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This project came about because my partner Julia had played some Darts in London at the Flight Club with some of her work collogues. The venue describes itself as ‘…a social experience like no other’!
Anyway, Julia said to me ‘How about a Dartboard, for my Birthday’? And I said ‘where are we going to hang one’? Because you need 9ft 73/8 from the dartboard to where you have to stand to throw the darts. Traditionally you would hang a dartboard on the back of the door, and just pray that someone does not open the door while you are playing!
However, in our Bungalow we simply don't have enough room behind any of the doors, and what I did not want to do is fix a dartboard to the wall. So we let the subject drop, and I let her think that the idea was a non starter.
However, I never like to be beaten and was secretly thinking ‘how do you solve a problem like Julia’ sounds like film using another name?
So where can you fit a dartboard and have that sort of clearance? Well in our case in our Hallway.
But how can you fit a dartboard in a Hallway?
What was needed was a frame that could be attached into a door frame, strong enough to take the weight not only of the dartboard but also a backing board, just in case you miss the dartboard.
Another problem was it had to be portable, not be permanently attached to any of the woodwork and be able to be folded up and put away when not in use.
‘Phew that is some list! and it’s going to be some design to fill it.
This project is going to be one of the most difficult to design and build, and will require some ‘out of the box’ thinking!
My initial thoughts would be a frame that was telescopic, that could be opened up to fit tightly into the door frame, I suppose like a cross. This would have rubber attached to the foot at the bottom, top and sides, so that no frame marks would be left behind. A wooden board could be fixed to the frame, and then the dartboard attached to that.
So far so good!
All I have to do was keep all of the design on the computer, as well as the assembly a secret from Julia, as it was to be a Birthday surprise!
Some initial thoughts
Dimensions of the door frame are also critical as the frame must expand to be a tight fit.
One other critical dimension is the height of the dartboard which MUST be 172cm or 5 Feet 8 inches in old money! to the centre of the board.
This is the full height CAD/CAM design of the frame.
and this is a close-up of the board fitting detail.
The top section, and right hand side of the cross design is fixed.
The left hand of the cross and the bottom of the cross, uses sliding box section, that is held in place by using star wheels, and of course weldnuts.
Hinges are placed for both the left and right parts of the cross, so that it can be folded up for storage.
The bottom section is also removable, also held by star wheels and weldnuts.
The wooden board has standoff sections, to bring it forward of the door frame, when in place. I also added a locking screw to hold it, as I found it had a tendency to lift when fitting the dartboard.
I am sure that all of the design features will become clearer when to move on to the assembly and the pictures below.
The metal arrives from my favourite metal supply company The Metal Store.
Lets get started, first of all I created a test piece to try out my hinge idea. Which seemed to work be ok.
I needed to double check the hinge spacing so also wanted to create this test strip.
In case you were wondering what that brass rod was doing? I am lining up the steel test piece with the drill chuck.
The reason for this alignment is that I like to use the drill press to hold a steel pin that is fitted to the back of the tap holder.
The test strip for the spacing worked out ok, so we can now proceed with the real thing.
Although you can’t see it in these pictures the hinges are all located on the box section using Rivnuts, this will give a very secure fixing into the steel, very much better that just trying to tap it.
Notice two things in these pictures, one I always use a pilot drill, and second the heavy use of clamps for the purchase of drilling. I want the holes for the Rivnuts to align up perfectly.
When you need a third hand, get a real one!
I knew that 44lbs vice would come in handy one day.
Well it didn't move, did it?!
The lower arms are used to hold the star wheels, and tighten on a couple of Rivnuts in the cross arms.
The star wheels are also captive, and have internal coil springs to hold them in place.
Close up of above.
Rivnut kit from Amazon
The base of the cross needs drilling for some Weldnuts to fit the lower foot part into.
Weldnuts and star wheel fitted into lower part of cross.
Close up of above.
Welding the foot in place, now you know you needed that third hand.
First full test of the frame in the door.
Back to the welding table for those, board standoffs to be welded on.
Notice the black plastic screw end caps?
Welding the top foot in place.
I did make one change on the fly, this hook. It locates on the door frame and stops the frame falling forward.
Test fitting the wooden board to the frame.
Adding the Winmau dartboard clips to the front of the board.
And then finally the dartboard
Frame and board being test fitted into door frame.
What it looks like from the back.
and with the dartboard fitted.
Finally painted, and ready to go.
I did add one more safety feature, the initial design had four standoff’s welded to the cross. I decided to add a shallow screw, to the bottom (behind the dartboard) one so that the wooden board surround could be secured in place before the dartboard was added. This stops the wooden board from moving upwards whitest you clip the dartboard in place.
A second safety feature that I may add, is a steel hook, through the leg to stop the cross from moving downward if both of those star wheels should come undone.
So what else do you need?
These were that clamps purchased from Amazon.
I decided on a Winmau Blade 5 dartboard
Found the dartboard at Argos now £37.99.
and the Darts were also from Argos now £12.99
So to finish my story, about Julia’s Birthday surprise, did I keep it a secret from her. Yes of course I did, was she pleased with it, check out the pictures below, on her Birthday!
Oh, that’s strange, what can be in here?
Oh, Ha, Ha that’s what it is…
Oh, and the other bits that I need.
Just what I needed!
Oh!, Oh! More confusion, did I ask for a fishing pole?
Oh!, So that’s what it’s for.
Now it all make sense.
And yes I know I held my iPhone round the wrong way.
However, was this project worth it?
Yes it shows what you can do what ever the problem if you put your mind to it.
A problem seem insurmountable, but there is always a way.
All you need to do, is be bold and find it.
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