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by Brian Steeves 01 Mar 2019

If you had the choice, as a designer of a new cabinet, case or enclosure, to use the most expensive and hardest to find latches and hinges, would you pick that option?  Most people, I'm guessing, would NOT take that route. "That's ridiculous! Who would ever do that?!" you might say.  However, some designers are often forced to take the expensive route because their design did not take into account the space requirements for any latches, locks or hinges, which means that they find themselves sourcing customized and/or highly specialized parts.

You can avoid this common pitfall.

Avoiding this mistake is as easy as doing a little research ahead of time.  Google is your friend here!  For example, if you want a smooth, hardware-free appearance, then look up "concealed hardware", or "hidden hinge" to find options that might work for you.  Once you've found the right part, ensure that your design allows for the appropriate space in which to install that hinge or latch.  It's that simple.  

Why is this important?

  • Shorter Design Period.  Imagine how you'd feel after spending hours or days designing (or worse yet... BUILDING) an enclosure, only to find out that there's no way to make any kind of off-the-shelf hardware fit properly?  How many things would you have to change in order to fit any kind of hardware properly?  Would you have to scrap the whole project and redesign it?  By understanding some minimal requirements up front, you can save yourself precious time and money!
  • More Choice.  By picking your hardware first, you'll find more options that you can incorporate into your design.  You may even find that you can improve on your original concept with new technologies that you didn't know about before!
  • Off-The-Shelf Availability.  When you're not limited to "custom" parts, you can pick from hundreds (or thousands) of in-stock options, and this means immediate delivery!  No time wasted!
  • Lower Cost.  By buying off-the-shelf components, you're not stuck with minimum production runs, higher "per piece" prices or even rush delivery charges.  In many cases, "in-stock" also means "no minimum orders", which means more money in your pocket at the end of the project.

This is the single largest piece of advice we offer all of our clients.  Big or small, no matter your budget, regardless of what it is you're designing, PICK THE LATCHES FIRST.  I hope it helps!

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