Build Your Own

Fixed Cart

If you can cut steel, weld, drill holes, and are generally handy you can build your own one of these carts. If you buy all of the materials new they will run $200-300 depending on the quality and local availability. Steel suppliers frequently sell surplus steel for cheaper and you can probably find old bicycle wheels if you look hard enough. I built the first one out of scrap from around the farm, and the next two for less than $150 each in materials.

I’m happy to have folks take my idea, build it, improve it and put it to good use. To that end I’m linking here to the basic print for the fixed version shown above (or if you want the .dwg fileI can send it to you and I recommend Draftsight if you’re looking for a good 2D CAD system – this is definitely not for everyone). Materials aren’t called out on the print but it’s made from 1 1/4″ x .063 square tube, 1 1/4″ x 1/4″ flat, and 1″ x .063 round tube.

I’ll try to get the adjustable version posted as well, but that one takes a milling machine, some special parts, and a bit more explanation to build. I’m happy to answer questions about building the carts when I have the time.

A few modifications you might consider would be:

  • Width – of course you’ll want to adjust the width for your particular use
  • Handle Height – I’m 6’1′ and this handle might be a little high for someone shorter, just change the angle slightly if you’re shorter.
I use a steel frame for the carts and a wood deck because they’re relatively inexpensive, tough and easy to make. Basically what I use is a full width piece of 3/8″ plywood which hangs over the front and back of the frame slightly. I put a piece of vertical 1×4 in the center underneath in each direction to stiffen up the center and to keep it from sliding around. a short rail around the perimeter on the top helps keep bins from sliding off but keeps loading and unloading easy. If you have a lot of sloping ground you might want higher sides like the cart pictured at the top of the photos page.
The simple deck I built for a prototype cart. Notice that the deck hangs off the front and back of the frame, is reversible so that the cleat which is on the front now, can be positioned at the back. There are smaller cleats next to the wheels to keep boxes from sliding into the wheels. This deck works great for me and on flat ground this is the way I like to use it.

 

The bottom of the cart deck showing the 1x4s for stiffening and also for keeping the deck from sliding around. Notice the handles I’ve cut into the plywood making it easier to remove the deck, and to move the cart from the back.
I’ve never solidly attached a deck to one of these, making them easy to lift off and swap out, or clean.

If you do build your own I’d love to hear about it, and to see photos. I have put significant time into all of this so if you do use any of my ideas and have a few extra bucks to kick my way I’d appreciate it and it will also help me continue to develop more of these designs to put up. You can find the donation button over there on the side.

If you don’t feel capable of making your own that’s fine, I work with two great guys who can build you one. Prices are on the products page. They’re not cheap because there’s significant labor involved and we’re not skimping on materials.

UPDATE – as of November 2016 orders for carts are on hold due to distractions from other farm related projects. I’m hoping to be building another round of these carts with some additional features in the coming winter. If you’re interested sign up for the newsletter below.