by Bob Shaw
Wood, large bolt and 2 nuts with 2 washers, 2 sets of wheels complete with axles, nails, screws, large drill.
This is our most difficult project and will definitely require Dad and his tool shed for an afternoon, the effort will be well worth it.
The wheels will be the hardest thing to find and there is no point starting without them. Most likely donors for the wheels are old prams or "Baby carriages" as our American friends like to call them. The best thing to do is hacksaw the axle and wheels off the pram as one complete unit, then build the Kart to fit them. Please make sure you have permission to start cutting up your sisters pram before hand.
There are many different styles of Kart, this is the most basic downhill racing model to which you can add to and improve as time goes on. So lets get started
- Front wheels - Start by cutting a length of wood (At least 3/4 inch thick) to the length of the axle. The wood will need to be wide enough to mount the axle and allow a hole to be drilled for the nut and bolt pivot next to it.
Attach the Axle to the wood - For this you'll need to improvise with what you've got (This is what kart building is all about) " I have shown 3 methods which you can use in the picture below the animation. The best method is the "U bolts" which clamp the axle to the wood. The worst method is the bent nails, if you're forced to take this route you'll need about 10 large nails to get it strong enough. It helps if you can cut a groove in the wood for the axle to sit in. NOW remember you have to get the nut and bolt through, so the axle will have to be mounted forward of the centerline of the wood. Drill a hole large enough to fit your bolt through in the centre of the wood.
- Back wheels - Use the same method as the front wheels but mount the axle in the centre of the wood this time for maximum strength. No need for pivot holes this time.
- Main board - Can be any length really but 1.5 times the length of your legs would be a good ball park figure. It will need to be narrow enough at the front to allow the front wheels to turn with your feet on them. You can always make a cutout at the front of the board if it is too wide. Mark out the centre line of the board to drill the pivot hole for the steering. Before you drill the hole, position the front wheels under the plank and get them far enough back so that the front of the board protrudes a little in front the wheels. This helps protect the wheels in the event of a crash. Mark the hole for the centre then drill.
- Mount the front wheels - The front wheels will be mounted using the bolt down through the top (With a washer). Place a washer on the bottom then screw up your 2 nuts. Not too tight here, allow the steering to work smoothly. Using 2 spanners (Wrenches) placed on the nuts (NOT the bolt) tighten the nuts against each other this will stop them working loose and is essential if you want for front wheels to stay on.
- Mount the back wheels - Position the rear wheels at the very back of the wooden plank or at least behind your sitting position for maximum stability. Make sure they are centre, then screw or nail from the top down to fix them in place. Use at least 4 screws or nails.
- Steering rope - This essential item allows you to steer whilst you have your feet down as brakes, as well as giving you something to hold on to. In normal motion you will be steering with your feet of course. Attach it to the outer sides of the front wheels just either side of your feet position. It is best to drill holes for it in the front wheels then just knot the rope underneath to hold it in place.
- Finally make sure there are no sharp bits sticking out anywhere and run some sand paper over the wood to smooth it and remove any splinter hazards. Off we go then!