We've spent many hours poring over the GrabCAD Lightweight Portable Trailer Challenge, and the top three designs each spent some time as the top choice before discussions and debate changed the final order. There were many more designs that we'd like to acknowledge, but rules dictate that we list the top 10.
One issue that we've dealt with over the past month has affected the final order more than any other; we have been getting the car ready for the SEMA show (over 300 miles by trailer), which means our own standard trailer has been used frequently. More importantly, most of the work--even some painting--has been taking place on the trailer. Thus to have a stable platform from which to work is seen as a major benefit to the design. Our regular trailer has a stable platform, but is bulky and the wheels are always in the way. The perfect solution would be to de-couple the trailer stand from the wheels and move them out of the way, which many of the designs accomplish.
The other overriding issue with the trailer design is safety. In other words, would you use these trailer designs to take a one-of-a-kind car 375 miles from Southern California to Laguna Seca? This trip includes everything from cracked concrete that punishes the strongest trailer, to highway speeds that are admittedly higher than the law would allow.
There are two points that I like best about this entry. First, thinkin3d offered a fellow engineer his assistance with his renderings during the challenge. That to me is the essence of GrabCAD. The "no-ramp" design gets extra points, and the ability to remove the base gives options that standard trailers don't offer. Lastly, the stress analysis results were reassuring for those long trips to Laguna Seca.
My favorite wheel suspension design. This wheel assembly drawing alone opens up options for other trailer designs. Mr. Louw seemed to have thought of every contingency and added it into his design. This ramp spent quite a while as the top ramp of the bunch.
The 3° ramp angle alone makes this an interesting trailer, as is the fact that the majority of the suspension parts can be water jet from steel plate. The renderings make this trailer look like it's intended for a Ferrari.
If I had to choose one trailer to show up with at Laguna Seca, this would be it. "Trailer envy" is real, and Mr. Provost's design clearly hits the mark for a Catfish hauler. This design spent some time as first.
This trailer design is a "sleeper". It rotates and it slides to keep the approach angle low. The deck can be made removable as well. Could this be the ultimate simple car trailer?
Super simple and beautifully rendered. The rotating suspension assembly could also fasten at the back for added strength. This design is ready for production.
The lever arm is a wonderfully simple idea for a trailer, and could be incorporated for use with human power or with help from a winch. One day this could be the default car hauler.
We really like the sway bar addition to cut down speed wobble. Thoughtful.
A screw jack solves many issues. If the platform lowered and then simply was able to slide off, this design would be a serious contender.
This "out of the box" trailer is sure to be the incubator for many more designs. The lift mechanism alone is pure joy for track-side use. However, my brand new Sparco racing suit would prevent me from disengaging the wheel mechanism.
With the Challenge complete, it's our intention to build the winning trailer during the course of the year. Don't be surprised if a design element or two from other entrants find their way onto our trailer.
Thanks again to the GrabCAD community for an interesting and exciting challenge. The wealth of talent in this community is amazing.