Trailer 2 (Drop Deck) . Drop deck flatbed trailer for US Truck 2 scale 1:17,5. It features a simple tandem bogie suspension system, landing gear and parkingbrake powered by PF and it has lights. .
I have always liked the looks of those big American trucks out in the open with all kind of loads on those very easy to use flatbed trailers. This made me decide to build one for my “US Truck 2”. It is very easy to spend loads of money on very complex trailers, I probably will in the future, but why not taking it easy.
My first attempt was to build a flatbed without a drop in its deck, so with a one level deck. Because of a lot of decisions I made while building the truck itself, its frame, suspension and fifth wheel, the fifth wheel ended up quite high. All this gives the truck almost an off-highway look, which I don't mind by the way. I wanted the suspension and the fifth wheel on the truck to be realistic and functional, I mean it should actually work. To give the flatbed good looks too, it should not be to high on its wheels. It would be to hight on its wheels if I would have build it with a one level deck, so I had to change my mind and I started building this drop deck.
Real live flatbed trailers are usually equipped with fixed or sliding winches to secure loads. In this scale it is (almost) impossible to achieve this with LEGO. Because of its almost similar looks I used Plate, Modified 1 x 2 with Handle on Side - Type 1 (free ends). The fun part is that one can secure a load on this model using rubber belts. These in red combined with the white plates 1 x 2 simulates the red and white pattern seen on many American trailers.
The width of the deck of 18 studs allowed me to use Plate, Modified 8 x 8 with Grill and Hole in Center. These are available in very nice colors, it has great looks, light in weight and not less important these are not that expensive. A very good alternative would be to use Tile 8 x 16, but I do like the idea that the plates I used do have some studs to prevent the load from sliding and it could be used to attach loads too.
Again this trailer fits my other truck as well and I make sure all my trucks and trailers (I hope may to come) are interchangeable. This approach might lead to having others to share these concepts too and maybe in the future some sort of standard could be set...who knows... Achieving this is not that hard, I have to make sure that the trailers king pin, landing gear and suspension are all on the same height.
For more pictures on this model click this to check out my Brickshelf Gallery.
At a certain point the frame, suspension and deck started to get finished. While designing and building this trailer I started thinking about how to handle the landing gear. The landing gear was not that hard to came up with and I started with a manual operated version. It didn't take that long for me to decide that I wanted it to be remote controlled. How cool would it be if I would be able to connect the trailer to the truck all with RC and raise the landing gear remote too. The beams on the trailer do have this space of 4 studs, so hiding the M motor and the IR Receiver are not that hard. First I started building it without the parking break, this results into the truck pushing the trailer away instead of connecting to it. So the idea of a parking brake was born. Even though the IR Receiver does have 2 connectors I forced my self to combine both parking break and landing gear. After all all this turned out to be not that hard, but again, you have to come up with it first... :-)
This trailer uses a tandem bogie suspension, a very simple system that I found good enough for this project. My other trailers are and will be equipped with a more sophisticated version based on the system used on my trucks. The system used on this trailer is basically a “beam” on both sides of the trailer that holds two set of wheels. The Technic, Link 1 x 6 makes sure the bogies do not separate. This picture shows also the location of the Battery Box.
I did have some trouble incorporating the Electric 9V Battery Box Power Functions. Both beams of the trailers frame consist of two rows of Technic Bricks connected with two layers of plates. The main reason to build it this strong was to avoid the trailer to bend under its own weight or load. Because of this approach it was very easy to hide all mechanical stuff and PF in between both beams. Hiding the Battery Box on the other hand seemed almost impossible, it is quite large and this trailer does not have a cover or so to hide it in.
So here is what I did:
I knew that the part of the trailer from the king pin to where the wheels are attached needs to be strong, it transports weight to both king pin and rear axles. The tail part of the trailer could be “weaker” so I decided to lower the beams on this part. Instead of stacking two rows of Technic Bricks I reduced it to one. This allowed me to hide the Battery Box and by accident because of its location it could easily hold the mudflaps and rear impact guard. So this Battery Box, initially seemed to be a pain in the bud, turned out to be a very useful piece with a perfect location.