How to Create a Go Kart

Written by jennifer simon
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Riding a go kart is a great outdoor activity for children and parents alike. Expensive go karts come equipped with iron frames and engines about the same size of a lawnmower's. But the classic go kart design is made from five pieces of wood, four wheels, a makeshift seat, and plenty of screws. This wooden go kart only rides downhill, is steered with your feet, and can be constructed in a few hours. A properly built one can last years.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Power drill with bits
  • Tape measure
  • Duct Tape
  • Crescent wrench with sockets
  • Adjustable wrench
  • 1 - 48 inch long piece of wood several inches thick
  • 2 - 24 inch long pieces of wood several inches thick
  • 2 - 20 inch pieces of wood
  • 4 - 4 inch caster wheels that do not swivel
  • Towel
  • Foam padding
  • 1 - 1/2 hex bolt, 4 inches long
  • 18 hex head screws 1/4 inch by 1 inch long
  • 20 washers
  • 2 hex head screws 3/8 by 3 inches long
  • 4 - 1/4 by 3 inch bolts

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  1. 1

    Arrange the 48 inch piece of wood and the two 24 inch pieces so that there is one 24 inch piece at each end of the 48 inch piece-underneath it with the 48 inch piece in the middle. Drill a hole on one end large enough for the big bolt to fit through it. Make sure you drill straight through both boards (the 48 inch and 24 inch piece). This is the front of the go kart.

  2. 2

    Drill four 1/4 inch holes in a square pattern evenly on the other end through both boards. This will be the back.

  3. 3

    Insert the big bolt through the bottom of the front hole. Insert two washers between the boards and one washer on the top. Screw a nut on top of the bolt and washer, allowing the board to move so that the kart can be steered.

  4. 4

    Counterbore the four back holes on the 48 inch board and on the back 24 inch board. This allows the bolts to rest inside the holes. Screw in the 1/4 inch bolts and place a washer on the top and bottom. Put nuts down on the four bolts and use a lock washer against the nuts.

  5. 5

    Turn the kart over and use the 1/4 inch screws to bolt down the wheels. Place a washer under each and wind all of the screws down. Turn the kart back over so it is resting on the wheels.

  6. 6

    Sit on the 48 inch board and be sure that your knees are bent enough so you can turn the kart with your feet. Mark where you are sitting with a pencil because this is where your seat will be mounted. Put the foam and towel over the mark and wrap duct tape around it until it resembles a seat.

  7. 7

    Take your two 20 inch pieces of wood. These are your brakes. While sitting on the kart, find a comfortable spot you can reach these either on the inside or outside of your legs. Mark where they will go on the 48 inch piece and drill a hole on both sides and through the middle of the two brake pieces. Secure them to the 48 inch piece with 3 inch hex screws.

  8. 8

    Make sure the brakes are leaning forward. To stop them from shifting out of reach, screw in a 1 inch screw on each side of the 48 inch piece, so that they block the brakes from moving out of reach. Wrap duct tape around the handle part of the brakes for a comfortable grip.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear safety goggles and gloves when working with wood.

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