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  • Building a Trailer to Move Machines

    I would like to discuss what features and capabilities one would like to see on a trailer whose main purpose in life is moving machines.

    Load capability...say about 5000 pounds.

    Size...something one can park in front of your house.

    Pulling requirements...something that you can pull with the average 1/2 ton pickup.

    Let the discussions begin...
    TMT

  • #2
    How many machines are you going to be moving??

    I don't mean to berate you here, but honestly, after you get your shop situated, how many times will you need those specific characteristics in a trailer?

    I can rent a 4500# load rated drop deck trailer (the bed rotates down to sit on the ground) which will haul a good sized lathe (size wise, not a pacemaker) for a whopping 50 bucks a day. I don't have to license it, store it, maintain it, pay for it's whole cost... There's a LOT of benefits to paying a little at a time to use someone else's specialty equipment.

    Even paying a rigger to move machines is more cost effective than spending several grand building a trailer. Had I built a trailer, I still would've needed to pay someone to move my turning center. That machine needed a 15Klb fork lift to pick up safely. They started with a 12K and it wasn't able to get it onto the truck.

    Now if you're going to be traveling the country for days on end to fetch machines, then owning your own hauling gear might make sense (probably still cheaper to hire it). But, I haven't had to go more than a day out for any of mine.

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    • #3
      The biggest advantage of owning your own is scheduling. It's there when you need it.
      Although I rarely need a trailer but now that I have one I use it fairly frequently and (aside from the initial expense) the ownership costs are very low, less than a two day rental.

      I ended up building mine when I couldn't find a trailer (for sale or rent) with enough capacity at a reasonable empty weight.



      And when your daughter calls on a Sunday evening to tell you her car has broken down 200 miles away...
      Last edited by dfw5914; 04-16-2010, 03:40 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jim Shaper
        How many machines are you going to be moving??

        I don't mean to berate you here, but honestly, after you get your shop situated, how many times will you need those specific characteristics in a trailer?

        I can rent a 4500# load rated drop deck trailer (the bed rotates down to sit on the ground) which will haul a good sized lathe (size wise, not a pacemaker) for a whopping 50 bucks a day. I don't have to license it, store it, maintain it, pay for it's whole cost... There's a LOT of benefits to paying a little at a time to use someone else's specialty equipment.

        Even paying a rigger to move machines is more cost effective than spending several grand building a trailer. Had I built a trailer, I still would've needed to pay someone to move my turning center. That machine needed a 15Klb fork lift to pick up safely. They started with a 12K and it wasn't able to get it onto the truck.

        Now if you're going to be traveling the country for days on end to fetch machines, then owning your own hauling gear might make sense (probably still cheaper to hire it). But, I haven't had to go more than a day out for any of mine.

        I agree on the merits of renting...when you can.

        When you need the trailer NOW, for days/weeks at a time or you drive hundreds of miles to pick up a machine...one needs to own it.

        For the example of the discussion, I suggested ~5000 pound capacity...a range that an average HSMer would use often while still being able to have it parked in front of the house without having the neighbors going nuts.

        TMT

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        • #5
          When you build your own, how do you go about obtaining all the necessary traffic permits?

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          • #6
            I found a Big Tex 4900 lb trailer very similar to dfw's for $500. A couple hundred for new tires.
            I have used it to haul my 3 ton Shizouka mill (very carefully) and several other machines and vehicles.

            I park it in the back and it is there when needed.
            I don't have to go to town to pick it up or worry about what kind of condition it is in if rented.
            Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

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            • #7
              6'x12' tandem axle utility trailers are common. They have dual 3500-lb axles for 7,000 lbs gross capacity, or 5,750 lbs of cargo capacity. $1100-1400 will get you a basic trailer with DMV registration, but you'll want to add electric brakes on one or both axles as well as a brake controller in your towing vehicle.

              I'm not sure how you'd get the tags for a home built trailer, as I've never made one myself, but a flatbed style would be preferable for side loading ability. Replaceable wood decking is nice too, especially if any of the machines are palletized.

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              • #8
                Registration issues vary between jurisdictions.

                Here brakes can be either electric or hydraulic (surge systems). The brake requirements vary too, some require both axles to have brakes, some allow brakes on one axle only.
                Shop builts are easy to register as long as they have a serial number (you can stamp your own on) and the registrations are permanent for non commercial trailers.
                Trailers are covered by the tow vehicle's insurance.

                If money was no object, the drop deck designs would be cadillac, as the deck is raised and lowered hydraulically and is less than 6" high in the loading position.
                Last edited by camdigger; 04-16-2010, 04:33 PM.
                Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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                • #9
                  Registration? Tags? Licensing ?

                  Can someone explain how it works in the US ?

                  If I want to build a trailer tomorrow and it's under 3.5 tonnes gross I can.

                  I do have to comply with various laws as regards brakes, sizes, lights etc but all I have to do is give it a chassis number and stamp the unladen weight.
                  It can't be more than 2.55m wide [ 8' 3" ] and no longer than 12m long [ 39' ] less the drawbar.

                  No test required at any point in it's life.
                  .

                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glacern
                    6'x12' tandem axle utility trailers are common. They have dual 3500-lb axles for 7,000 lbs gross capacity, or 5,750 lbs of cargo capacity. $1100-1400 will get you a basic trailer with DMV registration, but you'll want to add electric brakes on one or both axles as well as a brake controller in your towing vehicle.

                    I'm not sure how you'd get the tags for a home built trailer, as I've never made one myself, but a flatbed style would be preferable for side loading ability. Replaceable wood decking is nice too, especially if any of the machines are palletized.
                    Mind providing some links to those trailers at those prices?

                    TMT

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The problem with the bargain trailers is they are so flimsy, the structure flexes almost as much as the springs. If you want it to tow well, the frame needs to be pretty stiff.

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                      • #12
                        Owning vs: Renting

                        If you have the space to store it then by all means build your own. Damm things have a 1000/1 uses

                        Be sure to incorporate a surge brake system and "Tie-Down Rings" welded with a safety through bolt. Tilt is a nice feature but it adds about 6" to the hieght of the deck. Stake Side is also a good feature and adds lots a versatility to the trailer

                        I hate using the ever popular "Hydraulic Drop Deck" as the damm things never seem to have a decent alignment. Any thing over 50 mph and they are waving in the wind like a fish tail

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                        • #13
                          last time you said you were building 6 trailers this year? how's it going? this the first?

                          http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...hlight=trailer
                          Last edited by Mcgyver; 04-16-2010, 06:04 PM.
                          .

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Too_Many_Tools
                            Mind providing some links to those trailers at those prices?

                            TMT
                            You don't give info on your location but in my area try this.
                            http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/rvs/1695043401.html

                            Keep checking Craigslist and ebay.
                            I bought mine from an older guy and told him he could use it anytime he wanted.
                            Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JoeFin
                              I hate using the ever popular "Hydraulic Drop Deck" as the damm things never seem to have a decent alignment. Any thing over 50 mph and they are waving in the wind like a fish tail
                              I have rented these many times and never had this problem. Are you setting the load forward enough to put the proper tong weight on the towing vehicle?

                              I will normally measure my bumper height and if it didn't drop 2" when adding the load, I move the load forward. Otherwise, the trailer will want to rock back just a little thus allowing the suspension to try and steer itself which results in the "oscillation of massive death".

                              First thing I ever towed I made this error and I thought the trucks rear tires would break loose from the pavement. I puckered so tight that I couldnt get my drawers off that night before bed.

                              rock~
                              Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

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