How to Build Your Own Wooden No-Engine Go-Kart

Written by russel langley | 13/05/2017

The wooden no-engine go-kart is a fun toy to build and drive. As there is no engine the go-kart is gravity-powered and rider-controlled, therefore a steep slope is needed to ride the go-kart. The fun of the wooden go-kart often comes from building it with children and watching the kids race down a hill in something they helped build.

Cut one 2-by-4 52 inches long for the mainframe.

Cut two 2-by-4s for the front and back axles.

Drill a 5/16-inch hole at the end of each axle. The holes should be 4 inches to 6 inches deep.

Drill a 5/16-inch hole at the back of each end of the front axle for the rope.

Measure 14 inches from either end of the front axle and drill a 3/8-inch hole in the centre of the axle.

Attach two 2-by-4 blocks to the axle. Each block should be 2-1/8 inch from the centre hole on either side of the hole. Use four No. 6-by-2-inch screws to attach each block.

Drill a 3/8-inch hole centred on the mainframe and 1-5/8 inch from the front.

Use 3/8-by-4-inch hex bolt, four 3/8-inch flat washers, and one 3/8-inch locknut to attach front axle to centre hole of mainframe. Tightness will need to be adjusted to allow for steering.

Align the back axle at a 90-degree angle to the mainframe and clamp in place. Drill two 5/16-inch holes through the axle and the mainframe. Attach the mainframe to the back axle using two 5/16-inch-by-4-inch carriage bolts, two 5/16-inch flat washers, two 5/16-inch split lock washers and two 5/16-inch nuts.

Cut out a 15-inch-by-20-inch square from the plywood for the seat bottom.

Cut out one 8¾-inch-by-20-inch square from the plywood for the seat back.

Cut one 2-by-4 12 to 14 inches in length for seat back support. Bevel this 2-by-4 by 10 degrees at each end.

Attach the back rest support to the mainframe and seat back using two No.8-by-3-inch screws.

Cut out two triangular-shaped pieces from the plywood, and attach them to the backrest support and the mainframe. Use wood glue and No. 6 1-1/2-inch wood screws.

Cut the 2-by-2 surveyor's stake to 14 to 16 inches at an angle and cover with the rubber from the old tire suing No.4-by-1-inch screws and No. 4 fender washers.

Drill a 3/8-inch hole through the handle close to the rubber end.

Drill a 5/16-inch hole in the mainframe where you are going to attach the brake.

Attach the brake to the mainframe using a 3/8-inch-by-4-inch lag screw and 3/8-inch flat washers on both sides of the handle.

Attach the seat belt with fasteners of your choice.

Attach the rope to the front axle.

Use 3/8-inch-by-6-inch lag screws and four 3/8-inch washers to attach the wheels.


Install the brake on the right front wheel for ease of use.


Use the seat belt and wear a helmet when operating the go-kart.

Tips and warnings

  • Install the brake on the right front wheel for ease of use.
  • Use the seat belt and wear a helmet when operating the go-kart.

Things you need

  • 4 - 8-inch rubber wheels
  • 1 - 2-feet-by-4-feet sheet of plywood
  • 2 - 8-feet long 2-inch-by-4-inch boards
  • 1 - 2-inch-by-2-inch surveyor's stake (brake handle)
  • 4 - 3/8 inch lag screws
  • 1 - 3/8-inch-by-4-inch hex bolt for the front axle
  • 1 - 3/8-inch-by-4-inch lag screw for the brake
  • 2 - 5/16-inch-by-4-inch carriage bolts for the rear axle
  • 24 - 3/8-inch washers
  • 1 - 3/8-inch locknut
  • 2 - 5/16-inch washers
  • 2 - 5/16-inch nuts
  • 4 -- 5/16-inch nuts
  • 32 - No. 6-by-1 ½-inch wood screws
  • 8 - No. 6-by-2-inch sheetrock or wood screws
  • 16 - No. 6-by-1 5/8-inch sheetrock or wood screws
  • 1 -- 6-foot to 7 -oot ¼-inch rope
  • 1 -- Seat belt. Can be obtained from auto salvage yard or forklift shop.
  • 1 -- 2-inch-by-6-inch piece of rubber from an old tire
  • 4 -- ¼-20-by-3" carriage bolts for seat back and bottom
  • 4 -- ¼-inch flat washer
  • 4 -- ¼-inch lock washer
  • 4 -- ¼-inch hex nuts
  • 2 - No. 4-by-1" wood screws
  • 2 - No. 4 fender washers
  • 2 - No. 8-by-3-inch sheetrock or wood screws
  • 1 -- 2-inch-by-4-inch piece of old bike tire
  • Tools:
  • Power drill
  • 3/32-inch wood bit
  • 7/64-inch wood bit
  • ¼-inch wood bit
  • 5/16-inch wood bit
  • Countersink bit
  • 5/8-inch wrench or deep socket set
  • 9/16-inch wrench or deep socket set
  • Screwdriver or driver bits for power drill
  • Tape measure
  • Wood glue
  • Power or hand saw
  • Framing square
  • Hammer
  • 4-inch clamps
  • Safety glasses

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