Monday, January 14, 2019

Building a Smaller and Lighter Bicycle Trailer | Bicycle Trailer 2

My original trailer proved to be a massive success.  However, I built it so bombproof, that it became too heavy and inconvenient to want to pull it out for an average sized job.  After trading it away for a bunch of music equipment, I eventually wanted to build another one.  This time, it would be far lighter and use smaller wheels.
I decided to make the frame from some scrap bed frames which had thinner wall thicknesses than the angle iron I used last time.  For this reason I decided not to weld it, since it would probably just melt through.
I started by cutting up the frame into the shape I wanted.

I connected the 2 halves with extra bits of tubing sliced open and pop riveted together.
A close-up of the weld-free joint.
To attach the wheels, I machined 2 brackets that looked like this:
(the photography budget for this project was clearly much lower than the last one)
Skipping ahead some more, I had this conveniently bent piece of tubing from a trashed futon frame.  I connected it to the trailer with some aluminum brackets.  I decided to go with 20" wheels since it's such a commonly available tire size for kids' and BMX bikes.
The aluminum brackets were machined to match the radius of the round tubing, and bolted together.  Another problem I had with this frame was that the tubing was so thin that tightening the bolts would start to crush the walls in.
Then for the hitch, I copied this idea from another trailer I'd seen (by Bikes At Work), which utilizes a hyme joint.  Of course mine doesn't look as sleek, smooth, or stainless as the original, but it does include custom rear dropout mounting instead of attaching to the rear stays with hose clamps.

<insert picture of how the hitch attaches here>

Wham bam! It's done 10 months ahead of schedule!  Okay... maybe it's only 1/3 as strong as my first trailer, but it's easily 1/3 the weight, and took 1/10 the time to build.  In the future I may work to improve the trailer frame with some stronger tubing, but for now it gets the job done fairly well.
And for lighting... this could use some improvement.

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