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PVC Projects with Wheels

Roger Golden
Table of Contents

Polyvinyl chloride, commonly referred to as PVC, is a lightweight tubular material well-suited for building a variety of wheeled backyard projects.

The 90-degree "elbow" is one of the most common fittings for PVC projects.

Trailers and carts can be built to handle tasks large and small, and wheeled children's toys built with PVC are light enough for even small children, without sacrificing the strength necessary to stand up to rugged outdoor play.

Simple Trailers

A bike trailer built with 1-inch PVC pipe is sturdy enough to carry moderate loads yet so light it can be easily maneuvered. Build the base of the trailer first and drill holes through the outer rails for mounting wheels. Combine PVC elbows and tees to place your PVC cross members, with more tees placed so that the perpendicular opening points upward for mounting side rails. PVC allows your cart or trailer to be custom-designed for a specific purpose, such as the kayak cart designed by the "Kayak Fishing Stuff" website.

PVC Wagon

Build a PVC wagon using the same principle as a PVC trailer, only adding a second set of wheels so that the wagon can support the weight without being attached to another machine. Where a heavier trailer or wagon is required, increase the pipe diameter to 1 1/2 inches. Create simple hinges by fitting smaller diameter pipe inside two pieces of larger diameter pipe, connected together with screws, or build a basic universal joint using slots cut into tee connectors and screws attaching through the slots to PVC pipe, with the ends sanded down enough to allow smooth movement.

Golf Bag Cart

A golf bag cart is a simple wheeled design consisting of a central upright post connected to a platform or basket that the golf bag will sit on or in. Use a 1-1/4-inch upright and PVC reducers to connect it to a basket made using 3/4-inch pipe and elbows. Lawnmower wheels work well for this type of cart, but you will find that the cart is easier to maneuver if your wheels are at least 12 inches in diameter.

Rolling Catapult

Build a PVC catapult to your desired scale by using smaller or larger bore PVC pipe. PVC is suitable for building the entire device except for the wheel and tension line or rope. For a small table-top model, use 1/4- or 1/2-inch pipe, and increase the diameter to 1- or 1-1/2-inch PVC for throwing machines that can launch a bean bag all the way across a lawn.

Toy Cars

Build rolling toys small enough for use indoors or pedal-powered outdoor models for larger children. Human-powered PVC cars use PVC for the frame of the vehicle. Cover the vehicle with canvas or a vinyl exterior. For desktop toys, use a heavy-duty rubber band attached to the frame of the toy at the front and to the rear axle. To "charge" the engine, hold the toy firmly against a flat surface and roll it backward.