Sunday, June 1, 2014

The David Bradly Trailer Project: Part 1

Yeah, we know it sounds like the title of a rural Wisconsin "New Wave" band..but it's not.

So in keeping with our theme (old Craftsman house...old Craftsman tools). We decided to pick up an old Craftsman trailer too.  Well, OK it's not really a Craftsman but it was at least sold by Sears!

This is a 1950's David Bradley trailer.  It's seen better days obviously.  The David Bradley name (not to be confused with the guy from Harry Potter) is actually pretty well known among vintage tool and tractor enthusiasts for the walk behind tractor built by Sears and Roebuck from 1947-67'. In truth we'd love to have one of the little tractors some day too. 

The trailer in the center of this original Sears ad is the one closest to ours.  The previous owner replaced the springs, axle, hubs and tires with much stronger materials.  From the look of things they took the whole sub frame from another trailer and added it on to this one.  

Though this works and pulled down the road very nicely despite it's looks, we're pretty sure it would benefit from some reinforcement. The trailer's tongue is also pretty well shot (as is the original hitch). So thanks to Craigslist we now have a fairly large pile of steel on our other trailer:

So the plan at this point is to replace some or all of the sub-frame and tongue with the steel pictured (leaning heavily toward the latter). Justin did an initial design planning to retain the current sub-frame.  While doing these renderings it occurred to him that we probably have enough steel to re-frame the entire under carriage and also...he needs a bigger Arc welder.  You can imagine how disappointed he was about that last bit.

We use Sweet Home 3d a lot for planning our projects  Thought it's designed mostly for building design, it can also be used to put together quick and dirty CAD designs. Almost all of the measurements on the above picture are "rough".  More precise dimensions will be used as soon as we have it flipped over. This was good enough to get some basic ideas going though.  

This was the first draft of the basic frame design using the materials we have presently. Initially he was only planning on bringing the new frame back as far as the axle.  

It was about the time when Justin started adding the existing components to his render that completely replacing the sub-frame came to mind.  His dad made a couple of good suggestions that seemed to be easier to accomplish once the problem of attaching the oldish sub-frame to the new sub-frame was removed from the equation.   

If only all the metal work was as simple as creating the computer model.  Still working out the details in software is a lot easier then cutting up a bunch of steel to see what works and what doesn't.  We'll have another post soon showing the progress on the re-design of our little ugly trailer.  But the picture above (sub-frame changes not withstanding) is basically what we have in mind.

Considering how much hammering it took to get the first big dent straightened out of the passenger side...we've got a long way to go! Stay tuned!