CycleKart Tech Forum

Alternate frame material

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Alabama lead foot Avatar
Alabama lead foot Craig Ellis
Marbury, AL, USA   USA
Hi, everyone! I'm just starting out in this awesome hobby and am working toward building my first kart. I have a bucketful of questions and would like to address the first. I am a retired patternmaker with the bulk of my experience in composites (fiberglass) and would like to build my chassis using carbon fiber composite instead of steel tubing. Would this be acceptable for competition in club meets/ races or is steel a requirement? My intent is to build chassis, tub, and engine mounting pad as one piece for increased stiffness and lighter weight. Will this be to much of a departure from the more common method? I would like to put my 40 plus years of experience into building a state of the art chassis that has the appearance of a vintage piece with advantages of space age materials. All comments and suggestions will be most welcome. Thanks

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gearguy Charles Schultz
Oil City, PA, USA   USA
The original Stevenson cycle karts were plywood boxes with the 1 x 3 steel tubing bolted to the sides. I'm doing an aluminum sheet over plywood chassis for my "tank." As long as our overall weight is 250# or more why would a carbon fiber chassis be an issue?

Notso-Chinsee Avatar
Notso-Chinsee Gold Member Albert Lies
Spokane Valley, Washington (WA), USA   USA
1927 CycleKart American
1938 CycleKart American "Burd Piston Ring Special"
The Stevenson formula illustrates using a less complex plan to achieve the result. You do not need a shop full of tools and machines. It’s a box 40” wide X 96” or so long with 17” wheels and 6.5 hp motor. For many the challenge to build something like it was overwhelming as they have never made anything like it before but feel they can see the possibility. Put your talents into the box and shake it. The most important aspect to CKs is you are building it yourself so jump into the project with what you know and enjoy. Last year there were several CK that were over the top in Tieton and more on the way for 2018 go for it.

Al Lies
The "Not-So Chinsee" guy

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Bow Avatar
Bow Reverend Bow
Yuma, AZ, USA   USA
1929 Morgan 3 Wheeler "BME RIP Special"
Do it!

Carbon Fiber frame would be cooler than the other side of a pillow!


Cut it with and Axe, Beat it to Fit, Paint it to Match

Alabama lead foot Avatar
Alabama lead foot Craig Ellis
Marbury, AL, USA   USA
Thanks for the insights, guys. If my weight studies are anywhere close the cool side of that pillow might be close.....

Woodysrods Silver Member Brian Woods
Westbank B.C., Canada   CAN
Yes, the guidelines are specific but loose (they are guidelines only!) in an attempt to keep all of the CKs to the same scale, and power.
Construction methods vary! And that is the Challenge for us all to aspire to.
When I describe this hobby/sport to prospective future CKers, I always explain that each CK is different, do to the particular skill set of the builder.
Personally I am not a wood worker, nor do I have woodworking equipment, thus my CK is devoid of wood.
I am a street rod builder/metal fabricator, so those skills have been used in the design and build of my first CycleKart.
I am already very excited about build # Two, as I want to use the new equipment and knowledge I am acquiring in working with "Aluminium".
And yes, CK #2 will be "Unibody" in design and all Aluminium in construction.
Carbon Fibre is in my dreams and your build may inspire me for CK #3.
Welcome to the madness!
Good Roads

Alabama lead foot Avatar
Alabama lead foot Craig Ellis
Marbury, AL, USA   USA
Thanks Woody, my plan at present is a 33 ford flats racer with basically all carbon/Kevlar/glass construction for chassis and body with a hinged, chopped top for entry/ exit- that's something I haven't seen yet. The flats cars were mostly chopped and low and I think I have it worked out where I can fit under the roof without having to grind my head flat for clearance! Craig

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Woodysrods Silver Member Brian Woods
Westbank B.C., Canada   CAN
Hi Craig
I have sent you a PM
I have the hinge already worked out for the build I have mentioned in my PM
Semi Secret Project.
email me!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-12-02 12:13 PM by Woodysrods.

CmdBentaxle Avatar
CmdBentaxle Dave D
Federal Way, WA, USA   USA
1950 CycleKart Italian "1950 Ferrari 166 F2"
Sounds wild, Craig!
Only two things to concern yourself with, and those only if you want to stay within Gittreville guidelines;
1. Keep the wheel track inside 40"
2. If the build looks substantially in excess of the $2500 neighborhood, you could get a chilly reception
entering an event.
Can't wait to see It!


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Smoky Avatar
Smoky Silver Member Don Schmok
Salmon Arm, BC, Canada   CAN
This is a great idea. Be sure to be able to scale up production. This way you can build me a chassis and sell it cheap!

What a great opportunity to build with such an exotic material. Looking forward to the results.

1929 Riley Bitsa

Alabama lead foot Avatar
Alabama lead foot Craig Ellis
Marbury, AL, USA   USA
The money thing is a concern even though I won't spend that much on the build. Because I'll be doing 99 percent of it myself there will be very little outside labor cost and I buy my materials wholesale. But, because of my patternmaking mindset, I am never satisfied with anything short of absolute perfection. This coupled with the general view that carbon is extreamly costly( it's really not because it is strong for it's weight so it doesn't take much to do the job) I may spend a bit of time explaining all of this. I do plan to keep accurate records of what I spend- as much to keep my wife from beating me as any other reason- so maybe that will help.

classical-gas Scot Laughlin
Bellingham, WA, USA   USA
But think of all the weight you'd save by grinding off part of your skull! ...;-)

Just yankin' yer chain, Craig, I'm eager to see what you come up with.

LowellR Silver Member Lowell Roemke
Tempe, AZ, USA   USA
I'm happy to see someone do this. It's another incremental advancement in the CycleKart art.

rodder-rick Silver Member RICHARD WOOD
1929 Ford Model A "MYTFINE"
1930 CycleKart Race Car "SHRINER1"
1934 Ford Model B "BOOGIE"
1954 Chevrolet Corvette "EXCESIVE"    & more
As a CK is the physical product of the builder's imagination.....GO FOR IT!!!!!!! I've built street rods and custom cars for over 25 years and have often ventured from the norm......most of the time, things were successful, the odd time they weren't.......there is always plan "B" so don't stress yourself out. I'm a welder/fabricator and usually work with steel.....i'd love to give aluminum or f'glass/carbon fiber a try.....or at least check out someone who is proficient doing it. My first CK is using materials that are not the usual items.....on paper it works, BUT until it's fired up and running down the road, I won't know for sure.......but that's the fun of every build.....a vision reaching reality.....
Craig, I will be looking forward to seeing your "modern high teck CK", and the same goes for you aluminum unibody sounds pretty high tech as well......keep us informed.
...rodder-rick, Moncton NB Canaada

Dave 46 Robert Davison
Toppenish, WA, USA   USA
I say go for it. Take lots of photos along the way so the rest of us can see the process. This doesn't look like a display of "my pockets are deeper than your pockets' thing. It looks more like "this is were my skills that I can use on the build" lie.

When I went up to Tieton to the Kart races there a few months ago the level of skill in some of the builds was obvious but that didn't mean that some of the karts with a high level of build skill involved had any more money invested in them than some of the others.
Sometimes it is just meticulous attention to details vs the Git er done concept. One guy spending a fair amount of time designing a bracket, making a pattern and then cutting the bracket out and spending time to finish it off so it is as much art as a functional piece while another might take a few measurements, cut the pieces out, drill the holes to mount what ever and fasten it on and cover it with some fizz can paint afterwards. I've seen that with hot rods and seen it with just about anything else you want to see.

We marvel at the work of the guys who have a full machine shop in their home shops an can whip out a set of spindles or and axle or other pieces that are close to being art while others are bending a piece of flatbar in a vise and welding a bolt to it to make a spindle. I'll be one of those with the flatbar and bolt by the way. What burns the guys biscuits is showing up with a "look what I bought" piece that obviously cost as much as many of our complete karts did and flaunting the money that was spent along the way. I don't think the Cycle Kart hobby is ready for gold chains and custom embroidered lawn chairs with the cars name or immage on them.

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