Ok everyone, as promised, here is the tutorial on how to modify the guillotine doors on the popular ebay cage. Here is what the doors looked like originally (open).
The first thing that we did, was make the top door a hinge style door. To do this, pick the side that you want to be your hinge (we went with the left side) and bend the two hooks on that side around the outside bar of the door like so.
The door shuts better if you bend the bottom hook up and over the bar, as opposed to under.
Next, you are going to take the bottom hook on the other side of the door (our right side) and bend it so it point down, like a hook.
For the top, we used Kazko's method, which I'll describe because it took us forever to figure out what he did.
You are going to straighten the top hook out (the one that is not attached to the door) and cut it off. (Cutting it off was a personal choice, if you have no way to file the stub down, I do not recommend cutting it off).
After you have that filed down, you are going to to cut the outside bar of the door (the one closest to the side that you need the hooks on), you are then going to bend that bar over to make your hook. To do this without having a flappy door, you are going to wrap it around the next bar over like so:
(sorry it's blurry)
We used two zip ties to hold it in place, that way we wouldn't have to worry about it sliding. One at the top, to hold the hook in place, and one at the next horizontal bar on the door.
You are going to repeat the same process for the middle door.
For the bottom door, you are only going to do the hinges and the bottom hook. (You can also cut the top loop off on the hook side)
We opted to combine the middle and bottom doors into one big door that way cleaning would be easier, and we could get the wheels in and out of the cage with ease. To do this, we sawed the piece between the two doors out. We cut as close to the thick vertical bars as possible (this should be the bar that the doors originally would slide along to open).
Again, you are going to want to use a metal file to make the cut points nice and smooth.
After filing the edges on the cut out piece and the cage itself, we took the piece we had cut out, and used zip ties to secure it to the other doors. What we found to work best was to close the two doors first, the zip tie the top of the piece to the horizontal bar on the middle door (the one at the base of the small feeding door on the big door). We put the zip ties diagonally for a more secure hold. One at each side and one in the middle that holds the feeding door closed, as well as holding the cut out piece to the door.
Next secure the bottom of the cut out piece to the very top bar of the bottom door. We used the same theory with the zip ties (diagonal/one on each side and one in the middle). The door should look like this open.
To recap, this door should have only three hooks. One at the bottom of the bottom door, one at the bottom of the middle door, and one at the top of the middle door. We could not find a way to make a hook on the top of the bottom door because of the fact that the bar it would have hooked over had you used Kakzo's method is now cut off and zip tied to the door. This leaves a little bit of a gap in the middle. I use a small hair clip that looks like this:
I hook this to the top of the bottom door to right above where the top hook used to be so it doesn't slide. This holds the door shut nicely, eliminating that gap, without being a hassle to get on and off.
Here is my cage doors complete:
So far so good. No escapes and soooo much easier to use, though it did take some getting used too. My new Eco Raptor wheels fit easily through the bottom door, while I still have the smaller top door to use to get the girls in and out of the cage without providing them the HUGE escape option the bottom door presents.
-We considered soldering/welding the pieces together instead of using zip ties, but did not want to melt the paint off. Also, we did not know if the metal that is used to do so would be harmful to them.
-We also tried to make a hook for the top of the bottom door by taking one of the decorative hearts off of one of the feeder doors. The wire the heart is made up of is flimsy and I did not trust it, especially after breaking it multiple times trying to secure the other end to the door itself.
-Be sure to use a metal file to file all cut points. Making sure to leave no rough barbs that could cut your baby.
-We gave the cage a good scrub down after we finished to make sure that there were no loose paint chips at bend/cut sites that the babies could ingest.
I think that's about all. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a PM, as I'm not sure that I will see comments on here. Best of luck!