Teardrop trailer all steel build help





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  1. #1
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    Default Teardrop trailer all metal build help

    I'm designing an all metal teardrop trailer. I am using Fusion 360. See the image. The plan is to have all parts laser cut and then weld/bolt/rivet the trailer together. My skills are mainly in software / electrical / electronics / woodworking. I plan on learing tig welding as part of this project. I am not a mechanical engineer or a structural engineer. I need help with selecting material type, material thickness and assembly options for the trailer in order to have a strong, reliable, safe design.

    Are there any mechanical / structural engineers out there wanting to collaborate on the project?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by aquamoon; 2019/11/19 at 12:37 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Subscribed.
    Robbie
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    Default Update on Design

    Here is an update to the design, using flat 2mm sheet.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Wait! ...its all about weight. Steel is heavy and to manufacture a curved steel framework is not easy...in fact steel tubing behaves badly when rolled into curved profiles and distorts when applying intense heat like welding. To weld up a frame as shown in the sketch is a specialist job.

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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullterrier View Post
    Wait! ...its all about weight. Steel is heavy and to manufacture a curved steel framework is not easy...in fact steel tubing behaves badly when rolled into curved profiles and distorts when applying intense heat like welding. To weld up a frame as shown in the sketch is a specialist job.
    Thanks for the reply. The idea is to laser cut the parts from 2mm? flat sheet and weld or bolt them together. Would welding flat sheet parts like shown in the picture be very hard to do? I want to have as much of the work automated by highly accurate machines and then simply assemble the thing. Do you think 2mm flat sheet parts assembled like that would be strong enough? The outer curved roof would be something like 1.6mm sheet curved to the profile of the flat sheet parts. I was hoping to do something different/innovative/quicker from the traditional, and possibly, turn it into a venture at some point.

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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all metal build help

    Outside skin can be 0.8mm chromadeck or chroma prep

    Insulate with polystyrene or similar?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Any reason opting for steel ?

    Not sure If I calculated this right 2mm steel seems a bit heavy. Using this calculator.
    http://www.aalco.co.uk/online-tools/weight-calculator/

    2000mm by 3000mm 2mm steel sheet weighs about 100KG


    And according to this http://theplywood.com/weight plywood weighs just approx 10Kg

    a small venter trailor about 450kg with the "bak", then you need to add more steel for the frame ect ect and load some camping stuff in it.
    I dont think a venter trailers bak is made from 2mm steel.

    I imagine it will also conduct heat very well.

    Will it not be better if you rather laminate it with 0.5mm sheet metal or rather build a steel frame and skin with alu ?

    Maybe the below commercially built assembly will give some inspiration

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMN8g4QUs3A

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all metal build help

    Quote Originally Posted by Heino13 View Post
    Outside skin can be 0.8mm chromadeck or chroma prep

    Insulate with polystyrene or similar?
    i think a thinner metal for the skin is a good idea. I was thinking of a spray foam? Is that available in SA?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    A Venter trailer is very far from 2mm
    Robbie
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by SBSP View Post
    Any reason opting for steel ?

    Not sure If I calculated this right 2mm steel seems a bit heavy. Using this calculator.
    http://www.aalco.co.uk/online-tools/weight-calculator/

    2000mm by 3000mm 2mm steel sheet weighs about 100KG


    And according to this http://theplywood.com/weight plywood weighs just approx 10Kg

    a small venter trailor about 450kg with the "bak", then you need to add more steel for the frame ect ect and load some camping stuff in it.
    I dont think a venter trailers bak is made from 2mm steel.

    I imagine it will also conduct heat very well.

    Will it not be better if you rather laminate it with 0.5mm sheet metal or rather build a steel frame and skin with alu ?

    Maybe the below commercially built assembly will give some inspiration

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMN8g4QUs3A

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ot-taylorlake-web-71_orig.jpg 
Views:	115 
Size:	262.8 KB 
ID:	548359

    Steel seems best for a highly rugged 4x4 trailer. Aluminium is not much lighter since you need to use a thicker Aluminium compared to steel to get a similar strength. It / the welds is/are also prone to cracking when exposed to high vibration situations. Plywood is susceptible to rot.

    The 2mm would be used for the framework only. The framework is a series of flat sheet parts laser cut and welded together. While each individual part may not be very strong Iím thinking that when welded together into a framework, it would be very strong, much like a aircraft fuselage. 1.6mm may work but Iím not a structural engineer. I will look into doing a stress analysis in fusion 360 at a later stage. Your suggestion of the 0.5mm for the skin is a good one. I will add insulation which should help with the heat problem.

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    Default Re: Update on Design

    Quote Originally Posted by aquamoon View Post
    Here is an update to the design, using flat 2mm sheet.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Design v2.png 
Views:	150 
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ID:	548236
    I actually answered this, 2 mm sheet.
    Robbie
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    My suggestion to viper for his nano teardrop was composite........
    I have a Jetstream and a friend I have has been toying with the idea of building a teardrop - sticking to the basic dimensions of the Jetstream but with a different build process, the modern composites are fantastic but admittedly relatively expensive, most caravans and boats have very little wood these days and utilise different types of composite board (fiberglass/aluminium/plastic honeycomb) - Google Coosa
    Simply put the design is based on an aluminium frame bent and riveted together with s/s cross members and the board is then glued in...........windows and doors can be bought online...
    Personally I would stick with slightly larger dimensions than what you are considering, its more usable and the cost difference is negligible.....once you have used a teardrop you will never look at anything else - its just so easy!!
    Do yourself a favour and get onto Pintrest, there are thousands of ideas to mull over!
    FJC - Just Cruising

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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtshark View Post
    My suggestion to viper for his nano teardrop was composite........
    I have a Jetstream and a friend I have has been toying with the idea of building a teardrop - sticking to the basic dimensions of the Jetstream but with a different build process, the modern composites are fantastic but admittedly relatively expensive, most caravans and boats have very little wood these days and utilise different types of composite board (fiberglass/aluminium/plastic honeycomb) - Google Coosa
    Simply put the design is based on an aluminium frame bent and riveted together with s/s cross members and the board is then glued in...........windows and doors can be bought online...
    Personally I would stick with slightly larger dimensions than what you are considering, its more usable and the cost difference is negligible.....once you have used a teardrop you will never look at anything else - its just so easy!!
    Do yourself a favour and get onto Pintrest, there are thousands of ideas to mull over!
    Not forgotten, Dirtshark, but baby steps at this stage.
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all metal build help

    Subscribed to this thread.

    Looking forward to seeing how you get along!
    Anton



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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by ViperR View Post
    Not forgotten, Dirtshark, but baby steps at this stage.
    No you went the right route....IMO steel sheet is NOT the best option The biggest drawback with composite is the cost (unless you are buying big quantities....or live in the US)
    FJC - Just Cruising

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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtshark View Post
    No you went the right route....IMO steel sheet is NOT the best option The biggest drawback with composite is the cost (unless you are buying big quantities....or live in the US)
    You're correct! The cost is about 10x more than Plywood of a similar thickness and sheet size.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Quote Originally Posted by aquamoon View Post
    Steel seems best for a highly rugged 4x4 trailer. Aluminium is not much lighter since you need to use a thicker Aluminium compared to steel to get a similar strength. It / the welds is/are also prone to cracking when exposed to high vibration situations. Plywood is susceptible to rot.

    The 2mm would be used for the framework only. The framework is a series of flat sheet parts laser cut and welded together. While each individual part may not be very strong Iím thinking that when welded together into a framework, it would be very strong, much like a aircraft fuselage. 1.6mm may work but Iím not a structural engineer. I will look into doing a stress analysis in fusion 360 at a later stage. Your suggestion of the 0.5mm for the skin is a good one. I will add insulation which should help with the heat problem.
    I too want o build a mini camper. Just a pitty i dont have space. My garage is full.
    Good luck with the build please keep us updated to the end!
    JK 3.8L 2010 Rubicon Manual 2 door

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    Building a caravan or teardrop takes a bit of planning and thinking.

    What is the purpose?
    What type of camping?
    What type of road?
    Off grid, commercial or bushcamp?
    Weight?
    Construction method?
    Manufacturing skill?
    Resources?
    Time?
    Day tripping or long stay?

    The main purpose of a teardrop is, a small, lightweight, easy to tow, easy to set up, minimalistic approach.
    Obviously the chassis need to be steel.
    Wood is easy to work with and relatively cheap and available. Protection of the wood components is critical.
    Aluminium is more expensive and easy to drill and rivet. Aluminium is also very strong and durable if assembled correctly. After all aeroplanes are made from alu. Very light
    Steel. Readily available. Fairly cheap and strong. Has to be welded, screwed or riveted, Weight is a factor!
    Composite materials, are strong and durable, lightweight and easy to work with and can be very expensive.
    Teardrops have a long history and there is lots of info out there.
    Enjoy!
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Teardrop trailer all steel build help

    I catch myself daydreaming at times, and in moments of pure fantasy, I build an Airstream lookalike....
    Cheers,
    John

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  20. #20
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    Default Teardrop trailer design

    Update:

    Have come up with this initial design for connecting the frame components. Have done some simulation with fusion 360, using 2mm thick aluminium sheet (some bent(orange, blue, red)) and 2mm x 20mm square tubing (light orange), all parts will be lazer cut, then bent, I am getting good results. Safety factor of 4+ with 100kg force applied to each corner of a single frame.

    Click image for larger version. 

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