Tank Tracks for Robots

Posted 25 Apr 2005 at 16:12 UTC by steve Share This

I've been looking for a good source for tank-like tracks that would work on a small robot. I've found a few but was hoping robots.net readers might know of others. Everyone is familiar with the inexpensive ($15) Tamiya track kit. Bots and Bytes offers an 11.8" track kit made of aircraft grade aluminium for about $300. Pololu offers an interesting plastic track kit made of injection molded ABS in a variety of sizes at an affordable price. I'm aware of the LiteFoot ATV tracks too, but they're a bit too large for hobby robots. So what else is out there for small robots - any ideas?

Tank trax, posted 25 Apr 2005 at 18:02 UTC by cschur » (Master)

I bought one of those Stuart M5 tanks at walmart, and it makes a great base. its decent quality, and man it really goes over some nasty terrain.


Stuart M5, posted 25 Apr 2005 at 18:49 UTC by steve » (Master)

Yep, several DPRG folks bought those when a Walmart in our area briefly marked a few down to $50. They're pretty neat but a little bigger than I want right now. There are also a lot of R/C tanks available on eBay that might work as bases but I was hoping to find a set of tracks actually intended for robot builders.

Nelnick Track Kits, posted 25 Apr 2005 at 20:02 UTC by steve » (Master)

Here's one more source with options ranging from a small $4.99 kit to a large $75 kit:


Johnny 5 tracks, posted 25 Apr 2005 at 21:11 UTC by robodave » (Journeyer)

Try McMaster Carr and search for "table chain". It looks like they start at about $78 for a 10 foot length that is 3.25" wide and has drive/idler sprockets on the same page ($30 each x at least 4) Expensive but pretty cool looking and looks easy to put together.

Build your own, posted 26 Apr 2005 at 12:27 UTC by c6jones720 » (Master)

That aluminium track sounds pretty good but at $300 i think its a little too expensive. Personally I've always built my own caterpillar tracks out of rubber car mats. if you get the tread pattern right the robot will have loads of traction. This way you can make the tracks as wide and as long as you like. I reckon the best bonding technique is just to staple the ends together. I've never once had a track breakage and if you get the tension right they won't throw either.

Nelnick.com, posted 26 Apr 2005 at 18:45 UTC by egoo76 » (Journeyer)

I see someone has already put http://www.nelnick.com/nelniech.html in a reply. The only thing I can add is that I have ordered parts from them in the past and have had great results. I have not ordered the tracks though.

Price No Object, posted 29 Apr 2005 at 20:00 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

www.omnitrac.com has an "IP310 Miniature Track Platform" that has 2" wide tracks, a 10.5" wheelbase, 12 or 24v motors, and a 60 lb. capacity.

You can get to the page by entering "miscellaneous" and "electric powered" into the search windows.

I bet it has a high price, too. I couldn't find one.

"Me too", posted 30 Apr 2005 at 06:26 UTC by tim.holt » (Journeyer)

I've been looking for treads lately too - but I'm looking for something heavier than most of what I'm seeing. Or maybe just cheaper. I'd like something more "battle bot" scaled and capable of carrying a load of say 100-200 lbs. Basically I want to put a wheelbarrow or small garden cart on a set of tracks so it's got to be able to support that kind of potential load.

The McMaster Carr conveyor chain looks great - but it's a bit spendy. But I'm guessing that about anything you want that's got some capacity is going to have to be good in order to work.

Another reference for tracks, and making your own, check out http://www.rctankcombat.com/ - specifically the How To articles (there's one on treads).

Also, check out http://www.robotcombat.com/marketplace_machinelab.html for some prebuilt setups.

See more of the latest robot news!

Recent blogs

30 Sep 2017 evilrobots (Observer)
10 Jun 2017 wedesoft (Master)
9 Jun 2017 mwaibel (Master)
25 May 2017 AI4U (Observer)
25 Feb 2017 steve (Master)
16 Aug 2016 Flanneltron (Journeyer)
27 Jun 2016 Petar.Kormushev (Master)
2 May 2016 motters (Master)
10 Sep 2015 svo (Master)
14 Nov 2014 Sergey Popov (Apprentice)
Share this page