Archive for the ‘building a go kart’ Category

The work with this part of the project includes adding the rear tail top brace, the body panel rails and the dashboard, or rather the little dashboard.

Boat tail brace added.

Boat tail brace added.

The addition of the boat tail top brace, which consists of 1/4″ plywood was pretty straightforward. You can see that it mounts on the top of the seat bracket and extends across the tail, and mounts to the vertical brace I had mounted earlier.

You may be wondering about the large gap that exposes the inside of the boat tail? Me too. Well it turns out all of that will be totally hidden since the top half of the tail will be completely covered with aluminum sheeting. The top brace is just that… a brace. It won’t even be seen.

The boys were wondering if this was a trunk that they could hide “stuff” in. Stuff would amount to various rocks and brightly colored air gun BBs that they seem to find all over the neighborhood. It did make me wonder if it would be worthwhile to make the top hinged. They could use it as a trunk, and I could have easy access to add a motor later. Hmmm I’ll have to think about that…

At this point, aside from the consideration of a hinged lid, the boat tail is now more or less structurally complete. Next was to mount braces on the inside of the body panels, at the top, that will provide a place to mount the body panel top. For this I cut two 2×2 pieces at 23″ long. I positioned them at the very top edge of the body panels, drilled pilot holes, and ran 1 1/4″ screws in from the inside of the panels out, spacing them out about 4″ apart.

Once panel braces were mounted I turned my attention to the tiny dash. The dash seemed fair sized at first glance, until I cut it out and held it up. I was thinking of going hog wild and even mounting a speedometer in it…. I still may, but not sure how much space I’ll have to put it in. Maybe a vintage analog speedometer from a Schwinn bike would work?

Once I cut the dash out of the 1″ pine stock, I drilled a 1″ hole in the center to accommodate the steering column. Next I positioned it into the body and held it in place with a clamp. At this point I wanted to determine a few things before mounting it permanently- specifically will the dash be high enough to provide space for the boys’ knees?

Dash held in place waiting for permament mounting.

Dash held in place waiting for permanent mounting. Notice also the installed body panel rails.

Remember, this is going to be powered with a crank and pedals. Additionally I needed to determine where I will be mounting the lower portion of the steering column as it mounts at the very bottom of the grill. This is where it will connect to the steering linkage, etc. To help determine this I temporarily placed a piece of PVC pipe in the place of the steering column to determine if I had the angle of the dash correct.

It looked fine, but I figured I’d have one of the boys come sit in it to confirm. Luke came over and sat down. The PVC pipe was a bit long and it was hitting him in the nose. No permanent damage, besides I figured it was a small price to pay and would only build character.

Don’t worry, this pipe is only to check something.” I said. “I won’t leave it… there we go, thanks for the help.” and off he went in search of his next Otter Pop, to spray his brothers with a garden hose, or likely both.

Once I determined the position of the dash was good I drilled pilot holes from the outside body panels, into the side of the dash. I then set two 1″ wood screws on each side and removed my clamp.

Next I got my shopping list together to get the steering column in place. As with the spindles, the steering column (and related pieces) are all based on galvanized pipe components. I’ll try to get over to the local Home Depot this weekend and with any luck will have a steerable kart here pretty soon. I need to get the steering column in place before I attempt what I suspect will be the most challenging part of this whole project….the crank assembly. I’m both looking forward to that and dreading it as I know it’s going to be a real challenge.

While I still had some daylight left I went ahead and cut out the body panel top that will mount on the two rails I previously installed. I won’t actually mount this top panel yet, but just cut it to fit and set it in place for now. I’ll mount it after the steering and crank is in place since having access to these things from the top will make my life much easier.

Complete tail, the dash and top in place. Next stop steering!

Complete tail, the dash and top in place. Next stop steering!

At this point we’re pretty far along with our dash, tail, spindles, mounted wheels, grill, seat, dash and of course the body itself.

The other day while we were talking about the progress Nick said “You’re the best dad ever!” which makes this project, and every other project before and after all the more worthwhile.

This next step in our project involves the hands of a surgeon and nerves of steel. OK, it’s not quite that bad, but was rather nerve racking. You see at this point I needed to carefully bend the rear panels towards one another, and screw them together. Doing this will create the very vintage boat tail rear look to our kart, plus it will just look cool.

Just what exactly is this boat tail design anyway? It’s all the rage, all the cool kids are doing it! This body design in automotive carriage building has been around for quite some time, beginning in the early 20th century. The main attraction was for aerodynamics, making the car generally more sleek and faster. Of course the end result also was that the rear of the car ends up having a general shape that resembled that of an old boat.

A great overhead shot of a 1925 Bugatti Type 35

A great overhead shot of a 1924 Bugatti Type 35

Some great examples in this time period include the 1933 Duesenberg, the 1936 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster, the 1934 Packard 12 Boat Tail Speedster and of course the Bugatti Type 35 that we’re loosely basing our project on.

There were also more recent (and questionable) examples including the 1971 Buick Riviera. Nothing however could replace the original art deco era cars, they really are just priceless.

On our project we had the body mounted on both sides with the rear waiting for the final assembly. In order to secure the rear panels to one another in the back I needed to first create the boat tail “base” that both sides will attach to.

This base is a triangle that mounts to the rear of the frame, and the body panels are bent inward to attach to the triangle itself. I set a line down the center of both the rear cross member, as well as the tail brace, drilled pilot holes through the rear cross member, into the brace and followed up with 1 1/4″ wood screws.

Boat tail support base that both panels mount to.

Boat tail support base that both panels mount to.

After I mounted the boat tail brace to the frame, I then had to cut what amounted to a long triangle block that mounts vertically at the absolute rearmost point in this boat tail.

This vertical brace effectively acts as the edge of the tail, and adds some strength and rigidness to the whole structure. Cutting this piece was a bit of a challenge, since as before, I still didn’t have my table saw. Again creative cutting with the Skil saw would be in order.

I basically needed to cut a 9″ deep triangle out of a 2×4. It took me a few tries to get the angle correct, but I finally got it right. Once I cut this piece out completely I mounted it vertically onto the rear point of the tail base.

Cutting this piece to be used vertically in the boat tail was a bit of a challenge.

Cutting this piece to be used vertically in the boat tail was a bit of a challenge.

Next I very carefully bent the left panel against the triangle brace, drilled pilot holes through the panel into the brace, and followed up with 1″ wood screws. As I bent it over and set the screws I heard the very distinct sound of wood slightly cracking. Eeek. The plywood, very slightly, began to crack right where our kerf lines were cut. Nothing too significant, just a very slight hint. I think I can file it down and fill it with wood putty and you’ll never know. Well, I’ll know but I’ll never tell.

After attaching the left panel, I carefully bent the right panel over and did the same, drilling pilot holes and inserting soaped up wood screws.

The meeting of both panels to the rear against this vertical board will need some smoothing over and likely some filler as well, but the end result is quite sturdy.

After mounting things up I realized that the vertical brace actually extends about 1.5″ higher than the body panels. Hmm. I wasn’t quite sure why but I did confirm it was the correct size based on the plans. On closer look there is another piece that will be mounted on top of the boat tail at a later point, so I think we’re all good here.

Both panels attached to rear vertical beam and boat tail bottom.

Both panels attached to rear vertical beam and boat tail bottom.

After assembling the tail I realized it is probably strong enough, and has enough space, to house a small engine or electric motor in the future. I could easily see a small gas engine, or even some of the small electric motors readily available for the various Razor products fitting right in here. The vicinity of a motor here to the rear wheel sprocket would be pretty easy to work with as well. The boys are a bit too young, and my wife won’t even let me consider it, so I’ll leave this for another day. Though maybe if I sprang for a weekend getaway for her, she’d never notice if I dropped one in while she was gone?? Couldn’t take more than an afternoon right??

Since I was making some great progress, and it had been a whole 15 minutes since someone asked me if I was done yet, I figured I’d keep going while I had the opportunity.

Next I’ll add the seat. In preparation of this I mounted the cleats, or mounting braces, on the inside of the body panels. I mounted these a half inch lower on the body to account for my older son. I wanted the boys to be able to fit into this as long as possible, so where I could I tried to account for dimensions with that in mind. I also placed them a bit further back from the original mounting spots since I’ll be adding a crank with pedals.

Next I cut out the base of the seat and the seat back. The base has a slightly narrowed shape to account for the portion of the tail where the bend begins. The seat back will be mounted vertically and has braces attached to the top, left and right sides. The plans call for a brace on the bottom as well. I opted not to use a bottom mount since I felt it a bit redundant, not to mention risky with regards to running the screws into it. When cutting the seat back I followed the plan in making it rounded on the top, but opted to make it a bit taller than the plans called for. Again, accounting for longevity of use (or at least hoping to).

Seat base and back mounted into the body.

Seat base and back mounted into the body.

I placed the seat bottom onto the seat braces. I then drilled guide holes through the bottom and into the seat braces I previously mounted to the body panels. At this point we actually had something to sit in and it was getting pretty exciting.

Right about now I was wishing I was 6 or 7 years old. Then again if I were I wouldn’t be using a Skil saw and my Dad would be putting this off to another time, so never mind.

Once the seat bottom was mounted I slid the vertical seat back into place. This was a tight fit, which is good. I wanted to get it as close as I could to the panels, but also didn’t want to force the panels outward. Once this seat back was in place I then drilled guide holes and ran wood screws into the side braces of the seat back from the OUTSIDE of the body panels. This was one of the cases where at a later point prior to painting I’ll fill these screws and with any luck they won’t be visible in the least.

The seat back braces are clearly visible in this shot. The upper brace will be used for mounting another piece later.

The seat back braces are clearly visible in this shot. The upper brace will be used for mounting another piece later.

We now have the tail and seat in place. Next up will be getting the dashboard and steering mechanism cut and put in. All in all a very productive day for sure.

The neighbors are beginning to ask questions so that should be a good sign right? Only I wish they weren’t asking “What is that?”.

When we last saw our action hero he had set up the frame, king pins (spindles) and mounted the upper and lower control arms in place. The plans called for building our own 16″ wheels out of plywood planks and mounting bicycle tires onto them. The end result would look really nice and definitely keep the similarities of the wheels of Bugatti in it’s day, but to put it lightly, what a pain! Not to mention I would suspect they would add a lot of weight to the kart.

As with the MG kart project, I too was going to use some bicycle wheels. In that case he used four front bicycle wheels. As luck would have it my oldest son recently grew out of a bike, a Spiderman bike to be precise, that had 16″ wheels. Perfect. I now had half of the wheels I needed. Now to find two more, or rather two more that matched. You see these weren’t simply your basic chrome spoked wheels, these were the masked super hero special wheels. These had red spokes and a black rim so I couldn’t pick up just any set of wheels, that would be blasphemy!

I tried turning to friends and family to see if by chance anyone had the same bike sitting around. You’d think my chances were slim to none, but I just happen to know that this bike was available at Costco a few years back, and I also know that Santa shops there on occasion.

The responses ranged from “No, but I have a Barbie bike you can have!” to “I have wheels but they are purple, they’re yours if you want to come get ’em.” Purple wheels, next to my existing Spiderman wheels!? That would be perfect…if I were making a stage prop for an episode of HR Puff N Stuff.

I turned my attention to the net, specifically Craigslist. I found three bikes for sale right off the bat. In fact I came across one for a mere $5.00. Since it was located a couple hours away, I asked a friend who lived nearby to go pick it up. For only $5.00 I now had an exact duplicate of our Spiderman bike. To add a bit of high tech mystery to this project we could refer to it as a clone I suppose. I told my wife about the good fortune. She seemed genuinely happy, but I suspect it was do more to the selling price rather than the find. “What are you going to do with this when you’re done?” she asked. “Getting it finished isn’t the point, it’s the journey much more than the destination!” I said. Getting all deep and philosophical I figure would be better than a simple “Who cares, it will be cool!“.

The disassembly begins.

A sacrifice to the Go Kart Gods.

Next I started to disassemble the bikes. The boys saw this and went ballistic,”Dad! I wanted to ride that!” I diffused the situation by saying I was only borrowing the wheels (not to mention the chain, and sprocket). I replied with “Don’t worry, if you want to ride your old bike again we can just put take them off your go kart, and put them back on your bike.” That’s what I said, but what I was thinking was more like “This go kart will be so cool you’ll forget your Spiderman bike ever existed!“. Well that settled that.

I wanted to go with bicycle wheels for a number of reasons; simplicity, availability, leverage of using the coaster brake, and the sprocket. I’ll get to the sprocket later. For now let’s look at exactly what it’s going to take to use bike wheels since it’s not as straightforward as one would hope.

Back over on the kart, I started mounting the front wheels. I had previously drilled the front spindle holes to accommodate the axles.

In the center you can see no threads. Extending the threads will give more space to move the wheel position.

In the center you can see no threads. Extending the threads will give more space to move the wheel position.

I went to put the first wheel in place only to discover that the axle wasn’t quite long enough to go through the spindle, through the other side and still have room for a lock nut and washer on the other side. I suppose I could replace the axle with simply a longer bolt right? Theoretically this would work just fine, but I wouldn’t be able to use the bearing retainer nuts which are slightly rounded specifically to hold the bearings in place. This would work if I could find a 5″-6″ 8mmX105 axle which as it turns out isn’t as easy as you would hope. I hit the hardware stores nearby and had no luck. Thank goodness the US completely adopted the metric system as it has.

On closer inspection it wasn’t that the axle wasn’t long enough, it was actually plenty long, it was that the wheel needed to be shifted in one direction a half inch or so. Easy right? Simply thread the bolts further in on one side, and further out on the other, and more of the axle would be available to go through the spindle. Not so fast.

It turns out that the axles for the front wheels are not threaded all the way across, but have approximately 2″ in the middle without threads. This means that if you wanted to shift the position one way or the other you can’t go very far. My solution? Simply take an 8mm die and extend the threads further down the axle. Run the die onto one end (doesn’t really matter which) of the axle, and go all the way down into the center. This can be quite a pain, but by moving back and forth slowly, you can add a few more threads which is all you’ll need. Occasionally spray some WD40 (or similar) lubricant and stop every so often. The die and threads will be extremely hot and can easily snap so take your time.

Offset front wheel with axle showing more space.

Offset front wheel with axle showing more space.

Eventually you’ll have enough space to offset the wheel once the axle is placed back into it. You will want to do this for both of the front wheels. The more space you can get the better, so it will allow you to comfortably place a lock washer and nut to attach each wheel onto the spindle.

Once I added enough new threads to both axles I inserted them back into the wheels. I then placed both wheels into the spindles and sat back happy with the results, for the most part. I soon realized that that since the plans call for creating custom wheels, the position of the spindles is ideally suited to those custom wheels. And not so ideal for my wheels.

In our case the wheel doesn’t quite spin freely as the spokes, ever so slightly, want to hit the very edge of the control arms. Not so much that a rough file and some 80 grit sand paper couldn’t solve it. Now we’ve got the front wheels more or less mounted.

Wheel axle extending through the spindle.

Wheel axle extending through the spindle.

Now let’s focus on the back wheels. As is often the case the brakes are often an afterthought with homemade, wooden, go karts. I know back when I was a kid the one we rode around on did in fact have brakes, they just happened to be attached to our feet and said “Chuck Taylor” on the side.

Since for every action there is typically a reaction (i.e., child jumping on couch results in emergency room trip…don’t ask me how I know this) I think brakes are pretty important. If for no other reason that you can make really cool skid marks on the sidewalks.

One of the goals with using the wheels from a bicycle is that I wanted to leverage the coaster brake assembly. I wanted to have a means for the rider to push down on a pedal, or in some other way, cause the coaster brake to engage. At the same time I wanted to be able to use the existing sprocket on the rear wheel to provide movement. At the moment I won’t be using a motor, but if I could somehow setup a chain/pedal drive perhaps I could use the rear sprocket to move the kart, but also allow the driver to pedal backwards and engage the brake. Easy as cake right? Sort of, but I guess it depends on what kind of cake you’re talking about.

If you look at any typical bicycle rear wheel (one with a coaster brake) you have the sprocket mounted on the right side, and on the left you have the lock mechanism for the coaster brake. This is typically mounted to the frame and when the user hits the brakes (pedals backwards) this prevents the brake mechanism from rotating and the brakes engage inside of the rim. Since I’m not mounting my wheels on two sides, like a bicycle, how would I mount this lock piece?

I took a break to sit on the front porch and enjoy an Otter Pop (an orange flavored Otter Pop to be specific) with the boys  and think about this for a bit. If I could put it on the same side as the sprocket, and have that sprocket side closest to the kart frame, that would be great I thought. I asked the boys what they thought and they agreed. I appreciated their feedback, even though I knew very well it was the Otter Pops talking. They then asked if they could have another one.  “No, you can’t have another one.” I said. I think they were expecting somesort of kickback for agreeing with me. At any rate, let’s put my theory to the test.

If I take the rear wheel of the bicycle, and simply place it at the left rear of the kart, I have my sprocket closest to the frame.

Coaster brake arm removed ready to be put on the other side.

Coaster brake arm removed ready to be put on the other side.

Reaching back to my Otter Pop Epiphany I removed the coaster brake arm and then looked to place it on the same side as the sprocket.

Not surprisingly it didn’t fit. There is a nut on this side, as there is on the other, that is squared on two sides. The only thing is that the nut on this side is slightly larger preventing the arm from sliding over it. Meet my little friend the file.

I took the retaining arm and filed about 1/16″ of an inch from the top and bottom of the hole thereby allowing it to slip over this larger nut. I then put the nut back over the axle to hold it in place and voila. I now had my “drive wheel” with a brake system ready to use.

At this point we have our front wheels in place, and we have the solution for the left rear (by far the more difficult of the two), solved for the moment at least. For the right rear wheel we also wanted to have the sprocket closest to the frame. We slid off the coaster brake retainer, as we had on the other wheel, only in this case we set it aside. Since we won’t be using this wheel for power or brakes, we just left it as is.

Rear wheel mounted to pipe flange and wood block.

Rear wheel mounted to pipe flange and wood block.

To mount the rear wheels to the kart it was quickly clear to me that I needed to come up with something that was strong, and flexible as well as something that would account for the narrowing frame.  You see the frame narrows considerably in the front. Simply mounting the rear wheels straight to the frame would result in the kart not rolling very well since the wheels wouldn’t be square. The rear wheels would have some serious toe-in.

In addition to the alignment issue, I needed to have some flexibility to allow for sliding the wheels forward or back to adjust chain tension on the left side. Remember, we want to use the left rear wheel sprocket as a drive wheel.

In searching for a solution here  I discovered that the axle fits perfectly into a 1/2″ galvanized pipe floor flange. I then mounted the rear wheels to one of these flanges. I mounted the flange to a block of wood, and mounted the wood block to the frame. Very complicated I know, but that’s how I roll.

All four wheels now mounted to our frame.

All four wheels now mounted to our frame.

I mounted the other wheel/block combo to the frame and voila. I’m starting to see something that could pass as a vehicle of some sort.

With this phase of our project we found four matching wheels, resolved axle issues on the front, mounted our wheels and discovered the creative inspiration that only a sugar rush from Otter Pops can provide.

Next stop some body work.


Lower control arm ready for it's anchor bolt.

As I noted earlier, all of the parts from this project are readily available at most hardware stores. At this point I have my frame more or less together. Prior to squaring it I had to temporarily mount the upper and lower control arms. Once that was done I then removed them and drilled the holes for the king pins (or spindles). The spindles are used as a mounting point for the wheels, but also will provide roughly 40 degrees of turning radius. Go karts are definitely much more fun if they do more than just go straight.

The spindles each consist of 1/2″ galvanized pipe T fittings and are anchored in place via 3/8″ to 1/2″ pipe connectors. It’s really quite a simple and clever setup.  First, I set a center point 1/2″ in from the end of both the lower and upper control arms and drilled a 7/8″ hole about 1/4″ deep using a hole saw fitted to a hand held drill. In rummaging through the endless drawers of my Dad’s tools I realized he had a number of these which made me wonder, why? Some of them had wood bits still within them from the various projects he had done over the years. Luckily for me he wasn’t one to hesitate to run out and buy a specific tool for a task that he would use only once.

After I drilled the larger, outside hole, I then drilled a smaller hole the same size as the threads of the pipe nut in the photo. The idea here is that the nut would be carefully threaded into these holes. Once threaded down the nut would sit nice and flush in the control arm. To get that nice and flush fit took quite some time since I had to sand, and file carefully to slightly enlarge the hole otherwise the control arm would crack or split altogether. You will want to thread this bolt through so that a few threads are exposed on the opposite side of the control arm. At one point I wasn’t able to easily thread it far enough so rather than push it and risk cracking the control arm I took the hole saw out and drilled down a bit further, allowing the bolt to sit slightly lower in the hole.

At this point the thought did enter my mind as to whether or not this would be strong enough for the boys to ride on, let alone to even drive. I figured that the existence of these plans at least implied it was tested after being built, so I put that thought in the back of my mind and pressed on. In all likelihood the overall structure will only get stronger as more of it gets assembled… right?

Bottom control arm with both spindle holes set.

Bottom control arm with both spindle holes set.

Next I mounted the lower control arm back onto the frame. You can see the holes in the top of the frame rails where I had previously mounted the arms for squaring up the frame. From here you can also see the narrowing of the frame to accommodate the turning of the front wheels. I’m not sure how critical having the frame narrow like this is, since the result is that the back is a few inches wider. The plans call for this so I’ve gone ahead and followed it verbatim. As I quickly realized later, that narrowing is a bit of a pain for a number of reasons but I’ll get to those soon enough.

Before I follow up with the upper control arm I need to now insert the T fittings that get sandwiched in between them. First the large connector nut is carefully screwed into all four holes; two on the lower and the two upper.  Next I insert the T fitting into each nut on the bottom, carefully not forcing it to turn too far, and keeping it slightly loose so that it can turn easily. I’ve also added a bit of white grease to the threads for good measure. The easier these turn back and forth the easier the overall turning will be for the kart, so it’s important to spend the time here to get this right.

In addition to the goal of  free spin here, I found I also needed to account for the vertical space limitation. That is if I had the threads backed off too far the control arms wouldn’t mount back onto the frame without a big gap, but if I threaded them in too tight they wouldn’t turn freely enough. I could always insert a shim or something to account for that extra space, but I really didn’t want to do that.

After an hour or two of sanding, threading, some “Dad is the go kart done yet?“s, more sanding and more threading I was able to get the nuts through and the T fittings in place comfortably.

T Fittings mounted in lower control arms.

T Fittings mounted in lower control arms.

With the T fittings mounted onto the bottom, and enough play to both spin, but tight enough to fit in the space between the two control arms I then mounted the upper control arm back into place. Once the arm is in place and screwed back onto the frame you realize that there really isn’t anywhere for the T fittings to go. Even if they were to completely unscrew (which is virtually impossible since they’d be attached to tie-rods) the control arms have them sandwiched in place so again, a simple and pretty clever assembly overall. My Dad would be proud. 🙂

Once both control arms are in place you can see where the threads on the top of the upper control arm, and bottom of the lower control arm, come through just a bit.

Upper and Lower Control Arms with T Fittings in Place

Upper and Lower Control Arms with T Fittings in Place

The plans call for a 1/2″ electrical conduit lock nut to help to secure these in place.  Although these would do the trick they’re not very attractive. You could also use a galvanized pipe cap, but I realized that a brass garden hose cap fits perfectly and could be polished up quite nice. You can see the brass cap here in this picture with everything all in place nice and tidy like.

So far we have our frame, we have our upper and lower control arms, and spindles all mounted. I’ve even gone so far as to drill the holes into the spindles allowing for me to mount the wheels.

Oh wait, wheels. That’s right this thing needs to roll!!??

I was really anxious when I ordered my plans, even going so far as to pay extra for overnight shipping. The order form indicated as such but they meant for air-mail specifically to account for international delivery. I was quickly informed via email that since they were coming from Texas, and “since as far as we know Texas is still part of the Union we’ll just refund that extra“. That was sure nice. A couple of days later, the plans were in my hand.


Bugatti Pedal Car Plans

I was definitely not disappointed. I read a note somewhere that these plans were somewhat dated. I suppose you could say that, but not too much so. Apparently they had been published in Popular Mechanics at some point in the early 80s, but since the parts referenced are all from a hardware store it’s all still very applicable. In fact the parts are probably now much cheaper and more common.

You get two full pages, back to back, with accurate illustrations and descriptions of the overall building process. One challenge was in some cases the steps described reference an illustration that was on the back side of the same page. I found myself often flipping the plans back and forth, over and over. It would have been nice to be able to read the descriptions and see the corresponding illustration side by side, but really it’s not a big deal.

It appears the whole thing was set on a typewriter so the layout of some of the text is a bit cramped, specifically the shopping materials list. I ended up just buying the materials as I needed them which was better in my case since I was deviating here and there anyway. No sense in buying materials I wasn’t going to use, although for future reference Home Depot has quite a generous return policy. In cases you may even refer to it as an employee there did as  “a rental policy“. 🙂


One rail cut out, now tracing for the other.

I started off with the frame rails. Using 2×6 pine I first drew out the dimension, I cut the one out, and then used it as a template for the other side. After cutting them both I then connected them with the rear cross member using 2″ wood screws. I questioned using simple wood screws, but figured that since the target riders are the boys ( < 75lbs )  it would be fine. Should I build a larger one someday, for say, a man in his 30s (wink wink nod nod), I’d use nuts and bolts where I could or come up with an entirely different more robust frame.

Mounting the front upper and lower cross members was a bit of a back and forth procedure. I first cut them out in their raw shape, and mounted them temporarily onto the rails so that I could get the overall frame square and aligned.

I quickly realized that the task of getting the front cross members mounted permanently would be something for another day, since doing this involved drilling the upper and lower mounting points for the kingpins. After a few hours work I have what is beginning to resemble something, just what I wasn’t quite sure of.


Frame with rear cross member glued and mounted into place.

Even with these first few steps in my mind I’m ultimately picturing the final product. You almost can’t take on a project like this, something that has so many steps that are dependent on one another, unless you can visualize what the end result will be. Without that vision you’re really just walking in the dark hoping that it will turn out to be something worthwhile.

I’m already convinced this will most definitely be something worthwhile. At this point I brought my wife to check out the progress. “Isn’t it looking great!” I said.

Ummm, uhhh yeah.  Looks good.” she enthusiastically replied.

I wanted to say “Non believer! You probably never wanted a go kart when you were little!” but figured it wouldn’t do much good. Better off to just wow her with more progress.

Now the boys, they’d be a good source for moral support, right!?

My oldest keeps saying “Dad, I’m sure I’ll love this go kart even if it doesn’t turn out good.

You guys are killin’ me. Now to find another day when I can sneak in more work.