Tag Archives: shutters

Another thought on shutters

I’m spending an awful lot of time thinking these things through, but I would really like to get to a design that, once in place, works nearly right the first time (I’m still somewhat of a realist), and hopefully is replicable by others that want to do the same sort of thing!  I mentioned previously the idea of welding the fram on to the wall of the container, and then cutting out the shutter (now welded to the frame), and doing this on the inside. Today I was fiddling with doing the same thing from the outside, and while I think that would work just fine (and the 1″ or so shutters sticking out aren’t going to make the containers so far out of ISO compliance as to make them un-moveable, at least by land), I think the interior route still is a better solution.  If for no other reason than the baffels created will also provide to properly enclose the closed-cell foam insulation that will be applied after the shutters and interior studs are in place.  The shutter barrier being inside also means that there’s a flat square surface onto which it should be possible to mate the window/door units as well.

I still like the original model of cutting through and then edging the shutters in, which would still provide a flat surface and a baffle for the insulation, but I am not convinced I can work at the tolerances that requires in the field while learning to weld… Oh, and I am taking a class on how to weld in the near future :-D

For those interested, here’s a view of the new baffel shutter (in an exterior location) where you can see the baffels before being fit snug up against the wall.

How about shutters “inside” the building?

My current shutter design requires:

1) Cut out the shutter interior material (~4″ less than the final opening) out of the wall itself

2) Cut out the actual shutter space (this will create a 2″ wide “O” cutout from the wall, with the shutters already removed from the interior)

3) Weld 1″ wide by 2″ deep steel tube around the opening, and the shutter (after cutting the shutter in half and removing another 1″ from the new cut sides of the two shutter sides).  This is trick, and needs to be square

4) Insert the shutters back in the opening (tubing to tubing) and weld on the appropriate hinges.

I still think this will make a very nice shutter, but it is complicated by the fact that the shutters need to be cut out and then trimmed.  Keeping everything square is the big trick in this, and that’s where an alternate idea has presented itself.

We had dinner with friends Chad and Anna (and their charming daughter Nimue) this evening, and as we were discussing this particular component of the container process, Chad suggested just welding the frame to the interior of the container.  I thought this made a lot of sense, in that you can build the frame, add the hinges, make sure nothing binds (perhaps even add some cross bracing), and then weld the shutter frame to the wall.  You can add a baffle of either 1/8″ thick steel plate, or just add an appropriately cut out 1×1.5″ tube steel insert, which will fully connect the frame at the top and bottom of the shutter. If you leave an appropriately sized gap (1/8″ should be adequate) around the shutter frame and its mounting frame, you should be able to:

1) Weld the frame up on a known flat surface and weld on the hinges

2) Check for and remedy any twisted hinges, or areas on the frame that bind (which should be ok with the 1/8″ gap).

3) Weld the frame to the sidewall of the container

4) Drill through the container wall to mark the actual location of the shutter gap (between the wall frame and the shutter frame) on the exterior

5) cut through the exterior, either with a cutting torch, plasma cutter, a cutting wheel on a rotary grinder, or even a reciprocating saw (like a sawzall)

Using 1″ tubing would still take a small amount of the interior space away, but this would potentially be masked by the interior walls anway. The biggest benefit is the ability to attach the shutter to the frame prior to cutting out the shutter, and being able to make sure the frame isn’t binding prior to cutting out the shutter!

Now, with a 3.5″ metal stud set all the way to the “outside” of the corrugations int the side wall, there is stil a 1″ gap between the shutters and the wall edge.  This isn’t enough for the doors I’m looking at (5″ framed width is in the spec sheet), but perhaps I’ll look into some custom doors instead.  They’ll stil be thicker than 1″, but if I can get them down to 3″ rather than five, then they don’t stick so far into the interior as to look odd.

I think this model makes even more sense than the original, even if it means sacrificing an additional interior inch of space on one wall.

Container Shutters – II

I decided to do a bit more modeling around the accordian shutters, and built out a sketchup model that takes into account the actual size of the Jeld-Wen (Home Depot) windows and french doors.  I’d much rather have a completely open side, but everything I’ve read says you really want at least one brace in the middle of a 20′ container side, so I’m leaving a 6″ section of the side in place, and will add a c-channel brace on the back end of the fairly thin side wall to provide a structural connection between the floor and roof trusses.  With the accordion shutters, you still get an un-obstructed view straight out, but you do now have 3′ wide blinders on either side of your view.  Not idea, but I think this is about as good as it’ll get for now.  The benefit here is that there is still a way to completely re-close the container.  Since the shutters will be edged with 2″x1″ tube steel, and the corrugation in the side walls is ~1.5″, this should keep the entire enclosure within the ISO frame, and yet still give the greatest unobstructed view that is still openable by hand with no mechanical assist.

There is one more design that I still want to investigate, which would be these smaller shutters, but with a winch based mechanism for raising the shutters.  My real concern is that if the winch fails, there’s no “easy” (i.e., non-heavy-weight-champion-strenght-requred way) to open the shutter, making this a bit less flexible if the winch fails for any reason.

Container Shutters

I’ve modeled the re-used wall shutters in sketchup, and I think these will work quite well, although I’m still scheming, and have another thought about accordion shutters (which I’ll sketch tomorrow). I also realized as I was dropping these onto the container, that I made the model too short. They should be 82″ tall, not 72…  But I think the image shows what it might start to look like.  Basically, the cut-out gets edged in 2″deep by 1″ wide steel tubing.  This same tubing is then used to make a frame around the cut-out sheet (which will have to be cut down by 2″ all around to fit). These shutters are then attached with fixed pin external hinges (in order to let them open out).  I found a source for steel hinges in all kinds of strengths and sizes, and that give me the confidence that we can get hinges that will support the weight of these doors (which I estimated to be ~ 80# at 6’x3′).

I also included  a set of welded on pieces through which a bar would be slid in order to lock the container up, but it may not need that, as the way the container walls are bent, it might be possible to have most of the 2″ tube exposed where the shutters meet, allowing for a simple pin/lock on the outside which would help to stay within the ISO shipping envelope.  If we end up with sliding doors rather than french doors (still hoping to talk to the door people tomorrow), it woudl be possible to pin the door inside, and it wouldn’t need to be locked from the inside, another area to investigate!

A slight change of location

We visited the property today, and poked around the area that I thought was a good candidate.  It turns out its a bit too close to the lot border to be really viable (as if it matters on a 40 acre parcel), especially given that the drop off is fairly steep on that particular hill top.  In my memory, it had a nice open space, so when I drilled in with Google Earth, I was sure I knew where I was.  Go figure, that area is indeed open, but it is bisected by the lot line.  And there’s a 50’ minimum setback, so when that was taken into account, there was no space in that nice field.

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