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Old 09-05-2013, 03:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Retrailer (building a good trailer from scrap / other trailer parts)

If you are the company that builds trailers in bulk to sell at lowes, home depot or northern tool you are trying to get the cheapest and there for thinnest steel that should do the job and hold it all together with as few welds as possible, as if there is a shortage of welding sticks.
Since the steel its self and welding are among your top expenses that is where you cut corners.

If you get your steel comes from the scrap yard you error on the side of heavier steel, part of the reason is the flimsy stuff like what the big box stores use in their trailers gets crushed or bent beyond the point to where its not useable ether because it failed in its past life or in the scrap yard environment its self. At 15 cents a pound you don't really worry about if you go 20 or 30 pounds heavy.
I think my standard trailer frame design will measure 98''x64'' that way it can easily swallow 4'x8' sheets of anything that's important because most builders only think in 4' and/or 8' lenghts. The box and A-frame alone will weigh 140 pounds and cost me a grand total of about $20 in steel.
The other expense is welding. Since I am the welder and I have pride and give a damn about my work I fully weld most joints for a few reasons. Also after years of MIG welding experimentation I have worked out the most economical way to lay down a weld that is both strong and good looking.
I'm thinking each one will run about $3 or $4 worth of wire, another $3 or $4 worth of my special economical welding gas mix, to stick together $20 worth of steel, $20 for trailer lights, about $100 for new springs axle, tires and spindles.
Not sure how much sandblast and painting will cost but I think it will be around $30.
Axles, spindles and springs are going to a bit of a money eater.
All costs are passed down to the end consumer, would like to pass along less cost.

There is literally tons of slightly used fairly straight hot rolled 1/4 inch thick C-channel, in the form of 5'4'' long scaffolding at the scrap yard down the street from me.
Plus there is all the other random stuff that shows up. I like the I-beams.
I think I will make the non standard trailers out of a mix of 1/4'' scaffolding and what ever shows up.

I think any one that owns or has access to a scrap pile, welding machine, drill and chop saw can build a trailer.
I find a lot of people lack electrical skills or are afraid of wiring, if so pay some honky mechanic $50 to wire it up for you.

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Old 09-05-2013, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Went to lowes.
They set the bar pretty low.
$900 gets you a 2000lb 5'x8' trailer with a box frame made out of what I would call "bed frame angle iron". I guess they are depending on the wood decking to be part of the structure. Nothing wrong with that, till the wood gets old and rotted.
Welds are clearly from a stick machine using a small rod with the amps cranked way up and leave something to be desired.

Looked up the trailer laws for New mexico, they give me a lot of room to work with.
New Mexico Trailer Laws & Regulations Look-Up - Trailers.com - Shop Cargo, Utility, Equipment, & Enclosed Trailers

If I copy the basic lay out of my rebuilt northern tool trailer with 2 brake lights, 2 amber running lights, license plate light, rear reflector, safety chains, 2500lb cap. with nonbrake hubs the design will be accepted almost every where.

Here are some pics:
(the small trailer is missing a cross brace, need to drag out the plasma cutter and cut a length of that heavy angle iron to fit, and I'm going to cut 2 or 3 extras when I do)
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Last edited by oil pan 4; 09-05-2013 at 09:13 PM..
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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yours are deff some nice welds. i am still learning to weld mig solid wire and have had the machine 10 years now. what is this 'special economical welding gas mix' you speek of. i use 75/25 i believe.
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....As of lately, I have started taking the bus to the other campus, because there are more people in space than there are parking spots over there.....
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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C25 mix is over priced, takes up too much room for something that only does one thing.
I still need to weld stainless and aluminum. Stainless needs a 3% CO2/Argon mix, Aluminum needs pure argon.
So I use a bottle of CO2 and Argon, blend them together for a 60% to 70% carbon dioxide blend.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i just have a single gauge, can i get a pic of the mix valves you have. i need to get a spool gun also but can't justify it right now. sorry for all the questions.
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....As of lately, I have started taking the bus to the other campus, because there are more people in space than there are parking spots over there.....
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't have mixing valves, just standard regulators with flow meters, just set the pressures on the 2 regulators with in a few PSI of each other and plumbed them together.

A spool gun is good for 2 things.
Its good for aluminum because soft weak aluminum does not like to feed through a MIG welder handle at the high wire feed speeds that you run aluminum at. It tends to break.
Its also good for switching between fillers, they can save a lot of time if you find your self spending a lot of time switching back and forth between different rolls of wire.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Shipping containers weigh about 5K lb or the 20' and 9K lb for the 40' versions. Assume 2 or 3 I-beam front truck axles with an electric steering rack, and a 6x6" wooden telescopic boom 12-24' long.

Do you think the design is feasible? Would putting the axles 10% behind the center of gravity allow manageable tongue weight?
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My old century had a rusted solid feed cable and I retrofitted an ebay hot max spg spool gun. No regrets, cost competitive with the OEM, flexible cable, and can entertain aluminum. I used the original speed control, just turned the setting down by about 1/2 (12v motor in the gun). The gun is a little cheezy but nothing insurmountable for a budget item.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
Shipping containers weigh about 5K lb or the 20' and 9K lb for the 40' versions. Assume 2 or 3 I-beam front truck axles with an electric steering rack, and a 6x6" wooden telescopic boom 12-24' long.

Do you think the design is feasible? Would putting the axles 10% behind the center of gravity allow manageable tongue weight?
With an empty weight like that, you usually don't really want tongue weight due to traditional US aft wheel positioning.

Trailers that heavy are designed to be just about balanced on their multiple axles, or with turning wheels up front and a tow boom that moves up & down.

Like this :
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-hack View Post
My old century had a rusted solid feed cable and I retrofitted an ebay hot max spg spool gun. No regrets, cost competitive with the OEM, flexible cable, and can entertain aluminum. I used the original speed control, just turned the setting down by about 1/2 (12v motor in the gun). The gun is a little cheezy but nothing insurmountable for a budget item.
my whole machine is cheezy so i will check it out.

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02 TDI Jetta- 5 sp: Cooper CS5 at 50 psi, UltraGauge, ventectomy, rear air shocks, mufflerectomy, LED plate light, upper fiberglass grille block, flat wheel covers, front/rear DVR, front lower pan, front fairing.
93 Chevy CrewCab 6.5 TurboDiesel, GearVendor OverDrive, 4L80 w/ full manual control. Now my DailyDriver


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Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
....As of lately, I have started taking the bus to the other campus, because there are more people in space than there are parking spots over there.....
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Tags
c-channel, i-beam, more steel, retrailer, steel

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