually having to remove the pin and there are four mounting holes that are going to be hidden once the hinge is actually closed.

Lastly, we have adjustable torque position control hinges. These hinges are made from durable plastic with a black finish and mount via an integrated plastic stud that will fasten to the enclosure with four thread-cutting steel nuts.

So these hinges have an adjustable screw that allows for the frictional holding torque to be set as desired and what this does that it allows the door or lid to be moved easily and stay in position without any force actually being applied.

So the parts that I have in front of me the range of motion is determined by the hinge itself and/or the part geometry. So for example, if you have a piano hinge or a lift-off hinge, it’s typically determined by the part geometry and you can get from 270 up to 360 degrees range of motion, whereas if you have an adjustable torque, you can only get it up to 180 degrees,
because then when you open the lid, the hinge comes in contact with itself.

And we have much more information on the hinges that we stock on our website. That’s it for this week’s Tech Tip. this has been a tech tip about hinges for your sheet metal enclosures. Thanks for watching and be sure to tune in next week for another Tech Tip video.

About The Author

Christa Carey

Christa Carey has been with Protocase since the very beginning. In fact, she was the first employee the company hired back in 2002, after working for the Protocase co-founders in a previous job. She graduated in 2000 from Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada. As the CNC Engineering and Design Services Technical Services Manager, Christa manages a team of engineers and technologists in the CNC Machining Division.

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