Home > Austin, frustration > doggie door from hell

doggie door from hell

i installed a doggie door this past weekend for none other than my doggie. it’s top of the line – the golden seal of perfection in doggie door land. this thing has an automatic locking mechanism so that other animals can’t get into your house – it is unlocked by an infrared tag worn around the dog’s collar. hoo ha. all of that was great until i actually tried to install the damn thing.

the instructions were simple: cut a hole 16-7/8″ x 11.5″ in the door. slip interior component of dog door through hole. mark off the six screw holes to be drilled. take dog door out, drill holes using 3/16″ drill bit. put dog door back in, slip exterior component of dog door on, slip bolts through interior component – drill holes – exterior component. screw nuts onto bolt and tighten. that’s pretty much how it should be – however these instructions provide zero tolerance – if you deviate at all (perhaps you didn’t cut a perfect 16-7/8 x 11.5 hole, or perhaps your drill holes weren’t spot on straight) then there is no way that this door is getting installed. let me explain to you about the 3/16″ hole: it’s tiny. when you’re talking about drilling through an insulated aluminum door that is 1.75″ thick, putting a perfectly straight 3/16″ hole through the door is like assuming Pres. Bush has a clue. it just doesn’t happen. the bolts themselves were about 1/8″ in diameter, and the holes in the doggy door through which they passed were probably about 1/64″ or so smaller. lining all of that up properly is not easy.

i started on saturday using the jigsaw attachment to my dremel to cut the hole. after about 10 minutes i had only cut a few inches. this obviously wasn’t working. after 2 more trips to home depot to try different blades and some lubricant, i realized that perhaps the dremel isn’t really the tool for this kind of job. i was very sad. i was much happier, though, when i returned from home depot 30 minutes later w/ a mega sawzall – sort of a super power jigsaw. w/ that in tow, i cut the hole out of the door in about a minute. but the edges weren’t perfectly straight, so the door – which is exactly 16-7/8 x 11.5 – didn’t fit very well. note to manufacturer: when you’re giving instructions to install something like this, add tolerance! about 1/4″ on all sides! that’s why the frame of this doggy door is so large – to cover up poor worksmanship! add to that the fun bit about the lining up the drill holes, and you’ll understand why i didn’t actually get the damn thing properly installed until sunday morning. and i’m a fairly handy guy around the house. i was so tired and frustrated w/ this thing that i didn’t end up going to see the detroit cobras at emo’s saturday night, which i had been looking forward to all week. and my dog is still scared of the doggy door.

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Categories: Austin, frustration
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