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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786500 10/07/19 8:14 pm
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Progress has been made, a stolen hour at a time. Inspired by Chaterlea25's improvised bike lift solution one evening on the Cannonball when we were going to have to tear into the primary case, ...

[Linked Image]

... as well as at least one team who did something similar with their drop-down trailer door, this is my combination loading ramp and bike lift:

[Linked Image]

I've had this Al loading ramp since I owned a Datsun (pre- Nissan) truck in the early '70s. It stores at a little over 4 ft. but telescopes to 7 ft for loading. The wheelbase of a Gold Star is ~6 ft. so, if desired, the entire bike can be on the "lift," fully outside the trailer, at a height of 18". That might sound low for a lift but, while my two indoor lifts go to 28" and 32", which is great for working while standing up, they also have low settings of 18" and 23", respectively, for working while seated. The "walls" on either side of this loading ramp that confine the tire, while not essential, make pushing a bike backwards onto it easier when there is a helper, and much less stressful if there isn't.

The ramp already had four holes at each end to allow the lip to be attached at either location so I tapped holes for a 27" cross-piece of 1"×1" tubing and loctited bolts to allow it to be quickly attached to the ramp to add tie-down points when converting to a lift (nb. the tapped holes in the thin wall only have to have enough strength to keep the bolts from falling out).

[Linked Image]

Before starting work I tested the strength of the tubing by supporting it on the ends and standing in the middle. While I don't weigh 200 lbs. (half the weight of a bike), I do weigh enough that this test convinced me the tubing would be strong enough for the job. Despite that, I tacked on a second piece of scrap tubing so there would be no question of its strength. In addition to providing tie-down points, having this cross-piece will add stability, and being able to bolt it on means there will be one less item to fiddle with when leveling the ramp on the jack stands.

Since the lip of the ramp extends 1½" below the bottom edge the 1½" square tubing I added as a spacer at that end will support the load when used horizontally as a lift, without interfering with its use as a ramp.

[Linked Image]

Since the two pieces I made for the ramp are both steel I used etching primer to ward off rust, and probably will leave them without additional paint since how they look isn't important.

Earlier I had thought I would rigidly locate the ramp/lift using the center E-track. But, I realized that wasn't necessary for the required stability, and that if in that position it would require extra effort to wrestle the bike sideways to be centered before it could be rolled backwards onto the "lift." Further, if the lift were located in the center it would require removing the second bike from the trailer before it could be used. With my revised setup the ramp is aligned with the bike instead of vice versa, which is a lot faster and easier way of doing things.

While a full-size lift would be a 10 on the convenience scale, where crawling around on asphalt (or in the dirt) would be a 0, an 18" lift along with a shop stool has to rate at least an 8.

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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786530 10/08/19 1:46 am
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I wouldn't trust the two jackstands to provide enough stability by themselves. But if you have the bike also tied on both sides to the E-Track, that would provide extra stability. It's just too easy to lean over the bike or pull on a wrench to one side and the bike could topple over.
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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: koncretekid] #786535 10/08/19 2:23 am
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Originally Posted by koncretekid
I wouldn't trust the two jackstands to provide enough stability by themselves. But if you have the bike also tied on both sides to the E-Track, that would provide extra stability.
Agreed. The plan would be to have two straps attached to the E-tracks pulling the bike slightly forward while two straps attached to the cross-bar pull it slightly backwards. According to Charles Atlas, holding it in dynamic tension this way would strengthen its muscles but, leaving that benefit aside, it would hold it quite securely.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786586 10/08/19 7:23 pm
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Certainly adds to the versatility of the trailer.
Well done MMan (and ChaterLea25).
Taking up one of your ideas, MMan, yesterday I fitted two fire extinguishers in my trailer.
Common sense when you think of it, great idea when you don't!
Thank you.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Tridentman] #786588 10/08/19 8:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
yesterday I fitted two fire extinguishers in my trailer.
And here's to hoping they never get used so turn out to have been a complete waste of money. I have the same hope for mine.

My progress today was limited to spending a few minutes to remove drawers from the tool chest set to make it lighter when it comes time to lift into the trailer, and to have access to the back of each for bolting to the wall. I'll bolt them together, offset by the thickness of the lid of the top one, and once they're in the trailer decide whether that's sufficient, or whether to make a spacer for bolting the top one to the trailer as well.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786658 10/09/19 8:22 pm
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I took a much-deserved break from what I need to be doing in order to install the toolbox (I'm calling it a "toolbox" but it will hold supplies and spares as well). As a side benefit, this opened up a very useful amount of space in a part of the garage that had been a bit cramped before.

It's hard to tell from the photograph but the lower chest is butted against the wall at the bottom, but there's a ½" gap at the top.

[Linked Image]

I dealt with this gap by installing a pair of lag screws near the top onto which I dropped a shim. As can be seen, in all there are now ten fasteners bolting it to the wood wall and to the 1"x1" steel ribs underneath.

[Linked Image]

The toolbox has to be mounted securely enough to the trailer to resist acceleration, braking, and left-hand turns. Despite the mighty V10 in my F350 I don't think acceleration will rip it from the wall. Neither do I think braking would be a problem even without the workbench that in any case would block it from moving forward. That leaves sharp, left-hand turns. It's hard to imagine that the ten fasteners won't be able to deal with high-speed chicanes as well.

After bolting the lower chest to the wall I then used four ¼" bolts to attach the top toolbox to the chest.

[Linked Image]

Since the upper toolbox has to be offset from the wall in order for the lid to open I had thought I might bolt it to the wall using a ~2" shim, but after everything was bolted in place I decided that its attachment to the bottom chest would be sufficient to keep it from going anywhere.

As can be seen, with the toolbox in position at the front of the E-track there's a 17" gap to the front of the trailer (after I took this photo I put 2"x2" Al pads under each wheel to spread the load).

[Linked Image]

I'll fabricate an L-shaped workbench to take advantage of this space next to the toolbox, and the other part of the L will be ~24"-deep to match with the frame of the side door. That will give the trailer ~9 sq.ft. of workbench area, plus storage shelves underneath.

I didn't weigh the toolbox set, but from what I found on-line for the shipping weight of similar empty units it should be ~150 lbs. Assuming I (over)estimate 300 lbs. of tools and supplies, plus 800 lbs. for two motorcycles and 100 lbs. for the workbench, that leaves a margin of ~650 lbs. for helmets, gloves, and miscellaneous junk before hitting the max. recommended capacity of the trailer (and 950 lbs. before hitting the max. rating of the axle). So, this trailer should be able to handle what I'll be asking of it.

Now, back to work...


p.s.
This is what I plan for the workbench.

[Linked Image]

In my planning I'm assuming the heaviest item that ever will be on the workbench will be an engine, and as a, ahem, benchmark for that a Triumph Bonneville engine weighs 140 lbs. In addition, the 5" vise I have for it weighs 76 lbs. I know from the support I made for the end of the "lift" a few days ago that a 27" length of 1"x1" square tubing can support me in the middle without bending much. However, the longest runs on the workbench will be ~36" between supports. Hence, even though whatever I use for the top (½" plywood?) will provide additional support, I'll probably make the frame from 1½"x1½" square tubing with legs for support at all but one of the corners plus the middle of the long run. I'll see what it looks like when I start cutting and welding, but I'll probably support the corner that sticks out into the center of the trailer with a tube at an angle to the nearby leg in order eliminate it as an obstruction. I still have to decide what to use for the top surface of the workbench. Suggestions?


Last edited by Magnetoman; 10/09/19 11:37 pm. Reason: p.s.
Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786662 10/09/19 9:18 pm
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.
will the drawers stay closed ... on their own ...
if you're forced to make a quick left turn ?

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786670 10/10/19 12:34 am
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When you tested the end of the "lift" a couple of days ago the ends of the square section tube were I assume "simply supported".
However in your work bench the ends of the horizontal members will be effectively "firmly clamped"--so the deflection for a given load will be much less.
So I think I would stick to 1' X 1" square tubing for all of the bench framework.
As for the top --- plywood would seem to be in the "trailer spirit"---I would be tempted to use 3/4" thick.
Why?--just seems so much more solid to me.
and BTW---where on the bench are you thinking of mounting the vice?
Wherever you mount it may be worth putting in more framework underneath the vice mounts.

Last edited by Tridentman; 10/10/19 12:35 am.
Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Tridentman] #786680 10/10/19 2:30 am
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
So I think I would stick to 1' X 1" square tubing for all of the bench framework.
I'm also pretty much convinced that 1"x1" would be fine. Which is why I'll be using 1½"x1½" so there's no question. There's little downside to using the larger tubing for this other than a bit more total weight. The extra ½" dimension will be under the benchtop in locations where the extra cubic inches it occupies wouldn't be used for anything else anyway.

Originally Posted by Tridentman
I would be tempted to use 3/4" thick.
What's this? In one sentence you try to convince me to use a wimpy construction material, and in the next you push for something humongous. OK, OK, I didn't take your suggestion for the 1" so in the spirit of compromise I'll accept yours for the ¾". But, what should I have for the top surface (epoxy paint, formica, metal, ...)?

Originally Posted by Tridentman
where on the bench are you thinking of mounting the vice?
Like all my vices, at 76 lbs. it's a serious vise. I plan to have it roughly midway between the toolbox and the portion of the bench that juts out further, and ~3" back from the edge. The exact placement will be so that whether fully open or fully closed the jaws overhang the edge of the bench and the vise can swing through the full 360-deg. This would place it ~8" from the nearest support leg. However, if it looks too flimsy there I could add another support leg at the front edge of the toolbox, or a fore-aft cross-piece, (or both) without either interfering with anything. It's easy enough to cut and weld tubing so there's a pretty good chance I'll err on the side of overbuilding the workbench rather than underbuilding it. That is, assuming I don't burn the trailer down with the TIG...

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786686 10/10/19 2:52 am
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!' or 1 1/2"?--- that is the question.
Whether to be OK or extra OK?
I give in on this one--after all--what is 1/2" between friends?

Covering the bench top? Hmmmmn----- when I built my workshop bench some 17 years ago I tried to make do with what I had available.
And that was two doors---one wooden and the other wood covered in sheet steel.
I put the sheet steel one on the top and it has lasted very well over the intervening timescale.

That is a pretty big vice---so will restrict access around it somewhat ==particularly to the part of the bench "behind" the toolbox.
Having said that I have no better suggestions to make.

At the risk of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs--- I presume that you are aware of the old rule of thumb that the bench height should be at a level such that the top of the vice grips should be level with your elbow with your arm at your side. This gives the most natural position for filing something held in the vice.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786690 10/10/19 5:22 am
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
This gives the most natural position for filing something held in the vice.
That's definitely an English rule. I'll explain why.

Thirty years ago I had a lot of money to buy a very expensive, very high tech research instrument. The two most-established manufacturers of this machine were in France and England, both of which made excellent products.

I was on sabbatical in Paris at the time my proposal was approved so I visited the French company first, located in a suburb. Workers smoked when they were assembling sensitive components, wore a variety of clothes, the walls were patched and some needed painting, etc. But, they produced a product that worked quite well. That night they took me to a Michelin one star restaurant in Paris.

A week later I flew to Gatwick where a rep from the English company picked me up and drove me to East Grinstead. Knowing I was coming from Paris he apologized ahead of time for the restaurant he was going to take me to for lunch, saying it was the best they could do. At the factory everyone was in matching blue smocks, the walls were painted, and it all looked quite professional. They too produced an excellent product. But, as I told the English rep at the end of my visit, a file was the most common tool I saw being used in their factory to produce machines that cost over $1M in late-'80s dollars. Clearly the overall culture as well as the approach to fabrication was quite different.

Anyway, I don't know at what height the French mount their vises, but that's why English vises are at elbow height.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786692 10/10/19 7:17 am
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Quote
I presume that you are aware of the old rule of thumb that the bench height should be at a level such that the top of the vice grips should be level with your elbow with your arm at your side


That's a great tip trident man and one that I was only partially aware of. When I have built benches in the past I set the work surface height to elbow height, hence my work surface has been slightly higher than needed. I can see the sense in setting the vice grip height to elbow height to allow for easy filing etc.

Regarding the work surface covering, whenever I have used a wood covering, if any oil or other fluids leaks onto it, there;s a tendency for it to soak in and attract dust, dirt and contaminate parts . I'm currently using an old Formica kitchen work top which works well, alternately it may be worth covering the work top with a sheet of AL, Steel or even some of the left over flooring rubber?


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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786700 10/10/19 1:21 pm
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Plenty of vices in England!
And I brought plenty with me when I moved to US!

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Tridentman] #786709 10/10/19 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
Plenty of vices in England!
And I brought plenty with me when I moved to US!
I learned as a result of this recent exchange of another difference in spelling between our two languages that I hadn't been aware of before, making it ambiguous to know whether or not you had to pay extra freight for the many vices you brought with you.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786715 10/10/19 4:07 pm
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I had to pay freight on the one metal vice I brought with me which had belonged to my father.
The more personal "vices" I brought with me were free of freight charges but cost me every day!
Was it not George Bernard Shaw who said something along the lines of "England and America--two cultures separated by a common language".

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786722 10/10/19 6:55 pm
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Turning to a weightier issue than spelling, with a simulated amount of tools and supplies in the toolbox the weight on the hitch is now 200 lbs.

[Linked Image]

The distance from the axle to the hitch is 10 ft. 4" and the distance at which the workbench and 76 lb. vise will sit is ~6 ft. If I assume ~125 lbs. total for them they will add 6/10.3 x 125 = 73 lbs. to the hitch, for a total of 273 lbs. Fully loaded with two bikes the trailer will weigh ~2500 lbs. (~2100 with one bike) so having the bike(s) tied down at the front of the E-tracks, where their centers are over the axle, will give the desired 10-15% of gross weight loading on the hitch. So far, so good.

That's all the time I'll be spending on the trailer today. More pressing motorcycle-related duties are keeping me busy today.

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786741 10/11/19 12:13 am
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Which is more expensive, a vise, or a vice?


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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786746 10/11/19 1:26 am
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In US-- a vice because it smacks of a personal obsession.
In England--- a vice because there is no vise.

Back to trailers---I have been looking at camera systems.
Seems for about $200 you can get a couple of cameras running off 12 volts and with night vision that connect wirelessly to a (supplied) monitor in the towing vehicle.
Sold for aiding hitching up the trailer and for general rear views during reversing.
I am thinking of one camera for aiding hitching and one camera inside the enclosed trailer to monitor the contents while driving.
just thinking at the moment----hmmmmmmn!

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Tridentman] #786858 10/11/19 9:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
I am thinking of one camera for aiding hitching and one camera inside the enclosed trailer to monitor the contents while driving.
Hitching a trailer while working alone can require a lot of running back and forth to check progress, but I don't do it enough that a camera is a compelling addition. However, I'm sure that if I had one I'd wonder how I ever could have gotten along without it.

I'm now destined to deal with devilish details. Because of the location of the side door, if the toolbox is in place geometry makes it impossible to install a pre-constructed workbench frame. Because the trailer isn't a perfect cuboid, without having had the toolbox actually installed there's no way I could have accurately measured the dimensions the frame needs to have, but removing and reinstalling the toolbox at this point would be a lot of work. Even if I removed one wheel from the toolbox it still would be impossible to install a pre-constructed top frame to which legs would be added after it was in position.

[Linked Image]

So, it appears I'll have to weld the entire frame in situ. This actually isn't so awful, although being able to weld the frame while clamped to a flat steel surface would have ensured it was accurately flat. But, the subject of flat brings up the subject of level, which in turn brings up (again) the subject of what surface to put on the plywood top.

If this workbench were to hold a surface plate for precision measurements in a laboratory setting I'd want it "gravitationally level" to the accuracy of my Starrett Master Precision Level (0.0005"/ft.). However, it will be in a trailer that "never" will be level. The location where it is parked will have it tilted somewhat one way or the other, its attachment to the hitch will tilt it forward or backward somewhat as well, and just moving around inside the trailer will tilt it. So, my plan -- subject to someone pointing out a defect in it -- will be to try to get all the legs the same height to within no worse than ~⅛" and declare the result to be level enough. But, what height?

Some years ago I made the main workbench for my garage 36" high. I don't remember why I chose that height, but my guess is I measured a laboratory workbench and copied it. A few years after that I bought a commercial electronics bench and it also is 36" high. That height has never bothered me so I'll make the one in the trailer 36". Returning to TM's vi(sc)es, it happens that one of them that I have on that workbench satisfies TM's "Elbow Rule," but the one at the other end of the bench is ~4" too high[*]. The vise I have for the trailer will be ~3" above The Rule, which will be an inconvenience I'll have to live with if I decide to start producing items in quantity that require filing in the trailer.

In the garage a smooth, level, durable workbench top is ideal, but what about for use in an un-level trailer where it will be used only in "emergencies" and for limited lengths of time? Under these circumstances, would a textured surface of some kind be better to keep items from rolling off the top? Of course, it's possible to have it both ways, with a smooth permanent surface covered by a removeable textured mat.

Any thoughts about heights, levels, or surfaces before I start cutting and welding myself into a corner?

[*]Now that I think about it, without ever having thought about it I've naturally gravitated to the lower vise when I needed to remove a lot of material by filing, but to the one closer to eye level when I needed to do "precision filing" of a small amount of material.


Last edited by Magnetoman; 10/11/19 10:13 pm. Reason: added [*]
Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786861 10/11/19 11:05 pm
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I am still mulling over the question of a camera.
The reviews on the one that I am looking at specifically are almost without exception very good.
People seem to use them for hitching the trailer and also as a general camera at the back for when reversing.
Some were used on big long trailers and some on RVs.
I have a birthday coming up quite soon so maybe I will mention my acute (!) need for a camera system. At least it might prevent me wearing another sweater that I don't particularly like!

Ref your bench--perhaps another solution is to sectionalize it--build it in, say, two parts which can be bolted together in your garage to ensure fit and levels etc , then dismantled and rebuilt in the trailer. This would also ensure that you could get it out again if you so wished at a later date.

In terms of the bench top covering---I guess that this bench is not going to see anything like the action that a garage bench sees--so why not leave it as bare plywood and see how it goes?
If it is fine after a couple of years then leave as is. If it shows a lot of wear then consider at that point some form of covering. By then you would have had some experience of using it and thus be able to decide on a covering in the light of experience.

In terms of level---reading your last post made me smile.
At an early stage of working on my trailer I needed to fix something vertically inside the trailer--so I took into the trailer the relevant tools-- including a spirit level.
Only when I offered up the spirit level did I realize how stupid I was being!

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786862 10/11/19 11:06 pm
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P.S.---if anyone is interested the camera is on Amazon--the link is:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FM3YLT5/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2ER62U9Z259ZS&psc=1

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Tridentman] #786865 10/11/19 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
perhaps another solution is to sectionalize it
Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all, sir. A bolt-together frame would be a bit more complicated to make and wouldn't be quite as strong as a completely welded one, but I think 1½" tubing will have over-strengthened it to the point that strength isn't a concern. The only downside to your idea I can think of, but it's a major one, is that it would eliminate the many opportunities I would otherwise have to set fire to the plywood walls with the welding torch.

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by Tridentman
why not leave it as bare plywood and see how it goes?
The problem with that is that as soon as oil soaks in some options for covering it would be eliminated. Because of that, it would be nice to implement the best covering from the start. It just requires knowing what 'best' is...


Last edited by Magnetoman; 10/11/19 11:37 pm. Reason: addied diagram
Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786884 10/12/19 6:04 am
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There's a good video on YouTube of someone making a welded steel framed work bench complete with drawers and other features. The work surface is apparently made from phenolic film coated plywood which is used in the construction industry when forming smooth concrete structures. See This Link

Apparently phenolic film coated plywood has the following features:-

-Ultra smooth surface for concrete shuttering
-Multi strike with careful handling up to 20 strikes are possible
-High resistance to water and chemicals
-Can be cut with hand or machine tools
- Could also be used for furniture in chemical laboratories.

I've never tried this material so not a recommendation, but it does sound promising.

Last edited by gunner; 10/12/19 6:19 am.

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Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: Magnetoman] #786895 10/12/19 12:36 pm
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MMan--I think I would bolt the sections together for reasons already detailed.
However I would not wish to deprive you totally of your pyrotechnics---so you could always weld the sections together in situ!

Re: Enclosed Motorcycle Trailer: Design & Build [Re: gunner] #786905 10/12/19 3:38 pm
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Magnetoman Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by gunner
There's a good video on YouTube of someone making a welded steel framed work bench complete with drawers and other features.
Damn you for linking to that video. You've made my job much longer because now I have to step up my plans well beyond just making a simple table covered with plywood. Damn you, gunner!


p.s. I spent the better part of an hour watching youtube videos looking for ideas for the workbench. I was struck by the number of people who work in shorts and flip flops or sandals, even while welding and grinding. However, I can't fault anyone for wearing a T-shirt while welding since it saves time that otherwise would have to be spent in a tanning booth.

Last edited by Magnetoman; 10/12/19 5:19 pm. Reason: p.s.
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