Sample Of DIY Plans & Content

The DIY Plans (the Blueprints) at Mechanical Elements come from an Engineering Company, so you can expect high quality and thorough information.  They are fully engineered to perform, as stated, and that is how it should be.  Our blueprints are more complete — with more, and better information than others on the market.  And that is why we claim these are the best plans available.

Below is a peek at what you get when you order plans from us.  Not all plans have every detail, it depends on the design.  Also, please see the Slider at the Bottom of the page for visual examples of the Mechanical Elements DIY plans.

What’s In The Plans?

Sample Page Views of DIY PlansEach set of plans includes at least 3 sections:  Drawings, Instructions and Lists.  Sometimes these are in separate PDF documents (contained in a .ZIP file), and sometimes they are in one document.  The Drawings show the design, with notes about how to build it, including steps.  The Instructions explain how things go together.  The Lists include Materials, Components, etc..  The Instructions section often has the Lists.

We don’t assume you are the expert, so there is some explanation when things are not obvious — especially for options.  If you are an expert, you can skip some of those comments.  Also, there are many notes with TIPS for helping the project turn out right.

  1. A Section of Instructions:  (Or a separate PDF document.)
    • The instructions include step-by-step “How To’s” with Illustrations to emphasize area details (see the sample image).  Explanations are given along with the details.
    • This is also where you will find explanation about the options.  Almost all our plans include options – because we don’t know exactly what you want.  We provide options so you can choose, and make the project just the way you want.
    • Instructions are formatted for standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper for easy viewing and printing.
  2. Lists – Several, usually included with the instructions.
    • All plans have a List of Materials, including the cut lengths. (Cut end styles – like straight or with an angle – are shown in the drawings.)
    • Lists of Components to purchase – like trailer axles, lights, crane pins, press jack, etc.. Often the list also includes options for the components.
    • Lists of Tools needed; Places to purchase components; Engineering Considerations and more. (See explanations below.)
  3. A Section of Drawings:  (Or a separate PDF document.)
    The DIY Plans have one of these two formats for the drawings.  See the images along the side for an example of each.

    • Some drawings are Portrait to print “A” size (8.5″ x 11″) including illustrations with the instructions.  Or . . .
    • Some drawings are Landscape, Full Sheet format.  Full sheets can print at 8.5″ x 11″ or up to 22″ x 17″ (“C” size) using options in Acrobat Reader or other PDF software.
    • Note:  Some drawing pages, like templates, are best to print full scale.  If necessary, info for large format printing is in the instructions.  Most good print shops can do it.
  4. Some Plans Also Include Extra Files:
    Some of our DIY Plans contain extra files that are needed for the build.  Things like DXF files of special parts that must be created via CNC, laser or water cutting.  If these extra files are included, the instructions will explain how to use them.  Most of these extra files are computer code (not readable by humans).

Lists

Plans include a Bill of Materials, which is a list of raw materials (a cut list of length and quantity).  We also include a list of Components to purchase.  These lists also include options.  We encourage customizing your DIY plans, so we include info on build options to achieve a different look or performance level.  Component options as well as build and feature options.

There is usually a list of tools required, at a minimum, though that list might not include all the things you could normally use on your project.

Finally, there are lists with the lists.  For example, for our trailers, the list of components includes the axle(s), and there are is a list of options to consider when buying the axle(s).  Things like camber, brakes, bolt pattern, and more.  We do the same with other components as well.

Like we say, our plans are the most complete plans you can buy.

Resources

Instructions include a list of possible sources for where to get the materials and components.  There are many possibilities, but we give a few of our favorites.  Feel free to use your own sources too.

For Trailers – If you want to skip the tedious step of sorting through available parts to buy (one by one), then making sure they will fit with the plans, we offer a great connection with Johnson Trailer Parts.  At our request, they have made Full Trailer Parts Kits specifically for our plans.  The parts they have are the parts we specify for each trailer.

Engineering Considerations

We understand each customer has different goals, and those may require variations in the design.  To accomplish this, many of our DIY Plans have a section of Engineering Considerations to explain how to achieve different goals — like increasing load capacity, changing size, saving weight, cost variations, optional functions, etc..  Sometimes those engineering considerations are about the extras — like trailer ramps, or Gantry Crane beam clamping.  There may be some explanation about how to make certain parts work better for one situation or another.

Most plans also include build options to help you customize the project to be what you really want.  If there are potential conflicts for the options that might need some explaining, we try to include that in the Engineering Consideration section.

We encourage customization to make the final product perfect for you.  Whether it is a Gantry Crane, or a Shop Press, or a Utility Trailer, we think your final project should reflect the things that are important to you.  To that end, we do give appropriate options in all our DIY Plans.  (Use this article to know when it is safe to modify the plans).  Feel free to use our ideas, or some of your own.

Tips & Helps

We don’t assume you are the expert — though some of you are.  So, our DIY plans give Tips and other Helps to guide you with the project.  These tips include set-up advice, assembly directions and/or fixture info.  Some things are best built by doing some steps first.

Safety tips for certain areas are also in the instructions.  Because we want you to be successful.  Then, for even more, we have our growing library of articles From the Mechanic with a ton of useful Tips and Advice for making your project turn out great.  It’s a service of Mechanical Elements, so take advantage.  I is all there for you.

Options

Yes, we keep saying it . . . Our DIY plans include Options to customize the look or modify performance.  For instance, on a trailer, some people want sides, some people do not.  Some people want metal deck, others want plywood or timbers.  Many of these kinds of options (and a lot of others) are in the plans.  Use what you want, and disregard the others.

We encourage customization, so we explain where that’s OK and where it is best not.  For more information, please read about When it is Safe to Customize the Plans.  Also, please read the Engineering Considerations section (if it is there) in the plans.

How Do I Get DIY Plans?

Sample Page DIY PlansPlans are available electronically via download from this website.  That is the best, fastest and least expensive way!.  We do offer a mail-order service if you really need that — though it is still faster to download them, then take them to a print shop if you need paper copies.

  • The Best Way is to order the plans online, right here on this website.  Immediately after purchase, Save the digital copy to your computer.  (Size, 1 – 4Mb)  Start by selecting your plans.  After payment is complete, the plans are available for you to download.  Very fast.
  • If you ever have trouble with a download, read this article “Where’s My Plans Download”.  Some common problems are explained along with the solutions.   If that does not work, just let us know, and we will help you get them.
  • As of 2023, we no longer provide printed plans, or plans via Mail Order.  The need is rare, yet the cost and time for shipping is high and unreliable.  To get printed plans, it is best to simply download the files, then have a local print shop do the printing.  It saves customers 2 – 3 weeks for delivery as well as saving charges for Shipping.  Printing costs are about the same either way, so save money and time by downloading direct.

Note:  Plans for download are in Adobe PDF format, then for quicker downloading, may be bundled (instructions + drawings) in a .ZIP file.  If your computer does not already have one, a free PDF reader is available at www.Adobe.com and a free ZIP utility at www.WinZip.com.

>>>  Go to the Plans Store.  >>>

Can You Show Me Some DIY Plans?

Of course!  Here are a bunch of slides showing some pages from the plans.  As the note above, each set of plans contains several pages and often both instructions and drawings.  That said, the formats work well to print on your home printer.  (Just set the print settings (in Adobe or other) for “Scale to Fit”.)

Images for each of the projects are on the individual product pages in the plans store.  Click on the images to see a larger view.  The Plans will show you all the details of how to build the product.

Our DIY plans are designed with you in mind.  Learn more about what drives us here at Mechanical Elements, then get your plans and start building!  Customize the project just the way you want, and don’t forget to share your progress and success.  Seriously, we love seeing your build progress in photos.  Customer stories are awesome for others to also read, so please share.

Thank you for visiting Mechanical Elements.  Enjoy your Project.