I need someone to explain this to me.

Star Trek inspired pocket doors

Do you have enough confidence in your hacking abilities to build a project into the walls of your home? [Marc] used his skills to build an air-powered sliding door for his bedroom. It is similar to the sliding door you’d find on the Enterprise, two sections that slide nicely into the wall to let you pass. Although the picture above shows the internals, he followed through and ended up with a fully finished room that looks fantastic. A compressor in the attic provides the pressure necessary to move the door sections. It is automated, but uses a button press or keypad combination to run instead of detecting motion. Of course, since he’s using a PIC microcontroller to drive the system there’s always room for future changes. Check out how great the finished look is in the video after the break.

Comments

  1. Jim says:

    Me Like….

  2. BLuRry says:

    Epic win. Good stuff, Marc!!

  3. Digital says:

    it even has the sound! there is no way that my woman would ever let me do this :(

  4. octel says:

    but what if he suddenly needs to reroute some power conduits because of a radiation leak from a plasma fire might destabilize a collection of barrels containing explosive thruster fuel??

    that access hatch is quite small…

  5. Nomad says:

    @Digital: you need to find a way to raise the WAF (Woman/Wife Acceptance Factor)

  6. japkin says:

    Nice job, Marc. Now you just need to add the “shhhh” interface:

  7. Derek says:

    What if something get stuck in the way? Possible consider slip gears/belts to deliver enough power to close the doors but not enough to crush someone, something or fuck up the AWESOME design.

  8. Kyle says:

    I want to see this thing shut on a watermelon.

  9. fartface says:

    Oh wow he INVENTED it! Wow!!!!

    To bad there has been commercial offerings for at least a decade of the exact same thing.

    I have installed pocket doors like that several times at homes where the limited mobility people live.

  10. Hackius says:

    Invented? This is a hack site

  11. Brock_Lee says:

    Pretty nifty but, considering he has the perfect spot for a motion sensor (the vent) I wonder why he didn’t include one.

  12. ENKI-][ says:

    If he put the button into a rigid floor mat, he’d have the same kind of system as the Enterprise (in TOS) — and the same kind of system that is built into the front of the cheap-o supermarkets that don’t want to spend on proper motion sensors. He could repurpose the button on the doorframe to be a doorbell, and use a single-user speech recognition unit (the dedicated hardware ones) to recognize the command “enter” to unlock the door and allow the button-press mat to function (like in TNG). It’s a damned good start, though, and kudos on the use of pneumatics (rather than the easier but less TOS-y solution of electromagnets or motors-and-pushbutton-switches).

  13. Bob says:

    He hacked the door…in half and put it on sliders. Also known as a sliding door. The part I don’t understand is why he didn’t put a motion sensor for automatic open and closing functions (also to prevent crushing things). What really will suck is when a motor/slider/gear breaks. He’ll have to cut out his wall.

  14. Marshall says:

    This is pretty cool.

    I’m detecting a lot of jealousy from other commenters.

    Also people not detecting the word HACK in the name of this site. You can’t expect HACKS to be FINISHED PRODUCTS.

  15. raidscsi says:

    STILL LIVES WITH HIS MOTHER?

  16. Panikos says:

    I love it. Good job, very nicely done as well.

    Thanks for sharing

  17. Charper says:

    Very cool.

    It’s not a safety lecture, but I also wonder what precautions he put in to prevent getting pinched in the door. Or, for that matter, stuck when his uC power dies. There’s nothing mentioned on his blog.

  18. jeditalian says:

    i guess its my computer sucking, but the video is going nuts and out of sync. if that air lock sound is happening exactly when the door opens/closes, WIN

  19. Pa55w0rD says:

    @jeditalian it is happening exactly when the door opens/closes

  20. R. Barrabas says:

    Um… it’s a cool hack and all, but I have to wonder if this could be a hazard if you have to get out of the room quickly… if there’s a fire, for instance.

    How easy is it for a (panicked, fleeing) person to force the doors open?

  21. M. Roy says:

    When you shoot the control panel with a phasor, does it permanently seal the door or does it open wide?

    I guess it depends on who’s firing the phasor and the context of that episode..

  22. micky says:

    What happenes if there is a power outage and ur outside ur room. How do u get in

  23. Wayne says:

    If you want to be more like the original series, all you need to do is hire a stagehand to open and close the door for you.

  24. ferdi says:

    sombody no this is a 1why door
    i sea no controle panel or why to open it

    safty no when your room is on fire you have a bick probleem

  25. jeditalian says:

    i disabled some crap from starting up in msconfig, like cs5 stuff, since i dont really meet the minimum requirements, and now it works fine, and that door is made of WIN

  26. Ben Wright says:

    I like the ideal of the door and how it’s air powered but I don’t understand why he didn’t think he needed a header above the door. Most people know that if you put a window where a window wasn’t before, or the window gets wider than you need a new header. I guess if the door stops working we will know why.

  27. compukidmike says:

    @ Ben Wright
    It depends on whether or not it’s a load bearing wall. You only need a header if the wall supports the ceiling/upper level.

  28. mengineer says:

    I noticed people talking about the safety of getting caught between the doors but what about that fact that he cut out the header over the door,the 2 header support studs, and the 2 full run studs along the header supports. One way or another, be it directly or indirectly, that is a load bearing wall, supporting the weight of the frame/structure/floor above. If the house was built with a full header load support in place(like there was before he cut it out) it was required to support the structure(if the header was just nailed to studs on the side of opening for a place to nail door, chances are it wasn’t load bearing). Building code requires a header/double beams over doors and windows for a reason. Now that hes removed supports of the structure, if it hasn’t happened already, the area above/around that door will start to settle/sag. Along with this is going to come cracked drywall,un-level floors, and his sliding door(and window/door above it if there is one) to “pinch”, not open/close or jam up. Just another reason you need to be sure you know what your getting into, after all you wouldn’t run a 50A 230V circuit if you didn’t know what gauge wire to use/how to wire, so why would you rip out the supports of your house.

  29. The Steven says:

    Um, why not mount a PIR sensor in the vent over the door and make it automatic…

    Then when it doesn’t work, and you walk into the door, you can add it to your very own blooper-reel.

  30. svofski says:

    Awesome! Who is going to be the first one to build Descent-style iris doors?

  31. Mikey says:

    I understand the need for security, but surely, this is the kind of thing you could make automatic with a sensor, and just turn on/off the automaticness with a web-ui or an auto-lock when you leave home, etc…

    The WHOLE FUCKING POINT of startrek doors are that they’re automatic, NOT that they go into the wall — going into the wall is just a safety measure (because if they automatically swung open, it could hit someone!)

    see: http://www.google.com/images?q=riker+facepalm for more information.

  32. djrussell says:

    as cool as this is, i would not want a compressor in the attic.

  33. svofski says:

    All of the automatic-wanting people of course realize that the doors will do quite a lot of unexpected opening at the times most inappropriate?

  34. Knuckleball says:

    Somebody give this man his Nobel Prize!

  35. leadacid says:

    I do worry about the removal of the door header too. It was hard to tell in the picture posted here at HaD, but on his blog he clearly has a header in the “before” pictures and not after.
    That said though, I do really like his control diagram posted on the control door. Very clearly laid out and easy to understand.

  36. MRE says:

    In support of mengineer: without headers to brace the studs, they will bow due to load, causing the mentioned settling and cracking.
    In addition, braces and headers act as timber drops. Lets say in a fire that the drywall goes pretty fast. Further suppose that one of the overhead beams burns loose (common. Its way hotter up there than at waist level.) If the timber drops over the doorframe sans header, it couldjam the door. Headers bear the load, allowing you to force the door. Braces between studs provide a safety pocket at about chest height, under which you could crawl in a collapse.

  37. Cyberteque says:

    Great stuff!
    He probably didn’t go for floor switches or motion sensors because he has pets or small children!
    One of my dogs ripped half a supermarket door off it’s track saving a very small child’s head from being crushed.

  38. Hirudinea says:

    Wow this is the next best thing to sex, not that a trekkie would know.

  39. Just the sound it makes it AWESOME!

  40. DJ says:

    @ mengineer and the other wannabe construction experts:

    You all need to visit a few job sites and learn what DOORWAY headers are really for. They are NOT load bearing, they do NOT keep floors from sagging, and they are NOT timber drops. In fact, residential doorway headers do nothing more than give you something to screw drywall to above the door and ensure even spacing to install the jamb. IN POCKET STYLE DOORS THEY ARE NOT NECESSARY! The steel track you see the doors running on usually contains a 1 1/4″ strip to screw your board to above the door. Spacing between studs is left empty. I have been framing for 9 years and have never seen a pocket door ‘fail’ in any of the fantastic ways imagined here.

    +1 for an awesome hack! I’m doing my house next! :)

  41. barry99705 says:

    @DJ

    This is hackaday! We can’t have facts and actual engineering get in the way of the armchair engineers!

  42. Hadacat says:

    Awesome hack.
    The only thing I would be worry about is the cutting of support and lack of some safety features, that others pointed out already. But never the less, still kick ass.

  43. Kaboof says:

    It’s great but I think the sound could get annoying after a few weeks..
    But about all the people talking about safety and small kids and pets.. you know it
    (1) closes really slowly so any intelligent pet would not be able to get caught between
    (2) works with air pressure and I would assume it doesn’t put much pressure on the doors so it shouldn’t burst a melon or a baby.
    And (3) are you all leaving your babys alone at home crawling from room to room?

  44. Eirinn says:

    @bob nope, that’s why he added the control panel to shut off the air system. This will effectively unlock the door.

    @fartface congratulations on your commercial solution, you will maybe one day realise what this site is made for.

    A PIR sensor would have been great though.

  45. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    Another chime in for safety… those air pistons can generate hundreds of pounds of force.

    It needs something like those sensors on BMW windows that detect a finger in them and don’t close – or an IR sensor strip to “not close” if any object is in the way. Think elevator door.

  46. DMackey says:

    That’s just what I need… ok WANT. :)

    Great project.

  47. addidis says:

    That scared the living hell outta me. Its 2:37 am so i have headphones in, That thing shrieks like a banshee Jumped straight out of my chair. I can only immagine what this guys wife said when he finally put the house back together and she heard it.

  48. djrussell says:

    another thought about the compressor: is it being drained regularly to get rid of condensation in the tank? it’s supposed to be done daily. as it’s always pressurized, there’s a good chance that a failure could be catastrophic.

  49. qwed88 says:

    I would love to do this, but I don’t think it would be safe with my daughter around.

  50. Jim says:

    Yes! A thousand times, yes!

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