How-To Video Building a DIY Travel Trailer – The Frame

Our friend and master DIY’er Joe Mooney of Homesteadonmics is back at it again! This time he’s working on a Travel Trailer build, currently welding the frame together to create the basic shell. This will end up somewhere at the crossroads of a Teardrop Trailer & a full size Camp Trailer. Stay tuned as his project transforms from this base frame into a full fledged aluminum clad roadworthy companion!

From the Forney welder to the steel & aluminum, down to welding tabs, our six stores have everything you need to make one of your own!

About The Project – By Joe Mooney:

Building the base frame of this DIY Travel Trailer project started about two years ago when I was asked if I wanted an old axle from a Travel Trailer that was getting a larger axle installed.   Being an opportunistic user of what some would call junk… I said YES!  And that was the start of a rather long developed build that is now becoming a travel trailer!

After getting the axle, I figured I’d build a simple ‘angle iron’ utility trailer frame that I could pull with my 2006 Jetta TDI.  And maybe add some sort of lightweight teardrop style camper later on.  Well, as time passed, so did the Jetta with it’s 300k miles.  And the trailer sat just collecting dust and rust until I figured what the new plan would be.  And so the Travel Trailer plan developed.

Extending the Base frame…

The first step was to lengthen and widen the trailer from the angle iron utility frame that I originally built.  This definitely isn’t the ideal start to a travel trailer, incorporating different profiles and steel thicknesses, but it’s what I had to use.  I made all of the extensions with 2×3 14ga tubing coming off of the original 2×3 3/16th angle frame.  Each of the extensions off the sides and the back was also supported by the original frame angle that was positioned horizontally and had been left slightly wider than the original frame.  This keeps the new sides from ‘pulling’ outwards on the original frame.

As a matter of dimension the original frame started at roughly 5.5’W x10.5’L and with the new additions sits now at 7’ wide and is 13’ long for the foot print (lengths do not include tongue)

Building the upper frame…

The upper frame is constructed of 1×1.5” 16ga steel tubing for the sides and roof and 1×1” 16ga tubing for the front and back walls.

Starting the upper frame began with laying out a basic roof outline on the base frame, using it as a template, and then welding four wall posts up from the roof assembly.  Once this was done I then dragged it off of the trailer base frame and then flipped it over and set it back on the trailer base frame and tacked it into place.  Boom!  Walls and a roof started!  Once these were in place I then welded vertical ‘studs’ to infill the side walls and roof.

Next I added the back wall and connected it to the base frame at a 45 degree inward slope to give a clearance section for the back of the trailer.    The next big step was adding the front wall and then bending the front ‘radius’ sections.  This was accomplished in the old school method of a torch and an old water tank we used as a form.  Once those bent sections were in  tacked in place I then in filled horizontal pieces and went about framing a doorway and adding metal tabs to provide mounting points for window frames and interior wood framework.

So that’s about it for the general frame build.  The next steps are to prep for paint and adding all the window frames and other support members prior to adding the aluminum ‘skin’ to the outer shell.  This is currently underway and will be in the part 2 video of this series!    Thanks for watching and stay tuned for more on this build!


VIDEO: How To Build Your Own Welding Table

Our friend Joe Mooney of Homesteadonomics building a Welding Table / Multifunctional workbench for his shipping container shop. He plans on using this welding table/workbench for more than just welding so there’s added functionality. It will likely be a multipurpose workbench for many of his projects and will help out a lot for the next few shipping container shop additions!

We (Industrial Metal Supply Co.) partnered with Joe on this How-To DIY project by supplying some of the steel for this build! Shop our inventory, check our store locations or get quotes online here.