What Size Tubing For Go Kart Frame: Building The Optimal Frame

Image chat of What Size Tubing For Go Kart Frame including round or square.

One of the most critical components of the go-kart is the frame.

The size and type of tubing selected will impact the kart’s strength, weight, handling, and cost.

The most commonly used sizes for go-kart frames range from 1″ to 1.5″ in diameter, with wall thicknesses typically ranging from 0.065″ to 0.095″

In this post, I’ll help you decide what size tubing for go kart frames you should use.

Factors To Consider When Selecting Tubing Size

The size of tubing you’ll need for your go-kart frame depends on several factors, including:

  • Weight of rider
  • Type of racing (on-road vs off-road)
  • Budget
  • Your welding experience

Obviously, a heavier rider will require a stronger frame with thicker tubing. And if you are going to ride off-road, you’ll need a stronger frame due to the harsher impacts.

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Plus, if you’re a beginner welder, you may want to use thicker tubing that is easier to weld.

However, larger tubes cost more.

What Size Tubing For Go Kart Frame

Here’s what I recommended, depending on the kart you are building:

For Small, Lightweight Karts:

1″ x 1″ square tubing with a 0.060″ wall thickness is a good option.

This is a common size for beginner karts and is relatively easy to find and weld.

The 1″ tubing helps keep the overall kart light and maneuverable and the 0.060″ thickness provides enough strength for the low power and speed of a beginner kart.

This combination of size and thickness makes this tube size one of the best choices.

For Larger, More Powerful Karts:

Use 1.25″ x 1.25″ or 1.5″ x 1.5″ square tubing with a 0.090″ or 0.120″ wall thickness.

This will provide more strength and rigidity for heavier karts and more intense use.

These thicker tubes also help the frame handle the power of high-performance engines.

Plus, this extra toughness reduces bending and failures, which is crucial for safety as speeds get higher.

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Round vs Square Tubing

You can also use round tubing for your go-kart frame. However, it is generally more difficult to weld than square tubing, so it is not as common.

Let me give you a quick breakdown, so you understand the difference:

Round Tubing

Round tubes make go-kart frames look smoother and nicer because they’re curved all the way. But, it’s a bit trickier to work with them.

When you join tubes together, you have to cut little notches or shapes at the ends to fit them snugly for welding.

Plus, it’s harder to measure and cut them to the right length compared to square tubes because they don’t have flat sides to measure from.

And if you don’t clamp them down tight, they might roll around when you’re trying to cut them.

Square Tubing

Square tubes are easier to work with using basic tools you’d find in a shop.

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Their flat sides make it easy to bend them sharply at 90 degrees without needing to notch them. 

It’s also simpler to measure their length accurately because of the straight edges.

It stays put better because the flat sides sit nicely on tables or jigs, so they won’t roll around while you’re cutting with a saw or torch.

Plus, the square shape gives you good spots to attach things and clamp them down while you’re putting things together.

Basically, square tubing makes it easier for someone who’s not a pro! And it is stronger than round tubing of the same thickness.

Welding The Tubing

MIG welding is usually the best choice for go kart tubes because you can adjust the settings easily and the wire feeds constantly.

But you’ll need to have a supply of inert gas, which can cost extra.

Stick welding works too, but it takes some practice to get the hang of making smooth, even welds that penetrate properly on thin tubing.

It’s recommended to use a welder with at least 140 amps, especially on thicker frame parts.

But when welding thin tubes, there’s a risk of blowing through the metal and making weak spots. To avoid this, go slow and steady to control the heat.

If you see any areas that look like they didn’t get enough, grind them down and do them again.



Meet Charles, a passionate writer and avid go-kart enthusiast. With a background in motorsports, Charles brings a unique perspective to the world of go-karting and motorsports. When Charles is not behind the wheel, you can find him crafting compelling stories and informative articles on the latest trends and technology on the PK's Go-Karts blog here.