It started with someone asking [James Bruton] about using a Möbius strip as a tank tread. He wasn’t sure what the point would be, but he was willing to make one and see what happened. Turns out it works reasonably well!
The main design challenge was creating a tread system that would allow for the required rotation. [James] designed in the ability for each link to rotate about 18 degrees, and ensured plenty of open space on the upper side of the drive train to accommodate a full 180 degree twist. It took a little fine-tuning and looks a bit trippy, but in the end works about as well as a regular tread system.
[James] shows off a good technique to keep in mind when constructing big assemblies like this tank. It takes a lot of time and material to print large pieces, and in such cases it’s especially important to minimize rework. [James] therefore designs smaller, separate pieces as interfaces to other parts. This way, if changes are needed down the line (for example, to adjust motor placement or change tension on parts), only a smaller interface piece needs to be redone instead of having to re-print a huge part.
The unit uses an Arduino Mega, two 24 V gearmotors to drive each tread independently, an RC radio receiver, and some beefy BTS7960 DC motor drivers to drive the motors.
[James]’ unit is pretty big, but we’ve also seen 3D printed tanks capable of carrying a human driver. It’s clear that build plate size doesn’t seem to limit tank designs. Watch the Möbius tank get built and drive around in the video, just below the page break.