How to Build Pipe Buggies


People drive lightweight recreational vehicles, called buggies, that can run on sand or along off-road trails. The entire chassis is constructed of pipe tubes that hold the seats and driving mechanisms. The structure provides minimal protection to the driver in case the buggy tips over. Based on the type of buggy you are building, you can place together the tubing to form the chassis by simply bending it into place and welding the tubes together.

Things You'll Need

  • 4130 chrome moly tube
  • Tube bender
  • Hole saw notcher
  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder
  • Lay out the 4130 chrome moly tube -- a carbon steel mixed with chromium and molybdenum -- for the chassis based on what type of buggy you are building, the size of the buggy and the number of seats it will hold. You will have less tubes for light sand rail buggies, which just have a square cage, versus rock buggies that need reinforcement for the cage to protect the driver from rollovers.

  • Place the tube into the tube bender, making 45-degree and 90-degree bends for the cage. Bend the tubes for the sides of the frame that make the roof and the cage to protect the driver and passengers. Create the chassis frame with enough tube to support the seating, transmission, front and back axles, the steering column and the engine.

  • Cut holes into the tubing with the hole saw notcher to connect tubing that frames the buggy. Place the tube into the clamps securely. Saw through the first thin tube wall without cutting entirely through the tube or deforming the metal. Create a hole large enough to slide another piece of tubing inside for the welding.

  • Weld the tube joints together with a TIG welder. Place the short weld arc near the tube as you feed a metal wire toward the joint. Melt the wire where the two tubes intersect, laying a pool of metal in a solid weld all around the tube.

  • Wait four minutes for the tube to cool. Check for spots where there isn't a solid weld. Continue TIG welding for all the joints until you have a full frame for your pipe buggy chassis.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images
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