Go Kart Building: How do I Make a Slot in Metal?

When you’re developing a go kart and you want adjustability in your design invariably what you will run into is making slots. Slots basically are long holes or stretched out holes. Sometimes drilling extra large holes just doesn’t cut it you need to have a slot in your design so that the item you’re trying to fasten has some adjustability.

The question comes “How do you make a slot?

 Well the easy thing to do is to design it on the computer and then give your design to a laser specialist and have them cut it out for you. However, most of us don’t have that luxury.  We don’t have that kind of money.

So were still stuck with: how do you make a slot by hand?

First of all you need to determine what is going to be riding in a slot. What size hardware is going to be riding in a slot? Then you need to pick out a drill size which is slightly larger, perhaps a 16th larger than a bolt itself.

The overall length of the slot needs to be determined, typically a slot size of one-inch to 1 1/2 inches may be needed. Drill a hole on either end of the slot. Then proceed to drill holes as close as you can next to each other.

But you will discover is that the drill will tend to get stuck in the other holes that you just drilled. If this continually keeps occurring then the second method is to take a saw-all or a die grinder and remove the remaining material between the two drilled holes. To clean up the remaining remnants take a file and rough out the slot. You will find that using a die grinder is much quicker.

The whole process of making a slot should not take more than 15 to 20 minutes.

I typically use lots for adjustment of vertical engine drive systems and for positioning pedals, for positioning change tensioners and for positioning brake systems. Some engine mounts use slots, but as you have probably discovered I don’t really like slots that much therefore I tend to use drilled holes instead for engine mounting.

If you can avoid using slots do so, however if you really need to have a slot in your design then keep this method in mind. Also whenever possible try to duplicate parts so that you are not having to make un-symmetrical parts. Un-ymmetrical parts makes it difficult to work on later and makes it more prone to jam or adjust properly.

So to recap:

Slots are made by drilling holes nd basically connecting the holes with a die grinder or with a saw of some sort. The intermediate section, that is the slot,  can be drilled out and then ground out using a die grinder,  saw or file.

(When I am talking about a die grinder I’m talking about a die grinder with a flat fiber metal cutting blade on it.  A small die grinder bit works okay as well, but more material can be removed with the flat blade)

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