When the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need,” we’re pretty sure they weren’t talking about hinges.
Nonetheless, we’re engineers, and we can make just about anything fit, even song lyrics and hinges!
Take the project you’re working on, for instance. You probably know what you want – you want it to work. But, do you know what you need? Well, that’s our wheelhouse.
So step inside. We’ll tell you about our custom hinges and counterbalancing, and how we can help you get both what you want, and what you need (psst, there’s an app for that).
What Are Counterbalancing Custom Hinges & How Do They Work?
First off, you’re trying to make something move, right?
Our custom hinges make opening heavy equipment smooth.
Whether that’s a lid, cover, or conveyor drawbridge (hereafter all referred to as “lids”), integrating counterbalance systems will enhance your user experience and safety in various applications. Even if a lid weighs significantly more than what you actually feel when lifting it.
For example, a lid that weighs 80 lbs. may only require 2 lbs. of force to open because an engineer designed the hinge using counterbalance technology.
In fact, counterbalance systems can be tailored to open with any desired amount of force, providing versatility for different applications. While there are intricate technical details behind counterbalancing, a simplified explanation is:
A counterbalance is a weight or force that offsets or counteracts another weight or force.
On a more technical level, a counterbalance hinge incorporates various types of springs and geometry and design techniques to support and lift lids. The system balances the weight of the lid, making it easier to open and maintain in the desired position.
Get What You Want & Need: Custom Hinges with Our DYO App
So, how do you get your hands on these custom counterbalance hinges?
If you’re only looking for a few hinges, and not a high-volume order, it might not be 100% custom. We’d love to be able to say we can make you a one-off custom hinge right away – but that’s just not practical. Don’t despair, though – we’ve still got what you need!
We’ve been doing this for a long time. Our business is older and has survived more than Keith Richards (check out our history), and we’ve developed some workarounds along the way to make everyone happy.
While each project is unique, there are some tried and true rules (thanks to physics) that we’ve used to develop a series of counterbalance hinges. Based on your lid’s weight, center of gravity, and measurements, we can help you find the motion control solution you need – with our Design Your Own (DYO) app:
How To Use The Vectis® DYO App
Using our app, you can create a custom spring counterbalance hinge in minutes and save it for our engineers to review. Here’s how:
- Figure out your starting specs
- Choose your hinge size
- Determine how many hinges you need
- Try out the counterbalancing action you want
- Designate the built-in open stop angle
- Precise weights and measurements are key
Figure out Your Starting Specs
The first step in using the Vectis DYO app is to determine your starting specifications. This involves plugging in three critical parameters related to the load you want to counterbalance:
- Lid weight
- Horizontal distance to the lid center of gravity from the hinge pivot axis in the closed position
- Vertical distance to the lid center of gravity from the hinge pivot axis in the closed position
Pick a Vectis Hinge
Once you have entered your starting specs, you can proceed to select the model of Vectis hinge that best suits your needs. Each model has a specified torque range that it can provide. Match the required torque calculated by the app to the model and number of hinges you desire.
Determine How Many Hinges You Need
Choosing the right number of hinges for your project is crucial. Consider factors such as mounting considerations and the size of your lid.
Unusually long or large lids may require multiple Vectis hinges to effectively counterbalance the weight. Take these factors into account when deciding on the quantity of hinges you need.
Try out the Counterbalancing Action You Want
The Vectis DYO app provides a visual representation of the counterbalancing action of the hinges. There are slide bar variables that allow you to obtain the optimum torque curve and fine-tune the open and close feel according to your preferences.
The orange Spring Torque Curve line on the app's graph represents the spring-based opening torque applied by the hinges. By inputting or adjusting additional parameters, you can control the amount of torque applied at each angle.
The app also demonstrates the controlled friction band built into the hinge, which helps hold the load in place.
Remember that changing one value in the app may impact other values, so experiment with different settings to achieve the desired counterbalancing action.
Designate the Built-In Open Stop Angle
To further customize your hinge, the app allows you to specify the open stop angle desired.
Simply type in the desired angle in the Lid "open stop" Angle input box.
This feature enables you to tailor the hinge to your project's specific requirements. The combination of geometry, spring settings, and the designated open stop angle results in a hinge that is perfectly suited to your needs. The resulting adjustments are reflected on the orange Spring Torque Curve line.
Precise Weights and Measurements are Key
To ensure the optimum performance of counterbalance hinges in your project, it’s crucial to have accurate weights and measurements. This information helps engineers and designers determine the appropriate counterbalance specifications required for your specific application.
By providing precise weight and center of gravity measurements, as well as considering factors like lid size and mounting requirements, you can achieve the ideal counterbalancing solution tailored to your needs.
Benefits of Counterbalance Hinges
Still uncertain about whether counterbalance hinges are what you need? You shouldn’t be – they offer numerous advantages due to their exceptional design. Here are some key benefits:
- Safety – Counterbalancing prevents lids from slamming on fingers or causing accidents, ensuring user safety.
- Ease of use – Lifting lids becomes significantly easier with counterbalance hinges, reducing strain and effort.
- Product protection – By minimizing impact and preventing slamming, counterbalance systems extend the lifespan of products, preventing dents or cracks.
- Ergonomics – Incorporating counterbalancing technology improves ergonomics, benefiting user health and comfort.
Counterbalance hinges are rock stars in various industries, offering effortless lid opening, safety, ease of use, and product longevity.
Find What You Need
While we may not offer fully custom one-off hinges, i.e. what you thought you wanted, our Vectis DYO app provides an excellent solution to help you find the ideal hinge model and quantity for your project – what you need.
By following the steps outlined above, you can easily determine the starting specs, select the appropriate Vectis hinge, choose the right number of hinges, and fine-tune the counterbalancing action and open stop angle.
Your hinge selection will meet your specific needs and deliver optimal performance for your project.
Ready to Get Started?
You’ll be designing your own hinge solutions in a flash – and remember to save your designs for our engineers: