[Kartbuilding] Interview for Junior Research Project

Stephen Burke sburke at burkesys.com
Mon Dec 21 22:42:45 GMT 2009

Hi John,

Sorry for the slow reply. I'm not sure if you done the interview yet or 
not, but I'll answer your questions below.

On Thu, 10 Dec 2009, Caliendo, John wrote:

> Hello,
> I am John and I am a student at Hickory High School.  I am doing a Junior Research Project to graduate, and my topic is on how to build a go kart.  If it is not too much trouble, could you answer these questions?
> 1.         What are the different types of braking systems on a go kart?
Typically you have "Disc Brakes" and "Drum Brakes" similar to that of a 
car and a moped/scooter. The post popular ones would be having a single 
Disc brake and Calliper on the rear live axle.

> 2.         How much horse power is sufficient for a go kart?
The horse power depends on what speeds you want to do in the go-kart. You 
would do 15mph with a small 2hp engine.

> 3.         What type of clutch is best for driving on the road?
The best and most popular type of clutch would be a centrifugal clutch. 
You can read more about this type of cluch here:
Its an automatic clutch. When the speed of the engine increases the clutch 
engages, and the kart takes off.

> 4.         How much should it cost to build a go kart?
The cost of building a kart depends on how far you want to take it. If you 
just want a simple kart, you can make it for little or nothing, using old 
scrap parts and material. Typically I find it costs around 50 Euros for 
hardware (nuts,bolts,washers) and some lengths of steel tubing. The wheels 
and engine are the hardest to get.

> 5.         What is a good gear ratio for a go kart with a centrifugal clutch?
A good typical gear ratio would be 5:1. I use this as a rule of thumb and 
it works well for most general purpose engines.

> 6.         What are the advantages and disadvantages of a centrifugal clutch?
Advantages: no cables or configuring. Just setup and off you go. 
Automatic. Easy to use and cheap.
Disadvantages: can wear out quickly if an incorrect gear ratio is used. 
Can be hard to fit correctly to some engines. Can have poor initial take 
off and acceleration if gear ratio is incorrect.

> 7.         What are the advantages and disadvantages of a torque converter?
Advantages: variable gear ratio. You have quick take off and high top 
Disadvantages: costly and difficult to attach to engine.

> 8.         What type of tires should be used for driving on street?
Typically tires with a flat profile (as opposed to round knobbly tires).

> 9.         What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single seat go kart?
Advantages: easy to fabriate and build and design.
Disadvantages: heavy. difficult to design and build.

> 10.       Is it illegal to drive go karts on city streets?
The short answer is yes.

I hope this information helped.

Best of luck,

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