Introduction: A Homemade Trailer That Is Bolted Together
I had an idea that I wanted to build a Tear Drop style trailer, I wasn't sure where I would get a trailer for the base of the project so the project was on hold. I had mentioned it to one of my daughters and one day at her work place her and her colleagues were talking about trailers and she mentioned that I would like to build one, then one her colleagues mentioned that he had a partially built Reverse style Tear Drop that I could have, all I would do is pick it up at his place. I didn't have any thing to transport it on so he lent me the use of a trailer to bring it to my house. This was quite nice of him so one Saturday we drove the 100 km to his place loaded the Reverse Tear Drop shell on the trailer, tied it down and headed back to my place. We unloaded it and I returned the trailer back to him the next week.
Over winter I researched trailers and their costs and then remembered that I had a quantity of salvage square posts that I had gotten with permission from one of my former employers. So I started to plan out how to build a trailer and parts I would need and how to put it all together.
Step 1: Parts Gathering
The posts are approximately 2 inches square powdered coated steel with yellow paint and also have a corrosion resistant coating on the inside. The posts were formally used for warning signs used along a pipeline right of way. The ones I had gotten had been damaged or bent and I acquired them from the scrap steel bin.
Almost all the other parts came from Princess Auto, a store similar to Harbor Freight in the US. Princess Auto has good sales on items and I watched for what I needed and was able to get the running gear for almost half price by watching for the sales.
You may wonder about he galvanized brackets in the pictures, they are what I put the trailer together with. Their original purpose was for making a dock, using 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, each angle bracket has a round piece with a set screw so that the dock could be adjusted depending on the water level where you build the dock. I had to cut off pieces of them so that the square posts would fit.( The nominal size of a standard 2 x 4 is 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches) that is why I had to cut part of the flanges off of the brackets because they were made to fit nominal dimension lumber. The brackets are also heavily dipped galvanized so it provides great corrosion protection.
I used grade 5 bolts through out and purchased them at TSC (Tractor Supply Company) when they were on sale.
A piece of flexible plastic conduit is used to contain the trailer lights wiring.
Step 2: Tools and Work Table
I rigged together a work platform using saw horses, a 2 x 4 frame with chip board screwed to it, it was about waist height and made it easier to lay out the frame and do the drilling of the many holes required.
Yes it's all bolted together, the only welds are on the running gear, hitch coupling and "dock" parts.
The cutting was done with an ordinary hacksaw, it may have been slower but it left a finer finish where the cut was made.
I used an electric drill with a variety of drill bits and also a stepped drill for some of the holes.
A coarse bastard file was used to dress up some of the cuts that needed it.
Step 3: Construction Details Layout
The work table that I needed had to be enlarged to completely hold the trailer frame so I made it wider and longer with some additional 2 x 4's.
I laid out the frame first, the dock fittings I used helped with squaring it up.
Next the cross members were measured, cut and added to the frame, there are three of them. two of them are strategically placed where the axle springs are going to be attached.
To figure out where the wheels should be placed I went around the netghbourhood checking out other people's utility and boat trailers as well as on line to figure out the proper placement for them.
Step 4: Construction Details Continued
Here are some shots of how the dock hardware is used.
Step 5: Construction Details Axle and Spring Attachment
The axle assembly brackets are positioned where the two rear cross members are positioned as I stated in an earlier step.
Step 6: Construction Details Additional Bracing
I had some 1 x 2 angle (from another place I've worked at) so I used it for corner bracing, I have four more pieces that I'll put on the top side of the frame at the corners.
Step 7: Construction Details Tongue Assembly
More galvanized dock parts were used to fasten the tongue assembly to the trailer frame, where it is fastened at five different points.
The point at which the trailer hitch is attached was padded up to fit the hitch frame with some 1/4 inch thick 2 x 2 aluminum angle.
I attached the hitch with three bolts, using one of the bolts is where I attached the safety chains.
Also a front adjustable wheel was installed on the tongue as well.This wheel also folds up when using the trailer.
Step 8: Construction Details Flexible Conduit for Wiring
The conduit was fastened with standard conduit clips and self tapping screws.
Also shown is one of the signs that was on one of the posts, I'll be using it to mount the license plate.
Step 9: Labeled Construction Details
To explain whats what I labeled the different pieces and their connection details.
Step 10: Construction Details : Measurements
The trailer is approximately 55 inches wide, by a 155 inches long with the tongue and a 100.5 inches long for just the platform. It stands about 21 inches above the ground.
Step 11: Final Notes
I'm pleased the way it turned out, all that is left to be done is the lights wiring, mounting the fenders and buying a license plate for it. I hope to put the RTD shell on it next year, but I may do some modification to the shell. I estimate the trailer weighs around 300 pounds. The RTD shell probably weighs around 500 pounds but I'm just guessing at that. The axle is rated at 2000 pounds.