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.  More importantly, 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 and About Us.

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 . . .

Harbor Freight Improvement
You’ve seen them, the inexpensive bolt-together Harbor Freight trailer kits.  While they pack a lot of function, they unfortunately are often something like a rattle trap.  (Not always, of course.)  While they have a cheap rap, they sell a lot

Read The Article

4'x6' Off Road Trailer

Build a great little Off Road Jeep Trailer with these Plans.  The 4 x 6 is a nice adventure size to use with a Jeep or any other 4x4 or OHV.  Customize the Height, Box, and Ground Clearance with options…

Is there escape from covid-19?
What more can we say about Coronavirus?  The daily press updates are full of horrible news!  There’s so much concern and sadness everywhere.  Then there’s the “Stay at Home” mandates.  I need an emotional escape from COVID !!

Read The Article

Spring Foot for Gantry Crane Safety
Nothing ruins a pleasant day quite like a goose egg on your head, or a throbbing finger pinch.  Avoiding those things (and, of course, the much more disastrous potential events) is the context of this gantry crane safety article.

Read The Article

Mobile Gantry Crane Plans

Adding a crane is a game changer in the shop.  It’s perfect for lifting . . . anything.  Use the free standing mobile gantry crane - from plans - for pulling engines, to lift the boat, the car, or other…

10x32 Wide Tiny House Trailer Plans

To meet the needs of a wider Tiny House, these 10’ width trailer blueprints include extra engineering and design.  Low, wide 10’ x 30’ or 32’ top deck.  Up to 18,000 lbs total capacity.

Trailer Lights and Wires Feature
On new trailer builds, as well as on existing rigs, the trailer lights and wires must all function.  Here are some tips on the subject.  If you find the electrical a little confusing or intimidating, read on.

Read The Article

What Do You Want for 2020
A new day, A new Year, and a new Decade!  We don’t get to say that very often, so it’s kind of cool.  Anyway, as we look to the near future for Mechanical Elements, we want to know what you…

Read The Article

DOT Approved or Certified Plans
This is a great question we get a lot, in many variations.  Are your plans DOT approved?  Are the plans Stamped?  We think it’s great to know the level of plans you get when you buy, so asking about certified…

Read The Article

6x11, 2 Place, ATV Trailer Plans

When you need full space for 2 large ATV’s, or other off-road vehicles, this is your trailer.  Plans give options for ramps, tie-downs, and other functions.  Build this for robust action to last through the years.