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How to Make a Go-cart

Once upon a time, go-carts were a pleasant summer's pastime for many kids, and the pieces used to put them together were varied and often inspired, with necessity being the mother of invention. Today, making a go-cart is approaching the same scientific methods used to craft a Formula I race car, with finely tuned and specially designed motors, and lightweight metal bodies of the most aerodynamic designs.

But for a bit of old-fashioned fun, you can still make a basic, do-it-yourself, gravity powered go-cart for use on a downhill slope, eliminating the need for expensive motors and other hi-tech parts.

The best idea is to first decide what kind of cart you want to make, and research plans on the Internet. The least expensive, would be the old-fashioned carts built on a 2" x 4" wood chassis, with plywood sides and hood. They won't be as fast as those made from modern kits, but they're a great start for children before parents sink a lot of money into something that their kids lose interest in after a while.

Once you have the plans, look around your home, or relatives' and see if you can scavenge the basic wood needed. Your next biggest concerns, will be wheels, steering and brakes. Even without a motor, go-carts can attain high speeds and the driver must have some method of control when they are rolling down a hill at high speed.

Old baby carriages and strollers can be a good source for wheels. Junk yards may have such treasures as old grocery carts that are not only good for wheels, but an excellent handle bar to be mounted on the back for someone to give you that all important push. You might also be able to scavenge a small steering wheel from a lawn tractor, or all terrain vehicle. If the steering mechanism on these has not been destroyed by an accident, you can also pick that up at the same time, and save yourself the extra effort of creating one with wood, screws and joints.

Whichever model of go-cart you choose to make, remember that it is a wheeled vehicle that can reach high speeds. All children using one should be taught how to handle them properly, and should be equipped with a helmet.