A guide to weld-on bullet hinges
5.5 minutes | 22 Mar 2022
Why are weld-on hinges also called bullet hinges?
Weld-on hinges are also known as bullet hinges due to the tapered shape of the barrel’s tip. Which leads to another name they’re known by: barrel hinges.
This guide will answer that question and give lots of information such as:
While the hinge’s barrel resembles the look of a bullet, it’s not just its shape that differentiates it from other hinges. It’s how it’s fastened. While traditional hinges are secured with bolts or screws, weld-on hinges – as the name implies, are installed by welding.
How weldable hinges are used
Weld-on hinges are used when a hinge must be secured to a metal surface, especially when space is limited. When dealing with metal surfaces, it’s not easy to drive in screws. If using a traditional hinge, you have to drill pilot holes, which can disrupt the integrity of the metal surface. This is where weld-on hinges come in handy.
Also known as weld-on gate hinges and bullet gate hinges, they’re useful for a range of industries, from construction to agriculture. Below are just a few barrel-hinge uses.
- Shipping containers
- Speciality vehicles
- Traffic light controls
- Armoured vehicles
- Security gates or doors
- Prison/detention gates
- Vault doors
- Fire doors
- Lead-lined x-ray room doors
How weld-on bullet hinges work
Bullet hinges or weld-on hinges consist of three main parts:
- Leaf side, also known as female – the barrel side without pin
- Barrel side with pin, also known as male
- Bush, which sits between two halves.
Female barrels are welded onto the surface that needs to move, such as doors. Male barrels are welded onto structural surfaces, such as door frames. Most doors that use bullet hinges are typically lift-off doors. As most lift-off doors usually drop, the barrel without the pin should be positioned on top. This will allow the bottom barrels to provide outstanding load bearing to support the door.
Weld-on hinges can be secured so that the door or gate:
- Can be removed by lifting it off
- Is permanent – can never be removed for security reasons
Heavy-duty weld-on hinges, also called heavy-duty barrel hinges and heavy-duty weld-on gate hinges, are another option for exceptional loads. Some weld-on hinges come with grease nipples, which allows the hinge pin to be easily lubricated – an ideal mechanism for heavy doors. The example to the right is a weld-on hinge with a grease nipple, which protrudes from the tip.
Is a bullet-hinge installation right for you?
You can install a weld-on bullet hinge anywhere you like, at any angle needed. All that’s necessary is that the metal surface supports welding. There are two considerations for these hinges, however:
1. Welding torch needed
Welding is a fabrication process that fuses two metals together with heat. You’ll need a welding torch to secure the hinges.
2. Doesn’t work with wood
Hinges can’t be welded onto wooden structures. If you’re working with wood, use traditional hinges with through holes and threaded fasteners.
The most popular materials for weld-on hinges are:
Strong and durable, steel bullet hinges are suited for high-stress applications. Weld-on steel hinges are available with a brass or steel pin.
Stainless-steel barrel hinges offer a high degree of corrosion resistance for harsh environments. Stainless-steel weldable hinges with a stainless-steel pin are grade 304.
Weld-on aluminium hinges are lightweight without sacrificing durability and strength. Excellent corrosion resistance. Available with a stainless-steel pin.
Installing bullet hinges
Bullet hinge sizes vary, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding what you need. Your next concern is how to install bullet hinges. For our purposes, we’re going to explain the process as it regards a gate.
If you’re new to welding, you’ll need to understand tack welding, which are very small welds meant to temporarily bond metals. They enable you to maintain the joint gap while holding the hinge in place. It also shows you if your hinge is aligned properly.
Step 1: Mark the gate frame and gate where the hinges will go.
Step 2: Take the male part of the hinge – the part with the pin – and position it to the gate frame, tack welding it in place. Use two tacks per side per hinge half.
Step 3: Position the gate in the frame where it will be once it’s installed. If necessary, use temporary jamb packers to support the gate at its desired height. Then clamp material, such as flat bar, on both sides of the gate to hold it in place.
Step 4: Slide the female part of the hinge onto the pin and fully weld the hinges to the gate and the frame.
Want the gate to be a permanent fixture?
In the installation instructions above, the gate can be lifted off its hinges. If you want your gate permanently secured, install the top hinge upside down.
Download free CADs and try before you buy
Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download. You might also need other components for your application. Free samples are available for many of our solutions so that you can ensure what you’ve chosen is exactly what you need. You might also find helpful:
Types of hinges and where to use them
How to size hinges
If you’re not quite sure which product will work best, our experts are always happy to advise you. Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch. Request your free samples or download free CADs now.
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