There were these two old farmers I knew who were boarding horses but they were building aluminum trailers on the side. Over the years they built 3 trailers for me and some other stuff out of aluminum but they sold the farm and retired. I lost contract with them.
I tried to buy a trailer but there was nothing in these dimensions, I had to stay under 66 inches overall since my gate is only 72 inches.
2nd, I needed a flat bed to cart the Laser around with which is 14ft long and the spar comes in to parts about 14ft each as well. A flatbed design would work for the boats, bikes and as a utility trailer too.
A third consideration was that it needed to be a drop axle which would put the deck lower which means the ramps don’t need to be very long. Also for launching a boat, you wouldn’t have to go that far into the water, although in this case I plan to build a dolly to off load the boat.
For bikes, the lower deck means it’s easier to load and unload and you don’t have to worry about the frame getting caught on the junction between the deck and the ramps if the bike has low ground clearance.
Also considering building a “convertible top” for it so it could be enclosed OR open but let’s build it first.
Some random initial drawings
These are some of my initial drawings, some of which changed over time…
I bought most of the aluminum back in February 2021. Short changed myself, had to go back in March and found out that Aluminum, metal, wood ALL building materials are going nuts. Since Dec 2020, Aluminum has gone up by 50% thanks to the NWO FAKE VIRUS trying hard to BANKRUPT everybody. One piece I had to buy 2×3 x 3/16ths x8ft cost 132.00 plus tax! I figure I have over 1,000.00 in aluminum alone into it so far.
Everything is so expensive now. A refill on your argon tank is $75.00 + tax.
Getting stuff is really slow now too. Like the company that build the axle for me said they are now looking at 5 weeks delivery time for an axle.
Pro Tip ~ Invest in precious metals
March 4 2021
First I had to get up to speed on Aluminum welding which is really tricky. I had never welded aluminum before. I tried to DIY my 100 amp MIG machine to weld aluminum. DID NOT WORK (first 2 pics). I did LOTS of tests (not pictured here) and I was ready to give up! Then I had to buy two new machines, both TIG and MIG with a spool gun. 3rd pic, you can see the TIG welds. Here you can see the progression (believe me there was lots between not pictured)
March 12 2021
Below you can see the three welding machines
2) test fitting the axle to the frame. Looks like it will line up.
Axle came with assorted parts, 1) forward bracket 2) rear bracket (rolled steel) which have plastic bushings in them which needed to be installed after welding so they don’t melt. 3) trailing bracket to allow the spring to spring.
If you build it, they will come…. I don’t know who “they” are, but still.
March 25 2021
Switched back to steel welding to install the brackets. Drilled the braces that would attach the axle to the frame. After it was welded and drilled, I cleaned it with the grinder, then hit it with acetone, then 2 coats of “Self Etching Primer”, then black anti-rust paint.
Between the steel and the aluminum I used this stuff that you put in the garden that stops weeds from growing. It’s like a black mesh fiber of some sort. The stuff is indestructible. I don’t know what its made of. I actaully pulled some out of the garden that had been down there, underground for like 5-10 years and it was like new! Zero deterioration. It is used in this application because of its resistance to water.
April 2nd and 3rd 2021
Below you can see how I squared the drill to go through the frame. I clamped the square to the frame to give me left and right reference and used a bubble level for up and down reference, then put a block under the drill to hold one axis straight.
Not working on it every day but the more I work on it, the more work there seems to be. This is my own design. I’m future episodes, you will see how I want the deck to be flush. This is a LOT of EXTRA work but I think it will look cool when its done. See, the frame is 2×3″ and a 2×4 is 1.5″ thick. This was on purpose because I intend to lay the boards flush with the deck. You will see in next pics coming soon. Each of those sections will be filled with boards so even after finishing the trailer, the woodwork is another story.
It requires some skills I guess but I’m no structural engineer or a scientist so for the strength, I’m just “going by the force” and what the voices in my head tell me to to do. But then I said to myself, “Self, those old farmers who were building trailers were not rocket scientist, structural engineers either”
Here are some pics of the last trailer I had. You can see my design is way better. For one, my frame is solid whereas the one below, used Angle and C Channel (not tube) extrusions. Also you can see where they just hung the wires for the lights under the trailer. I put holes in my frame so wires can be pulled through internally.
My design is a flat bed because with those walls, you can’t really put a boat on this trailer or the boat would need a cradle or dolly to be way higher. I told these guys that made this trailer that I can’t go over 68″ wide because of the gate to get in the back yard. After it was built, they said “oh we build them 56″ inside so you can put a 4×8 sheet of plywood in there and still get your fingers around it”. This one ended up being like 2 inches less than the gate and it was a real pain getting it in and out.
April 6 2021
Today was adding all the aluminum angle to the square sections that the wood deck will rest on. They were spot welded both top and bottom. Since the wood deck will not span the whole length, the individual sections are stronger. It's a lot more work and material to do it this way but I wanted a flush deck.
April 7 2021
Made up some insides for the fedners, riveted them on since the sheet aluminum was so thin, it was too hard to weld to the thicker fenders.
The fenders share the same bolts that hold the axle mounts to the frame. The fenders are also welded to the frame and I added some extra aluminum angle bits to the corners of the fenders for extra support.
next will be
- installing the tie downs
- wiring the jeep since it does not have trailer wiring
- we need a drop hitch since the Jeep is 8" higher than the trailer mount
- need to wire and install lights and licence plate (from last trailer)
- and safety chains
since we need all of the above before we can go get the wood for the deck
then we will need a whole bunch of carriage bolts
whole lot of wood work
whole lot of drilling
then coating the wood with something
Monday April 26 2021
late in the day wood order from Home depot is ready for pickup.
Trailer has it's first job, to go get the wood for it. Since it's "curbside pickup" I had to call in say I was there, they bring the order out to you. 10 x 2x6 (plus one 4x4 x 10' that I need for our fence) I thought I had got a good deal on varathane, a gallone for $13.00!? The guy brings it out, its about the size of HALF a pop can! That's what you get for $13.00. DID NOT look like that in the pictures! Problems of having to shop online! I strapped it to the trailer with ratchet straps. Trailer was smooth, quiet, no rattles or shakes!
Tues April 27 2021, I chopped up the wood. Wow what a differnce a new blade makes. This new Dewalt blade cut through the wood like a hot knife though (plant based) butter!
I inherited a power planer. At first I thought Id never have use for one especially since you can simply use the old fashion hand planer right. Wow. What a difference a power planer makes! Pretty much ever board had to be planed 45 degrees on the edges because of the welds that the wood sits on, they needed some space but the power planer made this work much easier. I beveled 4- 6 edges of 18 boards in about 30 minutes! Would have taken a lot longer by hand for sure!
This is how good the new blade is! And here's the kicker, I bought this mitre saw off kijiji for $50.00. It came with the original blade as well as the brand new Dewalt blade which alone is worth $30.00. After using the Miter saw, I swapped the blade out to the table saw. Look how thin I could slice wood!
Next we await arrival of carriage bolts, nylock nuts and washers, drilling, varnishing and this one will be done. Who wants one!?
May 13-14 2021
Each board was once again removed, varnished all sides. I thought the carriage bolts would bit enough to overpower the plastic grip of the NYLOCK (tm) nuts but they wouldn't so the bolt would just spin. So I had to clamp each bolt but the steel clamp against the steel bolt did not cause enough friction to stop it from spinning so I put some wood between the bolt and the clamp but when you get to the end, the clamp is not wide enough to fit over the frame to where the bolt is, so I had to try vice grips to hold the bolt but as the bolt tightened, the grips would get pulled into the wood making a dent. It became an art. I learned not to lock the grips but just to hold the bolt while I drilled the NYLOCK (tm) nuts on from the bottom. As the bolt got tight, I would release the grips so they wouldn't get pulled into the wood. There were 60 of these so I got pretty good at it by the last few.
The flat bed design with 4" dropped axle makes it easy to get things on and off like bikes or anything else you are carrying. Since there are no walls, longer things like boats can be carried that overhang. Its first job was to bring back it's own wood from Home Depot, as well as some wood I needed for our fence. With bigger tires than my last trailer and lighter springs, it was silky smooth behind the Jeep. No rattles, no bumps, very quiet. I think it looks cool too.
The Jeep also required wiring since it was not set up for towing and I had to get a tow hitch with a 9" drop to match up with the lifted jeep and dropped trailer.
If anyone wants one, I can custom build to suite. Let's talk!