Monday, December 20, 2010

yet ANOTHER trailer!

Ok, so here we go once again with another trailer build!  Well, like the last one, I did not build the frame, but simply added a box to a decommissioned kids trailer. The reason for this one? With the cargo trike in winter hibernation I still like to move my drums by pedal power as much as possible. In past winters I've borrowed the big trailer I built for my friend Bridget a while back, but it is bigger than I need, a bit too flimsy for the weight of drums (side rails bend more than they should), and a real pain to store in my basement due to its size.

I decided for this year that since I'm don't really want to tow my bigger kits across town (there's VrtuCar for moving those babies), and that most of my downtown gigs are with the small jazz kit, a trailer to just fit that would be ideal. Yes, it looks quite similar in size to the other trailer, but here's why it's different:

The other one, being made with an aluminum frame, a bit of plywood, and lots of coroplast (corrugated plastic) is nice and lightweight for hauling and keeping dry the various amplifiers and electronics and small drums I use in my dance class gigs. It is fine for towing this sort of stuff for quite a few kilometres, but between it's a bit flimsy for the weight of a drum kit, and the fact that its dimensions make it just a bit too small for the kit sealed the issue. So now I have one trailer for lightweight and long haul, the other for sturdy and short haul.

This newest trailer is built from 100% recycled or leftover materials. The only new items were the bolts, and even they were surplus from previous trailer / cargo builds.

A simple plywood box bolted to an old trailer frame. It's previous incarnation was as a kids trailer, complete with webbing and buckles and straps, but all were in questionable shape. A friend's friend gave this to me just before moving out of town, saying "hey, you like trailer projects...".

Since this trailer takes the place of the big cargo trike during the winter some flexibility is needed with what it can move. I was thinking of a hinged tailgate, then remembered I had this metal grid stuff from years ago. And I thought if the grid layout even roughly fits the width of the trike I'll use it, and it did, quite nicely! It's held on with easily removable zip-ties for now, and allows long things to be carried as they can poke through the grid.

The wood was bolted together using 1/4" bolts with nylock nuts and surplus aluminum channel I had found years ago at Cohen and Cohen. This channel stuff has also been used for both the cargo trike and the big trailer.
Since I was using scrap or leftover items I found two pieces of plywood for the bottom. One sheet would've been ideal, but these needed to get used up. Of course a brace below the seam might be good, so I added a piece of 1x3 for this, which also doubled as a support for the rear end since the box overhung the trailer frame (I then notched the wood so it would rest on the crossbar).

The brown bolts were from some old melamine cabinets.

The hitch is a bit primitive compared to the Chariot ball and socket on my other trailer, but seems to work just fine.

Box is held to frame at three points. Two out back, and this one in front. This allowed me to use existing holes and not add more than necessary, as any holes can provide entry points for moisture (all other existing holes from when it was a kids trailer were tightly covered over with electrical tape).

Despite a long coroplast "crap flap" hanging from the winter bike's rear fender, some salty spray still hit the underside. So a coroplast spray guard was added to the trailer's front.

A few days later, and some additions. Fenders installed, and eye-bolts replaced a few of the reg bolts so a tarp could be added over top if need be. In the past I've used coroplast for fenders, but these lovely orange things, while a bit short, could not be passed up.

I think the only remaining improvement to be made is to change out the old hitch for a modern Chariot one as on the other trailer, because right now I have to undo the winter bike's axle bolt and change the fitting for each trailer. UPDATE: done! It's nice to be able to use this trailer with either of my two winter bikes (which in 2011 replaced the single blue one pictured above).


Little Fish said...

This is awesome! Thanks for forwarding me to your blog mark (I am the girl you met in the bike co-op who has a bakery in need of a bike trailer).

I was wondering if you know of an old kid's trailer kicking around that I could retro-fit in a similar manor to what you did here, this seems perfect for what I need.

Also, I was wondering if you would be willing to help me out with this project some time, perhaps I can just pop by the coop or something.


Mark said...

Hi Little Fish,

The shop did have at least one old trailer stored away for the winter. I'll have a look tonight and see if it's still there. I'm at the shop most Tuesday evenings, and run the shop on Sundays and (starting next week) Mondays.