Ease Rover Development With These Self-Contained Track Units

Tracked drive systems are great, but implementation isn’t always easy. That’s what [nahueltaibo] found every time he tried to use open sourced track designs for his own rovers. The problem is that a tracked drive system is normally closely integrated with a vehicle’s chassis, mixing and matching between designs is impractical because the tracks and treads aren’t easily separated from the rest of the vehicle.

To solve this, [nahueltaibo] designed a modular, 3D printable rover track system. It contains both a motor driver and a common DC gearmotor in order to make a standalone unit that can be more easily integrated into other designs. These self-contained rover tracks don’t even have a particular “inside” or “outside”; they can be mounted on a vehicle’s left or right without any need to mirror the design. The original CAD design is shared from Fusion 360, but can also be downloaded from Thingiverse. A bit more detail is available from [nahueltaibo]’s blog, where he urges anyone who tries the design or finds it useful to share a photo or two.

3D printed tank tracks — including this one — often use a piece of filament as a hinge between track segments and sometimes slightly melted on the ends to act as a kind of rivet, which is itself a pretty good hack.

2 thoughts on “Ease Rover Development With These Self-Contained Track Units

  1. I like the concept of the modular design. But this design here seems to be very prone of getting sand/dirt in between the sprockets driving the tracks and parts of the housing. It could very easily block the drive train. May be OK for indoor use, but for running it indoor, the low efficiency and complexity of these tracks offers no benefit at all over a simple round wheel.
    As for the track hinges, of course you could use a piece of filament, but it wears down very fast. Better just use some nails or some other metal bolts or wire to connect the segments of tracks.

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