Jans Ridiculous Zero-Cost Kart Project

Kaptain Krunch

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Holy crap; that's a lot of old bits! I guess you do this for a living, then? No wonder you know so much about these old transmissions.

I've a question about something you mentioned above regarding a Belt-Tensioner Clutch... Is there a plan or a 'right way' of doing this? Even a few pictures of one would be helpful... I'm trying to design my driveline and I want to plan out what I need.

Cheers

Jan.

Yeah i run a small business, parts sales and repairs. Although honestly for customers i rarely pull a trans apart...we live in such a throwaway society, even with my shop having the lowest rates in the area, most get tossed with the smallest problems.

Anyways as far as the tensioner setup, go explore some racing mower forums. They have stickys with pictures and explanations. But BEWARE: they hate hobbiests, do not mention you are trying to build anything other than class legal racing mower.

I went down that road once and ended up getting banned because what i was building wasnt up to their codes(although ive had the tractor for 10 years now...its does 30mph and wheelies, is perfectly safe and i havent broken it or myself yet...)
 

JanSolo

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Update: Welding & Scrounging

Hi all,

Thanks for the advice regarding mower racing vs kart building. In my mind they were both the same thing, but it turns out that they are two very distinct communities; whoda thunkit? Anyway, I've followed their advice and I'm on my way to setting up my P700 gearbox as mower-ists suggest.

Next; actual kart-building!
1. I've been scrounging around for some steel, initially to help me practice my welding with. I've been messing around with a cheap flux-core welder, so my welds will never be beautiful, but they're definitely improving. I built a quick-n-dirty Vice Stand so that I can work outdoors and standing up. It's mainly to save my knees from premature death; I've been welding on the ground mostly up to now. I'll include some pictures of it. The vice was bought, but all the steel in this was recycled and cost me 0 dollars!

2. I've been wandering around various local scrapyards and recycling centers, befriending the owners and chatting to the staff. I love scrapyards; I could wonder round them all day looking at all the broken machines and dreaming up ways to reuse/rebuild them into something else. A few of them were sympathetic to my idea and donated me some bits and bobs for my kart! I'll add some pictures below. I got about 150lbs of steel including some angle, plate, flat bar, round bar and square tube.
Also, I was given a pair of 13inch lawn tractor wheels; they're a bit grubby, but I can clean em right up.

For actual construction, I've started knocking up some steering & frame parts to start with.
A couple of questions!

1. I have some 1/2 inch flat bar for the steering spindles and I've been cutting it with a reciprocating hacksaw. Holy crap does it go thru blades! I must have used 3 blades to do 4 cuts! Is there a better way? I have an angle grinder; I guess I could use that. Or should I just bite the bullet and buy a chop saw?

2. I have some 3/4 ID round tube for the spindle axles so I'm trying to drill thru this 1/2 inch flatbar with a 3/4inch hand drill. It is taking FOREVER! I am pushing so hard that my arms are dying. I think the drill is also not enjoying it either... and then I have 3 more to drill! What am I doing wrong? The 3/4 drill bit is brand new, but it feels pretty blunt; maybe I should try sharpening it with my dremel? I was told that you need to press REALLY hard for large holes thru steel. I don't particularly want to buy a drill press... but maybe that's the only way?
Or maybe I should just make thinner spindles?

Anyway, thanks again, wise karting elders!
More updates soon.

Cheers

Jan.
 

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Brianator

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1. I have some 1/2 inch flat bar for the steering spindles and I've been cutting it with a reciprocating hacksaw. Holy crap does it go thru blades! I must have used 3 blades to do 4 cuts! Is there a better way? I have an angle grinder; I guess I could use that. Or should I just bite the bullet and buy a chop saw?

2. I have some 3/4 ID round tube for the spindle axles so I'm trying to drill thru this 1/2 inch flatbar with a 3/4inch hand drill. It is taking FOREVER! I am pushing so hard that my arms are dying. I think the drill is also not enjoying it either... and then I have 3 more to drill! What am I doing wrong? The 3/4 drill bit is brand new, but it feels pretty blunt; maybe I should try sharpening it with my dremel? I was told that you need to press REALLY hard for large holes thru steel. I don't particularly want to buy a drill press... but maybe that's the only way?
Or maybe I should just make thinner spindles?

1) angle grinder with a 1/16" disc all the way! Use the edge of the disc that makes the grinder want to pull away from you (for safety and the discs sake) and cut in that direction also (for the discs longevity). Just for future reference when it comes to Sawzall and hacksaw blades (cutting discs and drill bits too) let the blade do the cutting, if you rush or force it you overheat it and burn it up. Been there, done that! Lol.

2) pilot the hole first with a 1/4" bit, step up to a 1/2" bit then go with the 3/4", it will make your life so much easier! Medium speed and moderate pressure will make short work of it, it will have a tendency to grab right as it's just about to go through but if you have a "ear for it" you'll know when it's time to let up on the pressure and increase speed to avoid that.

Also, don't be shy to dip your drill bit in oil before using it either (aids cutting and extends bit life). Hope this helps you along! Sounds like you have a cool little community project at hand! I'll be following
 

landuse

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What you can also do is hire a chop saw for a day. Plan all the cuts that need done before the time, and then you do all your steel cutting (or as much as you can think of doing) after renting one . If you are only going to be using a chop saw once or twice a year, it is not worth the expense of buying one
 

Functional Artist

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Yup, :cheers2:
I use a "cut-off" wheel in my grinder, for most metal cutting
…usually ~$2.00 @ the hardware store :thumbsup:

Drill pilot holes (especially when using a hand drill)
...I usually start with 1/8" then 1/4" & on from there

I've built a few karts outta lawn mower parts (& other stuff too) :2guns:

Check out some of "My Metal"
…& every thread is "packed" with info :sifone:
http://www.diygokarts.com/vb/showthread.php?t=43116
 

Brianator

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I usually start with a 1/8" bit also (sometimes 1/16", depends on how accurate it needs to be)! I suggested starting with 1/4" because it's much harder to break for inexperienced people (I don't know his skill level) but is a WAY better than trying to bang through with a 3/4"! Lol. Kudos to JanSolo for givin er a go though!
 

JanSolo

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Check out some of "My Metal"
…& every thread is "packed" with info :sifone:
http://www.diygokarts.com/vb/showthread.php?t=43116


I just had a browse through your thread... holy crap you've built a lot of karts! Do you live next to a scrapyard or something? Where did you find so much steel to build all those?

Side note: I like your idea of using expanded metal as a floor instead of sheet steel... much lighter and probably just as strong. Gonna steal that. :)
 

Brianator

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Side note: I like your idea of using expanded metal as a floor instead of sheet steel... much lighter and probably just as strong. Gonna steal that. :)

I've been thinking about that too for my build.... I like the idea of being able to see clear through the underside just because!
 

JanSolo

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Update:

Oh wise kart elders, listen to this tale of woe and embarrassment.
As you might remember, I'm using a free lawnmower engine that someone threw out. I've been trying to get it running reliably, so I bought a tuneup kit from amazon. It had a sparkplug, airfilter, gaskets, primer bulb, etc. Simple stuff. I put it all on my old engine and then I just could. not. get. it. to go. Whatever I did, it would not start.
I noticed fuel leaking from the carb gasket, so I reseated that. I noticed that the pull start was hard and 'chunky', so took out the sparkplug & did a compression test. Then I took the flywheel off & checked the flywheel key.
I thought maybe it was because the mass of the blade was missing, so I mounted it back on the mower and put the blade back on.
Still nothing. It wouldn't go.
I had changed the primer bulb... I noticed that it didn't appear to squirt like it used to, so I put the old bulb back in. Still nothing.
I checked the gas. There as defo some in there... but perhaps not enough to reach the primer inlet?
I put in more gas. Aaaaaaand. It starts first pull. :censored: :mad2:
Ugh.
I'm ashamed to admit that I spent most of the afternoon troubleshooting an engine with too little gas in it. :oops:

In further news, I ended up breaking my brand new Cryobi hammer drill trying to drill thru half inch steel bar. The speed control was completely toasted; It was either off or full speed. Back to Home Depot with you! Instead I replaced it with a cheap floor-standing drill press that I found on Facebook marketplace. It was only $60 more than the Cryobi and is much more capable!

I also learned that drilling large holes thru thick steel with fat drill-bits is a waste of time. Hole-saws do the job much better and much faster. I burned a $20 3/4 drill-bit when a $6 hole-saw worked great! Lesson learned.

As a result, I now have two sets of kart steering knuckles! My 'heavy duty' ones made out of half inch bar with 3/4 bolts in, or my 'normal duty' ones that I made as a backup in case I couldn't figure out my drilling problems. Which ones should I use? I'm leaning towards the heavy ones because they're cooler and I really struggled to learn how to make them.

Also, I measured, cut and welded my frame. I may have been a bit generous with the length though. It's 3f wide and 6f long. I'm 6foot 2inches, so I need extra legroom, but I still might have over-estimated what I need here.
What do you think, o wise elders? I can always cut it down later if needed.

Next job is steering, pedals & drive mounts! Stay tuned.

Cheers

Jan
 

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Smerft85

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My murray is like 6'4" so you haven't gone too far with the length, some of my longer karts tend to push a wheel while steering, and they aren't as nimble as my tiny little streaker, but still handle decent. I'd go for the heavier spindle brackets too, you earned them and it will pay off if you ever hit a rock or something a little harder than your backside will like.
 

JanSolo

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Update: Steering & Throttle linkage & Ring Roller

Hello wise karting elders; here's my latest update.

Last time we spoke, I had a basic frame and a few half-baked ideas. Now, instead, I have a frame and some badly-implemented ideas! :cheers2:

Anyway, take a look at my steering system; I've really just been winging it; I did read some derpumentation about steering geometry. However, it was all very boring, so I built out what looked simplest based on what I could find online.
Also, I tried to have as much adjustability as I can so hopefully I can correct the inevitable geometry cockups later. Hence lots of holes on my pitman arm and spindle arms.
NOTE: No axles yet as I'm having trouble finding some suitable front wheels at a price I'm prepared to pay (ie. zero). Once I find something, I should be able to get some axle bolts of the correct size.

Steering Questions for you wise elders:

1. I bent my spindle arms up to roughly match the angle of the pitman arm. Is this a good idea? I feel like it might limit my maximum steering angle or something.

2. Currently (using holes 3 of 5 on my pitman arm and spindle arms), I get maybe 80 degrees of steering wheel movement. That feels low to me. What's normal for a kart? What should I adjust to improve this?

Next up, is my throttle/tensioner clutch setup. You may remember that I'm using a lawnmower engine which is set to run at a certain RPM. You guys recommended that I just forgo a traditional throttle and just have a tensioner clutch instead of a throttle pedal. That way, I don't have to modify the crappy carb or govenor on the engine and just let it run at whatever RPM it wants and I get power by tensioning the clutch. Sounds simple, so that's what I'm doing.

So here's v1 of my tensioner... I found these heavy duty control cables at PrincessAuto for $5, so I bought 2. The tensioner has a pair of rollerblade bearings on the end; those will push the back of the v-belt in towards the center of the loop whenever someone hits the throttle. I made a mounting plate out of some sheet metal to hold the cable and tensioner arm pivot. Once I have my engine position finalised, I can figure out how it will fit under there.

I also built a pair of pedals out of some rebar and a small tube hinge. Check em out; I attached one to the tensioner cable to see how it would look.

Questions:
1. In a tensioner clutch, how much movement is normal for the idler that pushes on the belt? With the above setup, I can make the idler move 6 inches or so... that's way overkill, no?
2. There will need to be a return spring on the throttle and brake; do I put it on the pedal end or the other end?

Small side-project!:idea2:

I've been trying to find a suitable small steering wheel, so I looked online and discovered that it's impossible to get a simple crappy kart steering wheel sent to Canada for less than about $80. Even the cheapest, crappy $20 wheel from BMI Karts becomes extortionate once you factor in exchange rate, shipping, holding fees and import taxes. It's very depressing sometimes, living up here in the cold north.
So I figured I'll just make my own out of some rusty rebar instead; zero-dollars is the goal after all! Imagine something cool like out of MadMax FuryRoad!

Math says that a 3foot piece of rebar will give me an 11inch steering wheel; perfect! All I need to do is bend it into a perfect circle, weld it together, add the middle bit and bob's your auntie. But how can I bend a bit of rebar into a circle? Aha! Let's make a Ring-Roller!

So I put this together with a few bits of angle, some half-inch flat, a couple of bolts and some more roller-blade bearings. I made the handle out of more rebar.
I drilled the angle iron with some holes that line up with the holes on my vise, so I can screw them in there to add tension.

It worked good for some thin flatbar that I had lying around, but once I put my rebar in there, the angle iron started to bend up, forcing the rollers to twist and letting the bar pop out.
Version 2 will mount the rollers to the face of the angle iron; not the top. That should allow the force to be transferred into the work piece and not into bending the mounts.

Anyone built anything similar? Any tips?

Cheers!

Jan.

Edit: looks like I hit the pic limit... sorry, no room for more pics of my ringroller!
 

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draacul

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Dude you have the passion and work ethic. The rest will come in time. I wish you were close to me, I would turn you loose in my shop and see what you came up with. Bravo. Keep up the effort
 
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