Building 12v battery powered car for child

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Forum topic by SSMDad posted 06-28-2011 06:23 PM 15519 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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395 posts in 2797 days

06-28-2011 06:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question bandsaw planer tablesaw arts and crafts toy child

I am drafting plans to build my 2.5 yr old a motorized wooden car to ride around on. His grandfather bought some John Deer Gator car that he drives around there but I’d like him to have one at home. Yes, I suppose I could buy one but thought it would be fun to make.

Does anyone know the drive components that go into something like this and where I could locate the 12v motor? I could figure out the mechanics but not sure where to get the parts.

Any help is appreciated.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

5 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3171 days

#1 posted 06-28-2011 07:20 PM

A recent issue of “Make” magazine featured a drill powered cart on its cover. The same method of propulsion would work for a Gator or Toy tractor or any Wood car.

Basically they were suggesting using two cheap 18 volt cordless drills in a setup where each drill powers the drive wheel on each side and un powered free casters out front, so it would drive like a Zero Turn Mower if built as shown in the plans. But, you could just hook the drives to the rear wheels and have regular steering as well.

They mounted the drills on the frame and put a bolt through a sprocket and chucked the bolt in the drill. Then a small chain drove the sprocket on the wheel.

According to the article this was much more powerful, amd had longer range than any of the battery powered toys out there.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4325 days

#2 posted 06-28-2011 10:54 PM

I like cordless drills for such things: They have speed controllers built in and are easy to attach to your drive train.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View lew's profile


12428 posts in 3955 days

#3 posted 06-29-2011 06:15 AM

View Planeman40's profile


1307 posts in 2961 days

#4 posted 06-29-2011 06:56 AM

Years ago I had a neighbor who built an electric go-cart for his two daughters. He used a 12 V. automobile starter motor and an 12 V. battery. For “throttle” he used a surplus switch of some kind that allowed off and three voltage settings. Worked like a charm! Those girls drove that thing all over the neighborhood in front yards and back yards. It was a two-seater and easily had enough power to take the girls up and down hills.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View MrRon's profile


5192 posts in 3443 days

#5 posted 06-29-2011 06:28 PM This outfit has all the parts you will ever need. If you get a hold of a kids electric sidewalk car, you have all the parts needed to build your own. The motors are very small, but with gearing and a 12V battery, they will carry a small child around at 5mph. I use these motors/gear trains for my 1:8 scale locomotives.

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