Homemade Go Kart/Dune Buggy

Introduction: Homemade Go Kart/Dune Buggy

About: I'm just your average Joe Blow who loves to be in the workshop working with the best tools ever given to me, my hands and my brain. Just remember the only time you have too much fuel is when you are on fire.


Hello everyone, thanks for looking at my instructable (which is my first one!). I decided to write this instructable to help to inspire others to build their own go kart. When I was building for inspiration I would go onto google and browse through pictures for ideas. After 6 months of planning I built one, then there was 6 months of testing and revising. It was a very enjoyable experience for me and I would like to offer some information to help anyone interested in building their own. As Bob Ross said, "You can do anything you want to do. This is your world."

Step 1: Design

The possibilities are endless when it boils down to the design of your go kart. There are go karts for every condition you can think of. "Wherever there is a will, there is way." For some, like me, money is a limiting factor that can inhibit our design.

What kind of Go Kart do you want?

1. Purpose

  • Offroad
    • Good for riding through the woods, snow, mud, etc.
    • Good all around
    • More expensive
  • Limited Offroad (Not for rugged terrain)
    • Good for riding on paths and around the yard
    • Best of all worlds
    • Affordable
  • Onroad
    • Strictly for road/track purposes.
    • Less expensive

    2. Number of Passengers

  • Before choosing your location choose how many people you want riding with you.

    3. Locomotion

  • Gasoline
    • Most common
    • Affordable
    • Maintenance every 5 to 20 hrs depending on conditions
  • Electric
    • Efficient
    • Batteries are expensive
    • requires knowledge about electronics
  • Diesel
    • Engines are expensive
    • A lot of torque
    • More efficient than Gasoline
  • Hybrid
    • Diesel electric
    • Gasoline electric
  • Or other form of Locomotion

4. Composition

  • What should it be made out of? Wood or Metal?
    • Personally I would prefer to buy metal over wood. I like to have a good sturdy roll cage in case a holy mole moment suddenly arises.
    • Let me tell you a cheap way to get metal, Conduit!! This stuff is amazing, 3.4" conduit comes in 10 foot section for only $3.50. While 3/4" square tubing will run you $30 for 10 feet. I used conduit on my rig, and I never had a problem with the frame.
    • Carefully draw out how the go kart will look. Use advance math to help design it (I know what you are thinking, Do I have Too? At least use basic trigonometry.) Here are some important questions to consider. How is the motor going to be mounted? Where is the throttle going to be mounted? How Wide and how long? What size sprockets do I need?

    Inspiration for my design

  • http://www.sadik.net/gokart/

Back to the main question of this step, What kind of go kart do you want? That question right there was the biggest one for and the hardest for me. I went through three go kart designs (0.0, 1.0, 2.0) before I ended up where I am at now. I told myself that I wanted an electric go kart that sat one person. Then it evolved into a two person electric go kart. Anyways, I ended up with a two, maybe three, person gasoline go kart. My first and second design was close the cigar car above (my first frame is the last to pics). After a lot of thinking I came to the sudden realization that my first design wasn't going to work. Not to long after that, I came to the conclusion that the electric go kart is not for me, so I scrubbed that frame. My current frame reminds me of a sandrail buggy just with a 6hp motor on it.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

Required Tools:

  • Welder( I used a MIG Welder), Flux core Wire or Solid Wire & Welding Gas, Welding Helmet, Gloves
  • Angle Grinder & Bench Grinder
  • Saws: Reciprocating Saw & Hack Saw
  • Hammer, Wrenches, Welder's Square, Clamps, Magnetic Welding Holder, Socket Set, a Vise, Vise Grips & a Steel Brush
  • Drill Press( Optional), Drill, Various Drill Bits
  • Tape Measure
  • Chain Breaker
  • Radio( Optional, Listen to your Favorite Tunes as you work)
  • Patience

The Materials that are listed are ones that I used on my Go Kart.


  • About 50 feet of 3/4" & 20 feet of 1" Conduit( Metal not Plastic), both come in 10 foot sections
  • 5 feet 1" square tubing (for front end assembly)
  • 6hp Briggs and Stratton Motor (saved mine from a broken pressure washer)
  • Stock pieces of 0.25 inch steel about one foot, one foot of 5/8" black iron pipe and (2) 6 inch bolts. (These are for the front spindles) Bought these from Lowe's
  • 10 feet of 1/4" steel rod (for tie rods on the front end)
  • Odd pieces of steel found around my house off old lawn mowers (such as a engine mount from the pressure washer base, wire mesh for a utility rack, and
  • Bolts and nuts (for mounting motor base to the frame)
  • 10 feet of 1/8" Steel Cable (for throttle and brake) can be found at Lowe's or Tractor Supply

All the following parts can be found on http://www.bmikarts.com/

  • 15 x 6.00-6 Super Turf Tire & Rim (1" Bore), 2 of them
  • 145/70-6 Balloon Tire with Rim (Front)
  • 45" long 1" Steel Live Axle
  • 1" Rear Axle Assembly
  • Torque Converter for #41 Chain, 3/4" Bore
  • Multi-Patterned Aluminum Sprocket Hub with 54T #41 Sprocket with 1" Bore
  • 5 feet of #41 Chain
  • 3 -#41 Chain Master Links

Step 3: Construction

After you have pondered a while about the design of your go kart it is time for the construction stage.This stage is pretty simple if you have a decent plan for you design. If money is a limiting factor, look around and buy materials when they are affordable. Salvage parts from other things that have been deemed broken; basically recycle parts from stuff that would either end up in a landfill or laying around doing nothing. It is amazing what you can find laying around.


Building the frame is really easy, I would say that is the easiest part of the whole project. Just follow you design and measure twice and cut once. If you are using Conduit, you are probably asking, do i have to notch it out or cut shape the conduit to fit over another one. This is what I do, I put the two piece of conduit against each other and I build up the weld. You don't have to do that, but it was easier for me.

Rear End Assembly

When assembling the rear end, go ahead and slide the bearings on the axle then attach the bearing housing to the bearings. Next you want to measure out where it is going to be fastened too, which should have been noted on your design (mine was seven inches from the bottom of the frame). Tack welded it on the frame and measure again, if the measurement is correct finish welding it and if it is not adjust as necessary.

Front End Assembly

Most people buy there own parts for the front end, but me being frugal i decided to make my own. Main with odd pieces of steel found at Tractor Supply and Lowe's. So my spindles are custom made, I suggest to buy some because mine are not as perfect as machined ones. I had to use a little bit of Redneck engineering to make them work. The tie rods from stores are stronger than my 1/4" steel rods. When you attaching either your homemade ones or store bought spindles make sure you have extremely goods welds on them. One of my spindles broke off when I hit a bump, so take extra care when welding the front and rear assemblies on the frame.

Step 4: Testing and Revising

We all know the that version 1.0 is never perfect, so learn from what happens during the testing phase. Remember this is a homemade vehicle there are going to be problems, a lot of them. That's why we test, revise, and apply then the cycle continues. You are going to have to tinker with it. Anyways, I hope that this instructable inspired you to build your go kart.

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    7 Discussions


    3 months ago

    Your presentation of the tradeoffs you considered was well done, as was the evolutionary part of the project.
    One very important point however if you're welding anything galvanized is to do it with plenty of fresh air because the fumes are toxic. Welding with MIG can be made more difficult outdoors if its windy though because the shielding gas gets blown away.


    3 years ago

    That looks great! I would love to make this. Do you have any updated pics? Di you ever put any panels/lights onto it?


    4 years ago

    G'day mate,

    Could you please send me the blueprints for this. I rekon its beut and would love to build one myself.

    Email- bradenbtturneratgawlerscouts@gmail.com


    4 years ago

    Hey boss just wanted to say your a genius, found this by searching for galvanized conduit Kart frame and look you beat me to the idea !! And already built the thing and Wrote about it all. Keep instructing!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks! I absolutely love conduit; it is the most affordable multi-purpose metal out there.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! I hope to see more great stuff from you in the future!