Introduction: No Weld Bike Trailer

Picture of No Weld Bike Trailer

This project seeks to make bike trailer building easy and cheap! Bike trailers are extremely useful and enable cyclists to carry heavy or weird loads easily.

This project was made for under 30 dollars using mostly found objects. If i had to buy everything i used it would cost around 60.

Step 1: Wheel Base

Picture of Wheel Base

The hardest part of building a bike trailer is building the wheel base. This is the part that holds two wheels in place so you can build the rest of the trailer.

I have to confess i did not build mine. I got it from Dan who scavenged it from an broken trailer.

This instructable uses a firewood cart, i'm sure you can find other wheel bases to scavenge from.

Step 2: Making the Platform Part 1

Picture of Making the Platform Part 1

The first step after you get a wheel base is to build a base for your trailer, for this you will need:

3 - 30" 2x4s
6 long screws
Drill bits made for drilling metal.

Once you get those, drill holes into the wheel base, making about 6 holes to mount the 2x4s.

Step 3: Making the Platform Part 2

Picture of Making the Platform Part 2

Once you have the holes drilled, mount the 2x4s onto the base making a nice platform.

Step 4: Trailer Hitch Part 1

Picture of Trailer Hitch Part 1

Once you have a base made it's time to make a hitch. I did a variation on this hitch idea and used air hose coupling. I already had a hitch that attached to my bike so it made it easier. For the arm down i used electrical conduit.
To build the part that connects to your bicycle take a look at this instructable: No Weld Bike Trailer Hitch

For this step i used:
1 10ft x 1/2" conduit tubing
1 Air hose coupling
6 inches of webbed tubing.
2 hose clamps

Step 5: Trailer Hitch Part 2

Picture of Trailer Hitch Part 2

First i cut the tubing to size and shoved the air hose coupling on one end. I shoved the other end onto the electrical conduit.

This part was hard, i used rubbing alcohol to slip it on but it still took a lot of elbow grease.

After i got it together i ran a heat gun over it to seal it.

See the last picture for the hitch on the bicycle.

Step 6: Trailer Hitch Part 3

Picture of Trailer Hitch Part 3

Once you get the connector on, it's time to bend the conduit. There are special tools for this, but they cost around 30 bucks and i didn't want to get one just to use it once.

So i used a barrel! You want to have a sort of S shape going from the hitch to the trailer.

But if you have the money or can borrow one, i strongly suggest the conduit bender.

Step 7: Attaching the Hitch to the Platform

Picture of Attaching the Hitch to the Platform

Once the hitch is bent to your liking, it's time to attach it to the base. I used some U brackets and a few screws to attach it to the bottom.

The conduit was a little too long, i cut off the extra with a dremel.

Step 8: Attaching a Base

Picture of Attaching a Base

At this point the main part of the trailer is done. From here you can build on to adding a bucket or a flat plank

I decided on a flat plank from some scrap wood i had lying around. I cut a 30x18 inch piece out.

Step 9: Painting It

Picture of Painting It

Well you could stop here, but where is the fun in a boring brown trailer. I prettied mine up with some orange and silver spray paint.

Step 10: Test Ride

Picture of Test Ride

Now it's time to test ride!

Right when i got outside someone yelled to me "I Want One!" which is always a great response to a new project.

I had someone sit on the trailer as i rode it around to test it out, the first time i went out i realized that my hitch wasn't tight enough. oops!

If you have ideas for improvements, please comment! Hope your bike trailer makings go wonderfully! Share your projects!


Agent803 (author)2016-11-19

Nice, this project inspired me to make a hot cocoa/lemonade stand bike trailer. I hope to make an instructable about it.

smann11 (author)2015-09-18


TN777 (author)2013-01-06

Could you add sides to the cart and not hurt the wheel's function?

CluthaDubh (author)2012-04-09

Or dip the rubber hose in warm to hot water to soften it.

finton (author)CluthaDubh2012-06-23

Or buy a cheap hot air gun - this can get it any degree of soft! I also use mine for moulding PVC pipe (like my hero

jmeng (author)2011-09-06

I need a trailer for my dog, and for my work as a gardener in a 301 acre situation. I've been planning my trailer for awhile. I am going to use the extruded aluminum from an old extension ladder. It can be cut with regular saws. I scrounged the wheels and axle. The hitch is what I have not worked out yet. I figure the extrusions can be cut along the length, then shaped, to give me the tongue.
I will screw it together for testing, then if it seems to right enough, I'll get someone to weld it for me. The old ladder idea seems like a good one. It is 40', not really good any more for a ladder as it has a cantankerous bow in it which makes it hard to use. Besides, it's really heavy and I'm too old to be interested in juggling that thing anymore.

fart01 (author)2011-05-06

that i a cool trailer i am going to make a a bigger one with a wood plait

Black Panther Knex (author)2011-04-25

Nice paint scheme! :)

profpat (author)2011-04-17

very nice, very simple!

louisw (author)2011-04-17

hi again, just had another thought, it might be a great idea to add reflectors or reflective tape (available in 1/2" and 1") on all 4 sides as anything to catch notice of motorists etc.even on a bright day is a good thing.

louisw (author)2011-04-17

hi nice able, i do have a few possible variations for you. 1. use liq soap and a tiny bit of water to slip the hose on, this has been used for decades to install handlebar grips and decals and drys like cement. 2. use a piece of mudflap or conveyor belt (or leather belt) for hinge. a piece 1" x 6" with one hole at each end wrapped somewhat snugly around the seat stem and attached with a 1/4" dia. carriage bolt and a wing nut and 2 washers through the material/conduit/material absorbs some shock and polishes the stem as well. 3. for attachment points use eye bolts or small boat cleats (depends on if you prefer bungees or rope, either can be stored between fasteners when not in use) but don't put on top, put on sides like my pick-up truck or under edge. keep up the great work.

CVBruce (author)2011-04-17

You could add some eye bolt wood screws to the ends of the 2x4's for tie downs/bungee anchors.

spark master (author)2011-04-03

If you make friends with an electrician or maybe a a plumber(electrician is better bet), you can peruade them to bend it for you for a cup of coffee and a nice egg sandwich. I know I would have done it for free as long as you asked nicely. The egg and bacon sandwich and a cup o'joe would have been icing on the cake!

Emt benders or "hickies" (although a hickey usually refers to a pipe bender, not emt), will bend baby carriage frame as well and if you can find an old bender for surface mounted square conduit, (for exposed finished surfaces the name escapes me), it bends square metal perfectly for offsets and 90's.

great instructable


chamunks (author)2010-07-31

Could you maybe post pictures of this coupling in action theres really no photos in this ible highlighting how its attatched physically to your bike... :S I'm very interested in how this is done!

frenzy (author)chamunks2010-07-31

I plan to do an instructable soon about how to do the trailer hitch. Take a look at the instructable i linked to.

chamunks (author)frenzy2010-08-16

I liked you're expediency so much that I'm in the midst of building mine! I'll have mine done by the end of the week :D. I'll Post pictures. One question though, do you think that instead of conduit which is rather heavy I could simply just use some aluminum tubing about the same diameter but a bit thicker? It seems like it could be immensely lighter.

kedwa30 (author)chamunks2010-08-27

I think a better way to lighten the trailer is to use something other than 2x4's for the base. Of course it also depends on how much weight you intend to be able to support, but I think you can safely carry groceries with a frame built of 3/4" pvc pipe or 1x2 pine. You can use plastic conduit for the hitch, but that doesn't stay bent, so you would have to use it to hitch to the side of the wheel instead of the seat post. I wouldn't know where to acquire aluminum tubing locally but I believe it is much more expensive. You can use wire mesh "fabric" stapled to the frame to support the load, plus you can build sides and a top from this same wire mesh that can fold down flat or be used to lock your groceries safely while you shop at a different store.

chamunks (author)kedwa302010-08-31

Turns out, I wanted to do this project with my dad, but I dropped a printout of this ible and some of the parts that I had sourced. Two weeks later once I found time to go back to his place to start the project he had finished it by himself. I shall post pics of my (Dad's) build based on this ible. I'll certainly be using the crap out of this trailer though. Thanks for the inspiration!

gwylan (author)2010-07-31

William Sullivan of The Cart Book (from TAB Books, but probably out of print), uses a simple, flexible hitch. To wit: Cut a strip of tire sidewall, say about an inch or a little more in width and 6 or 7 inches long. You can also use neoprene, or any flexible, strong material--perhaps a heavy piece of nylon strapping? You also need a bolt, a washer or two, and a nut to fit. A winged nut would be convenient. Flatten the hitch end of your conduit so that it lines up with your seat post (i.e. perpendicular to the ground). Drill a hole through the flattened section big enough to put your bolt through. Drill or bore a hole near one end of your strap (using whatever tool suits your material). Put the bolt through the conduit and strap, and wrap the strap around your seat post to see where the second hole in the strap needs to go. You want the fit fairly snug, so the hitch won't slip down on your seat post. Drill/bore this second hole and put the bolt through this as well. Add a washer and your nut, and you are done.

kedwa30 (author)gwylan2010-08-27

There is a product called "plumber's tape" that comes in metal or plastic that is used to secure pipes to joists. It already has holes uniformly through the whole roll for the purpose of using a nut and bolt to secure it, and it's cheap and strong. Of course a scrapper like me would just use any old rag, strap or belt and poke a nail through it and the holes drilled in the conduit. No need to flatten the end except maybe to make drilling the hole through it easier. I have pulled a wagon behind my bike by tying it to the fender with a shoe lace. I just got a free kids bike that I intend to use for parts to make a trailer. I don't have a welder, so whatever I cut apart will have to be bolted into the new configuration.

cambigfoot (author)2010-08-26

put saddle bags on conduit when its straight for miscalaneus stuff

acmuis (author)2010-08-07

Filling your conduit with sand also helps to make a nice smooth bend. What my neighbour and I did to bend our hitch pipe. Unfortunately, many years ago before Intstructables - otherwise they would be on here.

drewSaysGoVeg (author)acmuis2010-08-10

Or salt. I used salt on a conduit once, because we had a lot of it.

bdneeley (author)2010-08-08

Since you are using conduit, why not run a couple of wires through it, and add lights to the trailer (or bike, depending on where you choose to put the battery). If you can put this together, adding a light should be dead simple.

bdneeley (author)2010-08-08

If you have to buy your conduit, chances are that there will also be a conduit bender somewhere in the same isle (or an adjacent one), so use that to make your bend. They will probably make you buy the piece you bent, but that's kinda the point isn't it?

co2wms7whcc (author)2010-08-04

I will probably build one, though mine will be made of steel shopping cart parts and conduit. I might also make a ball hitch or something like that for my rack.

Diabloscope (author)2010-08-01

What about a sharp turn , how well does it turn , dont get me wrong it looks great , but i have dropped my air tools right on the couplers and snapped a few . im sure a swivel coupler would work well and eliminate the tension/stress that a good turn would give .

frenzy (author)Diabloscope2010-08-03

The turning happens in the hitch, so no worries!

Silence (author)2010-08-02

Another option is a side arm hitch. Instead of being centered on the trailer and going up over the tire (making your pack rack useless) it runs off the left side of the trailer and connects to the bolt on your rear wheel... Like this make sure it sweeps out far enough for your rear wheel to pivot without rubbing tho.

The hinge is a little complicated but I have seen a few DIY projects somewhere with creative (no weld) solutions.

frenzy (author)Silence2010-08-03

I made my hitch go high enough so i can use packs as well if need be

bookman101 (author)2010-08-02

The rubbing alcohol will interact with the hose and melt it some. It is no wonder it was so hard to put it on. Rubbing alcohol acts as a solvent on most plastic and some rubber.

macrumpton (author)2010-08-01

I like this project, although I think the long and bendy conduit arm could cause some problems with a heavy load. I think having the arm coming from the side of trailer to the side of the rear axle of the bike (as many other trailers have done) might be more reliable and sturdy as well as more compact.

sturmey (author)2010-08-01

A friend did a research project for a company making tubing parts that slip together. He found that anti-bacterial soap mixed with water kept the parts clean, (requirement) and that they slipped together easily. when the water & soap dried, they acted like glue. I think that would be easier than alcohol.

jonpersonals (author)2010-08-01

The air hose coupling is a great idea. These couplings are good for hundreds of pounds pull. the pipe must flex tho.

surffreak (author)2010-08-01

aneasy way to get the tubing on is to skick it a cup of boiled water for a few mins to soften it . will make it much easier to push on.

rusty0101 (author)2010-08-01

No pictures, but a few years back I found a couple of plastic wheels with rubber tires on them that fit nicely on 3/4" electrical conduit. I had a pallet and conduit and brackets enough to make a trailer very similar to this. I don't remember what I used to attach to the bike. Was handy for getting to and from the auto-parts store when the reason I needed to go there was that the car wouldn't run. That said, this looks to be a bit more durable than my trailer was.

javandyck (author)2010-08-01

I agree, A flatbed trailer is the best way to go. One can always strap a storage tub to it for the times you need sidewalls. Then you always have the fllat bed for odd shaped loads. I use two file crates in tandem or another two stacked on top secured with bungies. I can load wide objects on top of the single layer of crates to clear the tires or can get a two or three weeks of groceries in the double layer. A big tub would be more efficient for groceries tho'. Use reflective tape from the hardware store if you ride at night a lot. I put a small square every 1/4 turn on the rims for the sake of passing cars and a blinky on the back. This is what I think about at 5:00 in the morning. lol

sintalovelina (author)2010-07-31

hi friend

thepelton (author)2010-07-30

Neat! I wanna make one!

sakimoto (author)2010-07-30

i think the girl is so cute! Trailer is cool also!

TANZMEISTER (author)2010-07-29

You might have better luck trying the old trick to get handlebar grips on and spray it with hairspray instead of the alcohol.

wsanriv (author)2010-07-29

Very nice indeed, the hose part was a nice touch for the connection, makes an articulate movement that works very nice at small places or closed curves.

onrust (author)2010-07-29

OH YEA ...... Drag it till it DIES!

knektek (author)2010-07-29

Nice project. :)

About This Instructable




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