December 30, 2011

Sealing the trailer bed

The next step was working on the underside of the trailer. As I mentioned we were planning on totally encapsulating the trailer, with this we hope to keep the trailer in good shape for a long time to come. The first step is was to flip the trailer. Not an easy job, it required both of us (The book says it weights approximately 260 lbs).

I had some leftover strips of FRP (Fiberglass reinforced plastic) from a job that I did at work, They were going to be thrown away anyway, why not recycle! Each strip was 1 ½’ wide x 8’ long.

The fiberglass strips were cut using a Jig saw with a metal cutting blade, this aided in getting a much better cut while not melting the plastic as I went. I cut around all obstructions in the trailer frame and then laid out the strips as they would be installed.

After layout was completed I went along and drilled holes for each bolt, I figured why not go a bit crazy so each cross member and each FRP sheet received two bolts each. This was where I learned my nice portable drill had decided that its lifespan was complete. I had to go out and buy a corded drill, which worked out a lot better anyways. No need to worry about charged batteries on this job!

We decided the best way to waterproof this job would be by applying a layer of 2 Mil poly underneath the FRP sheets. I did this by first applying a layer of caulk to each cross member and then applying the poly, using the caulking as kind of a glue to hold the poly in the brisk breeze that we had this day.

Once the poly was down I put the bolts through the pre-drilled holes, caulking the bolt holes and applying lok-tite as I went. I also applied a strip of aluminum tape to the underside of each FRP sheet as they joined together just as an added precaution.

Finally the last sheet was on and all the poly was trimmed. We applied caulking between the panels and another strip of aluminum tape. This trailer is officially as water tight as it can get from the underside. Hopefully this is the last time I have to flip this trailer.

And this is how it looks as the trailer is right-side up.

Next post: Wiring the lights so we can test drive this trailer!

The trailer frame

So we know it has been a few weeks since the last post, not much has been going on except for the project beginning, which I guess could be considered a big deal. I did a lot of research and determined that the best bang for my buck in relation to the trailer would be to either purchase a completed trailer already assembled or a bolt together type.

We decided to purchase the harbor freight 1720lb 4’ x 8’ utility trailer as it seemed the best fit for this project. And at $350 bucks it is hard to pass up.

While it isn’t the greatest design or construction (As I learned when we were assembling it) it should suit us just fine with what we are going to be creating. I’ve found a few photos of people creating teardrops on this exact trailer, which gave us some hope.

We got the trailer on Dec 10th and assembled it on the 11th. (I am a little late on this post I’m just realizing as it is now the 30th!) The holidays are a hectic time, so that is my excuse.

We started by laying out all of the parts, it was quite an event which took us most of the day to get completed.

They were actually kind of smart in the design based off of supplying all bolts with a ny-lok nut to them, that way I didn’t have to go around with lok-tite and ensure that none of them ever fall out. This was one of my biggest worries as we are thinking of totally encapsulating the trailer in the design.

We assembled as per the instructions, tightening as we go, the most important part is to ensure that the trailer is square when it is completed.

A bit later that afternoon right before it got dark we had one partially completed trailer!

And this is how Rebecca celebrates, by sitting on our achievement!

December 18, 2011

The design

Before we started designing our trailer, we (mostly Darrell) did tons of research.  Through the power of Google we began compiling photos of trailers and design elements that we liked.  Below are a few of our favorite :)



After 6 years of living in the real world (aka - not college) we've come to the conclusion that the path we are following might not be exactly what we wanted after all.  We are finding that we are letting the daily grid of our jobs wear us down and aren't taking the time do the things that make us happy.  For the last couple of years, we've been hacking away at our debt and squirreling away as much as we could into savings and have finally gotten to the point where we can make the changes we've been waiting for - we are ready to 'turn-about'.

Over the next few months, our big project and first step in this direction is to build a teardrop trailer.  We are fortunate that our apartment has a tiny back yard and since it’s the middle of the winter, our landlord gave us full reign go ahead with our build.  Though we have some skills (Rebecca works in architecture and Darrell is a mechanical engineer) we have never built anything like this before and are learning as we go.  This is also ultimately a great test to see if we can design and build something together without killing each other!

With the trailer completed, we will have the ability to pack up and go at a moments notice  - to travel the country and have new adventures.  Our hope is to fan out beyond New England and visit as many national parks as we can while always having home with us.  And as we travel along we can figure out the next direction our lives will take!

~ Rebecca & Darrell