Intro: Shopping Cart Furniture - Part 2 - the Lounge Chair
As promised this is the second installment in a series of instructables for making shopping cart furniture. As you know shopping carts come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. For the lounge chair I have opted to go with a red plastic shopping cart that I scored after a store in my neighborhood decided to upgrade their existing model. So here it is, The Lounge Chair!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
- A plastic shopping cart
- An idea
- A hacksaw
- Socket wrench, standard wrench, or 4 way lug wrench sized to the wheel bolts
- Heavy duty bolt cutter
- Sand paper or a sanding block, any grit will do
- A dremel
- Dremel attachments (reinforced cutting wheels, grinding wheels, sanding wheels, and felt polishing pad with polishing compound)
- A drill with a bit for drilling through metal
- Safety Goggles
- Protective gloves
- A dust mask
- A hat, long sleeves, long pants, and any other desired protective gear to keep toxic plastic dust off of your body and out of your hair.
Step 2: Plan Your Idea
In order to utilize this cart for multiple projects and maximize resources it is important to have a well thought out plan. One cut in the wrong place could sabotage future plans for the other half of the cart, or ruin the design of your chair (trust me, I've done this). True, plastic can always be melded back together, but why create all that extra work for yourself? With the right game plan and correct mise en place, plastic can be fun because it is so versatile and easy to work with. You have more options with plastic in regard to the design, as opposed to metal which is somewhat harder to work with. So, get creative! Think up a design!
Step 3: Removing the Under Carriage and Front Wheels
First things first. The undercarriage needs to be freed in order to allow for the removal of the wheels, and also to let you separate this cart into two separate pieces. I used a hacksaw blade to saw off the bits of plastic around the front wheel bolts in order to expose the nut and free up space for a wrench. Any cutting tool will work for this step, I found the hacksaw blade to be the most convenient and inexpensive method for doing this.
After the you free the plastic from the hinges it can then be lifted out of the base quite easily. Please refer to the pictures. Once the undercarriage is removed you can then unscrew the bolts using a standard wrench which will in turn release the front wheels.
***Note: No need to worry about the back wheels at this point. I'll show you how to do that when we get to creating the ottoman/garden chair from this same cart in the next instructable.
Step 4: Sawing the Plastic Basket in Half
So by now you've got a solid game plan for your cart in place. I want to cut this cart in half, its time to start sawing! For this step I used a hacksaw blade to gently saw through the plastic. Please refer to the images to see where I chose to make my cuts. I wanted to preserve the leftover half of this cart to create a garden bench and ottoman, therefore I was sure to cut only where necessary.
***Note: Remember to be safe by utilizing your personal protective equipment here. Plastic dust is toxic to the body and can get into your lungs and eyes very easily. And please, please, remember to protect our environment by sweeping up any plastic dust and disposing of it in an appropriate manner.
Step 5: Cutting the Metal Frame in Half
Now that you've freed the plastic pieces you need to cut the metal frame in half. Start by flipping the cart over. The first step is to remove the metal reinforcement frame from the base. I used a dremel and metal cutting blade to cut down the center of the weld on both sides of the cart. See image #2, #3, and #4 above to see what I'm talking about.
Next you need to cut the steel tubing along the base in half. I also used a dremel with cutting blade for this. Please see images #5, #6, and #7
Step 6: Separating the Two Halves
Now, flip the cart back over onto its feet. The cart will be wobbly and flimsy at this point, you did just cut it in half after all, so please be gentle here. You'll notice there are metal rods barely holding the cart together along the topmost edges, no worries, just cut through them with your dremel.
Now you should have two pieces. I'm going to focus on the front piece, the "chair" piece for now. So set the back piece aside for use in the next instructable.
Step 7: Sand the Metal Edges
Yay! You have something that looks like a chair! But wait...DO NOT attempt to sit in it yet!...you'll fall flat on your backside and break your chair! (yes...i did this) I'll show you how to reinforce it later on. For now we need to get rid of those dangerously sharp edges! Use a dremel with a sanding bit, then a metal brush attachment, and lastly a felt polishing tip with some polishing compound on it. Sand and polish all sharp edges, or in other words wherever you made cuts. Please see picture for an illustrative of this step.
Step 8: Sand and Shape the Plastic Edges
The trick to sanding plastic edges is to run your dremel at a low speed and a light touch. Let the grit of the sanding wheel and the speed of the dremel do the work. I started by taking off the little bits along the arms off that where left over from cutting using a dremel and course sanding bit. I didnt want the edge to be completely flat so I left the inner most rim on the edge. Next, I used a sanding block to gently remove any plastic "strings" that are left over from the sanding process. Then, using a dry felt polishing wheel, I put a final shine on it. I have a dremel 3000 and ran it on speed setting #4 for this step. I got a nice shiny edge that looks factory fresh!
Step 9: Cutting the Reinforcement Rods
In order to make this chair functional, it needs to be reinforced from the rear. Remember those metal rods you cut off in step 6? Grab one, you'll need it for this step! The first thing you should do is measure the distance from the ground to the base of the chair. Where you measure to and from makes no difference, however this will be where you place the reinforcement rods so make sure you mark where you measured. Now mark the distance on the rod. You should have enough to make two identical short reinforcement rods out of one long one. Mine measured about 12 in at a slight angle.
Then, cut the rods where you marked using a dremel and reinforcement blade, or by using a pair of bolt cutters.
Step 10: Drill Holes for the Reinforment Rods
Next you'll need to drill holes in the base of the chair at the point where you began your measurement. Note pictures.
Step 11: Reinforce the Chair
Now, simply insert the rods into the holes that you drilled into the base of the chair, then find and open slot at the top to place them into. I secured the top of my rods in the middle of a small triangular hole at the backside of the lower edge of the seat of the chair, and mine stayed snugly in place. You can further secure these to the plastic by filling the gap in with clear epoxy resin. You can secure these at the base to the metal using a weld or some caulking or other type of heavy duty glue if you don't know how to weld.
Step 12: Finished!
All done! You now have a plastic lounge chair...This completes part two in this series of instructables, so have a seat in your fancy new lounge chair, and keep an eye out for part three where I will show you how to make a matching ottoman out of the leftover piece of this shopping cart to compliment your lounge chair.