Pallet Bicycle Trailer (1/8 Model)




For Earth Day I wanted to see if I could repurpose a pallet for a bicycle trailer, ideally without power tools. The hardware could be transferred to another pallet when it wears out. It's only a 1/8 scale model, but I hope to get others thinking about how this could be deployed in humanitarian or disaster relief situations.

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Step 1: Find a Pallet (or Make a Model)

There are many "standard" pallet sizes around the world. I chose to model a 48" x 40" size that's common in the US.

Step 2: Find Side Supports and Attach Hinges to Both Ends

I cut pieces to represent wood salvaged from another pallet. I found small hinges that could represent typical door hinges. Door hinges aren't very wide and the holes are close to the end of the wood, so a better option might be a longer strap hinge.

Step 3: Attach Wheels

These Lego wheels required me to drill a hole for an axle. A better option would be a wheel (swiveling vs. non-swiveling?) which can be attached from the bottom with screws.

Step 4: Attach Side Supports

The first hinge is close to the end of the wood and could pull out if the wood is weak. For the opposite side I used a 2nd hinge as a reinforcing plate.

Ready for attachment to the bicycle...or so I think. It may not be obvious, but once the swiveling arms are attached together the trailer does not pivot. Time to consult engineering...

Step 5: Modified Attachment

Since the pallet is wide, I tried cutting one support shorter to create a single connection point to the bike.

There are several Instructables regarding bike trailers and attachment methods, so I look forward to feedback. Remember my original constraints - 1) No power tools needed for assembly, and 2) Hardware is easily transferrable to another pallet.

Note: A wooden pallet weighs 40-50 lbs (20 kg), so in practice a full size pallet may need to get cut in half or have boards removed.

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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Great idea! I gonna make it!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool idea! I'd love to see how it would turn out full scale. Any plans to make a full size version?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Don't have a need to build one, so relying on Instructables community to try it out. If basic idea works, I can envision a company making prefab metal supports for broader implementation.

    A related use would be a kit (wheels and handle) that small companies w/o a pallet jack can use for the occasional delivery. Just have the delivery person keep it raised on his pallet jack for a few minutes while you do your best pit crew imitation.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I built a bike trailer which attached at the rear of the rack over the back wheel. The shortcomings were twofold. (1) The trailer wheels were not centered under the load, putting too much downward force on the hitch point. (2) The hitch point, being located behind the rear axle, caused the bicycle to tend to "pop a wheelie", i.e., lift the front wheel off the ground.

    I like your simple, economical design. But the hitch makes all the difference.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for feedback. I added a photo of another version where I cut one support shorter to create a more traditional single attachment point.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I've been toying with the idea of using threaded pipe fittings to make a sort of universal joint. By assembling tees and ells without fully tightening them, one could possibly achieve the three degrees of rotational freedom required. Someone smarter than me will have to make an Instructable for that. Also, I don't weld or 3D print anything!

    Some sort of ball joint makes the most sense, but I haven't figured how to source that. I've seen hitches with casters and hinges, too.