The gates feature arched top rails with steel plasma cut horses and an oak tree. The oak tree is roughly eight feet tall in the center. Each gate attaches to columns and are each 7′ wide and 5’6″ tall at the center of the driveway.
CNC Plasma Cutting Gates
The artwork is all cut with a self-designed & built CNC plasma cutting machine. It is far more accurate and repeatable than when I used to cut with a hand held torch for many years.
A computer running on the LinuxCNC program does all the motion movement controls as instructed by the gcode file that is created from the agreed design sketch. Exactly how the design looks is exactly what the machine will produce from raw material put on the cutting table.
I like to use 1/8″ steel for the sheet cutouts because it is thick enough to be very durable over the long term while still retaining a more manageable weight for the gate opener to move over many thousands of open-close cycles.
Plasma cut horse awaiting his newly framed home!
Custom Fence Panels
Custom metal art fence panels that are ten foot long by four foot tall grace the gates on each side. The panels feature a nature scene including deer, ducks, oak and pine trees, grass and an arched top to match the fall of the arch on the gates. Pictured immediately after the powder coat was cured in the propane fired oven at 400F.
The semi gloss black powder coat is the top coat. Beneath the top coat is a layer of primer that consists of zinc rich epoxy. This zinc rich layer provides greatly enhanced long term corrosion resistance. The primer layer goes on first, then the panels are baked at 250F until the primer turns into a gel. Once the primer gels then the gates are pulled out and sprayed with the black top coat. Then back into the over to be baked at 400F for about a half hour. Once the gates cool they are fully cured and ready for many years of rust-free outdoor exposure. The finished product is much thicker than paint and smooths down any sharp edges. It also helps to fill in small surface imperfections such as scratches in the metal that paint would not cover.
Driveway gates forBoca Raton, Florida horse ranch that are custom built from aluminum by JDR Metal Art.
Aluminum Square Tubing Frame
The frame consists of 2″ square tubing aluminum. The arches are rolled from tubing with 1/8″ wall thickness. The bottom rails, hinge rails and inside vertical rails are all 3/16″ wall thickness.
MIG Welded Aluminum Gates
In the picture below you can (somewhat) see the spool gun used to join the aluminum artwork cutout to the aluminum frame. Since the aluminum wire is so soft it can be fed only a short distance, hence the reason why the spool of welding wire is practically handheld.
1/4″ thick aluminum C-brackets accommodate sealed bearing hinges. A 5/8″ thick grade 8 hardened steel bolt holds the hinges to the gate. Threaded rods protruding from the hinges go through the client’s aluminum posts and provide the means of adjustment to perfectly level the gates and also to adjust the center gap to the desired width (typically 1″).
Custom Ranch Brand
Also plasma cut into the 3/16″ thick aluminum sheet material.
Brushed Aluminum Finish
The powder coat finish will only be as good as the prep job. The entire gate has been brushed using zirconia flapwheels and washed using zirconium oxide cleaner/pretreatment. While both processes ensure long-term adhesion, the zirconium oxide also greatly enhances the corrosion resistance of the aluminum. Being that Boca Raton is a tropical area there will be a great deal of moisture trying to corrode the aluminum so it is imperative to do a great prep job.
Shop cat discovers an air leak in one of the in-line air filters I just refilled.
Hanging for powder coating
Horses hanging out upside down
Two Stage Powder Coat Finish
A two stage powder coat finish is far superior to the single stage finish offered by many gate manufacturers.
A single stage finish will often be applied too thin and will not “wet out” to fully cover the metal, resulting in pinholes that go clear down to the substrate. Such a finish is prone to be applied unevenly and will appear with a sandpaper texture (“tight orange peel”) while other areas are noticeably much smoother.
A two stage greatly enhances the final appearance of the gates. Powder coat can be applied far more thickly than paint without running or sagging. Minor imperfections in the metal surface that are noticeable after one coat of powder will be gone after the second coat.
First Coat of Powder
The first coat of powder gets electrostatically applied and then the gates get run up to a temperature of 250F in the powder coat oven…there the powder melts and becomes a gel coating. The gates come back out, the gel hardens. The gates look shiny here but will become a matte black after the second coat is applied and cured.
After Top Coat Cured
Now the next coat (the top coat) has been applied, the gates went back in the oven and baked at 400F for around 25-30 minutes. They are now a matte black. The gates are already fully cured and more durable than paint. The “super durable” exterior grade powder coat I use excels at abrasion and chipping resistance, UV fade resistance and corrosion resistance, all of which will be in play from the time of installation in Boca Raton until many years thereafter.
*Some of the pictures appear upside down because the gates are hung upside down to be sprayed.
Ranch Brand on Aluminum Gate
Bracket for Gate Operator Welded on Backside of Gate
This rectangular tubing bar was placed on the back of the gate to accommodate an automatic gate opener with articulating arms.
Same bar is in the picture below. The brackets will likely bolt to the bar, which is actually a 2×1 rectangular tube with 1/8″ wall thickness.
These customers utilized the simple gate design process for us to create this custom gate design. Several revisions were made to give the client everything exactly as desired.
Sandblasting gives the surface of the gate the perfect surface texture for the powder coat to adhere to long term.
The scale and rust is removed and a sparkly surface results from the diamond shape of the sandblasting media. All discoloration is removed until only raw steel remains.
The near white color is where the raw steel has been blasted free of the mill scale. The darker areas are where the mill scale is waiting to be removed. Stacking the gates on racks for sandblasting saves both time and material..the gates at the back of the stack are usually already half stripped to raw steel by the time the top ones have been done.
4x4x1/4″ Gate post material
These posts are going to be holding a lot of weight for a lot of time!
Plasma Cut Flying Pheasant Silhouette
Cut from 1/8″ steel sheet and mig welded in place to the gate arch.
Hinges are arguably the most important of the gate…that’s why it’s important to have adjustment built into the gate, as well as incredible strength. These custom designed gate brackets are cut from super duty 1/2″ thick steel plate with flawless welding to support and distribute the stresses the gate will endure over its lifespan. A threaded rod hinge mechanism will attach the gate to the posts.
Check out some of our other Kentucky steel gates, custom designed and built by JDR Metal Art.
Here’s a cool boat themed driveway gate project currently being built. It’s a 14′ dual swing (approx. 7′ per panel) that will hang from posts in Pennsylvania.
Initial Design Drafts of Client’s Gate
Driveway Gate Pictures
Pictures taken while fabricating the gate frame; preparing the channels for pickets which will be placed accordingly and welded completely solid for a seamless finish. The double curved arch takes a lot of precision layout to make perfect.
This particular entry gate is one of several other Pennsylvania driveway gate projects we’ve completed in the recent past. We’ve also done custom done horse themes with mare and foal