K-5 Gutter Machine Trailer Shell Photo & Description

Updated 10 / 2014

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*Note to other Gutter Contractors who may be looking to get a working set-up like this to learn more go to:
www.dmr-gutters.com/gt.htm

Each picture below is linked to larger copy of the same photo
For a closer look just click on the pictures

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My Gutter Machine Details:

This was our Mach II - K-5 gutter machine made by:
New Tech Machinery
1300 40th Street | Denver, CO 80205
O: 303.294.0538 Ext. 37 | P: 800.574.1717 | F: 303.294.9407
www.NewTechMachinery.com

We use this to form the gutters we install. It forms them from a 11 7/8" wide coil of painted aluminum or 20oz copper sheet metal, as shown on the spool in a white painted aluminum. A full aluminum coil is around 400# and has to be loaded with a fork lift down through the removable roof panel. I have detailed photos of the frame construction below.

One of the nicest features of this gutter machine is the guillotine on the rear-end of the machine that chops off the gutter run-out. It leaves a nice clean factory edge. It is very easy to operate as well.

This machine was made for us in 1995. The name Mach II is deceiving, since it is anything but fast. Not that I would want it to spit gutters out any faster, but hardly as fast as twice the speed of sound, which the name would suggest. It will spit out out gutter at the rate of around 50 ln' per minute, which is about 81,000 times slower than the speed of sound.

I ordered this machine with an extra rack of rollers at the cost me $1,500 more, so it would bend a safety hem on the back wall of the gutter for the hidden hangers to push up into. Very few gutter machines have this feature. I also needed to make sure the outer rim would be open enough for the hidden hangers. Most Gutter Contractors have their machines set up to crush that lip, so there is more room for the ferrule they use over the large nail spike. 

As far as I know the only other gutter machine with this safety hem feature in our area is located at Gutterman's Supply, which is a wholesaler to Contractors for gutter and roof flashing supplies. They do small run-outs for Contractors who do not have a gutter machine, but they have rather horrible customer service and attitude, so I do not advise patronizing them. They had been willing to form gutters as long as we are willing to load on our trucks and haul around on the city streets out in traffic.

I had bought run-outs from them for two years. Before I was sure that gutter installation was the type of construction I wanted to specialize in before investing in a gutter machine of my own. The machine they had was the reason I spent the extra dollars to have this safety hem extra set of rollers installed. This set up cost about $15k with the cost of a trailer. Because this was quite an investment for me I wanted to make sure it was protected from the elements, so I built this 7' X 12' wood and aluminum shell over my gutter machine. It was made with 2X2 clear fir for the framework. Cedar would have been lighter, but it's such a soft wood I was worried the screws would strip out too easily. The floor is also 2X8 CVG Fir.What Types of Metal are Run in Gutter Machines:

Here is a shot of an 0.027" gage aluminum gutter being extruded from our roll forming machine. Some areas of the country have access to a little thicker 0.032, but there is such a small demand here in the NW by my fellow Gutter Contractors our Suppliers will not stock it, so it is not available.  In aluminum sheet metal, we can get about 2.6 feet of gutter per pound, so a 400 lb coil can produce about 1,000 feet of gutter.

Most common copper gutter material is gauged at 16oz, so it is 1 pound per square foot of sheet metal. This of course means that a 400# coil will only produce 400 feet of gutter. About half my copper clients had me use a thicker 20oz copper, which is the same thickness as 0.027 aluminum, but stronger. They choose the thicker copper, since they are already looking to get better than standard gutters. The 20oz copper barely is able to run through my machine. If it were any thicker it would bog down and bind up inside the roll forming machine. Copper cost me over 5 times as much as the pre-painted aluminum, but the Homeowners on average pay only around 2X the cost, so in many ways it is a better value if installed well. I stopped offering the thinner standard 16oz copper several years ago. Buying the 20oz copper in bulk I can get it cheaper than what I would have to pay for 16oz copper locally.

Steel gutter coil is a good deal thinner than the other metals, but I've never run steel through my machine, since the price savings would be only $0.01 per ln' of gutter. Steel is a lot less per pound, which is how they sell these coils of sheet metal, yet we get 2.6X more thicker aluminum gutter per pound. So when considering the cost of materials for gutters steel is not really a savings at all when you consider the added labor, yet has a much shorter life-span.

My First Trailers:

In hopes to have a trailer that was as light as possible I actually set up this small 4'x 8' trailerwith a wood base to be used for the gutter machine before I had taken delivery of the new gutter machine.  Although, after finding out how the gutter machine weighs a ton empty (w/o 400# gutter coil) I realized this would not have worked.  Beside the fact that there was no way to get the 400# gutter coil onto the machine with a fork lift the axel was not rated for that much weight, which I later found out the hard way while transporting a pallet of bricks in this trailer. So I only use this trailer for light hauling after replacing the ruined axel with a better one. Now days it is used more as a small storage shed.

I later rebuilt this small trailer as well.  I first used Liquid Nails adhesive on the I-beam surface and then mounted the aluminum skin on them and used twice as many of the 3/16" rivets.  So far so good, but that does not permit any future changes if I want to reuse any of the frame or skin parts. Seen below is the 5' X 10' trailer I had used for our gutter machine for the first 6 years. It was a decent second attempt, but was a still a bit too cramped inside. I made an aluminum cover for it right off the bat. I was not going to let this expensive machine get rained on. It was important to me to keep the machine dry.

Some of the rollers of the gutter machine may be stainless steel, but the bearings and main frame are not and would rust up. The machine has a thick aluminum shell over the red painted steel tubular frame. Most gutter companies in this area have there machine right out there in the weather, for ease of loading new gutter coils, and within a few years the machine is ruined, yet often the Gutter Contractors continue using them long afterwards. The rusty rollers will dent the sheet metal and scratch-up the paint. Rebuilding a gutter machines cost several thousand dollars. I have had to replace about a dozen sets of bearings myself, because of rust, even though it had been kept out of the weather this whole time.

This aluminum cabin shell had plastic windows on each side for light and a sample gutter around the roof line.


Originally it only had one axel under it. I later installed this sets of two axels with smaller wheels to lower it's center of gravity and make it a little less wide, but it made this a lot harder to maneuver when not connected to my rig.

This trailer turned out to be a bit cramped to move around the machine. A box of downspouts is just over 10 feet long, so they would not fit inside this trailer as it was only 9' 8" long inside. I had made it just big enough to house the machine, with less concern to ease of functionality. We suffered with that smaller trailer for the first 6 years, until I got the gumption to up-grade to a 2' longer trailer. The longer trailer it's self is not any wider. I just enclosed the wheel wells this time.


You can sort of see how tight a fit it was for me to move around the machine in these pictures.  This shows the 2x2 wood ribs of the old trailer.  I had looked into building this frame with extruded aluminum tubing and rivets, but they wanted a small fortune for that tubing, so I decided to get some high grade CVG 2x2 fir boards to build the frame of the shell.  I was glad I did.  It was very workable, and was plenty sturdy.  I used some aluminum sheet metal to make some covers over the cross bracing to help improve the sturdiness.

I believe the weight saving would have been worth the extra cost of the aluminum tubing, but I learned from my smaller 4'x 8' trailer that mounting the aluminum sheet metal skin over aluminum I-beams with 3/16" rivets was not a good idea. The vibration from bouncing of the road works the rivets loose and it leave gray streaks of ground up aluminum running down the sides of the white painted aluminum skin.   Using the screws with the metal and rubber washers to hold the skin onto the wood frame was much more stable and did not seem to need adjustments over the 6 years I had the first gutter machine trailer in service. Then another 15 years with the next larger trailer design.  Wood is a lot easier to work with if you have some basic construction tools, but it is advisable to always pre-drill the wood before driving the screws in, or you risk splitting and cracking the small boards we used, which means having to replace that board.

Building a Better Trailer:

So, in the first part of 2001, I finally drummed up the energy and time off my work schedule to do the conversion to house our gutter machine on a larger trailer.

Here I had begun to dismantle the old trailer in my work shop we had in Clackamas. I had the back doors off, along with the front, left side, as well as the roof panels.  Again, you can see here how cramped it was inside.

Here it is with most all the aluminum skin removed.  You can better see the 2x2 wood frame. The aluminum skin does a lot to add structural support to this shell, once it is screwed onto this frame.

I had mounted an outdoor carpet under the wood frame base, over the birch plywood deck.  But that did not permit me to replace the carpet when it wore out and began to look ragged.  It was also more difficult to inspect if  the deck had any water damage.
The shot above shows the double doors I scabbed off the old trailer. In mid 2002, but I changed it over to the single door that is raised by gas charged hydraulic lifts off an Acura Integra hatch back. The raised door is better for working out in the rain to double as a cover while operating the gutter machine.

Transferring the Gutter Machine:

I had bought this slightly larger 5'x 12' double axel trailer several years before this to haul roofing debris.  After a few years I gave up roofing work all together, since it was a great deal of dangerous work, and there was not enough money in it, due to the fierce competition and horribly expensive insurance cost.

I had bought some high quality CVG fir to deck this trailer and made the removable side walls.   That lumber cost me $1,200. Nearly the same cost as the trailer frame it's self.  I learned that I could have decked it for half the cost with the same type of wood by using 2x4 boards instead of the 2x8 I got for the floor. Live and learn?

Before I got ready to do the transfer of the gutter machine, I had to spend a good deal of time flipping over the floor boards, sanding, and resurfacing them.  I re-bolted them to the steel frame with Stainless steel carriage bolts this time.  To minimize the weight, I realized I did not need to deck it under the gutter machine.  This would also leave it a little lower to the ground, lowering the center of gravity slightly.  I simply covered the hole with a sheet of aluminum to shield it from road grime.  This will also allow access to do some work on the machine rollers from underneath when needed.

Here is gutter machine getting lifted with a fork lift at Custom-bilt Metals, where I had bought the gutter machine. They were very kind to do the transfer at no charge.

Here we are lifting the gutter machine off the old stripped down trailer, after they removed the gutter coil you see in the back ground.  I also had to remove the aluminum covers on top to place the nylon straps they used to lift the gutter machine with.

 

Luckily my measurements were good, and it was a nice tight fit.  It is now ready to bolt it down to the steel frame.  I brought some tools and the bolts with me, so I could secure it before getting back on the road with this trailer and gutter machine, so I can work on the rest at our place.

This is an over head shot, showing some of the inner workings, guides, and rollers.  It has hundreds of precisely aligned rollers on bearings to carefully form the gutter shape from the 12" coil of sheet metal, as it passes through this 8' long gutter roll-forming machine.  It has to carefully do this without scratching or cracking the paint.

Building The New Shell:

Here is the larger gutter machine trailer shell frame work being built in our work shop. This is before the aluminum skin was installed, showing the 2x2, 2x4, 1x6 frame work.  It has been made with new and the used boards.  I pre-drilled the holes in the wood before screwing it all together to prevent the wood from splitting and cracking apart.

This clearly shows the 2x2 ribs, many of which I scabbed off of the old trailer.  This is looking from behind with all the ribs now built.  I still had some cross braces to install on the last two ribs.  I have built the rear door frame. To minimize time off work, I set the dimensions to use the old doors again.

Here below is the first white pre-painted aluminum skin going on. I was impatient, and did not have all the ribs built yet, but this will help hold the frame steady.  You can see there were no ribs past the wheel well.  I left the front side open to install the side door  in front of the wheel well.

I had to figure out a good sturdy way to build a floor outside of the steel trailer frame out to the outside of the wheel wells, since I was making this upper shell wider than the old trailer.  I was glad I did, as it made the interior much more usable in moving around the machine. The other trailer was very cramped.

Then the next side wall aluminum skin goes on over the ribs and under the fascia board that I planned to mount the gutter onto.  I had not yet cut the aluminum sheet metal skin out over the wheels to fit with the wheel well.

Then there is the next side wall aluminum skin on from the inside rear.  This shows a cross brace before I cover it with the aluminum sheet metal covers.  I still have to enclose the wheel well on the inside of the trailer, or it would make a horrible mess inside the trailer on wet days.

I assembled this trailer frame with all screws and bolts.  Absolutely no nails.  This is the fascia board I am installing to mount the gutter sample onto.  I would have loved to have more of an eave over hang, but the trailer is already 7 feet wide w/o the gutter samples. Once I have the gutters on, it will be over 7' 8" wide. The limit for a vehicle on the roads is 8 feet wide.  My work vehicle is only 6' 4" wide, so the trailer was sticking about 9" out on each side of the car pulling it.  The rear visibility is rather compromised as it is, and my turning clearance is an issue.  I have to be very careful to give a wide birth, so as not to hit things that my work car was clear of. Later I decided to just remove the gutter samples, since very few new gutter clients saw this anyway. It was cute, but kind of pointless.

Here is another picture Tia took from an over head view.  This was before I installed the many wood screws with steel and rubber washers in the new white aluminum skin.  Again, I needed to pre-drilled the holes for the screws to avoid any splitting or cracking of the 2x2 boards.  It was tricky to line up the holes to be drilled to be centered in the board hidden behind the aluminum sheet metal.

The over head clearance of the garage door frame was very close to the roof of the trailer by not more than an inch with out the roof panels on the trailer shell.  during clear weather I was able to move it out of the work shop to install the roof panels.  It would have been easier to make a simple flat roof, but beside the dramatic look of a small house, I hate the idea of rain water and subsequently mud puddeling on the roof panels, and it also makes the removable roof panel much more stable on the freeway to have this A-frame roof.  The removable panel is to be able to have a 400lb coil of new sheet metal lowered onto the machine spindle with a fork lift.

Other Features:

Here is the finished results of this trailer with the single up-swinging back hatch. I kept this inside my workshop while working on it. All this before doing another gutter job. Keeping the gutter machine out of the weather makes sure it is dry and clean, which is an important detail most other Gutter Contractors cannot boast.

The new shell was built just outside the fender wells this time, so the interior would be about almost 2" wider. This gives us a lot better ability to move around the machine and transport supplies inside the trailer as well.

Here it is with a copper coil on the cradle, just behind the main spool. I sell a lot more aluminum gutters, since copper is so expensive. Coppers main advantage is the fact that you will not need to bother washing or repaint the gutter in the future. Although, most clients who ask for copper do it for the brag points (LOL).
Here is a shot of the rear-door closed. Yes, I had one of the only trailers to sport a set of gutters w/ downspouts on both sides of the trailer. Not to mention the no-clog options added to them. I also have my trailers fit with separate amber turn signals, clearance lights, and white back up lights. This is quite rare.

There is also working electric brakes on one of the axels for safety. It is the law to have electric brakes on one of the axels with any double axel trailer, but I'm sure it's hard to enforce.This is an over head shot, showing the sunroof , or skylights in stead of side windows that I now have with this new trailer. The center opaque panel is the removable cover, so the heavy coils can be lowered onto this machine by fork lift. There are 4 screws that hold it in place. For simplicity 2 forward screws would work just as well.



I had to minimize the roof height in order to be able to reach the screws from the ground with out the need for a ladder each time. As it is I can just barely reach them. It also was the maximum height to get it in my workshop garage door. More height would also mean much more weight, and I wanted to keep the weight down as best I could.

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Drive this car to see the history of our gutter truck and other trailers

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Other Helpful Roofing Information
For some valuable advice with regards to roofing and rain management issues check out our:

(a) Gutter Installation
(b) Gutter Debris Protection Options
(c) Roofing Quality Standards
(d) Chimney Flashing

(e) Moss Control & Treatment

web pages for answers and solutions that could save you thousands of $ and a great deal of anguish.

If you do find this information very helpful, feel free to send us a $ tip for the assistance we so freely have published on the web here for your benefit, like you might tip a waitress.  Heck, send us a gift certificate for a candle lit dinner for two. <LOL>

 

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