Before starting on your build, it’s wise to form a clear concept that includes a list of materials required and any tools that will be needed. For go-karts, there are resources you can go to for a detailed guide to planning your project. Next, decide on the size, shape and speed capabilities you desire from the vehicle. Although you can create your own design, there are many customizable templates available online. Many are free and offer invaluable information from experienced go-kart enthusiasts.
The main components will be the framework, an engine, and the drivetrain. The drivetrain includes the drive shaft, steering wheel, braking system, and pedals. In many cases, instructions on how to build a go-kart will include welding. If you’re not a welder, the welding can be outsourced. Just consider the added cost. If you choose not to weld the frame, an angle grinder plus a drill with a large bit and a hole saw will be needed to cut and shape the metal. Additionally, any build will require various wrenches, a hammer, a file, and a screwdriver. A set square will ensure precision, and a few clamps will make things easier.
Engines Are Complex
Obviously, the engine will be the main component of the vehicle, and deciding on one poses a truly a difficult set of choices. Even smaller engines can be quite complex. For instance, do you go with a gas or electric car? Each has its pros and cons. Electric engines can burn cleaner but for a shorter amount of time. Gas engines require fuel, but refilling is faster than recharging. Gas runs longer and provides more horsepower. Speaking of horsepower, engine characteristics like torque and RPMs need to be considered. You’ll also have to determine if you want your go-kart to be chain-driven or use a transmission. Will the transmission be automatic or manual with a clutch?
Repurposing an Engine
Repurposing a motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile or lawnmower engine is common in go-kart builds. Motorcycle and ATV motors provide a reverse gear that can be an advantage. Snowmobile engines are lightweight and provide plenty of power. A lawnmower engine is most often positioned to operate vertically, but in a go-kart, the engine is normally horizontal. Therefore, even though lawn mower engines are often used in go-karts, they may require extreme modifications. That will add to the project’s time and costs.
If you are convinced that you want to tackle a go-kart project, the best way is to find a template with detailed instructions. Especially if this is your first go-kart build, following a step-by-step guide is recommended. It will take some effort, but it’s nothing you can’t master.
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