Sometimes a delivered load is not what a guy needs. I have a piece of
property with a 1,000 foot long farm path, and I load my trailer with base
so I can pull it right to the individual pothole and literally rake the
material off into the hole in just the right amount. I can buy a half ton
of base for $15, and the rockyard is only 3 miles from the path.
Also a scoop load of gravel with a full size front end loader will weigh
about 4,000-5,000 lbs, or at least that's what the guys at the yard tell me.
I use a 4 X 8 utility trailer and get about 1/4 scoop. It's not weighed for
small amounts. They wait on me to tell them when I think It's full enough.
(tire squat method) It's cheaper by the truckload, but not as convenient to
spread over a wide area of use in small patches. If you have a non
suspension trailer, you better pull a load of gravel REAL slowly. The road
pounding will bend your axle.
The angle cuts can be aligned by tack welding a piece of angle iron to the
pipe, with the pipe running inside the V of the angle iron. Then it can be
readily indexed in a horizontal bandsaw vise, or in an abrasive chop saw.
The angle method also works well for marking a parallel line down a
round piece of material.
This -should- be a link to trailer plans. Northern sell the wheels,
axles, and other necessary fittings at good prices, but watch out for
the shipping charges.
Off the record, a shop teacher told me that 2" square tubing was
better than round stock for smaller home-made trailers because it's
easier to cut and weld the joints and attach the wood.
Commercial trailer frames are often channel iron or sheet bent into a
channel. I've found a really good deal on channel at a place that sold
used industrial shelving. Unlike pipe or square tubing it has a strong
and a weak direction so you have to understand the forces on it.
The angle cuts on the ends of pipe are difficult to align and a 3"
fishmouth joint won't be easy to cut. I clamp on a piece of angle iron
near both ends of the pipe and try to line them up by sight. If the
cuts aren't aligned or the joint has large uneven gaps the welded
frame is likely to warp.
3" pipe is stronger than the frame of my little snowmobile trailer but
weaker than my neighbor's construction trailer. If you know how to do
the engineering calculations you should be able to make one in between
Acid dip the ends to remove galvanize.
Mitered joints work just as well on round tubing as on square.
Gusset the corners (or better yet, all joints)
And fishmouthing is not difficult if you use templates.(get a copy of
Done properly the round tube trailer is stronger for the weight than a
square tube or channel trailer.
If you are building a motorcycle trailer, for one off road bike, 3"
should be fine.
If you plan to haul cars or several yards of gravel, it's going to
Angle in 3" is weaker than pipe, depending on the thickness of each.
Go for it. What's the worst that could happen?
I'm a welder. I have welded since 1974. I would not make a trailer out of
that material. But that's me. Unless it was to drag stuff around on
private property at low speed.
You can probably find what you need used, and with modifications, have a
But not cheap. Cheap ain't good and good ain't cheap.
Just my two cents. Where do you live and what color truck do you drive so I
can be on the lookout for you? Is your liability insurance high enough to
protect you just in case?
On topics like this, I was initally surprised at the sheer number of
posts that criticize the poster of the initial question or make comments
relating to liabilty of the action.
The poster asked if it would work OK.... (not whether you wanted to be
near it on the highway).
Personally, having grown up in an environment where the everyone took
personal responsibilty for their actions, and where frugality was a
virtue, I don't find the question objectionable enough to respond in the
negative manner that many have chosen.
Would 3" pipe from a local plumbing supply work to make a trailer?
In a word, Yes, but depending on the type of pipe and the cutting and
welding skills of the person assembling said trailer. There are quite a
number of factors that determine the serviceability of a trailer, not
the first of which is the intended load. What it is made of is often
the last of the problems encountered. Take for example the typical $150
or $250 trailer offered at the local borg. These are typically nothing
more than a simple frame with some small "whellbarrow size" wheels and a
load rating of perhaps 500 lbs. Given the purchaser has to provide
their own decking and possibly some side rails, they've already used a
hundred lbs. or more of the wight capacity before they even begin. For
400 lbs, I'd find a way to get the object into my trunk (if a car) or
just load it in the back of the pickup... However, for someone that
wants to haul their riding lawnmower from job to job in town, they may
be a reasonable purchase and use. Not that I'd be caught dead towing
one down the freeway, because the small wheels tend to burn up bearings
at decent speeds, but for the right environment, they would be a viable
choice... I've seen many "homemade" trailers built by neophytes that so
far eclipsed the crap being sold today in places like the borg, it makes
me sick that the borg can actually get away with selling such crap,
while the individual gets nothing but grief for asking a simple question
(even thought the answer may be more complicated than first thought).
Having seen an extreme range of trailers, including many that I wouldn't
even think of hitching to any vehicle I owned (many of which are still
being sold today at the local borg, among others), I applaud anyone that
would think about making their own. Through building my own, and at a
relatively early age, I learned an incredible amount about mechanical
engineering that made college a much easier experience, because I
already possessed a considerable amount of "real knowledge" with which
to temper the "book learning" approach of some of the professors, (most
of which had never seen what happened in the real world, nor could
envison being able to determine if something would work without spending
endless hours with calculations).
Now, given the current litigous society, one needs to be considerably
more careful today than, say 40 or 50 years ago, but wouldn't it be
nicer (and more civil) to ask the questions necessary to determine what
the poster would be wanting to use the trailer for, wo they could truly
be helped to make the right decision?
o-- Is this trailer intended to be used on public roads?
o-- What state are you living in? (to license a new trailer in most
states, you have to take the trailer down, have it weighed, and then
inspected by the local DMV before they will consider making a title for
it so you can license it for on-road use)
o-- What are you intending to haul? (weight capacity and/or type of load)
o-- Type of hitch?
0-- What sort of axle? (single or dual, sprung or fixed mount,
commericial axle (set), recycled rear axle from a front drive
automobile, or weld your own from spindle stock of some sort and a
connecting structural member) (again here, there are state restrictions
and/or inspections if this is for on-road use)
0-- Are you skilled in welding this sort of material?
See the difference?... the respondents could have asked intelligent,
helpful questions to get more information instead of providing a slam
response trying to discourage the poster, which would have been a
greater service to all, as there are far more people reading posts and
acting on what they read than those with the guts to actually post a
So how about asking some reasonable questions, providing answers based
on actual structural integrity of the resultant trailer and it's
intended use, and stop slamming anyone that tries to make do with what
they have? Thought so, as I've seen it time and time again. More
people out there with negative response than those actually trying to be
And for those who think this post is negative because I criticise
unthinking individuals that are quick to answer with in a manner as to
discourage experimentation or inquisitiveness, or those that feel this
post whacks their ego, I really feel for you. I just don't think it is
the "right" thing to do in answering the original question that was
asked. Yes, this is a problem in many of the newsgroups, but the
internet is no longer the helpful place it once was, as it has been
flooded by naysayers and spammers. Unfortunately, one of the largest
sources of information has become a forum for those that seem to want to
squash the efforts of others. [too bad, there was so much promise...]
[stepping off the old soapbox]
For the original poster, please check the fourth paragraph of this
reply. Yes, you can do it, but to help you intelligently, we will need
more details to be able to provide a meaningful response. Don't give
up, the internet can help, if you can just sort the wheat from the chaff.
Huh? How do you get there from here?
The OP asked such a vague question, it indicated to me a clueless person who
wouldn't know how to cut or weld said pipe. If he did, he would just go out
to the garage and do it.
The OP didn't even specify if the pipe was black, galvanized, ABS or PVC.
From his original post, I think 99.9 percent of your post went above his
What would we tell a person who writes in and asks, "I have some spare metal
and stuff in my shop and want to build an airplane. WOuld this work ok?"
I told the person that he didn't sound like he knew enough to do it and
suggested buying a used trailer. If that makes me negative, then so be it.
As for the days of everyone being responsible, that went out with 30 cent
If he doesn't know any more than you are giving him credit for, he
shouldn't be buying a used trailer either, without someone who knows
something looking at it.
I suspect he knows more than you are giving him credit for.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.