Child's wagon steering geometry
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Child's wagon steering geometry

    Hi all,

    I'm going to tackle building a wagon for my son as my first welding project. Although there will be a bit of woodworking involved I want to make the frame out of steel.

    I am pretty comfortable with designing the project up to the point of handling steering. I have looked at a bunch of pictures online and it seems that each of the home-built ones have a different method of handling steering. Some have fairly complex steering linkage while others look to be a bit more simply designed.

    Any thoughts on a good setup that will put a smile on my wife's face while walking to the store?

    Regards,

    -Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    606

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    A simple steering design would be a center pivot on the front axle and a a handle just like the radio flyer wagons have.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
    Posts
    1,024

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    You can over complicate almost anything. Simple usually works out for the best. Go to a local hardware/toy store with a digital camera and take photos of the steering/handle. Go home and duplicate it. Keep it simple & put a smile on your face, her face and his face, too!
    Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.
    -Cree Indian Proverb

    SA 200 Lincoln
    Victor Torches

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    3,768

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    The design where the ends of the front axle pivot is more stable than the design which pivots the whole axle about a kingpin. How much abuse do you expect your son to be able to give it? Riding down slight hills, or just holding toys in the yard?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    I don't really think there will be too much abuse, but personally I like to over-engineer things so that I don't get frustrated later when some part breaks that was sized "just right" for the application (or so I thought).

    I'm thinking something along the lines of these, but with smaller tires. I like the idea of the top on the one where you can have some shade as well:





    -Jeff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Richmond/Midlothian,VA
    Posts
    578

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    Nice wagon, are there two or did you swap out rims?
    Bruce
    The Welding Chef
    Lincoln Weld-Pack 3200
    NORWELD Stick
    Stanford Hill Farm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    Nice wagon, are there two or did you swap out rims?
    Neither are mine, just pictures of ones I like I found on the interwebs....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    34

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    Ackerman geometry may be the answer to you question. I beleive the two diagrams on this site should explain it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ackerma...ering_geometry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    25

    Re: Child's wagon steering geometry

    I'm just finishing up one of my first TIG projects, and like you I built a wagon for my nephews.

    There are still a few small metal finishing details to handle, and I'm going to paint the chassis, but it's pretty much done.

    The more welds I did the better they got, it's too bad all the nice looking welds don't show, and the ugly ones are front and center.

    The next project will be a lot better, with much better looking welds.

    The cool part is I learned a ton of useful lessons about about fit up, distortion and movement from welding, the importance of clamping parts and building jigs to hold parts in place while welding. Lots more to learn, but this was really fun.

    It's fairly low and the track is a lot wider than the stock setup so the little dudes should have to work a lot harder to flip this one. I made an adjustable tie-rod steering system so I can fine tune the toe-in after we take it out for a few test runs. I purposely limited the steering lock and used a pull rope instead of a handle in the hopes of keeping them from any stand-up downhilling. I still have the scars from my youthful experiments in that area.







    Last edited by exotherm; 06-14-2009 at 02:53 PM.

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