Tanks treads for your next robot

If you ever wanted to incorporate tank treads into one of your build you should check out this guide. The method shown above is our favorite, which uses rubber fuel line hose and #10 machine bolts to hold together two lengths of hollow-pin roller chain. You can see the drive sprocket is keyed into the outer length of chain but the wheels that distribute the vehicle’s weight rest on the rubber tubing. You’ll also find details on building hinged track, molded track, plastic conveyor track, treadmill track, and bicycle chain construction. This should cut down on development time when you finally get around to making that paintball tank.

[Thanks BoKu]

15 thoughts on “Tanks treads for your next robot

  1. About a year ago we wanted an offroad robot but couldnt find a decent supplier of tracks. One place suggested splitting a used snowmobile track in half and using that…

  2. Word to the wise: Do not run metal or hybrid tank treads indoors on tile, wood, vinyl or carpeted floors, especially if your robot weighs more than 10 kg or so.

    Some people get very angry when you exceed the thermal carrying capability of the material due to friction, or accidentally create scuttle marks on a lovely wood floor. Parents have been known to get very angry about this.

    “Hey, mom, look at this!”
    “Behold, my robot can bring in tea and cookies for us from the kitchen!”
    Click-click-Bump-bump-bump-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
    “Oh, look at that. You are clev… Oh!”
    “My floor! Stop! Look what you did, Bob!”

    Let’s just say that demo didn’t go over well.

  3. For those worried about the chain scratching up floors, maybe you can stretch some kind of rubberband around the chain part (or if you get a wide enough one, maybe even the whole tread)?

  4. In the past I’ve used Kevlar belted poly chain belts turned inside out. They produce pretty good traction and they don’t scratch floors.

  5. planning on building some larger / higher treads for my spy video trakr and writing NMEA libraries for it so a usb GPS or cell phone can be connected… These treads look like a good solution for outdoor roaming. The stock ones are a bit slow on grass because of how low it sits. I will send it in when complete of course.

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