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Peterbilt Trailer - Udie's Progress - Phase One

Now that the Peterbilt Cab is complete, it is time to fabricate the trailer.
All the components have been bagged and tagged with spares for additional builds and in the event I have a workshop oops. This post will quickly and briefly describe my method of fabrication.
Small World Peterbilt Truck Stop
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As you can see ... there has been some component modifications and I will address each one with an explanation of why I made the modification.

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The top and bottom trailer panels were taped together in order to drill the rear pivot holes for the doors, ensuring that the holes will align up with each other during assembly. Then the panels were separated and the pivot pin for the trailer was drilled into only one panel.

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The inside surface of the panels were painted white using a wide brush. This is where Frankg's post on using the foam brushes might have been a better way to paint these surfaces. Here's a link to Frankg's post "Using Foam Brushes".
Did you notice anything wrong with these panels I painted?

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I did remember not paint where the front end panel will be glued on ... but ... I forgot to mask where the top and bottom panels will be glued to. So using an X-Acto blade I had to scrape the paint off to expose bare wood so that I would yield a better surface to surface adhesion.

Axle blocks - I like to round over the axle blocks in my assemblies. By rounding over the corners they act as skid plates when they hit something. Only takes a few minutes using the round disc sanding station.

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To drill the holes in the axle blocks I used my universal drilling jig. This is the same jig I used when drilling the holes in the dowels for the exhaust stacks when making the cab assembly. This time I used the outside surfaces of the jig to align my location for repeatable holes.

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When it came time to drill the pivot holes for the rear door holes I used the inside corner to position and clamp my door panels to, for repeatable hole locations.

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I also rounded over the inside corner, just a little, so that the doors will swing freely. This rounded corner is not visible when the doors are closed.

This concludes phase one - assembling the components necessary for the build and pre-assembly modifications to some of the component also.

Then next phase will discuss the actual assembly and some problems I did run into with my materials.
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Ken Martin

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Good Post Udie
Glad to see the how to's on the trailer.
Makes it easy to follow.

Kenneth W Martin

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Reply with quote  #3 
I can't wait to make this plan.  All these tips you are providing should make my built super simple.  LOL.  famous last words.

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Peterbilt Trailer - Udie's Progress - Phase 2

In this phase we will build the trailer - nothing more than a box.

I decided to beef up the cab side end wall thickness to 1/4". I just thought that a thicker piece here might help me in the overall trailer construction. There is no need for you to do this, the plan set recommended materials will work just the same. In the photo below, you can see that I used a piece of aluminum 90° angle iron to give me a perfect 90°, and glued and clamped the mating pieces together. I have many of these right angle pieces and use them frequently when gluing parts together.

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By changing the thickness of this piece means that I had to reduce the length of the top and bottom panels by the difference in thickness, 1/8". It also means the location of the bottom panel pivot pin hole must be altered also and I will discuss that later in this section.

Below you can see that I have glued the bottom panel on and have attached one of the side panels with something extra added. I have added depth stop blocks. The roof panel as per the drawing is glued onto the inside edge of the two (2) side panels. I felt I needed something to help me, preventing me, from pushing the roof panel too low when it came time to glue on the roof panel. I wanted the surface of the roof panel to be flush with the tops of the side panels, reducing the amount of extra sanding that might be required. Because the inside of the box is too small for me to put my hand in and raise the panel if I push it down to far, these depth stop blocks solves that problem.

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To position the depth stop blocks at the correct depth I came up with another little quick jig to help me.

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Quick, simple, a no-brainer to make. All I did was take two (2) pieces of scrap material the same thickness as the top panel. Temporarily clamped them together using spring clamps, offsetting them to the same thickness of the side panels. This gives me the exact depth I need and applied glue to the depth stop block and pushed in in position, removed the jig and moved it to the next location. These depth stop blocks were added to both the side panels. Now when it was time to glue on the top panel, all I had to do was apply the glue, push down the top panel to the depth stops and clamp the side panels together for a perfect fit and let the glue cure.

These depth stops can be eliminated if you wish, by making some temporary spacer blocks to the proper height and placing them inside the box when attaching the roof panel. Then remove them after the roof panel is attached and the glue has cured.

Now let us focus on the pivot pin location drilled into the bottom panel.

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Increasing the thickness of the rear panel means that the pivot pin hole location must be re-located also. If you left it as per the drawing, there is a good chance that when the trailer is attached to the cab, the corners of the trailer will rub against the back wall of the cab when you make a tight turn. So the pivot hole was moved forward just a little bit to eliminate this from happening.

Now let us look at our box, the trailer, with all the sides glued on, top and bottom panels glued on.
Using a right angle square you can see that the box is relatively square with the side panels 90° to the top and bottom panels.

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See the little gap between the top and the bottom of the square and the side panel. That is because the piece of plywood I used had a little crowning in it's width. Is that a big deal - not really, it is more than acceptable. It will not affect the size of the rear doors when added or require any adjustments to mating components.

Next phase, add the rear doors, axle block and something a little special in addition to one more depth stop block, then paint.
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Ken Martin

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Posts: 988
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks Udie
   Great ideas and your tips will really help my build when I get to it.
I think I should send you my next build and have you build before I do, because you come up with so many great ideas to make the build easier. LOL.
Really enjoy following along with your build on this project.

Kenneth W Martin

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Reply with quote  #6 
Peterbilt Trailer - Udie's Progress - Phase 3

In this phase I will discuss the rear doors, axle block, back door stop, landing gear and paint.

Adding the axle block and positioning was done as per the plan set. Note that the axle holes are not symmetrical in locations. One hole is a little farther from the edge. This hole must be facing the back edge of the trailer so that then the wheels are attached there is no interference with the back bumper.

Small World Peterbilt Truck Stop
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Rear Doors - before I added the doors, I thought it would be a good idea to add a stop block on the roof panel. This stop block will prevent pushing the door in too far. After the glue cured it was time to touch up the in inside with white paint.

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Guess what - once again the problems we all have been experiencing with dowels has surfaced again. The purchased 1/8" dowels were not 1/8". This time I did not bring my calipers with me when I purchased these dowels - lesson learned.

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The diameter was wider by about 1/32". There is no way I was going to try and force these dowels into the door panel holes for fear of splitting the MDF. So, rather that stopping the assembly and run out to purchase dowels or spend the time to sand them down, I substituted them with the same material I used for the stop blocks. They worked just fine, provided a nice snug fit and allowed the doors to swing freely in and out.

Painting - started painting the trailer with a 2-tone theme. Red bottom and top and silver side panels.

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You can see from the photo that I did do a little masking.
Because I wanted the side of the panels to be silver, I also wanted the top edge of the side panels to be silver. Using green FROG TAPE will yield a zero bleed line. When I painted the Top Gun Aircraft Carrier landing strip I used yellow FROG TAPE with the same excellent results.

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Now for a little extra Udie modification.
To be able to park the trailer and then drive away, we need to raise the trailer, just a little higher than the length of the hook-up pivot pin. To do this the trailer needs a functioning Landing Gear.

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Above is my simple Landing Gear and the two (2) pivot blocks that will allow it to be raised and lowered. First thing I had to do was establish its location on the bottom side of the trailer for the proper height clearance required to work.

I traced the Landing Gear's pivot block location, then removed the varnish and paint. While doing so, created some grooves for the glue to grab onto when curing and mounted the Landing Gear.

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There you have it - a functioning Landing Gear.

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Here are a couple sneak peeks of the rear of the completed trailer.

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The Canadian flag is a sticker I applied to the doors and then cut it down the middle. The door pulls have been reduced in size from the recommend size specified in the plan set.

Once again, in this phase of the assembly I did use a couple of jigs to help me during assembly and added a couple extra parts to increase the play value of the trailer.

I will post a group of photos of the finished trailer in another post, after I have completed a couple extra things I would like to share with you. Then I will get busy on the gas station itself.

Please follow the attached link to view a complete photo series of the final assembly,
"Peterbilt Trailer - Udie's Completed Project Photos"

Happy Toy Making the Peterbilt Trailer
Imants Udris (Udie)
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