How to make a homemade go-cart out of wood

Written by meg warren
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A homemade go-kart made from wood can easily be made in two or three hours by someone who is comfortable and knowledgeable working with wood. If you are less experienced it may take four or five hours. Wooden go-karts do not withstand as much damage as a metal go-karts but can be built in less time. They are easily a father and son project that can be enjoyed by many children.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 8 feet of 2-by-6 inch lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • ¼-inch drill bit
  • ½-inch drill bit
  • ¾-inch drill bit
  • Four 6-inch nonswivel caster wheels
  • 18 hex screws ¼-by-1 inch
  • 4 ½-by-½ inch hex bolts
  • Loctite
  • Two hex screws ¾-by-3 inch
  • Four ¼-by-3 inch carriage bolts
  • Two eye hooks
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Towel
  • Duct tape

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  1. 1

    Cut the 2-by-6 into three pieces, one 4-feet long and the other two 2-feet long each.

  2. 2

    Measure and mark the centre of one 24-inch board. Drill a hole through this spot using a ½-inch drill bit. This is your front steering board.

  3. 3

    Measure and mark the centre of the other 24-inch board. Measure and mark a spot two inches away from the centre mark in both directions. Measure and mark a spot two inches away from the second mark created in both directions. A total of seven marks should be created. Drill a hole through the last four marks using a 1/4-inch drill bit. This will create four holes four inches away from each other in the centre of the board. This will be the back board.

  4. 4

    Position the wheel against the ends of the board. Turn the direction of the wheel perpendicular to the board. Ensure the bracket of the wheel is straight and flush with the end of the board. Trace around the hole in the bracket on the wheel to mark the location for the bolts. Remove the wheels and drill a hole through these marks using a ¼-inch drill bit.

  5. 5

    Attach the four wheels to the ends of the two 24-inch boards. Make sure the two wheels attached to one board are the same size. Tighten the nut flush against the bracket of the wheel.

  6. 6

    Turn the front and back boards upside down and place them over the top of the 48-inch board. Create an "I" shape with all boards. The front and back boards should be flush with the ends of the 48-inch board. Drill a hole through the previously drilled holes and through the 48-inch board using the same size drill used on that particular hole. Remove the back and front boards and place them right side up under the 48-inch board.

  7. 7

    Slide a washer over the 4 ½ inch hex bolt. Slide the bolt through the hole at the bottom of the front board. Slide two washers over the bolt, then through the hole in the 48-inch board. Slide another washer over the bolt, and attach a nut tight to the end. The nut should only be tightened enough to hold the bolt in place, but allow the two boards to turn easily. The front board is the axle that will be turned to steer the cart. Tighten a second nut to the first nut to hold it securely in place. Apply Loctite over the two nuts on the end. This is a liquid solution that will dry and hold everything in place. Do not allow any to seep under the washer on the top.

  8. 8

    Slide a carriage bolt through the holes on the top of the 48-inch board, and the back board. Tighten a nut on each one. Ensure that they are tight. Loctite can be applied for good measure. This will prevent the bolts from loosening.

  9. 9

    Attach an eye hook on either side of the front board three inches away from the end of the board.

  10. 10

    Tie one end of a rope to each eye hook. This will create a type of rope steering that will allow you to steer the go-kart in the same manner that a sled is steered.

  11. 11

    Measure and cut two 20-inch boards from the 2-by-4. The remainder of the 2-by-4 is scrap and can be tossed aside.

  12. 12

    Stand one the 20-inch boards against the side of the go-kart. Angle the board so only one corner of it is touching the ground. Insert a screw through the 20-inch board and into the 48-inch board. When sitting on the go-kart this board will be pulled up, forcing the bottom of the board to rub against the ground and stop the cart. Repeat with the opposite side of the cart. Each brake should be in the same position on opposite sides of the cart and comfortable for the driver to reach.

  13. 13

    Fold a large bath towel to the same width as the 48-inch board. Position it in a location that would be comfortable for the drivers legs to reach the front board. Wrap duck tape around the towel and the 48-inch board to secure it in place. The towel is the driver's seat.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear eye protection when working with power tools.
  • Always wear a helmet, knee, and elbow pads when riding the go-kart.
  • Have adult supervision when riding.

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