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]


  1. Awesome idea! I feel that i will use this idea myself

  2. Life2Death says:

    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…

  3. bilbao bob says:

    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!”
    “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.

  4. techyguru says:

    Why must you tempt me.

    Oh the possibilities, perhaps an RC snowblower with tank treads.

  5. Cynyr says:

    I can’t help but think that unless this tank is very heavy it won’t have much traction. Other than that awesome build.

  6. Eirinn says:

    @Cynyr i think those tank belts themselves will weight enough to enable some serious traction XD

  7. M4CGYV3R says:

    That’s not a paintball tank…

    THIS is a paintball tank!


  8. cde says:

    @ M4cgyv3r, that’s not a tank either. That’s a dune buggy/overgrown go cart. When was your last eye exam?

  9. Hirudinea says:

    Some great ideas, wonder if they can be scaled up easly, winters comming and I am not paying for snow tires!

  10. notmyfault2000 says:

    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)?

  11. strider_mt2k says:

    Sooo many nuts…nylock or no.

  12. voxadam says:

    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.

  13. Tom says:

    #10 bolt, that is a screw with a 10mm hex head?

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    I was going to try to explain myself but I may butcher it so I linked this .pdf file.


  15. not msdn says:

    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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,357 other followers