Black Roughtop

Would anyone happen to know where to purchase the black roughtop I see teams such as 177 and 353 running on their wheels? I believe it is from mcmaster but I could be mistaken. If someone knows it would be very helpful, thanks.

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McMaster-Carr. Search for SBR rubber conveyor belting.

Happen to have a part number perhaps?

Rob, try McMaster part number 5994K711 and see if that’s what you’re looking for. That’s as narrow as it comes (3"), but it comes in various widths up to 24".

Hopefully this is not the same stuff used by one of the teams in Davis. They had tread that looked like black rough top that disintegrated on the field. They left black trails of tread bits wherever they went. They were not allowed back on the field until they had replaced their tread with something else AND had demonstrated that the new material would not be a problem on the practice field.

Be sure to try any new tread on carpet before doing all your wheels

we were supplied with the tread by one of the teams at SBPLI, I’m sorry I can’t recall you number at the moment. We used this tread in the finals at Long Island, and the only trouble we had was that we cut it to short and we ended up pulling one of our rivets through.

Team 177 does not use SBR rubber from McMaster. They found a local supplier who gave them various samples of rubber and tread material. They took those samples home, tested them at various loads on carpet, and selected the material that suited them best.

That’s about all the info I have, unfortunately. So, I can’t comment on the exact material, who the supplier was, or what their results were. Just another note, they are not using the IFI wheels this year. The wheels are custom made from pipe/tubing and welded end caps. Very slick.


Ben’s got this right. The McMaster stuff just looks similar. :smiley:

All I’ll say is look and do some testing like we did.


We’ve used both the black stuff from McMaster, and the Blue Nitrile. The blue is far superior, and is even thicker. If it’s style you’re going for, ditch it and go with the blue nitrile from McMaster.


The part number for what we use, and have never had any issues with, is 5994K851
Look it up, and give it a try. As long as you properly attach it, you won’t have any problems.

you may want to try an industrial rubber supplier in the closes big city .I located one where I live and they had huge rolls of conveyor belting. And I mean 60" wide and 6’ in diameter. - I asked to go thru there stock and found all the different belting you see on virtually every robot at a regional. I bought a piece of wedge grip the flat diamond stuff a lot of teams use. tan in colour for about 50$. 3ft. x 4ft. that way you can cut it any size you want.this place I sent to allowed me to go thru the small “scrap pieces bin” and that is what I picked out.

They also can make belts- they have all the special volcanizing material to make treads of the same thing if you choose.

  • I felt I was in robot tread heaven.!!!

good luck and happy shopping.

Hmm, I disagree about the blue being superior. 418 used the blue nitrile roughtop last year, and it was awesome stuff. This year we wanted to test out different materials and we found that the black rough top has more traction and holds up better (though it does leave some scuff marks after heavy pushing matches). I was totally shocked to see that there is no noticable wear on our tread - at all. But ultimately, both are great choices.

Do the blue nitrile and black treads have longer life over normal tan rubber treads? If so would they be a wise investment to replace the tan rubber with them.

the black neoprene from Mcmaster work well and have almost zero wear

I second the blue being better. For a neglible decrease in traction, it wears much better.

I found that after 2 matches we had worn the black tread out to a point where its traction was significantly reduced. After an entire regional, the blue tread was still as rough as new.

however; When improperely attached (ie, putting side by side rivets on 1/2" tread) the blue shreds very easily. The same attachment left the black intact. However, switching to one single fastener down the center, we had no such problems.