Introduction: 6 Wheel Garden Wagon
This a a knockoff of the metal carts that are sold at all major home stores for around $100.00+ bucks. I love to go by the mantra work smart not hard. I use my hand truck and 4 wheel furniture dollies and my big trailer all the time. For me this cart fills a niche space for getting big items through the small gate in my yard and things like that.
This is a heavy duty cart that will be great for moving concrete, rocks, gravel, bags of material, buckets of drywall joint compound. At 24 inches wide it could even go through a doorway if needed.
2x4 lumber...I got some of mine from store once I ran out of leftovers from concrete forms.
either 4 or 6 Pnumatic wheels. Most of mine came from garbage or cheap at harbor freight
lots of good wood screws
At few 5/8 bolts and lock nuts and washers
A 4 inch long 1/2 bolt and some fender washers and a lock nut
A few nylon washers that o.d. Fit 1/2 bolt. 2 washers should be larger fender washers and one smaller. See step 3.
Step 1: Frame
I began with a simple box frame. Nothing fancy here. Just a rectangle with three long braces. I made it 24x57 inches. I originally planned to make it a nominal 2x4 feet to buy a .25 sheet of plywood for the deck but when I went to buy the plywood my local hardware store had a sheet 24x57 laying around so I figured why not. This extra length is why I added the second rear axle.
I have always been a fan of semi trucks and dump trucks so I conceptually designed my hand cart thr same. This does allow more weight than a standard 4 wheel cart but does create sideways friction when turning, especially sharp turns.
The rear wheels are just 2x4 vertical towers and then blocking style bracing. There isn't any super complicated engineering. Just get the horizontal load vertical to the wheels. I didn't use any, but triangle bracing would probably be a good upgrade. This works fine. (see final step)
Step 2: Wheels
I got 4 of the wheels and axles from a trashed garden hose cart. I was originally only going to use the 4 but when I extended the length I bought 2 more from harbor freight for $4.00 per wheel. Instead of full axles a simple 5/8 inch bolt with lock nuts works great. I used bolts for the wheels I bought.
Step 3: Steering Mechanism
To make the front wheels steer is the most compiclated part of the wagon. I did ample research online and came up with a couple options. The most professional and complex route is called Ackerman steering.
Ackerman steering uses a series of tie rods and control rods that makes for a lot of different moving parts. More parts equals more expense and I wanted cheap.
My imagination told me a bearing lime a lazy Susan or the swivel on a swivel caster would work fine but I couldn't find one that was going to fit on a 2x4.
Finally it came down to a simple king pin design. I used a half inch bolt that runs vertically through the front of the cart. Instead of ball bearings I opted for simple nylon washers lubricated with oil to keep friction down. I used three washers, a big one, a small one and a big one as a kind of sandwich. I figured the big ones at the top would hold tight to the wood and spin aginst the small one.
This does work well. I used it several times already and it spins great even with a lot of weight on it.
Honest review...Metal washers would probably work just as well. Wood on wood will create a ton of friction but metal on metal will probably be fine. Or a metal and nylon combo. Sandwich two big metal fender washers around one nylon washer. That would be a good and cheaper option.
Step 4: Attach Steering to Frame
The steering kingpin mechanism is literally just attached to the frame with screws. The king pin separates the axle frame from the wagon frame. Please refer to photo notes for more clarification.
The front axle frame is just some 2x4 boxing. L frames help to create 2 direction strength. To keep the axle from sliding I used some cheap hose clamps.
The pull handle is attached with a gate hinge to allow vertical swing. I originally used a pine 2x2 bit it cracked under heavy load so it will be replaced with steel. A good hickory shovel handle would probably work much better than what I used. I will be replacing it with 16 gauge square steel tubing bolted to the hinge. The pull handle is shorter than the entire frame so it can be stored under the frame.
Step 5: Load Test
I poured a concrete pad for a building I'm building and had a small form about 44 inches square set up for the excess concrete to be uses. I set the small form in my back driveway thinking I would be able to easily move it with my normal trailer....Nope total fail. It weighs about 700 pounds so there was no way I could flip it onto the high trailer deck. I needed to move the pad down the hill from my driveway to a building I'm working on about 500 feet away. It's around 4 standard house lots plus half of mine through the alley.
So I got a crow bar under it to lift it about 2 inches. Insert 2x4. Use bar on another board to lift a couple more inches. Repeat until I can get my automotive jack under it. Jack it up and insert jack stand. Repeat until all 4 corners are supported by Jack stands.
Now is the fun part... Roll cart under slab. Jack up one side remove stands. Same for other side. Bam 700 pounds of concrete slab on my little cart. Will it move???
YES. It actually rolled well. The pnumatic wheels are rated at 300 pounds a peice. In theory I can put 1800 pounds on the cart but I doubt the wood frame will handle it or even the wheels are actually that tough.
Sorry I didn't stop to take many photos during the actual move. Between excitement and physical work I just kept rolling(pun intended). Trust me this wagon hauls lol. I am impressed.
I have also used it to move a couple large metal cabinets with stainless steel counters(salvaged from a restaurant remodel) around myb) back yard that are becoming a summer canning kitchen. They only weighed a couple hundred pounds and the wagon preformed flawlessly.
I only had a few difficulies. One the weak 2x2 I was using as a handle cracked. I used a heavy C clamp to hold it together to finish what I needed but this will probably be replaced with steel tubing.
Second two tires began leaking air and caused it to want to skew off direction and not roll well with flat tires. The used tires will need some fresh tubes. No big deal. I just used my air bubble keep filling up the flats.
I made it and got it off the same way it went on. Goes to show simple tools can move huge loads easily. No need for heavy equipment.