Bifold Hangar Door

I’ve always wanted to own my own hangar.  I put it off for many years until I could afford to do what I wanted.  I didn’t want to settle on something that was too small, too far away or not built properly.  I was finally able to do that but I was not happy with any of the hangar door options that I had so I decided to build my own door.

Bottom panel of the door up on sawhorses for paint
Bottom panel of the door up on sawhorses for paint

The door is going be a bi-fold door.  This is the kind of hangar door that is suspended from the top and opens upward by bending outward in the middle.  The dimensions of the opening are 60′ wide by 16′ tall.  It’s made mostly of 2″ x 2″ square tubing.  There is some 1-1/2″ x 2″ and some 2″ x 3″ tubing as well.  I laid it all out on the floor of the hangar.  This was less than optimal since my airplane was stuck back in the corner of a hangar that had a very large hole in one end of it for several months.  I also elected to work on the door before doing the electrical work.  This was also a mistake since I did most of this work during the winter months and it get’s dark very early so I couldn’t do any work after work.  Had I done the lights in the hangar before building I would have been done sooner with both.  Once I got started on the door I couldn’t really do the lights because the door was in the way, so I was stuck.

Anyway, a 60′ x 16′ door turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I thought.  It didn’t look that big on paper.  It was a lot of welding.  The worst part was getting it up off the floor to paint.  I had to enlist the help of the neighbors several times to lift each panel and to turn it over.

Both door panels painted and ready to go up.
Both door panels painted and ready to go up.

It was too big of a door for me to install myself so I hired the same company that built the building to come back and hang it.

Lower panel of the door in place.
Lower panel of the door in place.

Once the door panels were up I had to hurry and get the straps and cables put in.  It worked out okay because the company that was putting it up for me had another job that had to be done so it gave me time to install the lift straps and the cables.  I could have done this after the sheet metal was put on but it was much easier to do without the sheet metal.

 

Door panels installed with the lifting straps attached.
Door panels installed with the lifting straps attached.
Another view of the door panels with straps
Another view of the door panels with straps

Once I was done with that the installers came back and put on the sheet metal.

Most of the sheet metal installed on the door.
Most of the sheet metal installed on the door.

 

Installation Done
Done

The door is installed in the building with the sheet metal and insulation complete.  Now it’s up to me to install the motor, shafting, electrical and the rest of the odd and end bits that make it move.  Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Bifold Hangar Door”

  1. I am considering building my own hangar door also. I do have a few questions. What is the savings by building your own? Did you consider the wind factor and if you did it again would you use 2X2 square tubing again and how think was the tubing?

    1. I probably have $5,000 in that door, not counting buying a new welder and some other tools to get the job done. The equivalent door purchased would have been north of $30,000. I did calculate the wind loading. It has seen 70+ MPH winds and did fine when neighbors lost their doors. Don’t underestimate the loads that this door puts on the building when it is open. My door weighs around 4000 lbs and it puts over 9,000 pounds of load, pulling outward on the top of building and the same load on the bottom trying to push in the columns. It’s not just a matter of building a door, the whole building has to be designed for it. I would use the 2×2 A36 square tubing again. It was the thinest tubing I could get, 16ga IIRC. It sags ever so slightly in the middle when it’s open so I should have made a bit bigger truss along the bottom but it’s not too bad and heavier material would hurt not help. If you are worried about it, don’t go thicker, go larger. The only place that I used other tubing was along the fold line. That is 4×2 tubing.

        1. I made the hinges myself out of pipe and bar stock. I have a small lathe so I smoothed the inside of the pipe and squared the edges. Then welded angle to the pipe as the attach. Electrical stuff came from where ever. Ebay, Amazon, Grainger, McMaster Carr, Automation Direct or local suppliers. Whoever had what I needed.

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