Chop a Shopping Cart Into a Tool Cart. Simple!





Introduction: Chop a Shopping Cart Into a Tool Cart. Simple!

About: I'm M@. If you know Prototype This, TechShop, The Best of Instructables, Show Me How, or AVPII: Requiem, you've seen some of my work and the cool stuff I've been involved in. I build and design and make and ...

I have a bunch of hand tools. I dabble in a lot of things, and suspect I mostly do so to get the tools that come with. If you find yourself looking over your shoulder every time you park the car to go for a burrito just to make sure your boxes are safe in the back, maybe it's time to consider the convenience of the on site shopping cart tool rack.

Step 1: Firstly:

You must procure a shopping cart. I'm not going to tell you to steal one. Stealing is wrong. If one happens to come your way, however, far be it from me to ask you to turn down a wayward orphan. You'll need the kind with a full metal cage to follow this instructable, as well as access to a decent of metalworking tools. I used an angle grinder to do most of the work, a hacksaw will gladly switch hit.

So, you will need:
  • A metal shopping cart
  • An angle grinder with a cutoff and a buffing disk
  • The ability and equipment to weld
  • Scrap bar stock (I used another cut up cart)
  • The desire to spread your wings and take flight on a voyage of metallic freedom

Step 2: Cut Supports to Be Welded

Now, this next part isn't 100% necessary. You could get away without the bracing, but I didn't feel like skimping.

I measured the distance between the front corners of the wheel base and the metal basket. I traced those measurements onto my bar stock, and cut with a sawsall. You could also use a hacksaw, bandsaw or angle grinder.

Step 3: Clean Up Bars

No, I'm not talking about the prerogative of the elderly council of your local municipality, I'm talking about hot metal. To get a good quality weld, you will want to clean and grind your metal stock to fit snugly into the space between the basket and the wheelbase. For me, that meant putting a shallow concave groove in one end of my metal stock. I used a bench grinder, but this could easily be replaced by an angle grinder, a round or half round file, or a rotary file and dremmel.

Step 4: Remove the Bumpers

The shopping carts I've played with have had rubber or plastic bumpers on the front. If you aim to weld on this cart, they'll probably melt, so they need to come off. But you best not throw them away, now. take them out so you can use them later, they're multitaskers to be sure.

On this cart, the bumpers were held in by a long pin. Lifting this pin with a screwdriver was enough to remove them without harm.

Step 5: Oh Here She Comes. Watch Out, Boy, She'll Weld You Up.

It's time to weld on the struts. Some carts have zinc plating. This becomes toxic when heated, so be sure to work with a fume hood, in a well ventilated area, or with a respirator with niosh rated cartridges just in case.

Step 6: It Puts the Divisions in the Basket.

Now it's time to remove most of the shopping cart. Here is where the cutoff wheel on an angle grinder really comes in useful. Put one of the bumpers under a wheel of the cart to keep it from sliding (I told you.) Keep a close eye on your cut, making sure not to nick the basket where you don't intend to chop off.

Step 7: And Lift...

Once you've cut through all of the vertical supports, you should be able to lift the basket off. Afterwards, you'll want to clean up your cut with a sanding disk, or some other buffing/finishing tool.

Step 8: Replace Bumpers, With Some Alterations.

If you have the same model bumpers as I, you'll find it easy to shorten them, and replace them on the cart.

Step 9: You're Done.

That's it. Pack up and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You've tamed the silver demon... mastered the iron chef... ridden the white pony. Good job.



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    I'm thinking about doing this. I rescued a shopping cart last night from a dark alley. I felt like bubbles for a few minutes as I was loading it in my van.

    I'll attempt to make this this week, though I can't weld so mine will be the wooden-zip-ties-simpler version I suppose. But like all my projects it will probably come out pretty awesome. I'll upload a pic when its done.

    Hopefully Homebase and others will see what a fantastic multi-use design that is. Flatbed, raised section (easier to lift to/from) somewhere to wedge a fractious toddler and a place to hang your purse/keys. I love it. If anyone's looking for a free shopping trolley there's usually a few parked in gardens at Drumchapel, Easterhouse and Castlemilk Glasgow :)

    why didn't you just make your cart out of wood and purchase the tires from Northern tools?

    That's very nice, I made one similar. Since I used a smaller cart, I actually have the welder sitting on the remains of the basket, used the bottom space for a tool space, added a place to wrap the welding gun and electrode and attached two smaller baskets on the back to hold tools. I also welded on a couple hooks so i can hang my mask and ear protection.


    dont forget to leave your name and address like a good little boy.........

    lol it puts the divisions in the basket.

    very nice idea. i like this C.R.A.P. lol. i think i will make a car, like ledzeppie said.

    2 replies

    I am actually planning a car made from old bikes!

    C.R.A.P. on, my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done.

    I am a union electrician and have used them unmodified on large commercial jobs before.Great Idea!

    1 reply

    They're so useful. I don't know how mankind moved bits and bobs en masse until he looked out into the inky void and returned with the phoenix-like shopping cart.

    Awesome. I've been asking for something similar at work, and yours looks much cooler than Harbor Freight's cart.

    1 reply

    And about a million times less expensive. You can also just ditch the basket all together and have yourself a nice lowboy cart.

    I'd prefer the C.R.A.P. Cart for Rapid Access to Parts