Why BUY Plans, If You Can Get FREE Plans?

It’s a big dilemma.  Why buy trailer plans (or crane plans or whatever) when you can get Free Plans?  Some websites have free plans, other places charge.  So what’s the big deal?  And, Why should I pay for plans here instead of getting some elsewhere for free?

We get this question a lot, and one simple answer is “You get what you pay for.”  But that’s not totally true, because we have the best plans around, but we certainly don’t charge the most.  Our goal is to deliver value — better plans for a great price.

Mechanical Elements

Mechanical Elements on a phone.We tout MechanicalElements.com as a DIY Portal because we offer much more than just blueprints.  Of course, the plans we offer are second to none — fully engineered, with illustrated instructions and complete detailed drawings.  Yet, the site is much more including great free articles and “How To’s”.  Our focus is on helping you in your project.  Yes, we prefer that you buy plans here, because they’re the best, but the articles we provide are universal to help DIY creators everywhere.

For example, Check out the articles on Trailer Wiring (and this one), or on Building Frames.  There are articles on Crane Safety, ways to Save Money on DIY projects, and more.  Your success is our focus.

While most of our blueprints focus on Trailers and Shop Tools (presses, gantry cranes, etc), we also include other DIY topics.

Why Not FREE Plans?

Certainly we study the “Free” plans out there, and though free is nice, the free plans lack attention that we believe customers deserve.  We don’t categorize all free plans the same, but many lack full engineering, others lack needed detail, explanations, instruction, or options for versatility.

Plans from Mechanical Elements are designed at Synthesis Engineering by an engineer that is also a welder and a fabricator.  Many other plans are from by a shop guy that knows a little AutoCAD.  Or from a college student doing a class project.  I’m not knocking the ingenuity of those who create free plans.  However, for customers that appreciate quality, want completeness, like knowledge, and deserve peace of mind when the project is done, we offer better plans — inexpensively.  Ours are not the cheapest, nor the most expensive, but they are the best.  Read more below for our Value Proposition.

What Do I Get For The Money?

Check out the Mechanical Elements Plans Store for a full view of plans we offer.  They all include several pages of instruction as well as the detail drawings.  They give some explanation of why certain things are done, and options to change things for a different end result.  Options are one of the big benefits our our plans.  Most people want details of their own, and while many people know how to figure it out, it’s always good to look at how others have done it.  Our plans are full of options.

Options in our Plans - Not in Free Plans

Of course, you also get the engineering behind the plans.  As easy as some projects seem — a utility trailer, for instance — the engineering to make it right is not simple, fast or cheap.  We want it right so you have a successful project.  Read more about How We Make The Plans.

Example of Our Value Proposition

A complete set of trailer blueprints with instructions can cost $2000 – $8000 to create (depending on size and complexity).  That’s engineering time for concept evaluation, layout and analysis, engineering iteration, drafting time for the drawings and details, then all the writing for instructions, bill of materials, components, notes, and more.  That doesn’t include the added time for engineering the all the various options and explaining how to use them.

Continuing the example of trailer plans . . . . . When we sell the plans for $15 to $50, that’s a super bargain.  Think of it as a 99% Discount, and that’s something to get excited about.

We offer value to those looking to make a great project.  There are sites that offer free plans, and we won’t knock them, but we do find their plans lacking.  Usually, you get what you pay for, but we’ll let you be the judge for your situation.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, we also offer full custom, fully engineered plans.  Try this article about Custom Trailer Engineering for ideas, and the same is true for many projects.  It’s exactly the opposite of free trailer plans.

The Author

I am the Engineer.  I am also a trailer builder, and a machine designer and fabricator.  Unlike most engineers, I get my hands dirty and I build stuff.  So, when I design things, there is a level of experience too, because I know what it takes to actually make it.

More important, I seek to understand the nuances with every project.  The trailer plans started with units I built with a friend.  Other items in our store are things I wanted, like the Gantry Crane or the Shop Cart, so I designed them and built them.  That just means our plans are at the level of detail I want when I start a project.  It means the end products are tough enough to do what we say they will do.  Read more of our story at the About Us page.

Are There Free Plans At Mechanical Elements?

With all that said, if you still want our plans for free, we have just the offer for you.  That page gives all the detail about how you can get our plans for free.  It’s not actually free plans, it’s a trade.  You help us, and we’ll help you.  That works.  We are NOT all about making money, but we do believe in trading value for value.  So, we’ll give you the option.

Get Building !!

We wish you the best of luck with all your projects.  If your projects include plans from Mechanical Elements, THANK YOU, that’s awesome.  If not, that’s great too.  Feel free to use any of our free resources — especially the articles in “The Mechanic’s Post“.  After all, they are for you, and every DIY builder.  Just get building!

Thanks for Visiting, Good Luck with Your Projects, and Have a Wonderful Day.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

Which Welder To Buy?
“I’m looking to build one of your trailers, but I need to know which welder to buy?”  or  “What type of welder do I need – 110 or 220 volt?”  and  “What about other projects from your site that may…

Read The Article

Attach Safety Chain With One Bolt
What are the best ways to attach safety chains on a trailer?  That’s a simple question without a single best answer.  Don’t you hate it when the answer starts with “It depends . . . “?  Unfortunately, it does depend…

Read The Article

SAE v. RV Standard Trailer Wire Colors
Starting at the main wiring connector, trailer wire colors help us trace the conductors to all the proper electrical connections.  The colors are specified by the various standards such as the SAE ( Traditional ) standards, or the newer RV…

Read The Article

Bend A Metal Bracket
There are a bunch of ways to bend metal for a bracket.  Do a search on YouTube and you’ll likely find several techniques.  Well, we don’t want to dis any of those because

Read The Article

Trailer Security
How many trailers are stolen each year?  That’s a question worth pondering, because if you put a lot of sweat and love into building a great trailer . . . . if it disappears, it’s heartbreaking.  We don’t like to…

Read The Article

Need To Shorten The Chain
In previous articles we discuss the importance of trailer safety chain length.  If the chains are too long, what can you do?  Yeah, odds are you won’t need them, but what if you do?  Long chains can complicate things quickly,…

Read The Article

Cost and DIY Project Economics
“I want to build a new trailer.”  That’s an awesome thing to say, and it’s even better to do.  Yet, many such adventures don’t launch because of project economics?  What does it cost to build? 

Read The Article

DIY Creative Solutions
Do you believe the old saying  “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”?  Well, I have a need, but I don’t need an invention, just a quick solution.  So, maybe Necessity is really the Mother of Creative Solutions! 

Read The Article

Gantry Crane Failure Modes
There are a lot of ways to abuse a crane.  We won’t go into those, but let us do take a minute on crane failures and what they look like.  In general, there are 3 main gantry crane failure modes. 

Read The Article

4x8-2000 lb Utility Trailer

An excellent DIY small trailer project.  These 4 x 8 Small Utility Trailer Plans sport 2000 lbs. capacity.  The trailer will work hard, yet always be nice to work with.  And, tow it with a smaller car.