One of the things I wasn’t expecting when my girlfriend was expecting our first child, was the amount of home improvement that was necessary protect our house from our small crawling wrecking ball. This week, it was time to protect our staircase.
Since we live on the top floor of the apartment, there are a lot of stairs you have to climb to reach our house. In reverse, you can tumble down from a lot of concrete steps, if you aren’t careful enough. Of course, this risk is only there if you leave the front door open, but since this happens quite often, a small stair-gate couldn’t hurt.
One of my friends had a spare adjustable stair-gate. The hinge was MIA, so the stair-gate itself was pretty useless. Unless you own a 3D-printer. His exact words: “It’s pretty useless junk for almost anybody, but for you it’s probably exactly what you need …”
And he was right, because I needed to mount the stair-gate to the existing railing, I needed to create custom hinges anyway. So after a good cup of coffee, some delightful Fusion 360 workouts and some 3D printing, I finished my first hinge.
As you can see, this hinge snaps around the existing railing, and is tightly clamped by a 6mm bolt and wing nut. A piece of rubbery material (a piece of heat shrink) increases the friction for an even better fixation.
The eyebolt you see is part of the incomplete stair-gate. Now, the most important part of this project is the 8mm bolt going thru the the eyebolt and 3d printed ring/spacer. Since delamination of layers is the Achilles’ heel of a 3D printed object, I used the bolt to keep those layers together, while creating a strong pivot point.
By doubling the shell thickness to 4 perimeters and increasing the infill, and by using the extremely strong ColorFabb XT-CoPolyester, the hinges turned out to be EXTREMELY strong.
After printing a second (mirrored) hinge, I was able to mount the stair-gate on its new location.
Without notice, the work supervisor came for safety check, and notified me of the missing end-stop on the opposite side and the lack of a decent locking mechanism. Never argue with a supervisor, so once again I fired up Fusion 360 and started designing.
On the top I created an end stop with a notch that keeps the stair-gate in place. When the stair-gate is snapped into position, it’s firmly clamped between the wall and the railing. This prevents any forces working on the locking mechanism.
The locking mechanism is just a simple thru-hole-mount (is that a word?) which prevents the stair gate from opening.
Together, they form a nice locking system which meets the requirements of the supervisor and finished this fun Sunday project!
3D printing is fun, but not really meant for these kind of projects. I used some safety increasing measurements (like the bolt, and the increased perimeters) to improve the strength of the hinges. Still, I’ll need to keep an eye on my small maker boy. Keep in mind this stair-gate is outside my house. So it’s a second stage safe-guard anyway.
I’m not responsible for the damages to your staircase if one of your family members tumble down your stairs after trying this at home.