so I want to build a dog trailer vor my bike (and in the future a bike frame as well) to take my future dog with me on vacation which for the last years was grabbing bike and tent and cycling for a few weeks.
Initially I looked around at the available dog trailers and most were pretty bulky, originally designed for children and/or very expensive. But since I have to get bike + trailer + dog to the starting point of my tours, easy carriage in a train is very important. There is one single-wheel trailer with a damper that looks pretty much what I want to go for which weighs around 8kg which would be ok, but maybe I can build something a bit lighter and a few features that are more dog friendly.
So my design goals are to create a dog trailer that is light for the weight it has to carry (25-30kg), dog-optimized, and if at all possible, foldable. Doesn’t matter if it takes an hour to dis/reassemble as I will only have to do it twice during a vacation.
I guess I will do the design in fusion but feel free to chime in if there is something more suited, I am familiar with fusion/freecad though.
I hope to grow this topic over time but my first question is what kind of welder to get. So for the beginner oxyacetylene/propane brazing is often suggested but compared to tig it isn’t super cheap and I’m not worried about the steep learning curve for tig. Also as far as I’ve found out, brazing with tig is also possible which might be a good idea as the tubing for the trailer will be quite thin. Oh and I am situated in germany so recommendations have been ewm picotig which not on the cheap side.
Anyway thanks for reading and happy to hear from you.
Here’s the thing about cheap welders (at least what I’ve found): At low amperage (for thin tubes) they tend to struggle with arc start + consistency. If I had used one at the very beginning I think I would’ve given up – I just didn’t know enough to be successful. Now, with experience, I can make them work but I wouldn’t choose something that makes my life harder.
There are a few other things to consider when “buying in” at any level. Shielding gas, decent torch + consumables, PPE.
Argon in Los Angeles is around $350 to buy a tank, $35-$50 for delivery if you don’t have a truck, and it was $85 for a refill back in 2022. If your machine doesn’t come with a regulator add another $70-$150
The large torches (#17) that come with machines are frustrating. Purchasing a #9 air-cooled torch with a flexible hose is recommended. That’s about $110 + another $50-$75 in consumables.
PPE: A good automatic helmet is in the $120+ range. A passive helmet is still in the $50 range, gloves ($25), respirator ($30-$50)
Electricity: Depending on your location and machine requirements adding 220v can range from $50 - $300 depending on if you do it yourself or if an electrician does it.
So even with a cheap $500 machine, you’re in it for over $1000.
Conversely, I bought my O/A setup used for $200. Purchased a torch + hoses and consumables for $200-$250 and was off and running.
Hmm that’s what I was afraid of, good quality welder it is then. I think I’ll ask the shop I had in mind if they will alter the “starter” set for a smaller torch.
By respirator, do you mean those welding helmets withe tube and filter on the back? I thought those were for zinc and other stuff, not steel/stainless though.
My $1200 multi process welder came with everything (including a regulator and a tig pedal), in hindsight I would have been better buying 2 different welders (I do MIG as well) but that’s not here nor there.
Some cities have regulations on having acetylene in the house, so, sometimes, it’s not an option.
There are good tig welders that come included with everything for just under $1000, some of them could even replace the tig torch with something of equivalent value, I am quite sure Everlast would do that if you prefer a #9 instead of a #17 or whatever comes with the welder.
I got my Argon tank online, empty and I saved nearly $200 compared to buying it at Arigas, then swapped it for a full one at my local Airgas, I have transported it in my suv, given, I live 2 miles from Airgas.
This was actually one of my first ideas, but the dog is a bit too large to go in a crate on a normal bicycle and I think I read that John switched to to a short cargo-bike from salsa to have more room. Sadly though cargo bikes aren’t allowed in the train.
As a dog owner I wouldn’t reccomned the Crust fork. I had one for a few years and they just don’t work that well with a heavy and/or dymanic load. My dog is both haha. Too much wheel flop.
Not sure what the train limitations are @rudgas but I’ve had reasonable luck with my Mini-Max here in Australia and I know I’m Europe it’s quite common for people to take theirs on the train. The bonus of this setup is me pup loves to ride up front with a view and it’s also feels safer for me being able to see him.
Just a few thoughts worth considering. I’ve also looked at trailers too in the past and very nearly bought a Farfarer before getting the Omnium. And I still might get one for off-road trips. Keen to see where you land on this!
I know a bunch of folks who love biking with their pup in an Omnium! Several have tried other cargo bike situations before settling on either the Mini-Max or Cargo models, so it seems to be a clear winner. I’m personally excited to get a dog within the next year but am waiting to build up a cargo bike first!
I had the omnium recommended to me by a fellow dog owner, thing is though the german express trains (ICE/IC) expressly forbid cargo bikes and will thow you off the train if all of the very limited bike spaces are taken (don’t ask me how I know). Some regional trains allow it or have size limits and the chance to get away with a cargo bike is bigger. But then again I wouldn’t want to risk missing a connecting train or ferry because of trouble with the bike.
Day to day rinding might be a different story though
Ahh fair enough then. Sounds like an annoying system. I wonder if the platform could fold vertically out of the way you’d have more luck. Would be an easy enough modification to do on the Omnium or DIY a frame. Something like this.
Frame mounted front rack is definitely interesting, will keep it in mind for a bike frame build! So far I am collecting all the bits and pieces for the tig setup. Still deciding which protective clothing to get, where to store the argon and organizing some scrap metal to start practicing.