How to Make a Soapbox Go Cart

The go cart has been a delightful symbol of childhood for generations. In its simplest form, a cart is built in the backyard using spare timber and harvested wheels, then towed to the top of the nearest hill top to rattle down without brakes and the hope of a clear run.

Cut a ply base approximately 450mm wide by 650mm long. This forms the seat of the cart. Cut two plywood sides and a plywood back to fit the seat. Use a jigsaw to create rounded sides. Secure the sides and back to the seat base and to each other using wood glue and 50mm screws through the underside of the base.

Cut the main pine chassis to a length approximately 1.5 meters depending on the size of the likely driver.

Use a router and sandpaper to cut and smooth a recess to fit and house the rear wheel axle.

Fit the seat base to the chassis using glue and 50mm wood screws. Ensure that the axle recess is located beneath the seat where the axle can slide to fit snugly but in a fixed position.

Cut the pine front wheel axle support to the same length as the seat width (approximately 450mm). Fit it to the front of the chassis using a coach bolt and washer. Ensure it is secure but loose enough to swivel so the cart can be steered. Fit the two axle brackets to its underside using bolts.

Slide the axles into rear recess and through the front axle brackets. Fit the wheels, secured by locking pins and washers.

Drill holes at each end of the front axle support. Fit and tie the rope to form a steering loop, long enough to be held while in the seating position.

Paint and decorate with a dash of paint to give your cart a special look, perhaps of a racing car with its number emblazoned on the front or a slash of lightning down the side. Apply a coat of varnish to make it sleek.


Ensure that the wheels are secured and attached properly to the chassis, bearing in mind the stress once in motion. Test your go kart's durability on a flat road before attempting to glide down a hill.


Always supervise children using electrical tools such as drills and saws. Carting can be dangerous, even when not racing. The driver should wear a helmet.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood saw
  • Metal hacksaw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router
  • Screw driver
  • Drill
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Sand paper
  • Paint brushes
  • 18mm plywood sheets.
  • 100 by 60mm pine planks
  • 20 by 50mm wood screws
  • 125mm coach bolt, washers and nut
  • 2 axle brackets
  • 2 by 15mm diameter round metal bars
  • 4 by 50mm bolts, washers and nuts
  • Wood glue
  • 1.5 metre length of rope
  • 4 spoked wheels
  • 8 locking pins
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About the Author

Robert Wainwright has been a journalist since 1979. He writes for Australian and U.K. metropolitan newspapers and websites, including the "Sydney Morning Herald" and "The Guardian," on subjects ranging from business and politics to crime and sport. He has also authored numerous bestselling books.