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How to build a home-made electric go-kart

There are several ways to make an electric go-kart, and it is wise to always keep in mind the size of the person who will be using it. These instructions are for making a simple go-kart that can take an adult load.

You can use either a metal or wooden frame, but ensure that it is wide enough to house the motor, batteries and go-kart style bucket seats. Keep the steering mechanism simple using a simple column and lever arm arrangement to steer the front wheels. Use symmetrical connecting rods to join each front wheel to the lever. Lock the front wheels but allow them to move in a +/- 40-degree range. This should give the go cart a good level of manoeuvrability. It is recommended you use 25 cm (10-inch) pneumatic wheels with steel rims.

The main vehicle chassis can be built with using a glued and screwed timber construction. Fit a go-karting type bucket seat securely onto the main chassis longerons. With the 20 cm (10-inch) tires, ground clearance is approximately 5 cm (2 inches), making this go-kart primarily for good driving surfaces and not off-road tracks.

You can place the motor and batteries behind the seat(s). For this go-kart, use a 100+ Amp 36V reversing controller that'll be attached to speeder and break pedals. To go with the controller, select two 36V 750Watt DC PM motors, which will create around 50 Amps with a peak of 100 Amps during hard acceleration. With this type of motor, three 12V 40 AmpH batteries should give approximately 1.5 hours of continuous power. The batteries should be strapped down to the chassis.

Mount the rear axle drive sprocket and brake disc on a compression fitting hub comprised of a heavy chain sprocket and taper-lock bushing. The taper-lock bushing has a torque capacity of four to five times the rater drive torque through the axle, enabling it to hold well and easy to fit on key-less shafting. Support the axles using needle roller bearings housed in the timber chassis structure.

To make the steering wheel, make an aluminium hub with six M5 threads. Attach three plywood plates cut to size one-by-one onto the hub. Glue all three plates together and varnish when dry. Attach to the steering column.

Tip

Paint the go-kart as you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal or wood frame
  • Go-kart-style bucket seats
  • Two 36V 750 Watt DC PM motors
  • 100+ Amp 36V reversing controller
  • Three 12V 40 AmpH batteries
  • 4 25 cm pneumatic wheels with steel rims
  • Drive sprocket
  • Brake disc
  • Needle roller bearings
  • Three plywood plates
  • Aluminium hub
  • Paint
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About the Author

Jorina Fontelera has been writing about business since 2003, covering the printing and manufacturing sectors, as well as the global accounting and financial industries. She has contributed to "USA Today," "Milwaukee Business Journal" and several trade publications, also writing about parenting, animals, food and entertainment. Fontelera holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Marquette University.