Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bicycle Trailer ep. 8 - Light Mount/ Finale

The finishing touch for the trailer was to add a rear light for nighttime usage. I found this light at a garage sale which had a 1/4"-20 thread mount, so I figured I could bolt it onto the trailer frame. I decided to tap a 1/4" thread into a 3/8" bolt for this. I figured I might as well use my most messed up bolt since the external threads weren't going to be used anyhow.
a light and a bolt

First facing the bolt to the proper length to match the frame tubing. I had to thread the bolt into a threading die in order to set it up in the lathe chuck properly, possibly one of the most bogus setups ever, but it worked.
turning bolt in lathe
Tapping the 1/4"-20 thread after drilling with a #7 drill.
tapping bolt in lathe
This is how the bolt connects to the light.
bolt threaded on light
Drilling a 3/8" hole in the trailer frame.
drilling a hole in bike trailer frame
The light connected.
light on bike trailer
To take the light on and off, I needed a 9/16" wrench. Obviously not the most convenient method, but at this point, it's not that important.
bolt on light on bike trailer

This was a very long project no doubt, but a very fun one. I had a lot of fun using the trailer, the amount of weight I could pull on this thing made me feel like a train. The major downside of the trailer besides the weight was the width. This thing barely fit in a standard bike lane which made it uncomfortable to use on streets. Most of the application were on trails hauling lots of cargo since it didn't feel worthwhile to use for smaller loads. Storing it was a bit of a pain too due to lack of space, and having to disassemble it every time to fit indoors. It did fit through staircases and doorways just barely.

As for the ultimate fate of the trailer, I ended up trading it for a bunch of music equipment; some PA speakers, 2 mixers and some free screen printing, I'd say I got a good deal considering how much effort went into making this thing. As I like to say, the real fun is in building stuff, not in owning it, and since I was hardly using this trailer, I figured somebody else could enjoy it more. As to that, I do plan to build another trailer, a smaller and lighter one. I knew this one was unnecessarily massive and robust from the start, since the first one always has to be the best! Another thing I noticed was that I never even used the front portion of the trailer... except as a carrying handle.

Here are some highlights from adventures with the trailer:
Hauling some scrap metal and the compressor.
bicycle trailer hauling air compressor anaheim
Plenty of weight here.
bike trailer loaded with scrap metal
Talking 100 lb. of sand to the foundry.
bicycle trailer with 100 pounds of sand
A bicycle BBQ. Now there's enough space to bring the stereo, a dutch oven, and enough wood to last all night!
bicycle barbecue with trailer
At one point, I tried making the trailer into a camper/ covered wagon and added a mattress to see how sleeping on it felt.
bicycle trailer bed
The most weight I ever hauled was a load of scrap metal and a cast iron bench grinder pedestal.
bicycle trailer with cast iron pedestal
This was possibly too much weight, but this flat tire was due to a design flaw in the wheel rim. It seemed they forgot to deburr the valve stem hole causing it to cut the valve stem of the tube! Not my fault...
bike trailer flat tire

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

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