Introduction: Build a Milk Crate Cart

My wife really likes going to the farmers market on Saturday mornings.. but she hates carrying bags of fresh produce. She needed a cart, but she didn't want me to buy one ( and neither did I).

So, my intrepid assistant, right-hand man, and son Max, brain-stormed with me to see what we could re-purpose in the garage to build a cart.

After some looking around, we found a milk crate, some wheels from an old fertilizer spreader, and the handle from an unused scooter.

Our next stop was Lowes, where we wandered around looking at various hardware to complete our build.

With $10 in hardware, it was back to the garage to start the build!

Step 1: Part List

Here is what we used to make our cart:

From the garage:

(1) Milk Crate.
(1) Razor-like Scooter Handle
(2) Wheels from on old fertilizer spreader

From Lowes:

(4) Flat Washers
(2) 3/8" Hex Lock Nuts
(2) 3/8" Hex Nuts
(2) #16 Hose Clamps
(1) 3/8" x 2' threaded rod
(1) 1/2" x 2' PVC Conduit
(1) Hitch Pin
(1) 2-1/2" x 3/8" Wire Lock Pin

I purchased all of this for $9.77 (before tax)

Now that we have the part list.. lets build!

Step 2: Remove Handle

The first step is to remove the handle from the Razor-like scooter.

On this particular model, we just had to loosen the clamp at the bottom of the handle.

Once the clamp was removed, the handle came out.. easy as that!

Step 3: Assemble the Axle

We decided to make a full axle instead of just bolting each wheel to the side of the crate. We thought it would run truer, and provide more strength.

This is how we did it.

First, we cut the conduit so it extended about 1.25" on each side ( total about 15.5").

Next we lined it up straight on the bottom of the milk crate, and attached it with the two hose clamps. The hose clamps go around the conduit and through the holes in the grate.

Hand tighten with a screw driver. You can use a drill, but be careful you don't over-tighten and break the plastic on the crate.

Next, insert the threaded rod through the conduit. Leave equal space on each side.

Place one 3/8" nut on each end and tighten the nut until the nut gets stuck in the conduit.

To determine the final length of the axle, put the wheel on the axle, and leave about 3/4" to accomodate washers and lock nut. Mark the axle with a marker, and cut with a dremel cut off wheel.

Last step is the wheel assembly.

From the inside it should go like this:
3/8"nut -> flat washer -> wheel -> flat washer -> lock nut.

Now we can move onto the handle assembly.

Step 4: Add Handle

So we really didn't know how we were going to attach the handle, but we knew it had to be simple.

Now, the handle had a series of pre-drilled holes, so we thought we could find something to run through it, and attach to the cart.

We wandered around Lowes, and wound up in the fasteners aisle. In the drawers of specialty fasteners, we found something called a 'Wire Lock Pin'. I have no idea what its intended purpose is, but we knew it would easily hold our handle to our crate.

However, there was one caveat. The Wire Lock Pin didn't actually lock, the pin just slid through the eye.

So we got a hitch pin, and I told Max that we would drill a hole through the Wire Lock Pin, so it would stay put.

To complete handle assembly, make sure the pin from the Wire Lock Pin fits through the hole in the handle. If it doesn't, or a hole doesn't exist, you will need to drill one.

Next, drill a hole in the Wire Lock Pin so the hitch pin will hold the Wire Lock Pin together.

When this is done, thread the Wire Lock Pin through the milk crate and then through the handle, lock in place with the hitch pin.

Step 5: Add Stand

If you want your cart to stand level, you will need add stand to the front.

In our case, we found a small scrap of 2x4, some screws, and a couple of washers.

We attached the stand to the crate with the screws and washers. Make sure the washers are bigger than the grate in the crate.

Now you are good to go!

You can support your local farmers at the farm market, you recycled parts from the garage that would have gone into a landfill, you didn't need to buy a new cart.

Enjoy your new cart!