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09-20-2006, 06:44 PM #1
I'm in the process of building a 6'x10' (approximately) utility/landscape type trailer.
For the perimeter of the frame, I plan on using 2"x3" rectangular steel tubing with a wall thickness of 14 gauge (.078").
I'm using a Class III A-frame style coupler. For the tongue material (from the main frame to the coupler) I'm also using 2"x3" rectangular tubing, but for this I'm planning on 11 gauge (.125"). I plan on running this right under the frame, on both sides, until it reaches the side members and welding with either MIG and .035 wire 75/25 gas or maybe 7018 since it is the coupler.
What do you guys think? Will the 14 gauge frame be sturdy enough? The cross members, to hold up the decking will be 1.5"x1.5"x1/4" angle.
I plan on putting a railing around it out of 1.25" square tubing.
Trying to use material that I have.
Any input appreciated. Thanks.
09-20-2006, 08:20 PM #2
09-20-2006, 08:31 PM #3
I have built a lot of trailers, all sizes and shapes. It will depend on how much weight you are planning to put on the trailer whether it will be sturdy enough. My opinion is that this is a little light for a trailer of this size, always better to overbuild a bit. I would look around at some commercially built trailers of this size and see what they use, or buy a set of engineered plans.
09-20-2006, 09:51 PM #4
Box construction is what makes it strong and 2x3 should be sufficient for a small trailer so long as you don't overload. When you start adding cross members and the uprights around the top for the sides is when the whole thing starts to get rigid. I usually put the angle iron cross members on 24 inch centers, use treated pine 2x6's for the planks and trailer screws to hold them down at every member. Trailer screws are black oxide, self threading, Torx drive, countersunk heads - long enough to go through 2" lumber. You drill a pilot hole and run the screws in with an electric driver. Everybody does it differently but I put the front axle at the center of the box and the rear axle so the tires clear by 5-8 inches but you have to check centers on the wheels and fenders you plan to use. When you eventually put the hitch on the front, the tongue weight is usually sufficient to make them track well with no load. Weld with whatever you are comfortable with but I always use stick for trailer welding - either 6011 or 7018.
Whatever you build, please spend the money and put electric brakes on it - I will not tow anything I can't control to some degree with brakes. I have a big car hauler that I load with a 6000 lb tractor and pull at 70 mph but it will stop in the same distance as the truck with no load. In fact, I can set the brake controller to lock up and pile the passengers into the windshield if no one is paying attention.
09-20-2006, 10:36 PM #5
This is going to be a single-axle trailer. I've got a 3500lb. capacity Lester axle. This is the torsion type with the offset trailing arms...no leaf springs. I'm using 15" wheels/tires off an F-150.
I drilled and tapped two heavy steel blocks to accept 5/8-11 bolts (two bolts on each side of axle). I plan on using Grade 8 bolts. The blocks will be welded to the underside of the frame, then the axle bolts to that.
I was going to use the 60/40 rule and put the axle about a foot closer to the rear than the front....but with the offset spindles I'm not sure if I should apply the rule to the center of the wheels or the center of the axle itself.
I was figuring on putting the coupler ball about 40" from the front of the trailer.
Trailer will probably be used mostly for light-duty, but may be loaded with firewood on occasion.
The axle has the capability of accepting brakes so that might just happen at some point.
I'll see if I can get some of those trailer screws.
Thanks for all the suggestions!
09-20-2006, 10:43 PM #6
There are a lot of them out there in use but the only problem with a single axle trailer is losing a tire - and I have seen that happen often enough that it scares me.
The rest of your ideas sound OK to me.
09-20-2006, 10:57 PM #7
for that size triler i would use 11ga. for the frame. also go 18" centers for the crossmembers. better to build a little heavy you mite want to pick up a lathe or small mill some time. it is always safer to haul a lite load on a heavy trailer then a heavy load on a lite trailer.
weld with 6011 no need for 7018
09-21-2006, 07:55 AM #8
I was thinking that the added strength of 7018 would be better for welding the coupler to the two box beams that will connect it to the frame. Maybe I tend to over-do things. The local trailer shop uses MIG for everything but there's just some places I'd rather not use MIG. I've seen a lot more MIG welds fail than 7018 or even 6011.
09-21-2006, 10:40 AM #9
well if 6011 will break at the hitch it will break at the rest of the trailer too.the hitch has less stress then other points of the trailer.
now for my opion on mig i use it for most of my trailers. but then i am certified. most people buy a mig a cheap mig that will just weld 11ga. and with that under powered unit try to weld on trailer hitchs and weld trailers roll cages. and then the welds break. the proscess gets blaimed and not the poor work of the person doing it.
now i don't like a lot of gov. control. but i think any thing that goes on the road hitches trailers and so on should have to be welded by a cert. weldor.
09-21-2006, 01:46 PM #10
Well, I'd have to agree with you on the safety issue of having qualified weldors on road-going equipment.
Admittedly, I've only built a few trailers in my life. Most of my time under the welding hood was spent as an ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code certified weldor. I also completed training which qualified me to inspect and sign off on ASME Pressure Vessel Welds.
When I was hired by United Technologies Corporation - Carrier Air Conditioning Division in 1994 (after already being an ASME certified stainless steel MIG & TIG welder for 13 years - since 1980) they put me through the Carrier Weld School in Syracuse, N.Y. I produced and passed ASME weld tests on steel (plate and 2" pipe, also 6" pipe) with regular MIG .045 wire, core-wire, 7018, TIG, and submerged arc. All test coupons were bend-tested. I was issued a weld stamp for weld identification purposes (traceability). The ten years that I worked for Carrier (1994-2004, jobs went to Singapore) I never was made to go back to the weld school for "retraining" due to quality issues - only to update my certs. My welds were randomly X-Rayed and I never failed an X-Ray test.
My home equipment includes a Lincoln Ranger 250, a Square Wave TIG 175, a Power MIG 215 and a small Hobart/Miller Handler 140.
Technically, my certifications expired the day that I was laid off, however, I didn't stop welding...I just started doing it for myself. I'm an AWS member and stay current on the technology and techniques.
I'd say that any trailer I build would be far better quality than what most people are buying at Home Depot or Farm & Family Tractor Supply.
"Certified Welder" means a lot of things. Certified in what? I've seen certified welders that were only certified in one thing, like 7018 vertical-up on plate with a backing strip - DOT test, give them a piece of pipe, or a TIG welder, and they were lost.
I've passed bend tests with a MIG on plate and pipe...both steel and stainless. I still don't trust it as much as I would a good 7018 stick weld. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned in that respect.
09-21-2006, 06:02 PM #11
i was not taking a jab at you or ment you were not quafied to weld your triler.
it was a general rant i have when i see junk welds and the person says it may not look nice but it is strong. back when i was a tech, inspector at the local dirt track i saw lots of junk welds some i would not even let off the trailer.
yes i know your certs. die after you dont do the job anymore.
i welded for a goverment contractor for 15 years. i was cert. 110-18 f-h-v. 308 s-s f-h
.035 mig f-h-v 3/32 and 1/16 al. f-h-v
. o6o flux core f-h-v 3/32 flux core f
they would x-ray everything then bend and pull on some tests. also it was not like some say you get lucky and pass the test one time. the gov. inspectors would pull at ramdon a part and have it x-rayed.
i also passed the test to be a test weldor. my job was to pull some wire make a weldment with it trun it over to the lab and they played with it to prove the wire was to spec.
09-22-2006, 09:08 PM #12
One of the most important factors is the condition of the roads you drive.
Impulse dynamic loads are very destructive.
I have seen well built trailers deteriorate rather quickly from bouncing and skipping down poorly maintained roads.
09-24-2006, 11:53 AM #13
Well...a couple changes in my plans have occurred...
I cut the 10" long pieces for the sides out of 2"x#3" 14 gauge wall as planned. I looked at that wall thickness and looked at my 3500#lb. axle and thought better of it.
I re-made the sides out of 11 gauge box section, same outside dimensions.
Doing that left me short on the material I had planned on using for the A-frame for the tongue/coupler.
So...I'm making that out of 3" channel iron now. It will be a "stepped" coupler so that the ball will be 3" higher than if it were a "straight" coupler.
Is it possible to post pics here? I'd like to show you guys what it's going to look like.
09-24-2006, 07:54 PM #14
I don't know how the other folks do it but I post pics to Photobucket or some similar hosting service and then put the link here.
09-24-2006, 09:09 PM #15
Thanks...I know how to do it on other sites, but I just wasn't sure if this site would show the actual picture or if I could just post a link to the picture(s).
Right now, I've got the perimeter of the frame tacked up, leveled, squared up, on home-made jack-stands I built when I made my last trailer. The axle is also mounted. The hitch/tongue assembly is made, but not attached to the frame yet.
What sucks is I'm building it in my driveway, so when it rains, progress stops.
I'll try to get some pics when I get it on wheels.
10-18-2006, 12:56 AM #16
Certified shmertified I'd like to strangle the whole system. They charge you an arm and a leg and if you can't afford it you have to hear how inferior you are the rest of your life. My welds scored over double passing in the "in house" means nothing certification test at my nowhere dead end factory job. I'll weld anything I damn well please, that is if I can ever afford to buy a #^%@$ piece of #%$^#$% metal.
10-18-2006, 10:10 AM #17
Certification is important in the welding field. You may "weld anything you damn well please" but there will be jobs that you simply won't be doing without the proper documentation.
When I built large centrifugal chillers for United Technologies/Carrier Corp., all of the work was inspected and insured by the Hartford Steam Boiler Company and they had an office right inside our plant.
NOBODY was allowed to weld on one of these large ASME-code pressure vessels without proving their competency by producing satisfactory weld samples. If a weld failed, a catastrophe could occur. We were all issued stamps and had to stamp all welds with the stamp and a big hammer. It's all about "traceability".
Welders who had a lot of leaks or other defects would be sent out for "retraining" and recertification before they could get back on the job.
If you were the insurance company who was going to be paying out the big bucks if something bad happened, wouldn't you want certified welders? I sure would.
Certainly, there are good welders out there who have not been certified, you may be one of them, but it's like going to college...once you get that diploma, it says something about you.
Even in my little welding business, I have people ask me if I'm certified. I have certificates from welding schools hanging on the wall, but all of my certifications have been from two different pressure-vessel shops. I still have the proof that I was certified, although the certifications only covered me while under their employment. But, still, when customers ask me, I'll show them that I did hold multiple certifications over twenty-five years and that seems to satisfy them.
I do plan on taking the New York State DOT test in the near future (7018) just so I can work on certain State jobs. Yeah...it costs money, but what doesn't? I recently paid $500 down on liability insurance so that I could do a job that was made me under $200 total.
There are definite advantages to working for others and just getting a weekly paycheck.
05-25-2007, 11:36 PM #18
I wanted to post some pictures of the finished project...the floor has been completely screwed down since these pics were taken...Ended up using 2"x3" 11 gauge rectangular tubing for the frame rails and 3" channel iron for the tongue...so, what do you guys think?
05-26-2007, 08:31 AM #19
Looks great. I would still want to skirt the fenders though. Keeps the road grime off your load. Light alum treadplate works good for that and you can even rivet in place.
I do like the color. A new John Deere mower would look good on it.
05-26-2007, 09:21 AM #20
Great looking job there. Lots of tie down points on it. Glad to see you went a little heavier on the framing. Trailer this size will tempt you to load it up at some time. More is better usually