What is a “Specialty Trailer”?

When someone asked “What is a Specialty Trailer?”, I had to really think about it.  Words are important in descriptions.  Certainly it does not mean “Special”, as in “Unique” because almost all DIY or handmade or homemade trailers are “Special” in that way.  So, how would you describe it?

I am actually interested in your comments, so feel free to let us know how you would answer.  What is a Specialty Trailer?

Mechanical Elements & DIY Trailers

Off Road Specialty TrailerPerhaps it’s just wordsmithing or a waste of time thinking about definitions.  Some people put a lot of focus on words and meanings, while others don’t care so much.  Just as long as communication happens.  I tend to be in the latter group, but I certainly understand the importance of communicating ideas with well chosen words.

At Mechanical Elements, we like the DIY concept of creating the things you need.  It’s bringing a part of you into the project, and there’s nothing quite like the way finishing a great project makes you feel.  Trailers, of course, and Shop Tools happen to be our favorites, so that’s what we’re about.  Yet, it’s more than that.  We love to see people successful.  Whether you get plans from us or not . . . If you find something in an article that’s helpful, then it’s worth it.

And, anything you choose to put your heart into, becomes unique and special.

So, if all these DIY trailers are unique and special in their own way, what is “Specialty”?

What is a “Specialty Trailer” Anyway?

For us, we define it on function.  Our 3 Trailer categories are:  Utility, Deck-Over, and Specialty Trailers.  (We should probably add some, but those seem to group pretty well.)  Utility Trailers are useful for dozens of purposes (non specific).   These are the Jack-of-all-Projects.  It’s similar for the Deck-Over Trailers except these are larger and taller.  Then there are the  Specialty Trailers with a design for a specific purposes.  (Accessories fall partly in the specialty category, but are not full trailers.)

Our “Utility Trailer” plans come with lots of options, and you choose what you like.  You can choose several, or none.  Or, you can mutate the ideas to best fit your application.  That will make your trailer unique and therefore special, but not necessarily “specialty”.

5' x 10.5' - 2 Place ATV Trailer PlansOur “Specialty Trailer” plans include design with options that enhance a specific purpose.  Again, there are options to support variations of the purpose.

For example, our ATV trailers have ramp options and tie-down options that help with ATV’s.  You can make one of our “Utility Trailers” and use it for ATV’s, of course.  But, if hauling ATV’s is the primary purpose for the trailer, why not get a design for that.  And, you can use it for the Utility chores too.  It’s kind of looking at it from the other end.

Another example is “Tiny House” trailers.  These are stiffer than you’d normally build for a Utility Trailer of the same length.  For utility functions a little trailer flex doesn’t matter that much, but you don’t want the foundation of your tiny house to flex.  The design is specifically to hold a tiny house — with all the needs of a tiny house — so we call it a specialty trailer.

The Super Extra Special Category

Then, there’s a whole class of “Super Specialty Trailer” or maybe it’s the “Unique” or “Rare” side.  For example, for those experiencing the Tiny House Size Quandary, may want something wider than traditional — like a 10′ width rolling foundation or even a 12′ width.  They require special permits on the road, and they don’t fit most towing situations.  Yet they are specialty trailers, so they’re worth mentioning.  Also, if you want them, we have the plans for you.  We have both the 10′ Wide Tiny House Trailer, and the extra size 12′ Wide Tiny House Trailer.  Please Contact Us for details.

Another style in this category are trailers with axles at both ends — like this Old Time Herder’s House.  As flat bed trailers, they are popular for farms because of stability at low speeds and the spread of the weight.  The Deck-Over configuration makes them nice for hauling a lot, but they aren’t on the highway much.

What About “Handmade” or “Homemade” Trailer?

Purpose Built Handmade TrailersHere is another set of words that sometimes come up.

These definitions are harder to distinguish.  And, actually they are often interchangeable.  Technically a “Handmade” trailer is one built without a lot of automation.  For instance, just one or a few built.  Contrast that to a factory trailer where they build them in batches with an assembly line.  It doesn’t mean hands are not in the building, it’s just a wordsmithing difference.  The “Handmade” designation implies it has a craftsman flair where the trailer is setup and made by hand.

The term “Homemade” usually means one of us building the trailer in your garage — at home.  But, it could just as well be made at the shop after hours or something.  It implies something less on the craftsmanship level.  (Yet, we know that’s not really the case.)  It also implies, legally, that there is no warranty or manufacturing company.  You see this “Homemade” designation on trailer titles frequently.

With these definitions, most every “Homemade” trailer is also “Handmade”, but not necessarily the other way around.  Anyway, it’s kind of splitting hairs.  Either way, it’s a great thing to do while escaping from COVID.

Specialty Trailer Plans Available

So, now you know how we define “Specialty Trailer” and how we distinguish it from our “Utility Trailers” and the “Deck-Over Trailers“.  It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s fun to knit-pick the words, and it’s a way of categorizing the plans.

If you think there’s a better way for categorization, we want to hear your ideas.  Sometimes we’re a little over analytical, so pitch us your thoughts.   Also, if you have something specific that you want, let us know about that too.  We’re always trying to serve you better.  Thank you.

Have a Wonderful Day!

2 Comments About “What is a “Specialty Trailer”?”

  1. I have been reading a few of your articles on the website and there is a lot of useful information here. I do have a suggestion for you to improve readability.

    I personally have an uncanny flaw that spots gross misspelling errors that are repeated in an article. I can overlook one, but multiple errors are screaming out to me.

    To clarify what I am referring to is the word “loosing” which if applied to the context you are conveying, would be properly spelled “losing”. There may be others, but this one is an obvious oversight.

    So the bottom line is correct the glaring “loosing” error and that will improve an otherwise well-made site for others to browse.

    Reply
    • Thank you. I wish I had an eye for spelling errors — but that’s what happens when an engineer writes. 🙂 My son proofs much of it, but he misses things too. Thanks for the help.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

2 Comments About “What is a “Specialty Trailer”?”

  1. I have been reading a few of your articles on the website and there is a lot of useful information here. I do have a suggestion for you to improve readability.

    I personally have an uncanny flaw that spots gross misspelling errors that are repeated in an article. I can overlook one, but multiple errors are screaming out to me.

    To clarify what I am referring to is the word “loosing” which if applied to the context you are conveying, would be properly spelled “losing”. There may be others, but this one is an obvious oversight.

    So the bottom line is correct the glaring “loosing” error and that will improve an otherwise well-made site for others to browse.

    Reply
    • Thank you. I wish I had an eye for spelling errors — but that’s what happens when an engineer writes. 🙂 My son proofs much of it, but he misses things too. Thanks for the help.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

We Found These For You . . .

Article
A Unique Trailer Project
There is always something to learn when looking at someone’s DIY project.  This customer story about a unique trailer build is no exception.

Read The Article

Article
Time to look at the action by testing the Twin Torsion Axles.  Video is a great way to see what’s really happening with the new suspension design, so we’ve mounted a camera!

Read The Article

Article
Trailer Axles - Springs - Wheels - and Tires
Oh, I’ll just drop by the parts store and grab an axle.  Well, that’s how it seems when we talk so simplistically about trailer axles.  But actually, there is a lot we need to know to get the right one.

Read The Article

Article
Nuts and Bolts Project Fasteners
Ever wonder why fasteners like nuts and bolts are so expensive?  You would think something so standard and manufactured in such high volumes would be cheap, but in most places, they’re actually pretty expensive.  Why?

Read The Article

Article
Analysis of Trailer Frame Material in Main Beam
What materials should I use for building my trailer frame?  It’s a common question with strong biases for Rectangular Tube or I-Beam or C-Channel.  Also, choices of Aluminum versus Steel. 

Read The Article

Product
4' x 6'6" Off-Road Adventure Trailer Plans

Build your custom adventure rig with these fully Engineered Off-Road Trailer Plans.  They have a Torsion Axle w/ Big tires to achieve a good ride and High Ground Clearance for your coming 4x4 adventures.

Article
All The Steel Cut And Ready For The Trailer Build
Update on building a new design specialty utility trailer.  The trailer build is going well, and we thought you might have interest in following the progress.  Especially for some of the experimental new concept features.

Read The Article

Article
I-Beam Clamp Introduction
Introducing a new product to the Mechanical Elements family of Do-It-Yourself Plans — the gantry crane I-Beam clamp.  A simple product we give as Free Plans in our launch celebration!  Well, is it really FREE Plans?  Yes.  Use the coupon…

Read The Article

Article
Do I Need A Trailer Spare Tire?
What about that trailer spare tire?  No, I don’t mean the one around my middle . . . for your trailer.  Do you really need one?  Some say yes, and we see them on many trailers, but they are rarely…

Read The Article

Product
Trailer 5 x 8 - 3500 lbs Torsion Axle

Designed specifically for a Torsion Axle, these 5' x 8' utility trailer plans include a 3500# capacity and many options to choose for making the trailer meet your needs.  And, fully Engineered Blueprints, of course.

Product
20ft Tiny House Trailer

Since a great house starts with a solid foundation, these Tiny House Trailer plans focus on that goal.  Low 8.5’ x 20’ top deck height.  Up to 14,000 lbs total capacity.  Fully Engineered.

Article
There's More To Just Mounting Trailer Axle Springs
As with many things, there’s a lot more to mounting trailer axle springs than first meets the eye.  Here are 2 tips to make your trailer frame stronger.

Read The Article

Article
Replace Trailer Tires
Don’t mess around with your safety or unexpected trip interruptions.  The Best Reason to replace old or worn trailer tires is personal sanity, because who wants to deal with it on the side of the road?

Read The Article

Product
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…

Article
Gantry Crane Failure Modes
There are a lot of ways to abuse a crane.  We won’t go into those, but let’s do take a minute on crane failures and what they look like. 

Read The Article

Product
5' x 10' - 3500# Torsion Axle Utility Trailer

A classic size!  This is the Torsion Axle version 5' x 10' - 3500# utility trailer.  It’s a nice size with good capacity for all sorts of hauling chores.  With lots of options, it’s ready to work.

Article
Gantry Crane Failure Modes
In the debate about Steel or Aluminum for beams of trailer frames and gantry cranes, there is one piece we hear less about.  An important part of the equation, for sure, is the property of Elasticity . . . .…

Read The Article

Article
JTP Building A Trailer
We’ve been working with the great folks at Johnson Trailer Parts for a while.  Their business is primarily selling trailer parts, but they understand the greasy hands-on Do-It-Yourself paradigm!

Read The Article

Article
A Story Of The Right Tools
Fun side story about finding the right tools for a do-it-yourself (with a friend) in automotive repair. This story is not about building great new Do It Yourself projects, but it illustrates the need to have (borrow, or rent) the…

Read The Article

Product
6 x 12 Utility Trailer Plans

Blueprints for a Strong and Stable 6x12 utility trailer.  This single axle, 3500# capacity trailer with many options is ideal for a million uses.  We provide great DIY Plans for builders who want the best.