Track type. SO many types of tracks. Snowmobiles, tanks, construction equipment vehicles. Track design is crucial for the success of the type of vehicle. For my application I need it to be reasonably light, and minimize friction. I can’t have hundreds of separate metal plates hinged together. And I don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on rubber snowmobile tracks.
I have thus decided to make my own, custom. I will use a 6″ wide, and about .25″ thick conveyor belt as the basis for my tracks. Length will be discussed it great detail later.
I figure conveyor belts are designed to roll all day long, take tons of abuse, and most importantly have low resistance to rolling (less energy to operate). Sounds perfect for not wasting too much juice from the batteries in my case.
Of course, there are 3 other elements to consider: How will it get traction, be driven by the drive wheel, and stay straight on not come off.
Since the tracks will be driven by cogs on the outside of the tracks, I can solve traction and how to drive them by simply have a 1″x1″ treads that hang over the sides of the belt by about 1-2 inches on each side. Like so:
As for keeping the track from coming off, that involves some teeth on the inside of the track, that fit between the other roller/guide wheels… which I will get to later.
For now, I need to decide what to use for the treads…. hmmm. I’m thinking something like a hardwood, a composite like the decking material, some sort of plastic or hard rubber. Not sure yet, but am keeping my eyes open for a material that fits the requirements (tough, drillable, won’t weather, not too abrasive, not too heavy, etc).
I will talk about my idea for the drive wheels next time.. have to finish those before I know the spacing of the treads on the tracks.