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.
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“. 🙂
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.
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.