Instructables

Make a Hand Truck From a Shopping Cart in Minutes

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Picture of Make a Hand Truck From a Shopping Cart in Minutes
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I need to move some stuff. I can't find my hand truck (moving dolly). Damn. I must have loaned it out.
Am I going to go buy another one? No. I'm going to make one from a shopping cart and frankly Scarlett, Tara the land, as God is my witness,  I'll never run out of hand trucks ever again!

It turned out great. Not only is it a good hand truck, it also works great as a four-wheeler floor dolly.

Time: It took an hour and fifteen minutes to build this while taking pictures, figuring out how to do it, and not rushing. The next one would take less than an hour.

    Tools Used:
safety glasses
dust mask
angle grinder with thin cutoff wheel
    with grinding wheel
I used my solar welder with spool gun and flux core welding wire. I wore my good respirator mask under the welding helmet. I don't want to get manganese poisoning.

You don't have a welder yet?  Make your own stick welder or weld from car batteries.

 
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Step 1: Donor Cart

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I got this bent shopping cart off the train tracks in Emeryville. A train removed the basket, which was a big improvement. I've been using it as a lowboy dolly ever since. Turned on its side it almost looks like a hand truck already!

Step 2: Surgical Planning

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If your shopping cart is still all in one piece, figure out where you're going to cut the basket etc. off. Here I draw the line to cut the handle and rear cross brace off.
I've already removed the heavy wire bottom platform. Save it. You'll need it later.

Step 3: The Incision

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Wear safety glasses at least. A grinding face shield, dust mask and leather apron is even better.
I'm using an angle grinder with a thin cutoff wheel. Cut off everything except the bottom platform and wheels.

Step 4: Bend the Frame Narrower

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Now the frame is a simple U shape.
Bend it narrower so it won't hit door frames etc.
dddddd5 years ago
1: knowing
    You know someone else stole that shopping cart.
2: taking of the property of another
    You know that it doesn't belong to you.
3: with the intent of permanently depriving them of it.
    You know you're never giving it back, no matter how much you "honestly" intend to.

Let's apply some Kantian principles: if it is ethical for you to do this, then it is
ethical for everyone to do this. Imagine that world. Is that too much philosophy for you?

And your justification that the store "owes" you this shopping cart: do you think that profit is theft?

You are not excused for your petty crime just because Georgey and Dickey
were enormous criminals that happened to lead this country, of for the behavior
of this country via its foreign policy.

The fact that you have made an entirely separate step to defend the theft of a shopping cart indicates that you are in a gray enough area, ethically, that you feel exposed to criticism.

I will grant you that the cart was damaged beyond repair before you took it from a railroad right-of-way, and that no store was going to want it back after that. You could have left it at that, and allowed other people the option of their own ethical choices. I don't know why you went on to condone theft.

You call your detractors "young philosophers". What have you got against young people? Do you think that you are excused for your petty crime just because you are old? What is it?

Stealing a shopping cart from the store is not right, but if you found it beat up and broken by a railroad track, I think your are OK. No store would want it back.
"No store would want it back."

You could, of course, *test* this theory by taking the cart back to the store whence it came, ask them if they want it back, and if they say "no" it's all yours. You clearly just got permission from its rightful owner to keep it.

But you don't seem overly concerned with that.

You do seem concerned that the rightful owner isn't interested in rewarding your honest behaviour. Which is strange, because if you think about it, would *you* reward people for bringing things back, when you have no idea who stole it in the first place, and it happens on a weekly basis? You may as well pay people to steal things from you.
On more though: If you really find a shopping cart by the railroad or in the woods and it really is "abandoned property" (the store doesn't want it back), wouldn't you be doing the world a favor by picking up litter and making good use of of it instead of letting it rot and pollute the land?
TimAnderson (author)  dddddd5 years ago
Those are the standard defenses against a charge of theft. When you take a bar review course to become a lawyer that's what they teach you.
An audio recording of a bar review course is where I learned it.

This particular cart belongs to me under "abandoned property" law. Which I learned about the same way. The store does not want it back.

Re: foreign policy, theft of Indian land, and the kitchen sink, we live in a moral environment full of hypocrisy (doing one thing and saying another) so huge we can barely see it. But little stuff like a shopping cart seems to jump right out at people.

Thanks for caring! and I really mean that. There are a lot of sleepwalkers among us.
Tim, you are living proof that a correctly functioning mind is still a possibility in America. Thank you for the many years of creative inspiration you have graciously provided (at no charge!) for the many of us in this country who are not afraid to think outside the box, physical, mental, spiritual or political, that mass media and inferior, politically-gamed education has trapped contemporary American society in.

Your philosophy on playing fair is plainly evident, and I find it offensive that some of these guys attempt to slam you without admitting that you very plainly told the reader not to steal a cart, but to ask for a damaged one from a place of business.

And I couldn't agree with you more on the disgusting behavior of the government during the disastrous (in EVERY way possible) tenure of the Bush/Cheney administration. Thank God for our children's sake and the future of the planet that they are gone.

And thank God you're still here as a testament to real American ingenuity. A long life and much happiness to you.
This has got to be the most useful "wheely" I've made... I welded the lower castors in the straight line position on mine, that way when used flat ie on all wheels it is much more controllable.
smooth974 years ago
what  kind of cart did he use in the demonstration?
hintss smooth974 years ago
the kind thats hit by a train, I think
 I've re-purposed several shopping carts, and plan on making an instructable or two out of the process.  I've never felt bad about tapping from the vast resource of abandoned carts,buggies,trolleys or whatever you call them locally.  The average unit cost to the retailers is 75-100 dollars.  I believe the most expensive models are somewhere around $400.  Shopping cart theft/loss costs retailers about 800million/year world wide.  Would you believe that if you bring a lost cart back to it's home, the owner won't reward you for your good deed?  I've tried.  So, screw 'em, I'm getting free welding carts, hand dollies, furniture, tool carts, automechanic's creepers and whatever else I can think of making out of them.  And when the pang of compassion for the poor retailer's loss hits me, I generally do the right thing and at least return the portions of cart that I don't use back to their lot.
i was actually looking for go cart frame nd this came up nd this was a realy great idea ima realy have to try this it will work!!!! for a go cart frame
 Oh, I should clarify that I've never stolen a cart from a retailer.  I happen to live in a part of town where they tend to show up right in front of my driveway from time to time.
smooth975 years ago
would you be able to buy the cart from the store?

That's what I was thinking, perhaps even the manufacturer. As an example, premiercarts.com.
AmyLuthien5 years ago
Nifty!  My father made one very similar to this years and years ago - and before anyone thinks they need to rag on my deceased father for the crime of shopping cart theft, it was an old, rusty shopping cart from a building he was demoing, the store was no longer even in business, and rather than throwing it in a landfill, he brought it home and re-purposed it.  :)

Dear old Dad did one thing a bit different with the dolly he built, that I find extremely handy, so I figured I'd share it with you.  He made the handle adjustable so you can use it in the upright position as seen here, or remove the handle and replace it at a 90 degree angle and use it as a cart (while it is resting on all four wheels.)  This way, you can stand upright to pull it along.  It's very useful for hauling multiple bags of gravel, dog food, etc.
clark5 years ago
 Is it really necessary to bring politics into this?
yeah, its just a good idea to reuse something that might get thrown away otherwise, there was really no need for politics IMHO
TimAnderson (author)  JerryMopar5 years ago
There's a lot of history behind why we have so much stuff going into our landfills, I guess you can call it politics, but it's a whole mess of ideas we hand back and forth and guide our big collective projects. These values, visions, philosophy get argued into laws and legal decisions, but the basis is the values and visions of how a good life should be lived and what a country should achieve.
Sometimes I feel like an ant in an anthill, and the whole colony gets the message "hard work is something to be proud of" and we all work hard and mind our business and some other anthill gets the message "A gentleman must have soft hands and a clean suit" and our ants outwork their ants and before long our anthill is much bigger and has consumed theirs. And part of it is big decisions and shrewd or crazy leaders on both sides and major events, but most of it is the aggregate work of the ants going this way or that way, and making it possible for the historic events to happen. I want to be an ant learning to live the right way and pushing the right way, and sometimes I just have to get all American. 1st amendment: you can complain! 2nd amendment: and play with guns! 1.5 amendment: complain with guns! well maybe not :) 

I tell my mom I'm going to put a horse trailer in my back yard. She starts telling me about ordinances and regulations and neighborhood standards and probably I can't do that or half the other things everyone ought to be doing damn it. So I say "It sure is a shame what the Americans have done to this country". Have you seen a Homeowner's association or a standard Condo agreement? You can't hang your laundry out to dry or park a car with the name of your business on the door! What country is this? And a lot of other rules and busybodies who really think they know how everyone else should live and look like wear you down. So then I can't do my hobbies in peace, and a simple thing like just wanting to reuse something that might get thrown away turns into a big ordeal and I start ranting in ways that sound political.
 I understand where your coming from. and I loved the project, i thought it was very well put together and very creative. And i think its great that you repurposed something instead of it ending up in a landfill.  Its just that i feel this isn't the place to share political ideas. 
dzent1 clark5 years ago
Tim is one of the guys who made this site what it is. I think he should say WHATEVER is on his mind. Those who don't like it can always vote with their mouse and look elsewhere. A lot of us appreciate the fact that he speaks his mind and would never change that beautiful aspect of a superior person.
It's always necessary to bring politics into otherwise non political discussions.
 i really hope your being sarcastic...
AZ Girl5 years ago
I sure hope that to get that nice shinney, not bent up shopping cart.....you did not go get it for the local store.  Too many people are hijacking them as it is and it just makes the cost of what we buy go higher in price!!!!  We do not need to be stealing shopping carts!!!!!!
Politics begins when two people interact.  There is no escaping it on this little, interconnected world of ours.  Tim is spot on in his assessment of the modern world and the people (if we can call them all that) who have made it what it is.  We are lucky, in the Western "1st World" at least, to have the right to speak our minds and work for changes that can hopefully correct the abuses, neglect, and ignorance of the past.  It would be irresponsible not to.  And kudos on a great project! 
SinAmos5 years ago
I love it.  Shopping cart thefts go up. 
eulaliaaaa!5 years ago
Oh,  you mean a dollie.  At first I saw the title and I was thinking "Cool!"  But then I clicked on the link and I saw that it was just a dollie.  Pretty cool anyways.
yet another very useful,and funny ible by the king of awsomeness
Agreed.
This indeed is true; I say the same as ripstikfan. :)

-m

why do you say m at the end when ur username starts w? an L?
Lol "la souris" means the word "the mouse" in french.
But ive been trying to change my username for a month now. :P

My name is monica, thats the reason for the 'm'.


ooohh........
Nice! I like it a lot! 
Does it rattle like a shopping cart?
woodyardboy5 years ago
Very handy info mate. In another life, we'd have been brothers.
Bartboy5 years ago
I question the legality.
Are you allowed to use a shopping cart you find on the side of the road if it is several miles from a grocery store?
TimAnderson (author)  Bartboy5 years ago
See the last step for some discussion of this. There are several approaches.
The legal doctrines are pretty interesting.
I understand that, and it makes sense.
Nice! The hard wheels are always the best, pump up tires tend to go flat unless they are solid filled like some wheelbarrow wheels.