Trailer Trolley




About: Hi I like to have a go at anything that's interesting, from CNC to toy making, recently I have been dismantling an old Cybot to link to Arduino using Scratch for Arduino as the initial language. I have thre...

The reason for this instructable is one which happens to us all - A little bit of age.

We have a trailer which we use for camping, but having no way to get it into the garden for storage is kept in the front between the Bay Window and the front wall (see the initial pictures). When we want to use it I have to lift it through the gate by resting it on my knees and shuffling sideways very carefully.

I decided we needed a trolley to ease access and my daughter wanted to help, so this gave a great chance to show her how to use a few hand tools.

At the start I have to say that this is the first time she has used the tools employed in this instructable.

The trolley took half a day to create and Lauren enjoyed every bit of it.

Step 1: Parts List

The trolley was made fully with recycled materials some from work and others being the left overs from other projects :-

  1. Casters ( 4 removed from a cupboard before it went into a skip at work)
  2. nuts and bolts ( various) from shelving and equipment packaging.
  3. Plywood - left over from making my son a sand pit
  4. Blue plastic batons - runners from a demonstration cupboard
  5. Nylon cord (ex washing line)

Step 2: Initial Cuts

The trailer is 90 cm wide so the first parts I got Lauren to cut was the main cross beams. There would be two of everything as the plywood would not be strong enough to support the trailer in a single thickness the parts would be sandwiched together.

I added 8 cm to the length of the stretchers as the batons would need something to fasten to. The next parts where the T pieces (4 of - remember the sandwich) each T section was 40 cm long. Once they where all cu we layed them out to see roughly how the trolley would look - see picture

To start with Lauren found it difficult to use the saw I explained that some saws can cut in both directions, but even if it did it was easier to start with to lift the saw off of the material between strokes - this allows you to build up a rhythm. Being the first time with a saw I did let her have a rest while I cut some of the parts.

Step 3: Measuring for the Castors

We marked the center of the T sections and lined them up on the cross stretcher. Once centered we put a line on the T's either side of the stretcher - this gave a rectangle on either side where the castor would be fastened.

I got Lauren to draw an 'X' (corner to corner) in each of the rectangles to mark the center. I then positioned one of the castors on one of the 'X' marks and once happy that it was centered on the X I drew around the base plate and marked the position of the holes.

To mark out for the next castor Lauren squared up one of the other T sections level with the caster shape I had drawn and marked out the for the next castor relative to the fist (no measuring needed).

Marking out for the last castors was simpler - just put the T section with the rectangles on in line with the one already marked out and use a long straight edge to mark the required positions on the new board.

Step 4: Using a Drill

The T Sections where clamped to the stretchers and again a cross was marked - this time on the stretcher from corner to corner where the boards met. I then showed Lauren how to get even spacing for the bolt holes needed to fasten the sections together. I took one of the plastic batons which was 4 cm square and stood it at the corner of the X mark and where the opposite corner of the baton crossed the X made a mark for the hole. this was repeated for the four holes needed on the end. I then drilled the first two holes and put the initial bolts in place explaining that this made it easier to move the clamps holding the parts to drill the next two holes.

I then let Lauren drill the next couple of holes and when happy that she was working safely let her drill all of the holes fastening bolts as she went.

Step 5: Bolt Up

With all of the holes drilled Lauren then attached all the bolts and fastened the nuts - I just went around then at the end to ensure they where as tight as possible.

Step 6: Some Short Bolts

As all the bolts came from other uses (recycled) some where a little short in places so I had Lauren put a little thread adhesive on each nut to ensure that they stayed in place when we use the trolley.

Step 7: Batons and Rope

We then drilled two more holes to attach the plastic batons these are very important as they provide a way of stopping the trailer from falling off of the trolley in use. at this point I thought it complete, but when we looked we decided to use the extra holes already in the batons to include some rope pull handles.

I took some spare washing line and cut two lengths (long enough so that we would not need to stoop when pulling the trolley) and because the line was Nylon I melted the ends over the cooker to prevent them from coming undone over time.

The lines where then put through the holes in the batons and knotted to keep them in place.

NOW the trolley was complete.

Step 8: Using the Trolley

The next day we used the trailer to go camping so we tried out the trolley - placing it so that the trailer could be tipped up onto in and sat nicely between the batons, then we just rolled it out through the gate and put the trailer down on the path outside.

The trolley works great and definitely makes for a lot less effort than carrying the trailer through the gate by myself and while its not a techno gadget its one worth having.



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    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 8

    I love this Instructable and if I had a rough yard, in which to work, I would totally do this. But I have one suggestion, pneumatic tires DO NOT hold air pressure, they leak down all the time! I would seek out and fill the tires with a Liquid Self Sealer for Off-Road Tires. I have large jacks, where I work, that use these types of tires. Every time I go to use a jack the tires were low on pressure. Finally I bought some emergency tire sealant and squeezed as much air out if the tubes as possible, then filled the inner tube with six ounces of the sealer. VOILA! No more low tire pressure! Great instructable, congratulations!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 8

    Hi thanks for the comments and suggestion on the tyres, I did have a couple of flats on the trailor, so I had inner tubes fitted they've been fine since that point on.

    Neat like a big furniture dolly. Some bits of scrap carpet would be nice to protect the finish of the trailer and provide padding if you need to move the odd piece of furniture.

    Others have mentioned safety, if making things in the shop becomes a regular thing(aways a good thing) I recommend a inexpensive canvas carpenter apron. I got one for my son and keep his safety gear in it(ear plugs, safety glasses, etc). It keeps the safety gear conveniently at hand, so it not dismissed as too much trouble to get or find and protects his clothes because wood glue and the like does not wash out easily(I've ruined a few few shirts in the past, still wore them though). Just make sure the cords are tied well and don't become a hazard themselves.


    The best part is you're teaching your child to improvise,
    adapt, overcome. Those values will now be with her for life and stand her in
    good stead. Well done dad!

    1 reply

    Thanks it was fun to do this with her she did have fun, once you get them to listen its all good, thanks for comment


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice build, and good use of an opportunity for some lessons. If you come across any larger casters, you might switch out the smaller ones you have. It'll make that bump at the gate negligible. Happy building!

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    I'd rev come d wood glue between the 2 pieces of wood before you bolt them together, you don't need to but it would make the joint alot stronger

    1 reply

    Hi did think of putting a bit of glue on but as it will only ever be used over a short distance I went for putting an additional but and bolt right at the mid point of the stretcher which meant that the extra strength was there and I was able to use the trolley straight away.

    Thanks its greater to get comments and suggestions for making things better glad you liked the guide.


    4 years ago

    Great job! Tho as a been there, done that dad; I'd recommend a hat or scarf for your daughter. One day my daughter and I were working a project, the drill grabbed her hair. A few strands pulled out, no real damage. But, lesson learned.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi thanks for the safety suggestion, it will be a bobble for the hair next time


    4 years ago

    nicely done! did some thing similar to help move an old 17' (5.5 m approx.) aluminum canoe from back yard to the drive way. like jm said, as teaching the use of the tools, also pratice SAFETY! hats or hair ties, safety glasses, and no loose clothing when operating power tools. i myself have caught a shirt in circular saw and then wrapped up by a drill.