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Old 12-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #1
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Screen Door to Storm Door

One of my favorite modificatons, I've completed it to all 3 Sunlines and the AS. I bought decent grade plexiglass and cut it to fit into the recessed inside area of the screen door. Drill holes into the aluminum frame of your screen door to hold the screen clips. Then place the glass into the hole and screw the clips into the holes. The clips hold the glass in place yet allow you to rotate them to easily remove the glass. Makes it nice to be able to have the front door open to see outside anytime regardless of the weather. It also keeps the pets from ruining the screen. I have two terriers so this definately is a selling point. Just a little tip I thought I'd pass along.
Lowell
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:02 PM   #2
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HappyCampers

Yes I totally agree the polycarbonate screen door trick is really worth it. I did this last summer on the T2499. It’s amazing. The extra light it let’s in, the quieter inside and it gives some insulation effects.

Let’s compare notes. I need to make a new one for the T310SR as the door is bigger then my old camper so I cannot switch it. Drats....

This one will happen in the first year of using the TT not the 3rd year like the last time… . Once you have it, going back is hard.

The actual plastic, at work we use Lexan acrylic sheet, A GE product and it is outstanding. We make machine guards out of it. It will not shatter like the regular Plexiglas does. BUT buying the Lexan on the home market, I have not yet found and I really do not want to buy a 4 x 8 sheet of it. So I had to go Plexiglas since that was what I could get. And sure enough after I perfectly fit the panels, I snapped one in ½ just before putting it in…. .ERRRR

What material did you use? If I have to I will again use the Plexiglas as once it is in the door and fit, then I have had no issues.

The clips. I searched hard and long and these are what I came up with. They are priced OK. Work OK, but if I can find a better one, I would go with something different. What did yours look like?

Here are pics of mine. And a sliding door panel handle and knob I added. The inside handle is a nice benefit. I was able to move the sliding panel with the handle to the new camper .





The bottom panel


The mid panel


The top panel


The door knobs. Outside


Inside


And now the best part, Can reach out and grab the door, give it a tug and it swings closed if it is clipped to the big door. Or you release the screen and just close it this way too. The while panel slides towards you, then the entire door swing shut.

Or just the screen


Thanks

John
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:16 PM   #3
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I've never done a complete door in Plexi, but the one advantage I've found is it makes the door heavier, so it latches easier. The light aluminum door with just screening likes to bounce back and not latch.
I only did the bottom half on my 2251 because the dog destroyed the screen, but I've yet to do it on another.

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Old 12-13-2007, 09:46 AM   #4
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John:

My dog is large enough to ruin both the top and bottom screens. In the past, I've had limited luck when cutting plexiglass. What method did you use to cut the plexiglass, especially the radius at the top corner on each side?
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
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I also have full plexiglass door, but I cheated and had local hardware store do the radius cut for me. I believe Lowes now carries a "less" breakable brand of pleaxiglass, but forget what it's call, other than more expensive


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Old 12-13-2007, 04:37 PM   #6
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Al, with the other trailers I made a cardboard cut-out of the radius and traced it onto a piece of wood. Then I cut the wood to the shape of the radius with my jig saw. Then I clamped the glass to the wood and used an acrylic knife to cut along the edge of the wood. Then I took my dremel and smoothed out the edges. Looked real professional like. This time I didn't take my time and make a pattern. I held the plexi up to the door and traced it with a marker. Then I free hand cut it. This one doesn't look quite as nice. I should have taken my time. Kitty, the more expensive plexiglass is called lexan. It's shatter proof, but still scratches, so I just use regular acrylic.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al in PA
John:

My dog is large enough to ruin both the top and bottom screens. In the past, I've had limited luck when cutting plexiglass. What method did you use to cut the plexiglass, especially the radius at the top corner on each side?
Al this is what I do. HappyCampers is similar and I have done his wood sandwich method on other fragile things. It is an old fashion wood working trick. Works good.

First, when the acrylic comes it has protective paper on it or thin looking Ceran wrap. Leave it on until last step to install. And even then the static will cling to you like glue…

To cut the sheet, I use a radial arm saw. A bench saw will work too. Key is you have to put a real fine veneer board type blade in it. If you use a large tooth, it will catch, crack and go flying for parts unknown. Hold it down well and push slow. You can even lay a board on top to keep it from flapping.

The edge will come out with small little melted burrs, I crack them off with my fingers then use a fine mill file to get a smooth edge.

This process gives me exact size straight and long cuts.

The curve at the top, I cut it rectangular to fit first. Had the over all width and length right. Now only have the curves left. I lay the sheet up on the window, use a sharpie and exactly trace the curve. Each side is slightly different. Steady hand and go slow. Make sure you know which side of the line to cut…. The marker is on the protective sheet

Then I use a saber saw (jig saw) with a real fine blade. Metal cutting. Hold the sheet down flat and you can even put a piece of plywood on top as a hold down. Then with only about ½” or less of the edge hanging off the bench for the blade to go down into, use high speed and go slow. As you follow the line, stop after a few inches, reposition the sheet close to the edge and keep going. Don’t let it get flapy or else….

I actually cracked one of mine putting it in. Not cutting it. I made it fit too exact. When I went to pull it out, it twisted, flexed and in milliseconds I had 2 pieces…. . It only took me about an hour to get to that point and in the blink of an eye… I had to start over… 1/64” to 1/32” clearance can be your friend…

Good luck

John
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:37 PM   #8
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Hey Guys, great ideas and the pictures really help.

I have a few questions? Why not do like Kitty suggested and just have the store cut it to the template you bring them made out of cardboard, this way if they snap it during cutting, they replace it at their cost.

Second, why use the clips? Wouldnt velcro hold up the material and this way if you wanted to take it down to cool the place off, you could just simply grab ahold and pull it off.

These are just thoughts I had while reading through this thread, and thought I would ask them aloud. Maybe you'll enlighten me as to why my thoughts are wrong, which they usually are...LOL

Oh, and great idea with the handle on the door slide, I shall have that installed the next time we make a trip to Home Depot to buy a handle!

Pat
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:12 PM   #9
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Pat

The Velcro, I debated this. I know some who have used it and say it works OK, Just they caution do not use it all the way around,. Just in spots. Other wise it is so strong you about wreck it taking it off.

I went the clips so the panel would fit inside the door verses on top of the door. To remove the panel, I just rotate the clip 90 degrees and the panel comes out. I had preconceived notions of the Velcro hanging on too hard, me twisting the sheet and crack…. Again I have never used the Velcro and others have.

Hopefully HappyCamper will chime in here on the clips he used. These worked and if I can’t find anything better, I will use again. But I’m looking for new ideas for the next one.



A close up


Now to why did I do it verses the store. Well simply, it is totally therapeutic for me. Working on the camper is my stress reliever. It is 2nd to actual camping be numeral uno.

John
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Pat

Now to why did I do it verses the store. Well simply, it is totally therapeutic for me. Working on the camper is my stress reliever. It is 2nd to actual camping be numeral uno.

John
That's all you needed to say John! Cindy asks me all the time "WHy are you doing that? Just have the dealer do it and be done with it", but too many times I like to just sit and tinker with something, and be able to look back at it later and say, "Yep, I did that"

Then there are those times that I get so frustrated, like when trying to cut plexiglass and I've snapped it 3 times That I just go to the store and have them cut it. Usually I'm laughing every timie the guy breaks the piece and has to replace it for free.

Thanks for the explaination

Pat
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:43 AM   #11
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There is definetly some satisfaction in doing the job yourself. I can honestly say that I have only taken my vehicles to the repair shop for tires and A/C charging I do all of the rest myself. The satisfaction for me is I dont have to pay the mechanics to fix my vehicles. The job get done right and I dont have to listen to some service manager give me a line of crapola. It is going to kill me when I cant do it anymore.
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:46 PM   #12
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The clips I used are smaller. If I remember tomorrow I'll take a picture and post it here, or at least try.
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyCampers
The clips I used are smaller. If I remember tomorrow I'll take a picture and post it here, or at least try.
Lowell

Thanks. that woudl be helpfull.

Did you ever get setup with a Photobucket account? Last I knew you where still having issues with Shutterfly.

John
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:01 PM   #14
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How about using a router with a bearing guide bit or a template guide kit? I've never tried to cut Plexiglas, but I would think if you sandwiched it between two pieces of plywood, MDF, or whatever is in the scrap bin, it should work and give you a nice edge and the right radius. Just a thought.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:04 AM   #15
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Chuck

Yes this may work. The wood sandwich may be the saving grace.

If you have carbide tipped cutters it will help too. The only negative drawback I have found with the router on plastic is the ultra high speed. Actually do more burning then cutting with the waste chips. Meaning the scrap cannot fly out fast enough so it sits next to the cutter and melts along with the cutting action going on. The bit then heats and the problem gets worse. I’m not a routing expert so I may have something to learn if some one else has done this. And would be glad to learn what to do different.

The other issue I have had with the router is any kind of free handing. It can get away from one a lot quicker. Have to guide it against a back stop all the way, then the results are better. The bearing cutter would help here I’m sure. I have them in the box, but never used that style cutter yet.

So I went the radial arm saw route as I could control the sheet being straight easier and the rate of sheet feed. On the turns the hand control of the saber saw with a variable speed saw allowed me to control the cut and the tool not want to pull it self thru the work. Only had to watch out it did not yank the sheet up and down and destroy the work piece that way… .

Again I’m not knocking the router. In my case I have created too many test pieces, (actual good pieces gone wrong…. ) to know I need someone to help show me how to overcome what I have not been able to solve.

Do we have a routing expert out there that can throw out a few pointers on how to deal with thin 3/32” plastic? I have another one to make and looking for new ideas that might be better.

Thanks

John
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