Door opener

Hands Free Door Opener

Updated 03.25.20 at 21:07 PST

If you live in the Seattle area, this product is available for free with a recommended donation – you just need to come pick it up while supplies last.

 

We’ve made makeshift door openers out of construction brackets that can be used to open the door with your foot, without touching the handle.

You can usually buy these online, but they were sold out and 3 weeks away when we looked.

Note: You will need to deactivate the standard latch. This cannot be used for secured doors. We use the deadbolt for securing the door, at all other times it can be opened hands free.

Here’s how to make your own (to be updated with pictures shortly):

Safety

  • Eye protection: glasses or goggles
  • Hearing protection

Materials

  • Heavy guage steel brackets from Home Depot or other hardware stores
  • 2 lb hammer (standard hammer will do)
  • Bench vice
  • XXX Drill bit
  • Motor oil (or other cooling fluid)
  • Angle grinder

Construction

Step 1.  Place bracket into bench vice with 1/2” protruding above the vice (Image 1). Clamping two at a time (one on the right side, one on the left side of the vice) will help even out the clamping force for a better hold.

Image 1 – two brackets placed into a bench vice with 1/2″ protruding above the vice

 

Step 2.  Hammer the top so the protruding metal curls to a 90 degree angle.

Step 3.  Use angle grinder to cut ‘grip notches’ into the bracket.

Step 4.  Use a metal file to finish deburring.

Step 5.  Drill existing holes to XXX inches. Use plenty of cooling fluid (motor oil will do) to dissipate heat and prevent premature dulling of your drill bit.

Step 6.  Clean up oil or other coolant with a rag, then soap and water.

Step 7.  On the INSIDE of your door (this is important!!!), place a spacer (thin board, stack of cards) under the L bracket where you want to mount it on the door to achieve the correct height (Image 2).

Image 2 – Putting spacers under where the bracket will be mounted on a door

 

Step 8.  Hold the bracket in place with tape.

Step 9.  Trace the holes to indicate screw location (Image 3).

Image 3 – Using a pen to mark the door through the holes in the bracket to indicate screw location.

 

Step 10.  Use a center punch and hammer to make a divot at the center of the hole you want to drill.

Step 11.  Choose a screw length slightly less than the width of the door.

Step 12.  Measure your screw against your drill, and place a piece of tape on the bit to indicate the appropriate depth (Image 4).

Image 4 – Making sure that you’re not drilling all the way through the door.  The drill bit should be marked with a piece of tape at the correct length for the screw you’re using.

 

Step 13.  Drill each hole up to the tape (Image 5).

Image 5 – Drilling into the door where the holes were marked in Step 9.

 

Step 14.  Screw the bracket into place (Image 6).

Image 6 – Screwing the bracket into place.

 

Step 15.  Your hands free door-opener is ready to use (Image 7).

Image 7 – Finished installation of your hands-free door opener.

 

Step 16.  Try out your new hands-free door opener by pulling on it with your toe to open the door towards you (Image 8).

Image 8 – Use your toe on the bracket to pull the door open towards you.

Deactivate Latch

We used regular masking tape on both sides of the door knob to prevent people from using the knob to open the door.

Masking tape used to prevent folks from opening the door using the knob

Our door had a large gap and could fit a strong magnet (used to hold nametags to clothing) over the latch without hitting the door frame.

Door latch before the magnet is put in place

Door latch once the magnet is put in place

You can also try tape to hold the latch, depending on the strength of your latch (and your tape).

A thin piece of metal or plastic secured by small screws is another option.