Two of the more common structures are greenhouses, as shown in Figure 1, and animal pens, both require doors and where there are doors there is a requirement for hinges.
Figure 1 - Greenhouse made from PVC pipe
It is possible to bolt or screw standard hinges to PVC pipe, however, you can make fully functional hinges out of the PVC pipe and by doing so, save money and have a neater looking structure.
Making A PVC Pipe Hinge:
A PVC hinge works on the principle of having a PVC pipe of a smaller diameter inside a PVC pipe with a larger diameter. The diameter of the PVC pipe chosen to make the hinge should be one size larger than the diameter of the PVC framing members that the hinge will mount too.
Table 1 provides the PVC pipe sizes to use based on the size of the PVC pipe structure frame.
The actual length of the PVC hinge is completely arbitrary. However, the minimum length should be approximately 6 inches.
Determine the length of the hinge and cut the PVC pipe of the correct diameter to length. You want the edges of the PVC pipe to be clean and therefore the best tool to use for the project is a PVC pipe cutter, as shown in Figure 2.
Note: There is no reason that the door frame and the frame around the door have to be the same diameter PVC pipe, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 - Different size PVC hinge parts
For each hinge you want two pieces of pipe. In fact there is no reason that you cannot make one big hinge that basically spans the height of the door or gate if the rest of the structural PVC components do not create an obstruction for one hinge.
For purposes of this example we will make a small PVC hinge.
After cutting the PVC hinge pieces make sure that there are no burrs on the inside or outside edges of the PVC pipe. If there are any burrs use some sandpaper to remove them.
Apply PVC adhesive to the sides of the PVC hinge pieces and lay them on a flat surface, as shown in Figure 4. For the hinge to work smoothly it is important that both pieces of pipe are parallel to one another, hence laying them on a flat surface.
Figure 4 - PVC pipe hinge
Note: The PVC pipe adhesive is shown in orange so that its location can be seen in the diagram. In fact the two pieces of PVC hinge segments should be touching each other.