The modular dog enclosure with wooden hinges that I have been working on for our senior rescue Yorkie Cameron is done and it turned out great. Here are a few pictures to get started; rationale for the build and details/plans follow below.
Cameron came to us from Muttville, a senior dog rescue in SF. Due to his age, he can be wobbly on his feet, particularly on hardwood floors and when not supervised constantly, he can fall badly and/or get himself in trouble in other ways.
We had a generic plastic enclosure from the pet store from him which, like most animal furniture, looked pretty ugly in the middle of our living space, but primarily I was bothered by how small it was. Despite being wobbly, Cameron at times has quite a bit of energy to burn. So I had the idea of a modular panel based system that can be extended as needed by adding more panels, and that can be laid out in different configurations for him to bounce about safely.
I planned everything out in SketchUp, and the whole plan is up on GitHub.
If you click on the different scenes of the SketchUp model, you will find the various measurement and cutting guides that I'm showing here.
To lay out and cut the panels, I used this guide:
This guide is for a 17 in. panel, but as the note at the top says, these can be made longer or shorter in 2 in. increments. I used an entire sheet of ¾ in. plywood for the build, so I made a bunch of 17 in. panels as well as a handful of 11 in. ones. Overall, the 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheet of plywood yielded about 25 linear feet of enclosure. I can, of course, build more whenever the need arises.
This system uses wooden hinges that I cut on the scroll saw.
This is the guide I made for cutting these:
Notches were cut on the panels as well, using another guide, so the hinges could be tapped in place with a mallet (no glue or screws were used):
This is the guide for the panel notches:
Obviously, the width of the notches in both the hinges and the panels has to be adjusted to the actual thickness of the plywood you are working with. The guides have a few lines you can use to cut, in 1/32 in. increments.
The male hinges are made by gluing 1 ¾ in. long, 5/16 in. diameter dowels into the holes.
The male hinges go in the notches that are higher up on the panel. A fully finished panel looks like this:
And the hinges are operated like this:
It is amazing what a difference this system makes in Cameron's and our lives. When we can't supervise him, he now has much larger space to roam in safely. And, yes, these panels look MUCH better than the rickety plastic eyesore we had to put up with previously.