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3D-Printed Horse Trailer Design: What Makes 3D Printing A Trailer So Unique?

Last updated October 27, 2023 by Brad Heath

Horse trailer design can be limited with traditional horse trailer manufacturing. On the other hand, 3D printing manufacturing allows for more creativity and innovations when it comes to horse trailer design. "But what about horse trailer safety?" This is often one of the first questions that customers would ask - even so with a newly introduced technology such as 3D printing in horse trailer manufacturing. 

At Double D Trailers, as horse owners and horse lovers ourselves, our primary concern is just the same. That’s why we focus on horse trailer design features that make our trailers stand out from the rest. Throughout our 20+ years of business and manufacturing horse trailers, we have made strides throughout the industry in terms of horse trailer design and features with unique offerings like the SafeTack swing out tack compartment, our patented SafeTack Reverse trailer configuration, SafeKick wall system, and SafeBump roofing system. 

Since there is room for even more innovation when it comes to being able to 3D print a horse trailer, we went back to the drawing board of horse trailer design and asked ourselves - what else can we do to make the design and features of the 3D-printed horse trailer even better? 

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #1: Lighting 

Horses are extremely intuitive animals. One of the biggest horse trailer flaws that we see in the market today are horse trailers that are like black enclosed boxes. The horse areas on these trailers are dark and claustrophobic - so it shouldn’t be a surprise when horses don’t want to load on horse trailers like these. 

A dark and enclosed horse trailer stall makes a horse trailer uninviting for horses.

Rather, French researchers recently found horses prefer to load on a horse trailer that is bright and inviting. With the 3D-printed horse trailer model; we’re doing something that has never been done before because it’s simply not possible with conventional horse trailer manufacturing. The windows on the 3D horse trailer design will let in maximum light for your horses. The 3D-printed horse trailer will have 300% more glass, which will naturally translate into 300% more light being able to enter in the horse trailer. This horse trailer design will be unequivocally the most bright and inviting horse trailer on the market. 

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #2: Adjustable Dividers

Our goal at Double D Trailers is to create lifelong customers. What we mean by this is that we want to partner with our clients to create a customer that loves their horse trailer for life. We don’t want to be a manufacturer that you have to revisit time after time because you are unhappy with your horse trailer and want to change it or improve it. Rather, our mission is to specialize in horse trailer design features that will satisfy the wants and needs of both you and your horses.

For horse owners that own multiple horses, finding a horse trailer that can accommodate every single one of your horses can be a bit of a challenge. The reason behind this is that the chances are - all of your horses are not the exact same size. So, it goes without saying that the horse stalls in your trailer need to be customizable in order to fit each of your horses safely.

Standard horse trailer dividers are heavy, bulky, and immovable.

Or, we’ve seen many clients over the years that want to haul their horses at times but at other times, they’d like to haul cargo such as a golf cart or even a horse carriage. 

In the 3D-printed horse trailer design, the interior dividers will be adjustable. This has never been done before because with traditional manufacturing, the welding process does not allow for the stall dividers to be movable. These 3D-printed dividers will be durable yet lightweight, able to be picked up, moved, and even removed completely by horse owners to make the horse stall area 100% unique and customizable for each and every trip. 

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #3: A Multi-Purpose Fender Skirt 

You may have heard of the trend in the horse trailer community called “fender feasting”. Basically, this term refers to when horse owners go camping and use their fender cover as a table to eat outside of their horse trailer. We really liked the idea of fender feasting, but saw that there was room for horse trailer design improvements that would be possible on the 3D-printed horse trailer. 

Fender feasting: Using a horse trailer wheel cover as a table for eating.

The 3D-printed horse trailer design features a wheel cover that doubles as a flip-up table. When traveling, horse owners will be able to simply lift the wheel cover and secure the table in place to have an upgraded “fender feast”.

The wheel cover on the 3D horse trailer design also serves three additional purposes: 

  • Tire blow out containment 

  • Aerodynamic support 

  • Prevents injury to a horse tied to the exterior and paws the fender area.  We’ve seen cut legs on aluminum fenders and other axle components.

Tire Blow Out Containment

In the event of a blow out, the tire will be contained to the wheel area. This prevents the tire from blowing and causing damage to the exterior of your horse trailer. Instead, if and when the fender is damaged we’ll be able to print another fender cover that is easily replaceable.

A horse trailer tire blow out can cause severe trailer damage.

Read more discussions on Barrel Horse World: Horse Trailer Tire Blowouts

Aerodynamic Support

The wheel cover contributes to the continuous one-piece horse trailer design on the 3D model. Removing the traditional horse trailer manufacturing method of having multiple different parts, openings, and textures on the exterior of the trailer not only creates a more cohesive trailer shape, but will enhance the aerodynamics of the horse trailer. Having greater trailer aerodynamics will help the trailer to handle better and tow safer on the road.

Speaking of aerodynamics…

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #4: Aerodynamic Trailer Shape

Many horse trailer owners opt to add on aerodynamic features to their trailer. We took this into consideration when thinking of the 3D-printed horse trailer design shape. The shape of this horse trailer design is unlike anything else that is available on the horse trailer market today. The sleek trailer design will reduce wind friction and choppiness when hauling. Rather, the 3D trailer will haul like a well-oiled machine - smooth in the wind. Horse trailer owners will notice that this trailer shape hauls easier, handles better, and increases MPG while towing as well. 

The Double D Trailers 3D horse trailer model features an aerodynamic shape.

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #5: Lightweight

When speaking of aerodynamics, it’s not only the shape that is a contributing factor, but the weight of the trailer as well. The materials that will be used in 3D printing a horse trailer are a combination of polycarbonate, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. These materials are not only extremely durable, but they are lightweight. 

We anticipate that this horse trailer will result in an approximate 25% weight savings over a traditionally manufactured horse trailer. The initial 3D-printed horse trailer model, known as the SafeTack Reverse Carbon 2 Horse Bumper Pull, is expected to weigh 3,800 lbs. While this might not seem like a weight savings to some - the 3D-printed horse trailer is a Warmblood size horse trailer. This means that we added length to the horse trailer to make it 16’, changed the width from a standard 80” to 96”, and upped the axle size as well. For reference, our traditionally manufactured SafeTack Reverse 2 Horse Bumper Pull trailer with the same specs weighs in around 5,100 lbs.

Horse Trailer Design Upgrade #6: Uniform Air Flow

One of the most common concerns that we have received about the 3D horse trailer design is air flow. Horse owners want to know (and rightfully so) just how in the world their horses will receive adequate air flow in a horse trailer that has been 3D-printed. 

It’s been such a popular concern in fact, here are some of the related questions we have received on our Facebook page:

  • “How do you keep windows open for airflow when driving?”

  • “You can’t go down the road with the windows open like that. And where are the roof vents?”

  • “It doesn’t look like those windows can be open while in motion. How does the trailer ventilate?”

  • “How do you travel with the windows? You can’t drop them down while traveling.”

  • “I don’t see any vents. Hauling horses requires venting. Did I miss seeing them?”

  • “I wonder about ventilation. No top vent? Windows cannot be open during hauling? Seems too closed up.”

  • “The concern I have is there doesn’t seem to be any ventilation. The windows can not be open when the trailer is moving. In hot climates the trailer would be like an oven.”

So, if any thought that’s crossed your mind has sounded similar to something above, you’re not alone. You can rest assured that during the 3D horse trailer design process we have been working closely with professional 3D designers and engineers to take ventilation into account as well. 

To accomplish the two goals of #1) horse safety and #2) horse comfort, we developed a technology called UniAir. 

How Will UniAir Work in the 3D-Printed Horse Trailer Design? 

UniAir stands for “Uniform Air Flow”, and it is a proprietary air duct system built into the frame of the 3D horse trailer model. The purpose of UniAir is to provide uniform amounts of air to every horse in the horse area while avoiding the dangers of traveling with your windows down on the road. The noise canceling windows on the 3D horse trailer will allow your horses to experience a quiet, rattle free ride - resulting in less stressed and happier horses. An independent study was conducted by Equinews in a 4 horse slant load gooseneck with windows on both ends of the stall and rear door window. Air exchange was measured at 10 locations in the horse area but with and without horses present along with variations in speed. Tracer gas concentration measurement and infrared sensors were used to determine the airflow.

Results show driving around town at low speeds there was very little air movement and temperatures increased. As speeds increased there was more airflow as you would expect. However, air varied significantly by location in the horse area and 10 sensors.  Even at the highest speed and with all windows open the average air exchange rates were only about half those recommended for stabled horses.  In addition, the first stall received significantly less airflow and the first horse showed more sweating than horses in other locations. Outside temperature was 82 degrees while the interior of the trailer actually increased to 86 degrees. The Safetack Reverse Carbon series UniAir system will distribute an equal amount of air to all horses.  When the trailer is stopped in traffic an auxiliary fan system can be activated via a keyfob from the tow vehicle.

The 3D-Printed Horse Trailer Design Promotes Happier, Less-Stressed Horses

Of course, the horse trailer design on the 3D model comes with all of the horse-friendly features that you’ll find on our standard Double D Trailers models. The 3D trailer will be available in our patented SafeTack Reverse configuration, with the swing-out SafeTack compartment (that is fully removable on the 3D model!), multiple access doors, quick release dividers, and low-incline ramps. We just like to think of the 3D horse trailer model as an “upgraded” model when it comes to safety features. You aren’t sacrificing any horse trailer safety. Instead, the possibilities of 3D printing manufacturing just allow us to take the safety up a notch. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I haul the 3D-printed horse trailer with the windows open?

Aside from horse safety being jeopardized when traveling down the road with the trailer windows down, aerodynamics is another reason we want the trailer designed to be hauled with the windows closed. Wind tunnel data shows driving with windows open distorts the airflow and increases wind drag. This results in more fuel needed and more strain on the tow vehicle's drive system.

How is the horse trailer design of the 3D-printed trailer different than others?

The 3D-printed horse trailer features a monocoque design. This means that the structural system of the horse trailer is supported by the external frame. This egg-shaped unibody design not only supports aerodynamics, but ensures that the horse trailer structure can remain lightweight while using it's shape for strength rather than additional material, framing, and bracing. Monocoque designs are used frequently in the aviation, automobile, RV, and even aerospace industries. 

Next Topic: 3D-Printed Horse Trailer Size: Built to Accommodate Big Horses 

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