Custom gates , how we fabricate and create!
Creating a custom gate involves several processes. The first step is the initial contact with my prospective client who contacts me with their wishes for a new gate. The first thing I do is collect the information needed for a quote, such as size and style of the custom gate, location, columns or steel posts, automation system or manual, and a picture of the entryway.
After I have all the required information the work begins. I take the picture of the entrance and start designing the custom gate and gate system. Based on input from my client I add the gate to the supplied photo, then add the columns, lighting, landscaping, fencing and anything else that the client wants for their entrance. All design work is done on my computer utilizing photo shop and graphics programs, this way when the drawing is finished, the client sees exactly how the gate will look when installed, and I will have all info needed for the quote.
Through emails and phone conversations all the details are worked out and when the design is accepted, and the order placed, the next process begins. I return to my finished drawing, import into a new file and finish the drawing actual size to get proper placement of the footers, columns, gate and gate system. All underground wiring is laid out, safety devices added to the plan and any accessories and/or safety devices are also added. Now I have a detailed plan that gives me all the actual measurements and implements needed to order everything needed to build and install the custom gate. After the materials for the gate and gate system arrive, we get to the fabrication of the gate and hinge posts.
I’ll use my most popular design, the “Oak Tree” gate as an example for the fabrication. The first step in the fabrication is to measure and cut the steel for the gate frame, weld the frame up and grind all the outer weld joints to give the frame a “One Piece” look. We then measure, cut and add the channel that will space all the pickets properly and also becomes the attachment point for the gate operator. The pickets are then added to the gate and welded all the way around at all joints. The next step is to add all the design parts of the gate, but before that, we have some drawing to do. The tree part of the custom gate is hand drawn onto two large sheets of plate steel, then it is hand cut with a plasma cutter which cuts at around 20,000 - 30,000 degrees. I do all this by hand to make sure every gate is different, and a one of a kind design. After cutting out the tree design the tree parts have to be cleaned of all slag left by the plasma cutting process. The tree is now ready to add to the custom gate frame. The branches are manipulated to either side of the gate frame for strength and to add structure to the top of the gate, then we weld in the trunk part of the tree to the gate frame. Now the “Oak Tree” gate is ready for the leaves! Depending on the size, design and the customers requests, the gate will have between 400 and 700 leaves added to it. All leaves are welded with triangulation in mind for added strength to the top of the gate and to eliminate any vibrations that can occur with wind when two pieces of steel are touching or almost touching.
Now the gate is fabricated and is now ready to finish. After many hours/days of grinding, wire brushing, de-beading and sanding, the gate is cleaned of all oil and dust before painting. We use a primer and paint system to finish the gate, 98% of the time the gate is satin black.
Now the custom “Tree” gate and gate system is ready to install!
The footers are dug for the hinge posts and columns and are the first to go in, along with the footers for the operator system. All wiring is routed into the footer system for the operators, and all accessories. The gate is lined up, plumbed and when level the hinges are welded to the hinge posts. Operators are installed and connected to the gates, adjusted for proper swing and timing and all accessories are installed and tested and retested. Once the gate has been installed and tested, any additional implements are added, lighting, landscaping, signage, etc.
And that’s all there is to it! NOT! There are many, many things left out to keep this short, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what goes into fabricating and installing a custom gate.