Trailer Build – Day 5 & 6

Trailer Build Phase

We are DONE with welding and construction of the trailer is complete! Five hours on August 2nd (Day 5), and another hour and a half on August 3rd (Day 6) saw all the last little details get taken care of and, at least mentally, a big milestone in our tiny house build was accomplished.  We were really trying to get it all clued up yesterday, so I stepped up my game and drilled a bunch of holes through plates of metal!! Sounds lame, but it’s actually really hard.

Drilling holes into the plate welded to the tongue jack.

Drilling holes into the plate welded to the tongue jack.

Drilling holes into the plate welded to the tongue jack.

Drilling holes into the plate welded to the tongue jack.

Tim had the great idea of welding a plate to the tongue jack and another plate to the tongue cross bar, allowing the jack to be bolted on when in use and removed when not necessary. Four holes (one in each corner) drilled through both plates accommodate the bolts.

Plate welded to tongue cross bar.

Plate welded to tongue cross bar.

Completed tongue jack attachment.

Completed tongue jack attachment.

Tim drilled the tiny pilot holes because I didn’t feel quite confident enough that I’d be able to make them perfectly straight. After that though, I took over and used a larger drill bit to bring them up to size, and let me tell you, if you need motivation to hit the gym, try doing a bit of this. I felt so weak…! It was especially tricky to get good leverage while drilling the holes positioned lower to the ground. It was so cool to have a little project of my own though and complete it solo. Proud moment, lol.

While I was doing this, Tim cut some triangular gussets out of scrap plate metal that he would later weld to the C-Channel belonging to the ball hitch for added rigidity and strength.

Cutting with the plasma cutter.

Cutting with the plasma cutter.

Gussets!

Gussets!

He also cut small rectangular pieces from the scrap plate to use as makeshift hangers on each corner of the trailer for bolting on the scissor jacks. We bought these (and the various bolts and nuts we required) at Princess Auto, and they’re each rated for 2 ton. These jacks are just used for levelling the trailer, which will of course be very important during the build as well as setting up the tiny house in temporary locations. They won’t be used as much when the tiny house is at its final destination, since it will sit on blocks.

 

Hangers for corner scissor jacks.

Hangers for corner scissor jacks.

A pair of the little rectangular pieces were welded on perpendicular to the underside of the trailer in each corner, spaced just enough apart to allow the head of a scissor jack to slide in between.

Holes in the head of a scissor jack to accommodate the bolt that will attach it to the hanger.

Holes in the head of a scissor jack to accommodate the bolt that will attach it to the hanger.

We will drill holes through the jack heads and the tandem pieces of plate to allow bolts to run through and attach each jack when it is needed. A lot of trailers and RVs have these scissor jacks permanently welded on, but we think the tiny house will look much better not having to have them on all the time.

Another clever idea from the mind of Tim that was not part of the plans we purchased: pieces of threaded rod welded to the exterior frame of the trailer (with accompanying nuts) to allow for the floor sheathing and base plates of the framing to be bolted down as a extra measure of security.

Can see the pieces of threaded rod sticking up around the edges of the trailer.

Can see the pieces of threaded rod sticking up around the edges of the trailer.

The sheathing is 3/4 inch thick, the 2 x 4 base plates are 1 1/2 inch thick, and we got 5/8 inch nuts to match the rod; so, we allowed 3 inches of each rod to stick up above the edge of the frame, and an addition 3 inches below to be welded on.

We cut eight, 6 inch pieces – four for each of the long sides of the trailer.

6" pieces of threaded rod we cut up with the bandsaw. These come in 36" lengths from any hardware shop.

6″ pieces of threaded rod we cut up with the bandsaw. These come in 36″ lengths from any hardware store.

The last task was to go around and grind down any uneven parts of welds, and to touch up any bits that needed a little extra TLC. Thus far, I had been very tentative to use a grinder, since I had no experience with them. When I did my safety hazard training at my old job, the example used to illustrate the dangers of taking on tasks that you’re not trained to do (which can lead to a health and safety incident) was, of course, using a grinder. So naturally, I was a little apprehensive. But, I was feeling extra confident today, and Tim was very thorough in his instruction and supervision, so I went ahead and took on the grinder! Feeling accomplished, indeed. IMG_8928
Next up is to wire the electric breaks (and potentially tail lights.. we’re not sure if they’re needed yet or not at this stage) for towing to the shop for blasting and painting, and then finally to our framing site. Also, here’s a pro tip: MAKE SURE to put your lug nuts on the right way round 😉 That means the narrow tapered side facing towards the hub. We just got back from Gros Morne National Park, so we’re getting back up to speed now. Stay tuned, there will be more to follow soon!

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