Unlocked Mind Newsletter / Unlocked Mind Media 

Make your own Shopping Cart Go Kart

3 dimensional visualization skills are important to develop the imagination, so a good way to develop this ability is to build and work with  three dimensional things.  Here we share the various projects our staff have done.

It is our hope that you will see the logic (or the lack of logic) used to make your own heat strips as an example of the kind of thought and analysis that goes into our script review services.

Notice: The content presented here is for entertainment purposes only. Readers who decide to construct or modify the items mentioned here do so at their own risk and peril.

With today's high gas prices, lots of money can be saved, or you can end up in jail (more about that later), by building this shopping cart go kart. To get started, you will need the following items:

One old shopping cart. The cart must have the front wheels mounted on a flat rail across the front.

An old bicycle fork. This will be used to steer the go kart.

An old padded seat from an old kitchen or dining room chair. The more padding the better, especially for middle aged kids. 

Tools - wrenches, pliers, socket wrenches, drills, nuts and bolts to disassemble the shopping cart, and construct the finished go kart as shown in the pictures.

Let's get started:

Finding an old shopping cart. This cart design is based on an actual go kart built by a building manager of a Chicago apartment building back in the late 1970s, when these types of shopping carts were  more common. With newer manufacturing practices cutting down on materials, most newer shopping carts are not made like the one shown here, so you may have to look really hard to find a shopping cart like the one shown here.

Shopping cart awaiting conversion 

Try to stay out of jail. Stores are wise to crooks looking to steal their shopping carts these days, and if you are caught trying to seal one, you can expect them to call the police, who can arrest you for property theft, and with shopping carts being worth hundreds of dollars, the charge can be pretty serious ... so if you find a store with the type of shopping cart you need, first see if you can buy the cart instead of stealing it.

If offering to buy the shopping cart does not work, there is still a way to get your hands on one of their shopping carts. If you don't live near the store, get a van, or other large vehicle, and park it several blocks away from the store, preferably in a dark alley where no one will see you loading the hot cart into it later on. Next, go to the store, and buy some stuff, and simply roll the cart to the van, and toss it inside, and drive home. Reminder: this article is for entertainment purposes only!

Once you have the shopping cart, remove, and discard the whole basket. If you feel guilty about stealing the shopping cart, you may want to return the basket back to the store, along with a note saying how sorry you are for stealing the cart, and that they should be grateful that you returned the basket to them. With the basket removed, your cart should look like this:

Notice the red arrow pointing to the front rail. In the picture above, there are two wheels mounted to this rail, but now you will remove BOTH front wheels, and drill a hole the same size in the center of the front rail. This is where one of the wheels will be mounted. 

You can now also mount the padded seat to the rear of the go kart, where the basket used to be mounted. 

Making the front steering wheel.

You now have two chances to make one of the old front wheels into the new steering wheel for the go kart.  If you are lucky, there will be a bolt going through the wheel, forming its axle. Simply unbolt the nut, and fit the bicycle fork over the bolt, and re-tighten the bolt. Important: Most new bicycle forks have open slots for quick release bolts. When mounting the fork to the shopping cart wheel, secure the bicycle fork to the shopping cart wheel axle by using the axle retainer clips, or using an old metal coat hanger and wrapping it around the shopping cart axle bolt and the bicycle fork so it can not slip out of place.

Your finished shopping cart go kart should look like this when finished. Click the picture to see it bigger:

finished shopping cart go kart.jpg (77394 bytes)

The finished Shopping Cart Go Kart

While the picture above is a really sloppy photo edited rendition of what the actual shopping cart go cart should look like, it is the best our unpaid intern was able to make, and since no one here would actually fit on it, or risk going to jail to steal a rusty old shopping cart, and having to explain being being arrested, or even wanting to buy a shopping cart, the cheap photo edited image will have to do. The actual go cart this design is based on was thrown in the trash many years ago.

Riding and operating the shopping cart go kart:

Since the cart only has three wheels, keeping balance is important. If you are older than 12 years old, and can actually sit, or fit on the cart, you will have to learn to lean into turns to help keep the cart from tipping over. The turning radius is also sharp, so you have to SLOWLY turn the bicycle fork when turning to keep the kart from locking up, going into a skid, and turning over. In short, this design is very dangerous, so a helmet, arm and leg pads would be required when riding this contraption. 

The front rail also acts as a useful foot rest.

The shopping cart go cart works best going down long hills, or having two people switch places between pushing and riding the shopping cart go cart.

If you build the shopping cart go kart, we would like to know your results. Let us know how this project idea worked for you.