Cheap Tire Sale Sparks Creative Contraption


[Greg] and his kids were killing time at their (his?) favorite store — Harbor Freight. They noticed a sale on 10″ rubber tires for only $5/each… and it was all down hill from there.

He started sketching up a general idea for a three-wheeled go-kart. Once he had a reasonable idea of what it would look like, he went down to the hardware store and picked up a whole lot of 1″ PVC pipe, tees, elbows, crosses, epoxy and fasteners.

It’s a simple cart featuring a bit of a roll cage. Currently it’s just designed for being pushed around or riding down hills. It still looks like a lot of fun for the kids. We can’t help but wonder when he’s going to strap some electric motors on it to make it really fun for the kids. Maybe build a second, put some pool noodles around the frame, and bam, you’ve got a set of bumper-cars! If he needs any inspiration for the electronics, [Greg] could check out this Wireless Wii-Cart, or this over-powered-built-in-a-day-cart.

[Thanks Andrew]

28 thoughts on “Cheap Tire Sale Sparks Creative Contraption

    1. Eh, we did way stupider things than this when we were kids. And we survived. Most of us at least. I wouldn’t go as far as to call what this contraption has a “roll cage”, but it seems to do a nice job stabilizing the whole setup.

      1. +1

        Although I highly doubt that [Greg] is going to let his kid roll down a hill in this contraption (I could be wrong!) and assuming that the PVC does maintain its structural integrity in a crash, if you’re not strapped in, the “roll cage” could now become your worst enemy.

        On a lighter note, this is a ridiculously cool project.

    2. As an adult in the 21st century I am AGHAST at the use of PVC for structural strength. PVC glue is NOT designed for these loads and this child WILL be impaled on the shards of a shattered PVC pipe. Also the reflection of the suns rays will be concentrated into the center of the “roll cage” (again, AGHAST) and WILL severely burn the child. Any adult who wishes to BURN, BLIND, and IMPALE innocent children should be EXECUTED. THANKS OBAMACARE!

      I have a long scar on the inside of my arm. Its 35 years old and its from when we unfolded cardboard boxes, put them on the 15 degree slope in our yard, and slid down them. I forgot to take all the staples out. We did stuff like this all the time. Holy cow it was fun.

      +1 for Greg.

  1. Great build. I would have loved something like this when I was the age of the kids in the video. Would have been a heck of a lot safer than the Radio Flyer wagon I tried using on some of the local hills…

  2. Awesome Dad! Too bad his neighbourhood looks to be on a flat land, but what a way to get the kids out of the house and active on a nice day.

    A bit of an extension on the back for a lawnmower or weedwhacker engine perhaps? May be when the kids are a bit older.

    Once again, awesome!

      1. You may be onto something. I’ve been doing a lot of yard work lately and I was quite surprised how much power my little leaf blower puts out even at its medium setting. I think it’d have enough power at max power to push something like this along. Probably not uphill, but quite likely on a flat. The rider will need to wear a hearing protector, though.

  3. Ok so some actual constructive criticism of using pvc pipe:
    1: For the cheap white stuff (apparently what was used here?), adding strapping tape (the tape with threads embedded lengthwise) on all of the long faces will keep them from sharding when they break, reducing the likelyhood of permanent death. AMPGARD/Live action roll players have known this for years. They get resurrected several times per day.

    2: PVC-U (the gray pipe) is more expensive, but MUCH less likely to break and shard. It is ‘unplasticized’ and therefore acts more like a rubber under stress. It will bend, stretch and eventually tear rather than kersplode. It is the preferred choice for safety of backyard gocart manufacturers.

  4. A like minded techie! Nice build! Unless used in temps. below freezing, I say shattering is unlikely. And, YES, I could not resist buying 4 of there pneumatic wheels when they were $4 ea. I never buy from H.F. unless it’s deeply on sale. Be patient, young Luke!

  5. Things to fail, the stem of the fork for sure. Wheel comes off and lands in lap if lucky. I cringed thru the whole video thinking of what happens when a foot gets caught under while pushing or not paying attention to footrests. Ouch! Perhaps a floorpan design with room for flintstone drive.

  6. the engineer in my is cringing over how potentially unsafe this thing is to strap kids into…..

    but the kid in me is saying , “who cares, it looks like fun!”……

    kids not likely going more than 5moh in the thing, i dont see how badly he could possibly get hurt in it…..its not like kids are made of glass anyways, i know i did dumber stuff as a kid and im still alive.

    hell, i wish my dad made cool stuff for me like this when i was a kid…..

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