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Let’s not talk about how crazy this year has been… that goes without saying! As a result of all the craziness my wife and I decided that this would be a great year to homeschool our two kids, Rosalie (9) and Vincent (7). Although the school I teach at is “in session” it hasn’t been particularly consistent, with the start of the school year being fully remote and now, at the halfway point, we are doing a hybrid schedule. Being home during the remote portion of the year really gave me a chance to spend some quality time working with my own kids in the realms of science and technology. We did a lot of fun lessons during the evenings and weekends that hit upon topics ranging from circuits to rock formation. But, I wanted to do something really cool that would have piles of integrated lessons… in rolls the go kart!

With my kids getting older I thought that it would be a ton of fun for them to have something that they could use to zip around our property with. We have a small 1/10 mile loop trail that would work perfectly with a go kart. Also, since I like to build electric-powered machines I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce their young minds to the basics of how machines work and how to safely use electricity to get them moving.

Both Rosalie and Vincent were extremely involved with this project starting from acquiring the go kart frame, to grinding the frame down to wiring the control panel, and everything in between. I thought it would be fun to share our adventures building “The Bolt” so that you might be encouraged to try your hand at a similar project.

I put the price I paid for each item in parenthesis, but the price will depend on what you find

An old, inexpensive go kart frame ($100)
Motor kit ($150 - see picture above)
Chain ($10)
Voltmeter / Ammeter and Switches ($15)
3D printed control panel (idk… a few cents?)
Lights! ($9)
New tubes for the front wheels ($12 each)
The battery! (free in my case since I was reusing old cells from my electric bike)
Battery box and motor mount (scrap wood - so it was free!)
Chain guard (scrap metal - free again!)
Seat (from a side of the road exercise bike - free, free, free!)
Buck Controller ($10)”

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