How to Build a Wooden Go Kart
A go kart can be fun for a child of any age, and you can get an extra sense of pride and accomplishment from building it yourself. The final design and appearance will depend on your own preferences and budget. One interesting characteristic of go karts is the variety in designs—don't be scared to adapt the instructions to fit your needs. This guide will describe a basic wooden structure.
Step 1 - Source Materials
This stage may take some time if you want to build a go kart cheaply by using scrap materials. Visit scrap yards to source old baby carriages or bikes for wheels, bearings and axles. When selecting wheels, consider the weight that they will need to support, and use the most sturdy ones that you can find. Depending on how comfortable you want the cart to be, you might find an old plastic seat, use some old foam, or commit to a basic wooden bench style.
Step 2 - Cut Wood
Cut a center support and two axle pieces from the wood. For the purpose of these instructions, the center support will be three feet nine inches, and each axle will be 17 inches long. You may wish to adjust these measurements depending on your own requirements but bear in mind that you will need to adjust the rope length accordingly to allow you to operate the kart safely.
Step 3 - Stain/Paint Wood
Sand down the pieces of frame you've cut and apply a stain or paint. Allow the pieces to dry fully before applying a second coat. This finishing layer will not only up the visual value of your creation, it will help protect the wood from the elements.
Step 4 - Assemble Wheels
Drill holes in both ends of the center piece, then in the center of each of the axle pieces. It's important to be as accurate as possible when drilling the holes in the axles—any errors will result in the kart being unbalanced. Use the washers and split pins to attach the axles to the center piece.
The next step is to attach your wheels to the ends of the axles. Take care to check that they're secure; you don't want one to come loose while the go kart is in use.
Step 5 - Steering Mechanism
Use a length of rope to operate the steering system. Measure the distance to the center of the go kart then double that figure and add an extra six inches so that there is a little slack when you are holding the rope. If the go kart will be used by a children of a variety of ages, you may want to add a little extra rope. Attach the rope to each end of the front axle with a bowline knot.
Step 6 - Install Seat
Attach the seat securely to the center piece of the go kart where the driver will be able to hold the rope for steering and rest their feet on the front axle to aid in steering.
Step 7 - Test Drive
Test drive the go kart yourself to make sure that it is safe before allowing children to use it.
Ready to take things to the next level? Think about adding an engine for some real zip!