Introduction: DIY Pedal Tractor

About: I grew up on a dairy farm, where it was common practice to repair what's broken or make what's needed. At a young age, I realized that the best gift one could get were tools where my dad not only supported i…

I myself have worked on numerous projects, but like most of you here, I did it for my own pleasure and for the people I was doing the work for.

But unlike some others, I never really documented my projects - or so I thought.

When I saw this contest this past week, I thought I’s share one of my plywood projects. Because like a lot of projects I did, documentation on can be rather sparse so I worked on these a bit, to make it all more presentable here. I'll lay out the situation.

This happened a while back. Being single with a good job, good wages, and lots of nephews and nieces, some of them who I was sponsor (godfather) for, I always bought the kids something extra or special for Christmas. But it seemed that Christmas had become too commercialized.

The kids open their presents, put the batteries in, press a button, and call it play - for that day and that's it. They probably got very little use out of it.

So I looked back and thought, "What did I have fun with?" As it turned out, it wasn't even a gift I received but one that was passed down from my oldest brother. An Allis Chalmers WD Pedal Tractor (made from cast aluminum), just like my Dad's AC WD-45.

But now they were made from plastic, and you could only get John Deere. Those were not the type of tractors my Dad had.

I decided to make a tractor from plywood. My Dad thought it was a good gesture, but he didn't think the kids would play with it since it wasn't store-bought. I talked to my brother and he said that he would like one for his son. I thought, "What the heck. I'll make three."

I had access to a CNC router to cut this, but since I had to adjust the design to make this out of hand tools instead of CNC equipment I’d design it that way.

I also had a hard time of tracking down and obtaining parts, but now they’re easily accessible on a web search. When i had cut out the pieces on a CNC router and it came to assembling it, I had pulled a muscle in my back at work, fortunately my brother picked up the slack, he did have a time of it because of an issue I had with the console and steering mechanism, turned out, he had the hard part. I had since corrected it.

Here's the CAD model I made so at least you have a little more to go by, considering I didn't document my work much with pictures. Fortunately though, there were pictures taken.

Step 1: Tools Required

Acetylene Torch
Allen Wrench: 9/64"
Angle Grinder
Coping Saw or Jig Saw
Cresent Wrench
Drill Bit (Spade or Forestner): 9/32", 1/2", 9/16, 3/4"
Drill Bits: No. 24 (0.1520"), No. 38 (.1015"), 5/32"
Drill Motor
Flat Head Screw Driver
Hole Saw: 1", 1-1/4", 1-1/2", 1-3/4" 2" Dia.
MIG or Stick Welder
Needle Nose Pliers
Open/Box End Wrench: 7/16"
Plunger Router/Shaper
Table Saw
Wood Chisel As Needed
Wood Rasp/File

Step 2: Overall Dimensional Drawing

Step 3: Proceedures


1.) If purchasing parts, such as the pedal crank or steering mechanism as an example, wait till the parts arrive to verify dimensions if you have to make adjustments

2.) The most difficult can fitting together the steering mechanism. The best is after the parts are cut, assemble the parts, removing one side, seat and rear axle top as shown in the picture

3.) most parts can be obtained at your local hardware store or online catalog.


1.) cut out the parts from the drawing (even though the plywood is sanded on both sides, it best to sand it again with finer sand paper for a better finish)

Step 4: Dimensional Drawings of Cross Members, Hood and Console

Step 5: Metal Fabrication

2.) cut metal parts and fabricate as to drawing

3.) when assembling the steering column, you have to assemble the parts prior to final welding (mid frame and lower steering shroud

Step 6: Cut-a-way View

4.) layout the right side on a table (outside facing down with the rear hanging off the table (this is using the right side as a template)
5.) assemble the outer edge, use minimal drywall fasteners, because these will be removed after a flip.

6.) lay in the internal steering alignment blocks, use the shafting as alignment jigs and leave in.

7.) test the steering mechanism by turning the column.

8.) after your satisfied with the mechanism tighten the locking collar on the column and post

9.) align the left side onto the outside border and complete fastening with screws periodically testing the steering to ensure the blocking did not move or shift.

Step 7: Fit and Assembly

10.) install the rear bearings on the left side

11.) install the pedal bearings on the left side

12.) flip the body on its left side and remove the right side

13.) install rear backer plate and hitch and fasten.

14.) install rear axle and 15 tooth sprocket, center rear axle and the sprocket onto the axle and tighten

15.) install the pedal axle and 9 tooth sprocket. Center the pedal axle and the sprocket on to the pedal axle and tighten

16.) reattach the right side and test the steering mechanism as you fasten it.

17.) install the rear bearings

18.) install pedal bearings

19.) install #40 roller chain

20.) install pedal arms and pedals

21.) install seat, steering wheel, rear and front wheel, keep in mind that only one rear wheel actually drives.

22.) break all sharp corner with a wood file or rasp.

23.) paint you favorite color

24.) model stickers are available from an Internet search

Step 8: Call-out


1.) Best to assembly with one side and seat removed for easier fit-up.

2.) Remove all sharp corners

Step 9: Exploded View

Step 10: Presentation

When Christmas day came, the presents were too big to wrap, so we had them go into another room, and we set them up in the middle of the Kitchen.

And then we had them come out. It was a race.

Step 11: Presentation (continued)

This was one of the most enjoyable Christmas’s we had. I stopped in a few months later, And I noticed, back wheel lug marks on the kitchen cabinets, I asked mom about that… she just laughed.

One more thing, you may wonder, “Why the silver horse paint scheme”….., and not Green, Red or Blue, …… Well…….

Step 12: Conclusion

That's grampa's colors of course

Plywood Contest

Participated in the
Plywood Contest

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016