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Old 07-13-2019, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default Boat Trailer Build

I'm in process of building a boat trailer. There's a great thread here with trailer pics, many awesome custom made trailers for everything! But I looked and searched a lot and didn't see much in the way of the actual build specifics of many trailers, especially boat trailers. As I've never "modeled" anything from scratch before, in the end it'll probably 1) look like crap, 2) take me 2 lifetimes to finish, and 3) cost me arm & leg ... but let's see what happens.

I don't actually have the boat yet - it's in transit. So I'm starting with just measurements and some ideas lurking amongst the scary things in my head. The boat will be a catamaran offshore style race boat, smaller than what 1:10 scale would really be, but will look huge trailered behind a 1:10 truck. My ideas for trailer will start as a basic boat-looking trailer that can be altered for a normal monohull, a deep V hull, a catamaran or pontoon, or even a sailboat.

So let's begin ...
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

So, after some time up & down all the aisles in Lowe's Home Improvement looking at almost everything, I decided to start with a PVC molding that is 1/4" thick and 3/4" wide and comes in 8ft pieces for $3.54. Bendable (to a degree), very lightweight, can be cut, drilled, sawed, sanded, glued, painted, nailed - much like wood but less brittle.


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Old 07-13-2019, 05:33 PM   #3
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Wow! I figured out how to embed a pic!

Mods - if this isn't the right way to do this, I'll change it just let me know!
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

A little trial and error revealed that, although it's called PVC, PVC cement didn't work as well as good old super glue. I chose the gel kind - takes little longer to dry/cure, but that gives you some work time.

Boat is 27.2" long and 7.3" beam. So I started with a large shelf board I had in shed that was just right size, and marked a line lengthwise down the center so I always had a "centerline" to work with. I used 2" screws to hold the pieces in place and make a 'form' to work with. I started with 34" pieces and used a binder clip tp pinch them together in front with a 3rd piece at 10.5" for the trailer tongue. I cut 1 cross piece at 6.75" long as the 1st, and 3 more cross pieces 7" long, and this will provide a basic trailer frame. The 3 front pieces had screws to hold them in place at the fronts, because there would be pressure from 1st cross piece coming from the rear.




Last edited by vf750rider; 07-13-2019 at 06:27 PM. Reason: add pic
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Things look a tad 'wavy' in the last pic above - this stuff comes back to shape so I wasn't worried about everything being perfectly straight. But I did need everything to stay in place and to be 'squeezed' so that there was pressure holding pieces in place while glue dried.

The 1st cross piece had to be slightly shorter and have the ends cut at an angle, because pinching the sides up front causes the sides to be at an angle as they approach the first cross piece. I just eyeballed a 45* angle and cut that, seemed to work ok. I think that maybe the 1st cross piece should've been shorter still - maybe better at 6.5" long.

I'm using what I have around the house for tools, nothing fancy at all. This plastic is easy to work with and cheap enough to make mistakes to learn from. Pieces were cut with a small 6" bladed hand saw that has tiny hacksaw teeth. Angles were cut with this as well. The trick here is to be very light-handed with the saw - like you were always told, just move the saw without pressure and let the saw teeth do the work. That keeps it from binding when trying to make these little finesse cuts.


Last edited by vf750rider; 07-13-2019 at 06:12 PM. Reason: add pic
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

After I got the glue in place and had screws in wood making pressure where needed, I also used 1" panel nails to make sure joints would remain together - these have rings all up the shanks and I thought they'd hold well. There was a lot of outwards pressure from the pinched front and I didn't trust the superglue against that much force. I used a small tack hammer and a nail punch to drive the nails. I now think maybe screws would've been better (or at least easier), but I had these and screws would cost more.



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Old 07-13-2019, 06:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

As you can see in above pics, the screws used to hold things in place tend to scratch the plastic, and the white paint comes off the nail heads when they are pounded. I tried using paper to protect finish but the screws chewed right through that - maybe something stiffer/thicker like an old birthday card would've worked better. But as mentioned, this stuff is paintable (so I'm told). Hopefully we can spray the completed trailer and no one will be the wiser!

After I got all 4 cross pieces glued in place and nailed together, I drilled two holes through the 3 squeezed pieces up front and used stainless cap screws washers and nylon lock nuts to keep these pieces together.



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Old 07-14-2019, 04:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Your trailer is lookin' GOOD. RC boat trailers are hard to find and VERY few style choices. I built mine a few years ago from oak .... solid and still really light.



But it's hard to tell after a dozen coats of lacquer.



And when the boat is on it, you can't tell what it's made of.



Great work! Keep it up and post updates.


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Old 07-14-2019, 05:52 PM   #9
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That's some awesome woodwork dr frankenstyle! I have too much anxiety to work that detailed, but I'm trying my best.

What I'm having trouble finding is the detail items, like on yours, the rollers, fold-away wheel jack, winch and trailer coupler. Can you spill the beans on where you acquired those things?
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by vf750rider View Post
That's some awesome woodwork dr frankenstyle! I have too much anxiety to work that detailed, but I'm trying my best.

What I'm having trouble finding is the detail items, like on yours, the rollers, fold-away wheel jack, winch and trailer coupler. Can you spill the beans on where you acquired those things?
Thanks, there are more pic's and details in my jet-boat thread.
Yeah, well I had the same issue so I scratch-built all of the details on mine. I turned the rollers from a dowel, the jack is made of brass tubing and hardware, and I made the winch with servo gears and a bobbin spool from my mother's old sewing machine .... and some hand made parts. I carved the hitch from a piece of oak, then cut it apart to add the ball-lock hardware inside.
I get a little ate-up with the details sometimes. My build threads show quite a bit of the process I use for the different things I make, and I use mostly basic tools. Don't get intimidated, it just takes a bit of practice. Not much different than what you're already doing. I've often surprised myself with what I end up with.


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Old 07-15-2019, 02:05 PM   #11
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Wow, I applaud your efforts. I'll do what I can, and we'll see what happens. I'm kind of in limbo now - can't do much above frame until boat arrives and can't do much under frame until I get some wheels to work with.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Boat Arrived!!! It's not the latest greatest, but was budget friendly at $140 everything except batt, and had coolness points (to me anyway). Features one piece blow-molded hull, water cooled ESC and brushless motor, runs on 3S LiPo, and has inner waterproof box for ESC Rx & batt. Got 2 Zeee 2200MaH batts for $35 delivered (today) and took her to lake this evening. She did well, top speed maybe 22mph (too much for a 24" hull). Needs some tuning (and some driver education ).

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Old 07-20-2019, 08:37 PM   #13
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So with boat, I was able to work the top end of trailer. Glued small piece shaped to my weird pointy tongue onto a longer piece to serve as both reinforcement and a "walking platform" to go push boat off trailer and winch up boat without getting wet.

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Old 07-20-2019, 08:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Added uprights to trailer frame to secure runners. Since it's a catamaran style I'm putting runners between the two hulls - the bottom of the boat is smooth there and it will allow (hopefully) easy 'drive aboard' loading.

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Old 07-20-2019, 08:45 PM   #15
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I decided to stray from the panelling nails. Hammering was too rough on a delicate job. I went to stainless screws and predrilled holes. Excuse my messy desk - I'm trying to convert shed to workshop, running power for A/C and lights/tools, but (ironically) it's been too hot to finish insulating the shed. So everything gets done on desk ATM.


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Old 07-20-2019, 08:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

I added a pair of uprights to provide a loading 'stop' at front of trailer. These will fall between the two front (yellow) hull 'points' and the deck top will come to rest against this 'stop'. In front of this some sort of winch configuration will be added (when I get the guts to add a bow eye to boat).

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Old 07-20-2019, 09:04 PM   #17
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The screws are working so much better than the nails! I'm using 6-32 size most everywhere so far. Silly me thought maybe I wouldn't have to paint the trailer and those white headed nails would match the white PVC perfectly. Not! We learn by doing.

The last set of uprights for the runners is closer together than the rest. They are set wide enough for prop flex shaft under boat, but closer together to allow easier target for drive-on loading. And the rear frame cross piece had to be moved forward almost an inch because the deep rudder on boat hit it before the bow hit the front stop.


Last edited by vf750rider; 07-20-2019 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:20 PM   #18
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It's coming together, at least the easier stuff anyway. I'm working on some sort of tongue jack rig and coupler as well. I have spent hours perusing every aisle of every store I can think of just looking at stuff for anything that sparks ideas. People look at me funny 'cause I'm mumbling to myself and touching everything but buying nothing!

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Old 07-20-2019, 09:28 PM   #19
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Default Re: Boat Trailer Build

Tires/wheels arrived today also. Rubber nobbies on black plastic 10 spoke wheels - nothing fancy but matches everything! Have a couple more (including a chrome set) coming someday - sizes all same 73mm OD tire with standard 12mm hex. Leaf spring kit expected this week, so that will let me tinker with trailer underside.


Last edited by vf750rider; 07-20-2019 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-28-2019, 05:48 PM   #20
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Leaf spring kit arrived, but it was too long. So I thought, I'll just roll up the ends more on the long piece! And that worked, on the 1st one, but on the next one, the end snapped off. Ugh.

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