Best Steel Tubing for Go Kart Frame

What is the Best Steel Tubing for Go-Kart Frames?

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The best steel tubing for go-kart frames is the AISI 4130 low-alloy steel and AISI 1018. These tubings have the right balance of stiffness and flexibility. The AISI 4130 low-alloy steel has great hardness, tensile strength, and yield strength making them widely considered as best steel tubing for Go Kart Frames.  

It can be difficult to choose the best steel tubing for your go-kart frames. But worry not because, in this post, we will be discussing the best steel tubing for go-kart frames.

Read through to discover what type of steel will work best for your go-kart.

Top 2 Best Steel Tubing for Go Kart-Frame

In its purest form, steel is about 1000 times stronger than iron. If you want long-lasting tubing for your Go Kart frame, steel is your best bet. 

Not all steel is, however, good for use.

Some materials made out of steel are not pure steel. They contain impurities that make them weak and are not recommended for use in Go Kart-frame Tubing.

The AISI 4130 low-alloy steel and AISI 1018 can be used in any type of Go-Kart frames such as homemade, racing, and off-road Go-Karts. 

Please also check out our article on the 6 best welders to use for go-karts. This will help make sure you get your go-kart project completed correctly.

The AISI 4130 Low-Alloy Steel

Key Features

  • Hardness, Brinell: 217    
  • Tensile Strength : 560 MPa
  • Yield Strength:460  MPa
  • Elongation at break (in 50 mm): 20.5%
  • Modulus of elasticity: 190-210 Gpa

Commonly referred to as Chromoly Steel, the AISI 4130 alloy steel is low alloy steel made of medium carbon, chromium, and molybdenum.  The carbon composition in the Chromoly steel is 0.25% molybdenum,  0.11% Chromium, and 0.28 to 0.33%  Carbon.

The AISI 4130 alloy steel has a high carbon content, which improves weldability but degrades through-thickness strength. AISI 4130 alloy steel may also be machined with the right heat treatment. 

The ductility of AISI 4130 alloy steel may be increased by annealing it. The alloy is often delivered as a circular bar that has been hardened and tempered.

AISI 4130 steel is a flexible alloy with strong atmospheric corrosion resistance and moderate strength. The AISI 4130 alloy steel demonstrates excellent overall strength, toughness, and damage tolerance.

Why AISI 4130 Alloy Steel Stands Out

Because of the alloys’ high yield strength, tensile strength, and hardness, AISI 4130 Alloy Steel is ideal for go-kart frames.

Go-Kart frames are tubular and therefore they require a high level of structural stability throughout the frame. The structural stability makes it easier for you to cruise in your Go-Kart with ease. 

The tensile strength of AISI 4130 steel is unrivaled at 560 MPa, with a yield strength of 460 MPa. Hardness and strength are also required in bent portions of the frame to ensure it stays in place.

You should note that the AISI 4130 is almost twice as costly as AISI 1018 and make the right decisions based on your financial ability. 

Benefits

  • Stronger than other materials such wood,  and Aluminium 
  • Durable 
  • Light 
  • Does not Rust 
  • Flexible enough

AISI 1018

Key features 

  • Hardness, Brinell: 126    
  • Tensile Strength:440 MPa
  • Yield Strength:370 MPa
  • Elongation at break (in 50 mm): 15%
  • Modulus of elasticity: 200 Gpa

The most widely available carbon steel grade is AISI 1018, which is a free-machining grade. Despite its lack of specific mechanical qualities, it can be easily molded, machined, welded, and manufactured.

The ideal steel for Go-Kart frame tubing is AISI 1018 Steel. The alloy is moderate carbon Steel with great weldability and provides a uniform and tougher casing.

The alloy steel AISI 1018 has an excellent combination of toughness, strength, and flexibility.

This AISI 1018 Hot Rolled Steel has better machinability, strength, durability, and longer endurance, thanks to its increased mechanical qualities. Surface preparation, chemical characteristics, rolling, and heating operations are done using the alloy’s particular fabrication techniques.

All of these procedures result in a high-quality product that may be used in fabrication operations, including welding, forging, cutting, cold drawing, and thermal treatment.

Why the AISI 1018 Alloy Steel Stands Out 

The AISI 1018 is ideal for go-kart frame construction. Compared to AISI 4130, the alloy possesses balanced flexibility and stiffness, albeit to a smaller extent.

The yield strength of AISI 1018 is 370 MPa, while the tensile strength is 440 MPa.

With these characteristics, AISI 1018 may be utilized in a tubular shape to make a sturdy and durable go-kart frame. The AISI 1018 is medium-strength steel with excellent qualities for ensuring the structural integrity of a Go-Kart frame.

The cross-sections, on the other hand, would be thick.

Benefits

  • The alloy is Cheaper than the AISI 4130   
  • Strong and Sturdy 
  • Balanced Flexibility and Stiffness
  • Durable 

Other Commonly Used Materials for Go-Kart Frame Tubing 

300 Series Stainless Steel

Key features

  • Tensile Strength: 70 – 125 MPa
  • Yield Strength   70- 75 MPa
  • Elongation -% In 50 Mm (Min.)  20-  25
  • Hardness: 90 – 115 

The 300 series austenitic sheets of steel are a group of corrosion-resistant iron-based metal combinations. This, along with their outstanding machinability, high hardness, and thermal tolerance, makes them popular building materials for pipe systems.

The distinctions between the alloys are minor yet intentional. Although they may be used alternately in many situations, there is occasionally a better option.

In such cases, replacements may result in shorter service life. 

You might utilize stainless steel instead of AISI 4130 and AISI 1018 alloy steel plates because they are more costly. Stainless steels of the 300 families have strong tensile and yield strength, making them ideal for go-kart frame construction.

Ideally, you should create your frame using round or rectangular tubular shapes and good welding procedures.

Even though 300 series steel is a little heavier, they are far less expensive and easier to weld. If you’re a DIY enthusiast seeking material with exceptional qualities at a reasonable price for your go-kart frame, 300 series stainless steel is a wonderful option.

Benefits

• Resistance to chloride ion stress corrosion cracking
• Superior Creep strength 
• Good strength at extreme temperatures 
• Resistant to carburization and nitriding 
• Resistant to thermal shock
• Withstands exposure to conventional chemical conditions

Aluminium

Key Features

  • Yield Strength :4.35 – 72.5 ksi
  • Tensile Strength: 8.41 – 79.8 ksi
  • Elongation:0.01 – 0.44 % 
  • Hardness: 1.1 ksi

The benefit of aluminum is that it is lighter in weight than stainless steel. This implies that by building a light go-kart frame, you may lower the overall weight of your go-kart, allowing you to use a smaller engine with the same total effectiveness.

However, you must keep in mind that aluminum is not as robust as stainless steel, which has a tensile strength of 8.41 – 79.8 KSI (kilopounds per square inch).

Aluminum requires more heat input to weld because of its higher thermal conductivity. As a result, aluminum is only advised as a go-kart frame material if the kart will not be used to carry big weights or travel at high speeds.

This also implies that a tubular go-kart frame may not be accepted unless the weight distribution and welding are perfect. Consider this carefully, and if in doubt, choose stainless steel from the 300 series.

Benefits

  • Easily machined and cast.
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Non-corrosive
  • Non-magnetic and non-sparking

Wood

Key Features

  • Tensile strength 2 MPa 
  • Yield strength 40 MPa

For a variety of reasons, wooden go-karts are uncommon, and wooden go-kart frames are only employed in a few situations. As seen in the graph, wood has an average tensile strength of 2 MPa and a yield strength of 40 MPa.

Wood doesn’t appear to have a chance against any type of steel. Wooden go-kart chassis, on the other hand, make sense in some situations.

A wooden frame may be used to construct a DIY pedal go-kart. A wooden frame will be able to hold it if no severe stresses are applied to it, and it is mostly supporting the weight of the driver at modest speeds. 

There is also a case to be made for low-powered electric go-karts that are either low-speed or designed for children. Any regular-sized go-kart engine or motor should not be installed on a wooden-framed go-kart for understandable reasons, as it may shatter at greater speeds or when hitting an obstacle.

The biggest advantage of utilizing wood as a go-kart frame material is that it is simple to assemble planks and screws or bolts. Wood is also incredibly light in weight, affordable, and readily available.

However, compared to aluminum and stainless steel, its major drawback as a go-kart frame is its lack of longevity and sturdiness. As a result, you should only think about it in limited situations.

Benefits

  • Cheap 
  • Easy to design 

Final Remarks 

The best material to use for Go-Kart frame Tubing depends on the type of Go-Kart you have. The best material overall is anything made of steel due to its strength and durability.

The disadvantage is that high-quality steel alloys are quite expensive. If your pockets are not deep and you are not in any racing competition, then the 300 series steel is a good choice. 

Hopefully, this article has been helpful. Choose from the types of steel we have listed here and you are sure to have a strong frame for your Go-kart.

Now it’s time to check out some Go-kart engines you will need to power this!


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