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This is the top view of a kind of folding box, actually a henhouse. enter image description here

The goal is to meet those three requirements:

  1. totally foldable when not in use, as flat as possible so that it's easy to move and store.

  2. a free standing position when a wall is not available (area=100)

  3. an against the wall position when it's possible to use an existing wall.

Each panel would be a light frame with chicken wire attached on it.

How can I solve the problem with the second hinge. It needs to somehow rotate in both directions. I don't see how this could be solved with permanently attached hinges.

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It needs to somehow rotate in both directions. I don't see how this could be solved with permanently attached hinges.

You could always use hinges that are designed to have the pins removed regularly. These are called "loose pins," and resemble that depicted below.

You would install them so that they fold in the direction you want for your box and arch configurations and just take the pins out for storage.

Edit: now that I look at it again, these types of hinges would be very useful for your box configuration since they can "complete" the square and keep it from coming apart while still being disassemble-able, which is something that the two-way hinges can't do.

loose pin
(source)

Edit #2: As you've indicated, where you live you haven't been able to find these types of hinges. They would be simple enough to make with normal hinges by removing the pin and replacing it with a custom-fit pin that you make yourself. A bent nail would work (the ones linked above recommend a 20 penny nail as a replacement pin, for example).

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  • Sound like a good option. Bonus, I can make chains of this device.. if it works as good as I think..
    – alecail
    Mar 12 '16 at 7:26
  • Unfortunately this kind of product is not sold in France, or under a cryptic name that I have not yet found. So I'll either build it by modifying a fixed hinge, or use classical (here) door hinges which are by design, easy to unhinge.
    – alecail
    Mar 12 '16 at 8:00
  • @AntoineLecaille, you can always use normal hinges, remove the pins, and replace them with custom-fit pins that you make yourself (out of a nail, for example). Bonne chance.
    – grfrazee
    Mar 12 '16 at 16:44
  • 1
    That's what I did; I just reduce the diameter of the pin with a grinder and drilled a hole in it to attach it to the hinge so that it can't be lost. Very easy.
    – alecail
    Mar 13 '16 at 9:54
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What you need is a double acting hinge. Different manufacturer's make variations but essentially they have two sets of pivots so that the door leaf can swing in either direction. I have seen spring action double hinges at home centers, but you can also call a local hardware supply company for variations.

Double action hinge

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How can I solve the problem with the second hinge. It needs to somehow rotate in both directions. I don't see how this could be solved with permanently attached hinges.

Two way hinges are wonderful things. This illustration shows how they work and you can Google "two way hinges" and find many many suppliers.

enter image description here Image from here

You are going to have a more fundamental problem which is that with flexible hinges you have an unstable structure. Even if the the ends that touch the ground a firmly anchored, but still able to rotate the thing will collapse.

edit :

Oops. I misunderstood your drawings. I assumed that we were looking at your pen in elevation. It's actually viewed from above, just as you said. Sorry. No bracing needed.

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What about offset hinges. So the rotation axis when fully closed is in the middle. And when opened to wall will close the gap.

There's still a small gap when in freestanding mode.

enter image description here

The connection would only be on top and bottom wrapping around the panels in the middle (or reaching through a notch in those panels).

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  • Can you elaborate on the this type on hinge ? I don't see how this would be in closed position.
    – alecail
    Mar 14 '16 at 7:42

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