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Hatch latch


#1

I’m making some boxes that I want to open like a hatch - where the
top and front panel are one piece and the hinge is at the top, back
edge. All hinges and mechanisms (I hope) will be inside so the
exterior looks like a single, solid cube. The next part is how it
latches. I’d love to have a push-to-release mechanism much like you’d
find on a stereo cabinet - where you push the upper corner and the
door pops out just enough to get a hold of it to open or something
equally sublime since there won’t be (ideally) any handles or knobs
to grasp hold of.

Is it possible? Any ideas or suggestions where to direct my research?
The whole piece will be stretching my my skill level though I can get
pretty focused and tenatious when working out such a puzzle.

all suggestions greatly appreciated,
Bobi


#2
I'd love to have a push-to-release mechanism much like you'd find
on a stereo cabinet - where you push the upper corner and the door
pops out just enough to get a hold of it to open 

Bobi, it’s possible but not very practical for two reasons. First is
that every time you pick up the box you’ll run the risk of popping
the catch - a small but irritating issue. More importantly, when a
cabinet door has a catch like that there is a gap which is cunningly
hidden. That gap allows you to push on the door and spring the catch.
If you make a box like that you’d have to leave a gap all around the
seam to permit the user to push the lid down and spring the catch,
which I’m sure isn’t in the plan. You could do something like an
accordian (or tambour) thing in the front that’s flexible, but that’s
also funky and more complicated. Also I haven’t studied that
mechanism, though I’m familiar just from stereo cabinets. It’s
relatively complicated, though - maybe you’re willing and able to
make it, or maybe you can buy it to the scale you need. All of which
is to say that yes, anything can be done and if the issues above are
solveable by you and it’s what you want then fine. It’s probably not
the right catch for a box, though.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

Hi Bobi,

This sounds as though it might be an ideal situation in which to try
tiny neodymium magnets. The ‘touch latch’ idea would probably not be
practical as it is necessary to have some play in the ‘door’ so that
you can push it in to release the latch.

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#4

I have seen a plastic box where the lid is held very firmly closed
with a pair of small magnets flush set into the lip. The box was
difficult to open due to the smooth surfaces and lack of any groove
for the finger nail. The parting line was not easily visible, and
much force was needed to pull the magnets directly apart.

Perhaps this could be improved to meet your needs by somehow
enabling the magnets to be slid apart sideways, or enabling one of
the magnets to be rotated to the opposite pole whereby the lid will
magically spring open.

Alastair


#5
I have seen a plastic box where the lid is held very firmly closed
with a pair of small magnets flush set into the lip. 

I wouldn’t like magnets because they’re not a positive catch, but
that’s just my preference, not objective. A positive catch means that
no matter how hard you pull on it or drop it, it will stay closed.
One typical catch for the box in question, in wood, is to have a
tongue on the lid with some sort of key or ball on it, and then the
base has a sliding piece of wood with a matching key that captures
the lid when closed, or a hinged piece that flips open on the base
and then goes flush when closed. Those are a couple that I have seen
before, anyway.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

John,

Thank you for your thoughts on my latch question. Yes, as soon as I
sent the email the need for a gap dawned on me. Duh. That would be a
weird and funky thing to overcome. Still, I’m intrigued how I might
use that kind of mechanism down the road…

Ian,

The magnet idea could be the perfect solution - thank you! I can get
that “just right” tension I want by the size and placing. Brilliant!

Perhaps I should have explained from the start this isn’t a jewelry
project but a tabletop piece - about 8" in diameter - give or take.
And it has another puzzle where I’d be grateful for advice. There
will be multiple pieces (the hatch latch boxes I asked about) that
rest in/on a turntable. But rather than a lazy susan-type turntable
I’d like something more like a roulette wheel with a center pivot
that stays stationary and has an ultra smooth, class act of a spin.
My web and hardware store search thus far brings up only clunky ball
bearing rings or high tech casino equipment. I know there is a
simple, elegant solution. I just haven’t found my way there yet. Any
advice appreciated.

My profound thanks to all who make Orchid such a rich experience.

Bobi


#7

Alastair

Yes, the possible difficulty of opening a hidden latch has been part
of the puzzle and very counter-productive to the kind of “feel” I’m
going for. The magnet idea ought to work well with the design I have
in mind. There will be enough lip top and bottom to get a reasonable
grip…I hope. Having it “magically spring open” is almost too
inticing for words. I’m saving your words and stashing them aside
for…well, goodness, who knows what it could lead to. Thanks!

Bobi


#8

Its possible to build a box with a sprung lid and a sprung concealed
catch. These are usually called puzzle or trick boxes as they are
designed to baffle the casual user on how they open.

These boxes are difficult to describe and frustrating to make
successfully.

The top or lid is set on a tensioned pivot hinged fixed under the
lid and almost at the back of the box such that the lid will, if
unrestrained spring into the open position. The hinge is mounted on a
false internal back wall a few about 1.0cm in from the actual back
wall such that when the box opens the user cannot see the tail end
of the top which drops down below the false wall.

The top is held in the close position by a “U” shaped channel
running along the top edge of the box back and is released when the
back- also fitted with a sprung flush hinge is pulled back to
release the back edge of the top. The flush hinge in the box back can
be further concealed by engraving lines around the box at the same
height as the flush hinge.

I have made two of these boxes with only the second being a
reasonable success in terms of its function and cosmetic appearance.
The only published image of such a box that I have seen is plate
189, page 118 of a book titled “Silver Boxes” by Eric Delieb. This
one has a crease in the top along the line of the pivot hinge which I
assume was caused by some one who was unaware of the end catch and
forced the lid.

I don’t have any plans to make any more of these boxes soon as its
so much easier to make a sprung flush hinge box with a small push
catch on the front, either with an enamel top or set stone on the
push button. Looks nice!

regards

mike kersley
Hertfordshire
UK


#9

Hi Bobi,

I'd like something more like a roulette wheel with a center pivot
that stays stationary and has an ultra smooth, class act of a
spin. - I know there is a simple, elegant solution. I just haven't
found my way there yet. Any advice appreciated. 

D’you know, I’m very much inclined to suggest the same kind of
magnets but this time use their repulsive force to ‘float’ the
table!!! Maybe a ring of the little magnets set at 45 degrees around
the base of the centre spindle with a corresponding set on the
underside of the table…

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#10

Just a thought to keep in mind. If any of you make a box with magnets
for a latching mechanism-WARN YOUR CUSTOMER-don’t put your watch in
it, especially your antique Patek Chronometro Gondolo (you get the
point). Challenging nature by leaving a watch (or credit cards, etc.)
in a strong magnetic field is not smart.

Dr. Mac