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  • Building a utility trailer_ seeking advice

    I am planning on building a utility trailer that is 5 feet by 10 feet with 32 inch sides and a ramp/gate. I am planning on a 3500 lb straight axle. My question is this. I am planning on using 2" X 2" tube with 3/16 inch wall. Will this be strong enough to support a load of about 2500 lbs? I have build a boat trailer and reworked 2 other trailers in the past but this is the first utility trailer that I am building without plans or another trailer to go by.

    any advice will be appreciated.

  • #2
    I have built little trailers like that and I used 3 x 5 x 1/4'' angle iron. That was followed by 2x2'' angle for cross members.

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    • #3
      Trailer Plans !

      Originally posted by jondoe6060 View Post
      I am planning on building a utility trailer that is 5 feet by 10 feet with 32 inch sides and a ramp/gate. I am planning on a 3500 lb straight axle. My question is this. I am planning on using 2" X 2" tube with 3/16 inch wall. Will this be strong enough to support a load of about 2500 lbs? I have build a boat trailer and reworked 2 other trailers in the past but this is the first utility trailer that I am building without plans or another trailer to go by.

      any advice will be appreciated.
      Hi; Go to Northern Tools, for all the trailer plans you could ever want- need !!

      ............ Norm
      - Arcair- K 4000 CAC.
      - LN - 25
      - Lincoln Ranger 8
      -DeWalt Compressor

      www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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      • #4
        use 2 x 3 x 1/8" the strength comes from the taller tube rather than the weight

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        • #5
          2x2 should get you by, but i agree, you would probably want to go with a 2x3 or 2x4.

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          • #6
            I have built that size trailer before. It is a little under 6' wide and 10' 3" long. I used 1 1/2" square tube 1/8" thick for the frame rails and side rails. Also has a 3500' axle and 14" tires. Decked it with 2 x 10s 10 foot long and the tounge is 2x3" tube to a 4" square tube in the center (from a wrecked boat trailer). I have hauled my Kubota tractor on it many times with impliment hanging off the back and more bags of concrete and lumber than I can count. Have also lined it with a tarp and filled it with dirt to fill in holes a few times. She is now about 10 years old, paint looks like you know what, but she is still perfectly straight, solid and pulls perfect as the day I made it.
            "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jondoe6060 View Post
              My question is this. I am planning on using 2" X 2" tube with 3/16 inch wall. Will this be strong enough to support a load of about 2500 lbs?
              This question cannot be answered without more information. It's like asking if 2x4's will be sufficient for floor joists. That depends on the span and the spacing.

              But before you can answer with a span and spacing, you have to realize something else.

              Forces in a vehicle are dynamic. You are no longer dealing with a simple static load the way you would with a stationary structure. Figure 0.5G's lateral acceleration in all directions except for 0.8G's forward deceleration.

              The vector sum of the forward deceleration case without any other interaction (ie on perfectly flat ground) brings the load up to over 3200lb. And this is a sustained load. Impulse loads due to pavement discontinuities (potholes and road hazard objects), evasive maneuvers, and other effects can reach several G's.

              My suggestion is to copy the design of a commercial (not homebuilt) trailer of similar capacity paying particular attention to the connection details and be sure you put trailer brakes on it.

              Vehicle dynamics is not far removed from rocket science. There's no shame in not having a thorough understanding of it. But like a few other things such as overhead lifting devices, what you don't know can kill you, or someone else.

              80% of failures are from 20% of causes
              Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
              "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
              "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
              "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bodybagger View Post
                This question cannot be answered without more information. It's like asking if 2x4's will be sufficient for floor joists. That depends on the span and the spacing.

                But before you can answer with a span and spacing, you have to realize something else.

                Forces in a vehicle are dynamic. You are no longer dealing with a simple static load the way you would with a stationary structure. Figure 0.5G's lateral acceleration in all directions except for 0.8G's forward deceleration.

                The vector sum of the forward deceleration case without any other interaction (ie on perfectly flat ground) brings the load up to over 3200lb. And this is a sustained load. Impulse loads due to pavement discontinuities (potholes and road hazard objects), evasive maneuvers, and other effects can reach several G's.

                My suggestion is to copy the design of a commercial (not homebuilt) trailer of similar capacity paying particular attention to the connection details and be sure you put trailer brakes on it.

                Vehicle dynamics is not far removed from rocket science. There's no shame in not having a thorough understanding of it. But like a few other things such as overhead lifting devices, what you don't know can kill you, or someone else.

                Um ya like he said the force on the what ya call it and the deceleration of the something or other and what not

                Well Bodybagger does a bit better job explaining it than me but I think I summed it up pretty close
                Hobart Mega Arc 5040DD (with built in air compressor)
                MM Passport Plus with Q-gun
                O/A

                sold MM 251

                There are only 2 tools needed in a tool box. 1) Duct tape to fix any thing that moves that isn't supposed to. 2) WD40 to fix anything that doesn't move but should.

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                • #9
                  northern tools trailer plans are
                  realy good and they give you
                  list of all the steel you need to
                  order i have the 3 car lawn and
                  tow dolly plans
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Northern Tools - - Plans !!

                    Originally posted by BC Iron works View Post
                    northern tools trailer plans are
                    realy good and they give you
                    list of all the steel you need to
                    order i have the 3 car lawn and
                    tow dolly plans
                    BC.; I totally agree, I have several of their trailer plans. Exellent, Exellent !

                    ............. Norm
                    - Arcair- K 4000 CAC.
                    - LN - 25
                    - Lincoln Ranger 8
                    -DeWalt Compressor

                    www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the tip on Northern Tools guys. Proper plans are always a good starting point.

                      As to the original question, if I recall (30+ years ago), strength of a beam is proportional to width x height cubed. So, double the width, get double the strength, double the height, get 8 times the strength.

                      Using the original scenario, a 2 x 2 with 3/16" wall gives a "factor" of 1.5.

                      Using a 2 x 3 with 1/8" wall gives a factor of 3.375, or 2.25X stronger. The added advantage is the 2 x 3 will actually way less (83%) of the original design. I also suspect the higher tube will translate into a stiffer structure with respect to twisting as well, but I have no idea how to calculate that.
                      Diversion 165
                      Lincoln SP175T
                      Ryobi Drill Press
                      No Name Portable band and chop saws
                      '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TripleTrophy View Post
                        strength of a beam is proportional to width x height cubed. So, double the width, get double the strength, double the height, get 8 times the strength.
                        This is only true for solid rectangular shapes.

                        Since hollow sections already concentrate their cross sectional area on the outside, the advantage is somewhat less. The larger size is not being filled in with additional solid core, if you follow.

                        For the two examples you gave, HSS 2x2x3/16 has a section moment of inertia of 0.640 in^4 while HSS 3x2x1/8 has a section moment of inertia of 1.30 (in^4), making it almost exactly 2 times as stiff.

                        A little less of a change than you'd see with a solid section.

                        http://www.steeltubeinstitute.org/pd...n_brochure.pdf

                        80% of failures are from 20% of causes
                        Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
                        "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko
                        "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal
                        "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the link bodybagger, that is good information. Three is a reason I am not a civil engineer! I was aware that the hollow section can make a difference, but not how much. After all, that is the reason some structures have cast/drilled holes in them.
                          Diversion 165
                          Lincoln SP175T
                          Ryobi Drill Press
                          No Name Portable band and chop saws
                          '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bodybagger your my hero I've been looking for that type of info in a nice neat format for sometime now.

                            Thanks for the link.
                            Hobart Mega Arc 5040DD (with built in air compressor)
                            MM Passport Plus with Q-gun
                            O/A

                            sold MM 251

                            There are only 2 tools needed in a tool box. 1) Duct tape to fix any thing that moves that isn't supposed to. 2) WD40 to fix anything that doesn't move but should.

                            Comment

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