Shut that door

I’ve been meaning to get around to the main door for the sim for a while. Today I finally got down to it.

The door itself is a simple construction – a small amount of framing plus the usual 6mm plywood skin. From the inside, the door is intended to resemble the existing vestibule wall; nothing unusual or fancy like portholes. From a simulated POV, the door to the sim should be at the rear (where a false door will be marked and painted for effect), whereas the actual door should be a wall. So keeping things hidden is the order of the day.

I started off by measuring up the hole where the door will go. Based on the skinning of the opposite wall I knew the a-frames are slightly tilted back, so a simple rectangle wasn’t going to cut it. I decided to build the frame in-situ so that I would get the right angles.

I cut lengths of pine timber, 96mm x 18mm, to match the portion of the a-frame against which the door is mounted. This required me to make an angled joint as with the original a-frames. This was easily achieved using a couple of dowels and some strong glue. 

Once these had dried, I screwed each of them in place to the side of each a-frame. On the left hand-side I interposed some 18mm half-width batons to provide a stop for the door (one half of the baton is screwed to the frame, the other to the door itself, so that one rests on the other when the door is closed). Then I carefully measured the distances and angles and set about cutting the plywood for the skin.

First panel goes in

The first piece of plywood skin I mounted by going inside the sim and screwing it in place as with the existing walls, but from that point on I needed to be able to work on it outside the frame so I could still get inside the sim; so I put in place a couple of framing members to shore up the sides of the door frame, and then unscrewed it from the a-frames so it came free. It was then a simple enough matter to put the rest of the plywood skin in place. The bottom piece of plywood bends round the corner in the wood just like the panel on the opposite side, on the wall.

The completed door on its own

The finished door is reasonably rigid, although I may still put some further framework on the read of the door for greater strength under tension. Then the door has to be hung in place and a handle put on. I’m still debating on the exact hanging method to use, but I have some strong door hinges and I think these will do, although I may need to sand down the door stop to stop the frame from sticking on the way out.

For now, while I’m doing other work, the door will sit aside, ready for when it’s needed.