If you have ever looked in envy at a set of wrought iron gates in front of a large home and wondered if you could afford them, stop wondering. Instead of buying a set of gates, build them. The look of wrought iron can be achieved from scrap metal and a bit of sweat equity. Best of all, from a distance, where most people see them, they will not be able to tell the difference.
Materials - For these gates, you will need scrap metal. One good source of scrap is rebar, which are iron rods used to strengthen construction projects. Additionally, you will need cutting and welding torches, posts for your gates, post-hole diggers, gravel and concrete, a measuring tape, scrap paper, a pencil and a calculator.
Planning - Measure the length of your entrance. This is vital to your gate construction. On a piece of paper, sketch out the design for your gate. Work out the exact lengths of each piece of metal that goes into the gate so that the finished project exactly matches the distance from your hinged post to the latch post. Your gate frame should be 1/2-inch smaller than the space you want to fill. Calculate the measurements several times to ensure that they are correct. When working on a project such as this, the rule of thumb is always "measure twice, cut once."
Construction - Your gate hardware can be purchased at a hardware store, or a pivot hinge can be made by welding two barrels--round tubes used to hinge a gate--onto the top and bottom of your support post. The hinge pin can be made by bending rebar into a horseshoe shape, with one end attaching to your gate frame and the other sliding into the barrels. A gate fastener can be as simple as a chain with a latch. Cut your gate pieces with a cutting torch and weld them together. Paint your gate to prevent rust. Set your posts into the ground by digging deep post holes. Insert the posts and fill the bottom of the hole 1/3-full of gravel to keep the post upright. Fill the remaining 2/3s of the post hole with concrete. Orient your support post so that it is perfectly upright with the barrels turning inward. If the post tilts, the gate will not swing freely. When the post is set and the concrete is dry, hang the gate from the barrels. You can oil the pivot pins to ensure that the gate swings freely.