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

Updated July 20, 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

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

  18. 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.

  19. Attach the seat belt with fasteners of your choice.

  20. Attach the rope to the front axle.

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

  22. Tip

    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.

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Things You'll 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

About the Author

Russel Langley

Based in Sacramento, Calif., Russel Langley has been writing professionally since 2006. His work has appeared in the "Tailwind," the local publication for Travis Air Force Base in California, as well as on several websites. Langley holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The Union Institute.

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