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Manufacturing the Africart

The AfriCart is designed to be built by 'village' carpenters with a minimal investment in commonly available carpenters tools.

Any carpenter capable of producing a chair, table, or window frame can easily build an AfriCart, although we have found that many village carpenters have difficulty following a dimensioned construction drawing.

Most types of seasoned wood (hard of soft) are suitable, but a stronger hardwood is preferable for the handles.

Nails are widely available, but small bolts for the handles are harder to come by in rural areas. Some bicycle bolts are suitable for this purpose.

The handles are currently being affixed just below and parallel to the upper edge of the cart body, so as to have a maximum length bolted or screwed to the body for added stiffness.  The earlier angled handle arrangement has been found to be prone to breakage, as the lever arm of the handle is too long relative to the short length screwed or bolted to the body.

NOTE: More detailed construction instructions and material list to be provided in future.

Bicycle Components used to build the AfriCart
(Best to use heaviest duty "nylon" tires available, and heavy duty rims if available)

• 'Ordinary' bicycle spokes are of 14 gauge thickness, and their
nipples are 4mm in diameter.

These spokes will pass through the holes in 'ordinary' hubs and rims. Heavy duty spokes are of 12 gauge thickness, and their nipples are 5mm in diameter. They require heavy duty hubs and rims, as the holes in 'ordinary' hubs and rims are too small for them. If these heavy duty components are available, they use is highly recommended.

Link to page with bicycle part descriptions


view full exploded diagram,
view chassis 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
view carts in production
view instructional seminars in Malawi Workshops

Basic Tools:

• Rip Saw,
• Crosscut Saw,
• Claw Hammer,
• Screwdriver (Slotted
and/or Phillips depending on available screws),
• Chisel,
• Pliers or Shifting
• Brace and 3/8" bit,
• Triangular Saw File,
• Oil (Sharpening) Stone,
• Twist Drills (sized to suit wood screws),
• Smoothing Plane,
• Sash Clamp (If necessary this can be improvised from a narrow wooden plank with transverse blocks clench nailed to it and tightened by hammering wood wedges between the end block and the work PIECE.),
• Tape Measure,
• Pencil

Useful Additional Tools:  

• Hacksaw,
• Countersink (for flathead wood screws),
• Jack Plane,
• Hand Drill (for small bits),
• 3/4" or 1" Auger Bit,
• Carpenter's Square