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By liquidhandwash in WorkshopMetalworking




the 1 last update 2020/08/09 FeaturedFeatured

Introduction: How to Design and Build a Go Kart.

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About: Fixer, Finder, Fabricator. More About liquidhandwash »

Hello everyone this Instructable is a collaboration of nine year 10 engineering students work. Their task is to work as a team to research, design and build a go kart, using sound engineering principals. As this is a student project the frame must be kept as simple as possible, so that students can build the kart with minimal tools, and with in the time frame allocated.

This Instructable has lots of photos with notes, just run your cursor over the box on most photos to make the text pop up

Go-karts must have!

  • Brakes
  • Throttle
  • Bumpers to stop the rear wheels coming into contact with another kart.
  • Chain must be able to be adjusted.
  • Standard off the shelf parts must be used.
  • Toe in and chain must be able to be adjusted.
  • Chain guard
  • No sharp edges
  • Correct steering geometry

Members of the team

  • o_-
  • iTz Monkeeh
  • HDinosaur
  • Quartz476
  • WILLBA55
  • lincspencer
  • BrinkEdge

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

The first thing you need to do is to gather all the parts, as it makes it much easier to design if you can lay out all the parts where they will be on the kart and kind of ""....

Materials you will need:
25 or 30mm Square Steel
Aluminum Sheet 1.6mm thick
19mm and 25mm Steel Tubing
25mm solid
30mm bright solid (If you want to make your rear axle)
13mm tube or pipe.
lots of 6mm and 8mm nuts and bolts

Parts you will need: (Screen shot are includes as the ebay links can go dead)

  • I recently bought a number of parts from cut price racing, they have almost everything you will need and their service was excellent .

Tools we used.

  • Drill press
  • Metal Lathe
  • Tap and die
  • Hack saw
  • Grinder
  • MIG welder
  • Cordless drill
  • Roller

Step 2: Steering Geometry

Getting the steering geometry correct on your Kart is one of the most important consideration when designing the frame. If you don''s pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward.
The Kingpins on a kart should be laid back at the top 12-15 degrees

Toe out on turns
When the vehicle negotiates a curve, the inner wheel turns more sharply and while the wheels remain in this position, the wheels will toe out, and will return to the correct toe in when the the steering wheel is returned to the straight ahead position. This is achieved by angling the steering arms toward the center of the rear axle this will cover in step 12

Wheel Jacking

Wheel Jacking or Weight Jacking is related to the caster and the kingpin inclination, which controls the ability to turn and lift the inside back wheel off the ground according to which way you turn. Having a solid rear axle causes the wheels to spin at the same rate, so you need the inside rear wheel to lift off the ground which enables the kart able to go around corners.

The kingpin inclination angle, together with the caster angle, creates the phenomena of the return of the wheels to straight position after a steering operation, it also tends to maintain this position after an impact with an obstacle that attempts to alter the trajectory,

Set up
So you will need 10 degress KPI and 12-15 caster we will show you how to set this up in step 9. If you plan to make your own stub axles you will need to make sure that the camber is set up a 0 degrees and the ackerman angle is correct. this will be covered in step 12

Step 3: Designing the Frame

Cute Gift Box Diy Moneyhow to Cute Gift Box Diy Money for This is the design that we did for the go kart we got the distant of the wheels (wheel base and Track) from a internet deign of a go kart. We based the frame off previous go karts and scaled model go kart. We are making the frame out of 30mm square tubing and 25mm round tubing and 19mm round tubing for seat supports and the steering column just to make it easier to work with.

  • So few things to consider, first the wheel base and track need to be approximately the same as a race kart, so 1040mm wheel base, and around 680mm between the king pins. This will give us the best handling kart as most race kart are pretty close to that size.
  • The front wheels need space to move as they steer, you don''t move and keeps every thing flat, straight and square.
    Fortunately a jig is not to difficult to make, You just need a sheet of plywood or MDF, some small blocks of wood and some screws.

    • Start by drawing a center line down the middle of the sheet and use that line for all your measurements and angles.
    • Draw your kart frame full size, and put your motor, seat, axles, pedals and driver on the board as well to check everything is going to fit.
    • Its much easier to change the drawing now that change the frame later on.
    • Once you have checked and rechecked that the drawing is correct, you can start cutting steel and laying it on top of the drawing.
    • We decided to put the engine behind the rear axle which is an unusual design but works really well
    • The engine mount can be made with four 30mm square tubes. We used four 9mm drills as spaces so the engine bolts slide between the tubes.
    • It very important to then lock each piece into place with three blocks of wood so accurate measurements can be taken to cut other parts. This is especially helpful if you have several people working on the project, as they can see what is missing and a quick measure and they can go away and cut that part

Step 5: King Pins

The king pins are the pivots for the front wheels :) The size that we needed the king pins had to be 50mm in length and 25mm in diameter

  • Start by cutting a 55mm lengths off a steel solid round.
  • Using the lathe and the pieces you just cut off, you now use them to create the hole in the middle, the hole should be 8mm in diameter, start off with the center drill and create a hole about 10mm in
  • Using a 8mm drill bit you can create the rest of the hole, make sure to lube it up every now and then otherwise you can break the drill bit
  • Now that you have your hole use the cutting tool on the lathe to face each end to take off the excess 5mm
  • Sand off the sharp bits and now you have your first king pin
  • Repeat from step one to create your second one :D

Step 6: Steering Bush

By BrinkEgde

We are making the Steering Bush for our class Go Kart. We are using the program PTC to recreate the Steering Bush with a 3D printer.
After making the steering bush, you will have to remove scaffold on the steering bush and file the holes slightly because the 3D printer make the holes about 1 or 2 % undersize.
if you don''t end up with a kart that doesn''t look right, trust me they look a little weird the first time you see them but if you weld the kingpins on straight up and down your kart will not turn or steer.
You will find two drawings that you can download and print out which will help you to get the angles right if you don''t have a pedal to copy, you can use a piece of wire to create a template then you can have custom pedal to match your foot.

  • The 2 bends are 90 and 135 degrees.
  • Use a piece of pipe as a handle when bending your tube.
  • Care need to be taken so the tube bends without collapsing. Heat the tube all the way around and move the heat along the tube as you bend.
  • Step 12: Stub Axels

    You can make your own stub axles, or buy them ready made. It is much easier to make them in four pieces as shown in the the photo and use the stub axle jig, the king pin and the wheel to hold the parts in place while welding. On our kart we drilled a hole in the end of the axle, tapped a 10mm thread and used a bolt to fasten the wheel on.

    • When welding use the wheel without a tire as a jig, it should sit flat on the bench when the wheel is in the straight ahead position.
    • The angles will look a little strange (not square) , this is normal.
    • The two steering arms should be welded on last, with the holes from the kingpin, and end of the steering arm forming and imaginary line to the center of the rear axle
    • The drawings have all the dimensions you need

    Step 13: Brakes

    We used a cable brake caliper designed for use on cheap go the 1 last update 2020/08/09 karts, fun karts or buggies. The mount doesn''t weld the mount on until after the the axle and brake disc is bolted on. We used a cable brake caliper designed for use on cheap go karts, fun karts or buggies. The mount doesn''t weld the mount on until after the the axle and brake disc is bolted on.

    Step 14: Welding

    We are using a MIG to weld our go kart together as the 1 last update 2020/08/09 they are a very quick welder there a lot quicker than and ark welder, and you don''t weld the brake calliper or the arm on the steering column until the rest of the kart is assembled. We are using a MIG to weld our go kart together as they are a very quick welder there a lot quicker than and ark welder, and you don''t weld the brake calliper or the arm on the steering column until the rest of the kart is assembled.

    Step 15: Floor and Chain Guard

    You kart will need a floor so weld in some tabs so it can be bolted on with 6mm bolts and nylock nuts. The floor and chain guard are made with 1.2mm thick aluminium sheet, and is left unpainted as the paint would soon wear off near the pedals as your shoes rub against it, and aluminium looks cool anyway.

    • You will need 10 or 12 tabs and 6mm bolts, with nylock nuts
    • The tabs are made from 25mm x 3 m flat
    • Make sure you round off the ends or as the sharp corners will cut and crack the floor.
    • The Kart frame can be layed on top of the aluminium sheet and traced around with a sharpie to get the shape of the floor.
    • It can then be cut out with a nibbler. Again look out for those sharp bits.

    Step 16: Assembly

    In this step we made sure that everything fits probably and finished off the welding and assembled the motor and axle. One of the things we should of documented a bit better is how to build the rear axle, But it is one of the easiest parts of the kart so you shouldn''t of asked for a better go. The kart reached up to 40 km/h so it went really well.

    Step 20: Fitting Racing Bodywork

    This wont make your kart go any faster but it makes it look faster. We got the body work from an online store and for around $190 you have got to as yourself is it worth it? Well it looks cool but thats about it.
    The front bumper simply clips on as it has the same mounts as the old bumper, but brackets have to be made for the side pods and front panel.
    Not to difficult but the two side pods will have to be mounted  exactly the same distance from the back wheel and the same height and angle or your eye will pick it as been ""
    • Make sure the karts tires are pumped up or sit the frame on blocks so the side pods are the same height from the ground.
    • Don''t missed spots before packing up the spray gun 
    •  Give the paint time to harden up before assembling I recommend a couple days  sitting in the hot sun.

    Step 22: Paint

    Painting a gokart frame is is quite difficult as there are so many tubes and funny angles for you to miss. Even hanging the frame up to paint, is not going to cut it as there is always something thats not painted. I recommend painting everything you can see and fliping the frame over, even if you have it hanging from wires. We ended up painting the bottom side first on a table then flipping the frame over, as it was easier than trying to paint it while hanging.
    There are a few tricks to using a spray gun as it has a number of adjustment, But first make sure you stir the paint and thin it correctly with the recommend thinners. The paint can will usually tell you what % to thin your paint for spraying.

    Step 23: Reassemble

    Only a couple of thinks left to do reassemble the kart, and then check everything before you go racing, things to check include

    • The toe in should be set at 0 degrees or slightly toeing out 1or 2 degrees.
    • Chain should be adjust and aligned so the sprockets are parallel and on the same plane.
    • Brake cable needs to be double checked
    • Throttle cable needs to adjust so the pedal reaches it stop, to protect the carburetor butterfly from damage.
    • Throttle also needs to be checked to make sure it cannot be stuck wide open.
    • Every nut bolt and screw needs to be checked every time you take the kart out, as karts are subject to lots of vibration things tend to work lose.
    • Petrol, oil, tire pressures and lets go racing!

    Step 24: Racing Photos

    We were lucky enough to get to a few hours at a race track, and the Kart preformed really well, despite the photos due to a crappy camera! Even thought the kart has only four horse power, it was more than enough to spin out in the corners if your not careful. The wheels didn’t fall off and there were not mechanical problems on the day.

    The Students had a great time and one kid said ""!.... then she went a did another 50 laps.

    Step 25: Year 10 Class 2015

    In 2015 the year 10s designed and built another kart, this one a little different, as it has a CVT gear box. The gear box makes it accelerate like a cat thats caught fire, and it makes the kart even more fun to drive. You can get the gear box from cut price racing, and apart from the size making it a little difficult to squeeze on the frame, the conversion was very straight forward, bolting straight on the side of a Honda GX style engine with a 19mm shaft.

    Step 26: Class of 2016

    In 2016 I run three go kart classes, and they decided to put the engine on the side. The project was quite a bit more challenging as fitting the motor and driver into the space takes a fair amount of thought. This year to get the class started with younger kids we have striped a kart down, painted and reassembled the kart before starting on a new design. It seems to help keep the kids motivated and gives them a better understanding of how karts are designed.

    Enjoy the photos, and the video of Chad drifting into a mud hole.

    Third Prize in the
    Wheels Contest

    Second Prize in the
    Metal Contest

    Participated in the
    Epilog Challenge VI

    3 People Made This Project!

    Did you make this project? Share it with us!


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    152 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Cute Gift Box Diy Moneyhow to Cute Gift Box Diy Money for hi


    Cute Gift Box Diy Moneyhow to Cute Gift Box Diy Money for Reply 1 year ago



    Reply 3 days ago



    Question 3 days ago

    can you do a mario kart in real life?


    4 months ago

    Hello, Can I know how much your kart costed for manufacturing


    Reply 4 months for 1 last update 2020/08/09 ago Reply 4 months ago

    about $700


    10 months ago

    Cute Gift Box Diy Moneyhow to Cute Gift Box Diy Money for Thanks @liquidhandwash


    Reply 6 months for 1 last update 2020/08/09 ago Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks so much @liquidhandwash I''s cool, is that a motor bike engine on the back?


    Reply 4 months ago

    Oh yes, a 110cc dirt bike engine.


    Reply 6 months ago

    Looks great, sorry i didn''s my coffin. Thanks alot really appreciate your time and help.


    Reply 1 year ago

    there are dimensions in the photos on step 3


    Reply 1 for 1 last update 2020/08/09 year ago Reply 1 year ago

    Some parts not clear like the
    Back bar = 690mm??
    Engine mount = 500mm???
    Bar before Axle = 570mm???
    Angle = 85°


    Cute Gift Box Diy Moneyhow to Cute Gift Box Diy Money for Reply 1 year ago

    Every Kart the kids build is a little different, they are custom built to fit the students, the year 8 karts a quite a bit smaller than the year 10s. Use this drawing as your start point, and straighten out some of the curves in the frame to make it easier to build.