Intro: ~ Green WATER WAGON ~
Now that you have built your version of the world's greenest water pump, from the plans in my last instructable,
you will have so much extra water you will need to build a water wagon to transport it around your farm for spot watering those plants and trees that are too far from your water delivery site.
You want a "Green" water wagon, so let's build one out of scrap bits we have on hand and make use of the 3 r's... Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Let's make it strong enough to tow behind your garden tractor and simple enough to make it a nice weekend project.
Enjoy this instructable and don't forget to rate it and let me know if I can make it better.
Step 1: What You Need
The picture below shows the parts you need and serves as an assembly guide.
This project requires some welding and metal cutting, so if you are not up for that, you can just take the picture and measurements to a welding shop and they will have it slapped out for you in no time.
The most difficult parts to acquire are the wheels. They have to be strong because you will be towing around over 600lbs including a full water barrel so bicycle wheels and hand cart wheels etc. are too flimsy for this one. I would not even opt for wheel barrow wheels due to the heavy weights the bearings will see when you bounce the rig over a few potholes.
I scored some scrap motorcycle wheels and they are perfect as we shall see later, except that they have odd size bearings, but if you are handy and have a metal lathe you can make your own axles or just go to the local steel shop to buy what you need.
The water tank is an old plastic barrel with a screw in bung, surplus barrels are available for 5 bucks in my area.
The only new item I bought for this project is the trailer ball coupler. I could have used a draw pin hole on the trailer tongue, but it's much easier to hook up a full water barrel using a commercial trailer ball coupler and my garden tractor has a ball on it so that is the way to go if you can.
One word of caution. This rig is heavy when loaded, so build it strong and make sure your garden tractor is up to the task because you can easily die, or at least have a very bad day, when a 600 lb. wagon runs over you or your family or your pets or neighbours' Lamborghini...
This design has worked well for me for quite a while, but I accept no liability or responsibility for any damage if your version fails on you somehow. Remember water is heavy, so chock your wheels and drive carefully, never exceed Mach 3.2 on your garden tractor...
Step 2: Build the Frame
The frame is made from some 1" id and 1" od square tubing I had on hand. This tube is fairly heavy walled which you need as the rig gets heavy when loaded.
Cut the pieces to form a roughly square frame about 35-40" . Every surplus barrel is a little different shape and size, so you will have to adapt to best fit the ones you obtained and your wheels..
Make the frame wide enough so that your wheels clear the barrel when it sits in the cradle.
The cradle is made from some lighter (not too light) 1" round tubing that I bent in a vice to form a pocket for the barrel to ride in.
The tongue is larger tubing about 70" long welded underneath the frame.
Weld up everything solid, but it's best to drill all the holes you need before welding as this rig gets heavy very quickly.
Step 3: Wheels On
In the center of your side frames drill 2 x 1/2" holes on 2 " minimum centres and set the frame on top of the wheels.
It's best to mount the axles under the frame so the whole load rides on the axles and not the axle hold down straps.
Make the hold down straps from some flat bar about 3" or longer and drill 2 x 1/2 " holes on the same centers as your frame holes. Next put through some 1/2" bolts or threaded rod and crank it down until it bends the flat bar into a hold down strap. The axle will not move when you apply enough torque to bend the flat bar and will be locked in solid. Go ahead, reef it down good, you know you want to...
Now you need to make a front and rear barrel holder. Make them adjustable because you will want to fine tune the fully loaded center of gravity so that the barrel has a few pounds of down force resting on the tongue. That will save unexpected backward tip ups and maybe some squashed toes.
I just welded on a section of larger tube that I drilled a 1/2" hole into over which I welded a nut. Make the adjuster out of a couple of 8-10" pieces of smaller tube and when you slide one inside the other, you can use a bolt through the nut you welded on to lock it in the position you desire.
Install a 1/2" min water valve, 3/4" is better if you have it, and screw in a garden hose connector.
When you tow the water around, wind your garden hose around the back end of the barrel and it comes along easily as well. Don't forget to put the bung back in the barrel or you splash a lot of water out as you drive. You can fill the barrel right on the wagon, no need to lift any full barrels, which is the whole point of this exercise;)
A drip hose on the end of your garden hose works well and gravity will slowly empty your barrel over a couple of hours. Just park the wagon and leave it to drip on the flowers. Don't park the wagon on the flowers, "she who must be obeyed" wont like it, nope, not at all, not even a little bit...
(One of these days I am going to have to build a bigger dog house considering how much time I spend in there)
Step 4: Tongue Detail
I always wanted to write about tongue details...
Best to make yours about 60-70" long. Any shorter and it gets hard to hook up the wagon and hard to turn and back up. Longer is better if you have the material. Heavier is better too for safety sake.
Weld a handle on the top near the hitch coupler. Just needs to be large enough to get your hand underneath. Make it sturdy as you will want to pull on it to align your hitch on your garden tractor.
Weld on a skid plate or foot about 3 or 4" high to the bottom of the tongue near the front end. this keeps your tongue up out of the dirt and reduces rusting of important parts.
Slap a coat of paint on it if you are vain about your work. I used some left over paint I found in the shed, there is always some left over paint in your shed, just go have a look.
Bolt on your hitch coupler (purchased on sale for under $10.00 at a hardware sale) and you are ready to race.
Step 5: Safety Notes
All kidding aside, a barrel of water weighs about 500lbs and the rig weighs another hundred easily, so keep that in mind when you are using this thing. Make sure your tractor or atv brakes can handle that kind of load or you may get a nasty surprize.
We have a very long steep hill, so I always chock the wheels when filling, hitching and parking. 15 or 20 g's of acceleration would give you a major momentum thrill if this thing ever got loose and rolled all the way down.
Be careful with the balance point as well. Too far forward is better than too far back as you don't want to be surprized by the wagon tongue popping up and unexpectedly contacting your nether regions. This will cause you to bend way over... trust me on that one....
Now have fun watering things, and try to keep both wheels on the ground going around corners...