Greig's go-kart

By Living DIY columnist Greig Morgan

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Greig Morgan adds the finishing touches to his go-kart. Photo / Doug Sherring
Greig Morgan adds the finishing touches to his go-kart. Photo / Doug Sherring

Even in these days of TV and computer games, every kid loves a go-kart. In the last school holidays our neighbours Gryff, 13, and Carwyn, 14, came over to help my son Jamie, 9, and I make one.

The boys had me up at the crack of dawn every day to work on it. But it was a blast to see them toying with design ideas on paper and, once it was built, tearing down the nearest hill. You could surprise your kids with this model, or get them to help you make their own.

1. The floor: Lay the ply on the ground. Measure and mark 1600mm for the length and 450mm for the width at the back. Cut along the waste side of the ply. Then measure down 300mm from the end. This will be the back of the kart. From the front end measure and mark 360mm wide. This gives you a tapper for both sides from the back to the front.

2. The sides: Measure and cut out x2 sides @ 1350mm x 390mm high. Now put the two pieces together and draw the shape of your bonnet. My measurements were for the bonnet 285mm high x 385mm long, then I came down at a slight angle to 200mm. Still at 200mm from the bottom, I measured 550mm for the door area.

Then from the top back mark 130mm. From there this will give you the angle down to the door and the angle for your seat. Using 45mm screws fix from the floor up, keeping flush at the front and sides. You should be left with about 250mm at the back for a passenger to stand.

3. The seat: Measure 600mm for the back and take the inside measurement of the sides. Cut along the waste side. Now measure down 25mm, then 30mm down again, and 85mm in from either side. This will give you a handle. Slide into place keeping flush with the back sides and fix to the sides using 45mm screws. Now cut a length at 590mm high and fit this flush to the same angle as your side piece. Cut and fit a top piece for the seat.

4. The steering: Drill a hole in the centre of the floor and back about 300mm from the front to take a 10mm diameter bolt. Drill a hole off-centre of your 100x50mm steering arm and drill a hole 150mm either side of that. These are for the rope steering. Cut out a piece of the floor for the rope to go through. Fix your front wheels to the threaded rod with a nut and washer either side of each wheel. Drill a hole big enough to take a cotter pin either side of the nut. Cut off the remainder of rod and fix to the steering arm using a gate latch hook (repeat this exercise for the back axle).

5. The brake: Cut a piece of dowel to 450mm and fix it to a convenient side of the kart using a 75mm screw. Make sure the brake has enough of an angle to be able to apply enough pressure on the back wheel.

6. The bonnet, front, mudguard and side step: For the bonnet, measure a piece of ply to fit flush on top of the sides, and for the front measure a piece so it fits flush with the sides and bonnet. Cut to size and screw together. With the off-cut pieces of ply, cut out x 2 lengths to 180mm x120mm. Cut the length on an angle and fix above the front wheels on an angle facing downwards from the inside of the kart. Cut x 2 lengths to 350mm x 200mm. Cut the length ends on an angle and fix 100mm of the side step to the underside of the floor.

7. The paint job: Sand off all sharp edges, especially around the handle. Paint your favourite colour, and don't forget a racing stripe.


1 sheet of 2400 x 1200 x 19mm downgrade
H3 Plywood (Go Kart)
Dress gauge
100x50mm H3 x1 @ 500mm (Steering arm) & x1 @ 450mm (back axle)
Threaded galvanised rod 16mm x2 @ 1 mtr, with x8 nuts, washers, cotter pins (for wheels)
Gate latch hook x4 (to fix over rod on steering arm & back axle)
Bolt x 100mm x 10mm diameter with a nut & washers (to fix the steering arm to floor)
4 pneumatic wheels (smaller for front & bigger for the back)
Rope 10mm x 2.5mtrs (steering)
Dowel 45mm (brake)
Screws x40mm & 75mm
Sandpaper 80grit


Skill saw & jig saw
Screw gun
Drill bits x12mm,5mm
Tape measure & pencil

- Herald on Sunday

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