Custom Ranch Gates
12′ Dual Swing Oak Tree with Whitetails
Designed, Fabricated, Powder Coated & Installed by JDR Metal Art
with liftmaster la 500 commercial grade automatic operator System
These ranch driveway gates were a fun project from start to finish and will look great at their new home for many years to come. JDR Metal Art designed, built, powder coated & installed this 24v solar powered automatic gate system.
12′ Driveway Gate Design
We began with the 12′ dual swing gate design (a modification of one of our other tree driveway gates). Four whitetail deer and three turkeys are gathered under an oak tree. We also ended up adding to it a 14′ tall overhead arch with our customer’s ranch name plasma cut in a neat and attractive font.
Here’s our initial design concept; each steel driveway gate panel is exactly 6′ wide at the frame. The total opening between the posts is 12′ 10″ which allows for hinge spacing and a center gap of approximately 1″.
Custom Gate fabrication
The frames for our steel gates are typically made from 2 x 2 x 1/8″ & 2 x 2 x 3/16″ tubing. These pickets for the inside of the frame are 1 x 1 x 1/8″. The joints are cut with miters and given a slight gap for maximum weld penetration.
Next we are locating and placing the gate opener bracket for the LA 500 driveway gate opener.
Once the LA 500 bracket has been welded to the backside. In this case it’s a “pull-to-open” gate opener installation setup.
After MIG welding the steel base plate to the posts…
This gate opener system is spec’d for Liftmaster LA 500 Gate openers
Our gate opener/operator of choice for this project is the Liftmaster LA 500 system. It’s a 24 volt DC commercial duty system which offers twice as much voltage (power) as the 12v systems. Liftmaster has become a household name over the years with great brand recognition, unsurpassed quality and excellent customer service.
For automating this ranch entrance we installed the LIFTMASTER LA 500 dual swing gate opener system. The gate opener and photo eye brackets were welded in place on the gates and posts prior to powder coating.
la 500 gate bracket
Building the stands for the photo eyes. The photo eyes play an extremely important safety role in this project. The holes in the stands are drilled and tapped for ease of installation onsite.
Custom built steel keypad stand is much better than the typical paper thin steel ones.
Locating the photo eye so it’s in line with the reflector on the other post.
Plasma cut turkeys hanging out in the grass.
Overhead arch for “take a chance ranch”
Lettering is cut from 3/16″ sheet steel, welded to a rolled 2x2x1/8″ square tube. Will be welded to top of the gate posts with fluxcore/gasless welder.
custom plasma cut Ranch brand
One of several signs we cut from 3/16″ steel for our client to put up around the ranch.
posts & small parts racked for powder coat
Here are most of the smaller parts required for this job, hanging from the powder coating cart.
powder coated driveway gates
Our favorite black powder coat – 60% gloss – is a “super durable” grade powder coat made especially for high UV outdoor exposure. It looks great for many many years without the typical premature fading and/or peeling of a liquid coating.
Wet vs Dry Painting
Traditional paints are generally known as wet paints. Powder coating is called a dry paint because it is applied in the form of a dry powder and there is no need for industrial solvents to dry and is thus green friendly.
Once the powder is applied to the parts, the parts go into a propane fired powder coat oven where they bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. As the parts heat up a chemical reaction occurs and the powder turns into a gel at first and then fully cures into a tough finish as it cools.
A powder painted finish is much tougher than liquid painted but without the extended cure times which liquid coatings suffer from, generally weeks to a month or more. Whereas a powder coated gate is fully cured upon baking; liquid coated gates are often still far from fully cured during the time of delivery & installation, thus leading to easily scratched and rubbed off paint finishes due to handling parts with a yet uncured finish.
Driveway Gate Installation
Time for driveway gate installation. We begin by laying out the dimensions with a tape measure and marking the areas we’ll be working. We need holes for the gate posts and a trench between the two posts for the electrical and control wiring.
Gate post holes And Trench
Holes have been drilled 40″ deep with a 24″ wide auger. The dummy base plates have been set in place with the threaded rods in their final resting place.
Setting Template for Overhead Posts
The posts for the overhead arch are 14′ tall. It’ll be easier to install a template for threaded rods which will be buried in concrete to support them.
Before pouring the concrete it is necessary to fasten the rods in place so they can not shift while the hole is being filled.
Once the concrete is sufficiently set the posts will be secured to the threaded rods via galvanized nuts.
Driveway Gate Installation Costs
Driveway gate installation costs were about $3,500 for this project.
liftmaster la 500 photo eye
The photo eye is a safety device which monitors the entry opening for obstructions in the pathway of the gate during the open/close cycle. Like a garage door, it reverses the course of the opener when an obstruction is sensed in the pathway of the gate. This newest model also has an onboard thermostat and heater.