Building hand pullable holiday parade float


  #1  
Old 11-14-15, 11:19 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Building hand pullable holiday parade float

HI all
Not a carpenter .. I just wing it and sometimes it works out and sometimes not. Hoping with some advice I can eliminate some headaches.

The plan is to make a light weight pullable float.. Meaning high school kids will be pulling it like a train.. (or they might use one of the parent's motorized wheelchairs to pull it) and the person in the front will be dressed up as Santa.. no vehicle will be involved except a pick up to get the parts to the parade.

So the idea they have is to have landscape timbers or wider wood on the bottom with cast iron caster wheels. Flat triangle shapes (the Christmas trees) approx 5 foot high by 3 foot wide made out of thin plywood will be decorated and fastened to 1 by 4's.

To get this in a pick up truck, I figure the trees need to be stacked and transported in the bed of the truck and the bases with wheels put on bottom of truck bed and some hold assembled on sight.

I am stuck on 1. how to connect each 8 foot timber together so they all roll and follow each other. I was thinking of some sort of large eyebolts, but I don't want to much movement or they will kink and not follow in a line. A guy at the home improvement store suggested using a rotating castor iron wheel on the front for steering, and a stationary wheel on the back to follow. But how will this work when they are connected together?

The other problem I want to consider is wind..2. How likely is it that the trees will make the unit want to tip over and how do I address this in a light weight, cheap if possible fashion?

They got the idea of using the timbers as they saw a home improvement store using them with wheels to move large objects in the lumber yard, and they have a source for the landscape timbers and 1 by fours for the back of the trees.

3. The last problem to figure out in the planning is figuring out a quick way to attach the one by fours tree bases to the landscape timbers. I can probably go with wider wood if necessary, just a bit more expense. I tried to design a stand for the trees 1 by 4 stem to attach too, and then I figured some sort of system with bolts and wing nuts would be needed to attach the stands for the 1 by 4's to the timber, but I am trying to figure out an easier way as they want to have a train of a couple dozen "trees" so many teams of students can have a hand in decorating one. Maybe one long bolt through the side of the 1 by 4 and the timber base with a wing nut to tighten on site would work?

If I am off in left field, save me some money and aggravation and tell me. The other thought I had was some sort of groove cut into the top of the wood base that would receive the one by four xmas tree base.

I am open to any ideas as I am lost at this point and don't know how to proceed. It sounds simple but if you are not really mechanically inclined or experienced, its not, so that is why I am here. Thanks in advance for any advice and feedback.
 
  #2  
Old 11-15-15, 04:42 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,774
Received 870 Upvotes on 761 Posts
Welcome to the forums!
While I don't know much about those motorized wheel chairs I doubt they would be stout enough to pull that much weight! Not sure you'd want casters on a trailer that would go down a city street.
 
  #3  
Old 11-15-15, 04:44 AM
czizzi's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6,541
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Give us a quick hand written schematic of your idea. I have read your thread multiple times and am still confused as to how you are going to create your base with castors. It needs to be solid which I am confused on. Your size descriptions of the trees also makes me wonder the overall size of the float itself. Wheels would need to be of some form of air inflated or rubber as iron or hard plastic wheels would probably rattle the thing apart going over asphalt.

My initial thoughts would be to use a kids wagon as a base that you attach timbers to. A series of these could be strung together to make a train that is both easy to pull and more stable than what you describe.

Anyway, upload you schematic following these instructions - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
  #4  
Old 11-15-15, 05:31 AM
Handyone's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 4,807
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Maybe I'm confused, maybe not. Are the Landscape Timbers the train cars?
I don't understand how a train car will be pulled, or even stand up, with only 2 wheels.

Supporting the trees and connecting the cars is no problem. You need a stable base with wheels as Czizzi described.
 
  #5  
Old 11-15-15, 06:03 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,159
Received 2,267 Upvotes on 2,019 Posts
I think castors will get expensive and not roll well. While they roll great on smooth concrete floors the small diameter hard wheels don't like obstructions like a rock, crack or manhole. I would go for small hand truck tires, preferably pneumatic or bicycle tires.

I would not consider using a motorized wheelchair or scooter. They are quite expensive and only designed for dragging one person around. Carrying the driver and a train of wagons will likely overload it and could lead to an expensive repair.

Trains of wagons are commonly done around here for hauling tobacco from the fields to the barn. Most just have two wheels in the middle and the wagon is held up (balanced) by the wagon in front. The design is really cheap and easy to build and works well at slow speeds.



 
  #6  
Old 11-15-15, 07:24 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,460
Received 47 Upvotes on 43 Posts
Being the off season, could you borrow some garden carts from the local nursery or box store. Not sure if they are big enough, but sure sturdy and already built.

Bud

PS, if you are trying to be environmentally friendly by not using a gas powered vehicle, how about one of the small all electric cars? Or maybe a golf cart.
 

Last edited by Bud9051; 11-15-15 at 07:26 AM. Reason: addition
  #7  
Old 11-15-15, 11:19 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,416
Received 65 Upvotes on 56 Posts
Train

I am visualizing a train made up of a series of 8 ft. long landscape timbers end to end with the Christmas trees attached to the timbers.

Is this your plan or am I way off base?

The cast iron casters will not work. Use rubber wheeled casters.

http://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-pn...ter-61460.html

Place a pair of non-swivel casters at the center of each timber. This location will allow the timbers to trail each other along the same path. Each of the two casters per timber will need to be located at the ends of a short piece of 2x4 acting as an axle.

Stay tuned for more.
 
  #8  
Old 11-19-15, 11:54 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
that's an idea but the electric wheel chair is available.. Maybe there is a golf cart around, too. I will ask. Thank you
 
  #9  
Old 11-19-15, 12:00 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Yes this is what I have in mind. The trees attached somehow to the timber are flat triangle shaped attached to a 1 by 4 piece of wood for the trunk. So the axle made of 2 by 4 attached to the ends will have rotating rubber casters? The other casters in the middle and front of the timber would also be on 2 by 4's so everything stays the same height? Wouldn't I need a swiveling caster in the front? Thank you! I will stay tuned. There is a Harbor Freight not too far away.
 
  #10  
Old 11-19-15, 12:14 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Interesting ..

That is interesting and could be modified to work without the sides. Its a bit taller than I think I need as I won't be on grass. Do you have the plans for the base? I can't enlarge the picture to see what is connecting them..
 
  #11  
Old 11-19-15, 12:21 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Hi Handyone,

We got the idea from a big box hardware store. They have two long pieces of wood 2 by 4 's or maybe a bit larger side by side with small wheels attached that they load up with bags of cement and top soil on and pull them from place to place around the outside lumber yard. I figured if it worked for that much weight it would work for light weight xmas tree triangles made out of lightwood plywood. trees.. but maybe the base would need a heavier cross brace so things don't get tippy? The wheels on each end would make it stand up off the ground and roll.
 
  #12  
Old 11-19-15, 12:24 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Hi czizzi

That is an idea. It would be a bit taller but the wheels would already be taken care of. Someone else also suggested rubber wheels. I thought the metal casters would be better as they recommend them for factories, ect but these are smooth surfaces and probably are recommended for objects that are not moved very often. I will try to get a picture uploaded.
 
  #13  
Old 11-19-15, 12:28 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
human powered and light weight

Hi marksr
I was trying to build something light weight that could be transported in a pick up and assembled on sight to be pulled by humans..Not trying to use a trailer as I don't have one. The motorized wheel chair idea will have to be scrapped. We wanted a train so it wouldn't take everyone to pull it so some could still dress up as elves and hand out candy.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: