How To Build a Snowmobile Cutter

A snowmobile cutter is often a family solution to keeping the youngest members involved in those gorgeous winter day snowmobile rides. Here’s an inexpensive option for how to build one!

Snowmobile CutterSnowmobile cutter keeps the youngest kids involved in snowmobiling

  • 40 feet of 1? square tubing
  • 6 inches of 2 inch tubing
  • Sheet of plywood
  • Sheet metal screws or pop rivets
  • 1 foot of ½ inch rod
  • 8 of 5/16 inch bolts with nuts
  • 2 springs
  • 2 of ½ inch washers
  • sheet of Uvex or Lexan
  • Duct tape or glue
  • piece of carpet

  • Welder
  • Hack Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Marking pen
  • Jig Saw
  • Drill & metal bits

Approximate time required: 4 to 5 hours.

Please note the ski stance of this cutter is 50 inches. The skis are mounted beside the sled, instead of under it, to keep the cutter low and to make it wider than the tow sled. On packed trails this is not as important as in soft snow. However, if the cutter stance is not wider than the tow vehicle, the cutter will fishtail in the ski tracks of the tow sled in certain snow conditions. As a rule of thumb, the ski stance of the cutter should be around 10 inches wider than the ski stance of the snowmobile towing it.


(Please note that the photos used are of a completed sleigh so that you may see final results)

Step 1 – Choose a hood – the one chosen here was a used hood that matched the tow sled. Once you have a hood, lay out the sheet of plywood, and set the hood on top of it. Using the marking pen, trace around the hood shape. Depending on the size of the intended passengers and the size of the hood, you may have to extend the length of the sleigh by adding extra inches past the back of the hood on your sheet of plywood. The cutter, or sleigh, pictured here is the exact size of the hood traced onto the plywood.

Step 2 – Cut out the plywood shape using the Jig saw. Make sure that the hood fits over this piece of material.

sled frame
Step 3 – Form square tubing the same size as the plywood, by cutting and welding, or bending, the square tubing. Then cut two bars of square tubing the same length as your ski stance (1). Weld these two bars approximately one foot in from the back of the metal frame (2), squarely across the square tubing frame. Cut two hitch pieces of equal size (3) that will extend one foot past the front of the frame. Place a two inch long piece of the one inch tubing between these two hitch pieces (see illustration below # 4) at the front, and weld it in place. Weld these hitch pieces to both the crossbar, and the tubing frame, as well as at the front where it cross the frame (5).

Step 4 – Weld the half inch washer on the end of the half inch rod (6). Slide spring on rod (7). Slide the rod through the square tubing (4) which was welded between the hitch pieces in Step 3. Slide the other spring on (7). Weld another washer on to hold the springs in place. The springs will have no preload, but are used to take some of the jerkiness out of the ride when stopping and starting the sleigh. Use another piece of one inch square tubing slotted for the hitch (8).

Step 5 – Weld a 3? long piece of the two inch square tubing on each side of the crossbar (9). Drill a hold through the square tubing (10) in whatever size fits the spring saddle of the ski you have chosen. Make sure that the ski still has movement when it is bolted in place.
Sled Skis
Step 6 – Cut and shape the backrest (11) with about a 15 degree back slope, and weld it to the rear of the frame. The one used here is approximately 18 inches high. The number 12 piece is used to fill in the gap between the backrest and the hood, so it will have to be individually shaped according to the hood used. The handgrip (13) fits under the hood, and is used for the passengers to hold during the ride. Bolt the bottom sheet of plywood into place. Cut and bolt the backrest plywood into place.
Step 7 – Cut a piece of carpet to fit the shape of the sleigh body. It can be either glued, or duct taped into place.
carpetBuild an inexpensive snowmobile cutter or tagalong
windshieldBuild an inexpensive snowmobile cutter or tagalong
Step 8 – Install the hood onto the metal tubing frame using either sheet metal screws or pop rivets to hold it in place. Note number (14) where the top of the hood is cut out to make room for the passengers. The instrument panel has been removed, trying to leave the windshield mounting holes in place. If they have to be removed you will have to design some alternate method of mounting the windshield.
On this particular hood the bottom part of the original windshield is used (15) and the top part (16) was formed from the Uvex. You will notice that the hole in the original hood for the light (17) must be covered as well – Uvex may also be used here. The other vent holes in the hood can be filled in numerous ways to prevent drafts and soft powder snow from entering the sleigh. As most of these holes are oddly shaped, using the Uvex may be difficult, therefore duct tape on the inside is an easier route. Insulating foam may then be sprayed over the interior for a more permanent seal. Use your own ideas here!
hoodBuild an inexpensive snowmobile cutter or tagalong

Enjoy your project!

Project photo and instructions copyright 2003 by David Aksomitis

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