"Standy" frame questions

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"Standy" frame questions

Postby MatthewWorks » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:13 pm

Hi All.
Thanks for all the amazing info you've put there. As I've been obsessing, it's been incredibly helpful. I've hit a few spots where I can't quite find an answer yet.

Okay... my trailer plan is a bit different for a few reasons. I'm sort of putting a teardrop on top of a 3 foot-ish tall cargo space, and ending up with a sliced canned ham.
I travel quite a bit for work (I sell my metalwork at art shows around the country -- really bored? take a look at http://www.worksofman.com.) This means I've been staying too much in hotels. Sleeping in cities a lot, so actually the trailer needs a porta-potty/shower room so I'm not too smelly for the peoples, along with a minimal kitchen so I can make coffee. Likely that will be a box that can be taken outside when at campground; overall not a ton storage space since the tow vehicles will handle some of that. Relatively limited amenities, no AC, cooler vs fridge. Motel savings could pay this back reasonably quickly. It'd also help us to enjoy the travels to and from the shows more.
I carry about a 1000lbs of cargo weight. My display, tent, and the work I'm hoping to sell, currently travels in either in my TV or in a rented trailer (more savings!) if my wife is also doing the same show. (My stuff wouldn't fit in with her stuff in her vehicle.) So - I'd like to keep all my work and dislay in the trailer I'm building, and just switch the trailer between vehicles depending on if it's just me, or both of us.

So, my answer: a mid-height removable floor. When it's loaded, it's a teardrop, with enough space to sleep in, and not sleeping with the cargo. So, that's for travel to/from/in between the shows. During the shows, the stuff is out, the floors are dropped, and it's walkable. But nice solid walls, so the city is a bit quieter.

Fun stuff: hopefully a pop-top, so if it's full between shows and we're out, it feels open and amazing. Also, I want it to look cool, so the profile is from a 1957 Cardinal camper.

Trying to keep the trailer still fairly small, so it'll park in one parking space easily while on the road. We also have very little room for it at the house (likely won't fit in our 1920's garage). So, was originally looking at about a 4x9 trailer frame, over-fender construction, interior width of approx 6'. I've realized with the storage space needs a 4.5' to a 5' wide trailer frame would allow me to have an (almost) full height bathroom. (EDIT: Looks like I really need more of a 5 x 9 frame, or a 6 x 9 with with wheels under/through the deck)

At this point I'm thinking 'm going to weld the trailer frame. I have the welder... (TIG) but do I really have the time? On top of doing the rest? I will save about $1000 next spring if I can get this done (or at least waterproofed and towable/camp-able) by February. On the big-metal scale I'm not a great welder, but could get it done. Having someone else weld it likely isn't in the budget, unless someone knows someone affordable in the Pittsburgh area.

A few pics of the beginning sketchup plans... none of this is done, and I keep waiting to get more of the plans done before I posted the question, but thought I'd go for it. Plans are currently showing a welded frame. 2'6" height cargo space, 3'6" top space. Not showing any cabinets, although the front one shown will be a small kitchen area for campstoves and such. Bathroom stays full height (if I do the 5' wide trailer frame) and is inside the inner (two-part) door.




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Here's the $1000 question...
I figure with appx 1000lbs cargo, I'm also lucky to keep the empty trailer weight at around 1300lbs... right? Seems to put me in an awkward weight space.
If the Northern Tool 5x8 Ironton trailer is used (minor 1' extension) for the frame, would adding a Dexter torsion axle and 15" tires make it work? I'd be adding in brakes, due to mountain driving and often already fully loaded vehicles.

and are there enough beers for this project?

Thanks for any thoughts y'all have. Sorry for the giant first post.

Cheers,
Matthew
Last edited by MatthewWorks on Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby Alan_H » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:22 pm

I am only going to address the weight issue with regard to the NT Trailer, design input will be from others that are more informed than I.

The NT Trailer is rated at around 1980 lbs. If your dry weight is 1300 lbs. and cargo another 1000 lbs. you already have a problem, add onto that gear and food (approx. 250-300 lbs for most) and you're way over.

Trailer capacity is not just based on the capacity of the axle and springs, but also on the integrity/quality/strength of the frame as well. As such, just replacing the axle with one of higher capacity will not necessarily meet your requirements for load capacity.

Sorry if I sound to critical, but exceeding weight capacity is a big safety issue in my book.

Especially if you want an extended frame, I would suggest getting that torsion axle and having a custom frame built.
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:32 pm

Hey Alan-H -
Thanks for your thoughts. No need to apologize for being critical - it's what I'm here asking for. I have a tendency to overbuild, and do everything myself, so thought I'd see if others felt I could do otherwise.
If I weld the frame myself, the cost isn't much different. Just time (not limitless) and a bit of nervousness. ...and PA registration.

Once I work out which width makes the most sense, I'll post the frame designs for people to hash out.
Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby bonnie » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:44 pm

Welcome! That's the first teardrop I've ever seen with a loft. :) Very slick idea. For weight savings you might want to consider a foamie hybrid.
Remember, the turtle won. :)
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:52 pm

thanks, Bonnie!
I did consider a foamie, but was concerned that the walls have to hold the weight of the bed, the "loft" floors (ha!), and us. My current thought about how it's all being held up is essentially a French cleat.
Although... it could be stick construction, or metal framing up to that point, and then foamie on top... I think it was making my brain hurt and decided to simplify. Attempting to avoid my usual pattern of over-complicating, but I could be persuaded...
Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:11 am

Mmmmmm. As I've pondered this overnight, a foamie might actually work. If some cabinets are built in the right locations for support... time for more reading.

I admit, I was hung up on having an aluminum sided trailer. Maybe that's the second, longer build...

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Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:24 am

Another way of phrasing my question might also be:
Anyone have any experience with a 5 x 8 (or 5 x 10) trailer that's rated for around 2500 lbs?

Thanks for any options. Everything I've found seems way over, or just under that weight capacity.
Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby Philip » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:53 am

MatthewWorks wrote:Anyone have any experience with a 5 x 8 (or 5 x 10) trailer that's rated for around 2500 lbs?


I have built a few trailers in that weight range. Do you know how to weld and have to gear to do it???
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby Pmullen503 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:44 pm

I've been doing shows for 20 years and have a lot of friends that have tried the motor home/trailer idea to save money on hotels. Unless you are living on the road for much of the year, the numbers don't add up, especially if gas prices go up. If you need a bigger T.V. you need to add that cost in.

When you look at all the extra costs (gas, maintenance, risk of theft) of dragging a trailer vs staying at a hotel, the hotel is less expensive than it first appears. If you like camping, and can incorporate side trips into your show schedule it begins to make more sense.
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby M C Toyer » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:11 pm

Matthew –

I have a similar “split level” sleeper trailer to transport my Dual Sport Motorcycle and camping gear.
The carriage is 4’ x 8’ made by Performance with a 3500# axle and 15” wheels. I has a 3/4" plywood floor and weighs about 500#.
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The fully removable Benroy style cabin is made from 48” high 5/8” plywood walls clad with FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic). The roof is FRP over 5mm plywood on ¾” EMT (electrical conduit) spars. There are sliding glass windows on each upper side (salvaged from a pick-up truck cap) and a pair of plywood / FRP barn doors on the rear to facilitate loading / unloading. The complete cabin weighs about 200#.
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There are two large storage lockers in the front and a swing out chuck box in the rear. A folding sleeping platform rests on 1x4 rails attached to the plywood walls. It consists of four 48” x 20” x 2” torsion boxes made with 2x2 red cedar stiles with 5mm plywood glued and stapled top and bottom with rigid foam insulation in between to prevent crushing. The platform is stacked on the storage lockers when transporting the MC or other large cargo.
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That leaves about 2500# for cargo and fully loaded is easily towed by my Jeep Liberty (5000# towing capacity). With the MC aboard there is room on the floor and along the sides atop the lockers. I carry a small kayak on the roof but a rack could easily support 300# of bulky gear or cargo.
Image
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The set-up is tight but adequate for two but if I built another would probably go to a 5 x 8 or 5 x 10 trailer and 60-66” high sidewalls.
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:20 pm

I have built a few trailers in that weight range. Do you know how to weld and have to gear to do it???


I have a nice TIG welder. I wouldn't claim to be experienced, but I could get it done. Just ordered a used copy of "Trailers : How to Design and Build (Basics) Volume 1." to alleviate some of my concerns and let me design something with more than guesswork. Going to consider it... but not sure it would be more affordable. It would be exactly what I want, though. (EDIT: That book isn't worth it. More info here on tnttt than in that book.)

I do see lots of people using salvaged camper frames... I can't image a pop-top frame having the right rating, perhaps the right boat frame... but too much tomfoolery re-working something doesn't save me time.

I've been doing shows for 20 years and have a lot of friends that have tried the motor home/trailer idea to save money on hotels. Unless you are living on the road for much of the year, the numbers don't add up, especially if gas prices go up. If you need a bigger T.V. you need to add that cost in.

Hey pmullen (part of the "show family" eh? I like most of our crowd!) -Yep, I've been out there for around the same amount of years. Tried numerous combinations. Lots of in-vehicle camping. Had a studio built into a box truck for bit, towed a small Airstream Argosy for awhile. It was the 6 meter length... and still too big and heavy and in general a PITA. Which is why I'm trying for smaller. Both tow vehicles are easily sufficient. Currently doing about 14 shows a year... figure at least four nights hotel per show average and that adds up fast. Both of us would rather stay in a camper than a cruddy hotel, so our hotels aren't cheap. So, for us it works, and would let us take the long way home a little more often. Doesn't mean it's all free, of course, just reduced cost, and a lifestyle that I find enjoyable. Plus... I get to build a camper.

Also, hey, if I go over budget, it just means we have to go camping more to make it worth it...
Last edited by MatthewWorks on Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby MatthewWorks » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:32 pm

M C Toyer - Thanks for an awesome and detailed response! That's a great little setup, and useful information. I'll look into the Performance trailers, and see what they'll quote me for a frame sized up a bit. Love how functional that is.

Had been looking at torsion boxes for the bed and removable floors, I think that kind of nails it home for me.

Also makes me think about simplifying...
Matthew.

lost, but enjoying it so far.

18Jan2018:
total days in camper 92 (since Apr 2017)
camper has paid for itself with hotel/rental savings: 209%
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby Xanthoman » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:57 pm

I have a lot of experience with the rigid foam as well as sandwich structures. If you have any questions on strength of those items let me know and I can calculate them for you. I have some foam on hand and plan to do a little bit of strengths testing with a few kinds of foam and skins. If you plan on insulating your project I highly recommend going with a foamie of sorts as it is provides structure as well as insulation in one step. If you are going for light weight but familiar materials (if you are familiar with plywoods of sorts) you can make miniature SIPs by gluing 1/8" underpayment to either side of foam boards. There is a company out of Oregon (or WA), that makes tiny houses with something similar, but I don't know the price on their panels. I will try to find you their name so you can give it a consideration if you would like. Good luck!
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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby Xanthoman » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:00 pm

Singcore.com is the site.


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Re: New member with odd trailer idea... (and frame question

Postby CurreyR » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:35 pm

Give good thought to your tow vehicle. The GCVWR is a good place to start (you will need to stop the TV and trailer).
My suggestion would be to have a TV that can carry your cargo, and then build a tear that is your "camp".
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