A trailer is a type of cart that attaches to the back of a vehicle and is used to transport large items such as furniture, lumber, landscaping equipment, and other similar items. There are many different types of trailers, but the most common size for everyday needs is 6 feet (1.8 m) by 4 feet (1.2 m). This is strong enough to carry most household items but too small to transport vehicles. Build the bed of this trailer using rectangular metal tubing from a hardware store. Weld these components together. Then, using metal pipe, construct the cage and tailgate. Finally, attach the axle and wheels to finish your trailer.
Part 1 Constructing the Frame
1. For the perimeter, cut four 2 in (5.1 cm) x 3 in (7.6 cm) pieces of rectangular steel tubing. The perimeter pieces are the four metal pieces that form the rectangle that serves as the trailer’s base. Use two length pieces 6 feet (1.8 m) long and two width pieces 4 feet (1.2 m) long for this trailer. Buy four pieces cut to this length, or buy a longer piece and cut it yourself.
For the base of this trailer, you’ll need a total of 20 feet (6.1 m) or 240 inches (610 cm) of steel. Purchase enough to finish the job.
Adjust this step to meet your needs if you’re building your trailer to different dimensions.
2. Each perimeter piece should have a 45-degree angle cut into it. Measure a 45-degree angle into both sides of each perimeter piece with a protractor. Check that the angles on each base piece are all pointing in the same direction. The angle is then cut into each piece with a power saw or mitre saw.
Miter saws are ideal for this task because they can be adjusted to the desired angle. This ensures that you get a 45-degree angle.
Most power saws can cut metal, but make sure to use a metal-cutting blade.
When cutting metal, always wear goggles and gloves. Because cutting metal produces sparks, a welding mask would be even better.
3. Lay out the base pieces on a flat surface. Lay out the trailer perimeter once the angles have been cut. Working on a flat surface, such as your driveway or garage floor, is recommended. Place one of the 6 ft (1.8 m) pieces on the floor. Then, in each corner, insert a 4 ft (1.2 m) piece. To finish the rectangle, lay down the final 6 ft (1.8 m) piece.
Push the pieces together so that there is as little space as possible between them.
If you’re not sure if you’re working on a flat surface, use a level to check.
4. Weld the pieces around the perimeter together. Fasten the pieces together once the perimeter has been formed. Weld along the rectangle’s corners with a blowtorch or similar welding tool. Weld all of the areas that are easily accessible first. Allow the metal to cool before flipping it over to reach the bottom.
Make certain that there are no gaps or holes in your welds. This keeps water out and rust at bay.
Welding equipment can be rented or purchased from hardware stores.
While welding, put on a welding mask, thick gloves, and a leather apron. Never touch welded metal after it has been welded. First, allow everything to cool down.
5. Make a support beam for the trailer bed’s centre. Use the same steel beams that you used for the perimeter. Take the width between the two longer perimeter sections. Then, cut a steel piece to that length. Fit it in between the length pieces to ensure a snug fit.
Don’t be concerned if the piece is a tight fit or if you have to press it in. It should fit snugly so that it can weld properly.
6. Weld the support beam halfway down the trailer’s length. Determine the halfway point by measuring the trailer lengthwise. Make a chalk mark here. Fit the support beam into this location and weld it in place.
Part 2 Attaching the Trailer Tongue
1. For the tongue, cut a 4.5 ft (1.4 m) piece of metal. The tongue is the metal piece that attaches to your vehicle. Cut the same type of steel you used for the perimeter to 4.5 ft (1.4 m).
A standard tongue size for a trailer and towing vehicle is 4.5 feet (1.4 m). As a general rule, the tongue should be 1/2 the length of the towing vehicle plus 1 foot (0.30 m) to allow for clearance when turning.
If your tongue is longer than 5 feet (1.5 metres), it requires additional reinforcement to stay stable.
2. Cut a notch in the tongue and rear support beam to allow them to fit over each other. These notches connect the tongue and support beam. Measure the distance from the trailer’s middle support beam to the outer beam. Then, on the tongue, measure and mark the same distance. At this point, cut a section the same width as the support beam halfway up the tongue. Then, take a measurement of the support beam and locate its midpoint. Cut a notch halfway down the beam that is the same width as the tongue.
A portable power saw is more convenient for this step than a mitre saw.
3. Connect the two notches. Slide the tongue notch into the beam notch. Check that the tongue is level on the ground and that it reaches the middle support beam.
Measure from the two back corners of the trailer bed to the tip of the tongue to ensure that the tongue is in the centre. These two measurements should be equal, indicating that the tongue is properly centred.
4. Weld the tongue of the trailer to the trailer bed. Between the tongue and the trailer bed, there are two points of contact. The first is the middle support beam, which reaches the end of the tongue. The second feature is the notch on the back beam. Weld both points so that the tongue is attached.
5. Attach the hitch connection to the tongue’s end. Finish off the tongue with a hitch connection. This is where the trailer connects to your vehicle. Purchase a hitch connector that will fit into your vehicle’s hitch. Then fit it to the end of the tongue and weld it in place.
Hitch connectors are sold in auto parts stores. Make certain that it is the same width as the tongue.
Some hitch connectors have bolt holes. Fit the connector onto the end of the tongue in this case. Then drill holes in the tongue through the bolt holes. Screw the bolts in place, then weld the connector’s end to the tongue.
Part 3 Building the Cage and Tailgate
1. Make a cage top out of metal pipe that is the same size as the trailer’s perimeter. Except for three sides, this cage top is the same size as the trailer bed. Purchase metal pipes with a diameter of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Take two 6 ft (1.8 m) pieces of pipe and one 4 ft (1.2 m) piece of pipe. Place the two longer pipes parallel to each other on a flat surface. Place the shorter pipe between them on one side to form a three-sided rectangle. The corners should then be welded together.
For this cage top, standard metal tubing will suffice.
If the pipes aren’t the right size when you buy them, measure and cut them to fit.
2. Weld vertical metal pipes to the trailer bed’s four corners. These serve as the cage top’s support beams. Cut 4 pieces of metal tubing to 2 feet in length (0.61 m). Then weld each one to the bed’s corner.
The height is determined by what you intend to haul. Most general needs are met by 2 feet (0.61 m). If you intend to load a lot of material into the trailer, a taller cage may be required.
3. Connect the top of the cage to the metal pipes. Lift the cage top into place once it’s finished. The open side should be on the opposite side of the trailer tongue. Weld it into place by placing it on top of the support beams.
Having someone else lift and hold the cage top in place while you weld makes this task much easier.
4. Construct a trailer tailgate from metal tubing. Use the same tubing that you used to make the cage. 2 of them should be 4 ft (1.2 m) long and 2 should be 2 ft (0.61 m) long. Lay out the two longer pipes parallel to each other. Then, to form a rectangle, place one shorter pipe at each end. Join the corners by welding them together. The open section should then be covered with metal mesh, which should be welded.
You can also make the tailgate out of a single piece of metal for a simpler job. This, on the other hand, will be heavy.
Metal mesh can be found at hardware stores or scrapyards.
5. Door hinges are used to secure the tailgate to the trailer. Take two standard door hinges. Measure 6 inches (15 cm) in from each side of the trailer’s bottom and mark these two points. At each point, weld a hinge. Then weld the tailgate’s bottom to each hinge.
There are several ways to close the tailgate. Wrap a chain around the gate and bar to keep it closed for a simple solution.
Connectors could also be attached to the gate and trailer bed. Purchase four circular metal loops from the hardware store. Weld 2 to the top right corner of the cage, facing backwards. Weld the other two to the tailgate’s outer top edge, facing outward. Then, close the gate so that the loops line up, and insert pins to keep it closed.
6. Metal mesh should be used to cover the bed and the sides. Finally, cover the trailer bed with metal mesh to complete it. Roll out a sheet of mesh to the size of the base. Weld down each point of the mesh that touches the trailer bed to secure it. Cut more sheets to fit each side of the bed, then weld them together with the same process.
Some people prefer plywood for the trailer’s base because it is less expensive and lighter. If you won’t be hauling heavy loads, lay down plywood for the trailer’s base.
Part 4 Installing the Axle and Wheels
1. Axle kits can be purchased at a hardware store. Use high-quality axles for your trailer’s wheels. Hardware stores sell kits that include the axle and tyre attachments. Purchase a kit that is appropriate for the dimensions of your trailer.
For a less expensive option, some people use old car axles. If you prefer this option, look for spare parts at scrap yards.
Keep in mind that car axles and tyres are heavier than trailer parts.
2. Place the axle 28.8 inches (73 cm) from the bed’s back. Building recommendations for single-axle trailers state that 60 percent of the trailer length should be placed in front of the axle and 40 percent behind it. This strikes the perfect balance. Place the axle 28.8 inches (73 cm) from the back of the bed for a 6 ft (1.8 m) trailer.
Multiply the total length of the trailer by 0.4 for a different length. The result is the distance to place the axle from the trailer’s rear.
3. Weld the axle clasps to the trailer bed’s bottom. The axle is held in place by two clasps on each side. Weld these clasps into place against the trailer beam.
Clamp the clasps down while welding if they won’t stay in place.
4. Attach the tyres and fill them with air. Finally, attach the tyres to complete the trailer. Apply the rubber to the wheel. The tyres should then be filled to the recommended pressure using an air compressor.
The recommended pressure for most trailer tyres is 35-40 psi, but check your product’s specifications.
If you are unsure how to properly install and fill the tyres, hire a professional to ensure the safety of your trailer.
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