Bulk Run of Tank Track by Feb 1st

Hello everyone,

My name is Joshua Updyke and I am the President and Director of Robotics for Tank Chain. We are a smaller company that manufactures and produces a modular track system designed with your exact needs in mind.

Over the past 3 days we have been slammed with orders, requests, emails, phone calls and just about everything else you can think of. It has been both exciting and stressful to say the least. By the end of day Monday we sold all of our stock, and all the parts we had the materials to make.

But I have what I hope to be very good news for all of you. We have worked out an agreement with our Injection molding company to get a bulk run of parts made ASAP. They have quoted me that the first parts will come off the machine Feb 1st and shipping out as soon as possible from there. I know everyone is working with very short build times and we want to do everything we can to help. But we need your help too. In order for us to make this happen we need to get at least 25 orders as soon as possible. This is the minimum we need to start. However, the injection molding company has the capability of handling very high orders, so we can grow that order as we need to.

So here are the details:

  • This order is only for black track
  • You can place an order immediately though our website
  • You can also send us a message to place orders via POs
  • Orders will be handled in the order they are received, so place your order ASAP to get your spot
  • Refunds will be available if for some reason we don’t get enough orders, but I can’t imagine we can get 25 orders our of over 3000 teams.

We know that people are concerned about seeing these tracks in action. Several months ago our first order was to a FIRST team in New York. They have been using the track system for a couple months now and they agreed to publish some video of their robot soon. I will put a link to that as soon as I can. Hopefully, this will give you all a better understanding of how the track system works.

Thank you all and good luck to all the teams,
Joshua Updyke
Director of Robotics | Tank Chain Robotics
785.633.1516 | jupdyke@gmail.com | http://www.tankchain.com

We have received about half the required orders yesterday and I placed the order for the molding to start. We will have parts starting to ship to teams February 1st.

Good luck to all the teams.

let see
$2.50 per link
.75 inches per link
probably something like 60 inches per track and 2 tracks per robot and 2 robots
240 inches / .75 = 320 links * $2.50 = $800
am I reading this right?
FRC discount?

I am not familiar with the exact rules about size, so I can not comment about how much track people will need for each robot. But you are correct that each link will create 3/4" worth of track (I.E. 16 links per foot of track). And each link is $2.50. This price includes both the rubber tread and the associated chain hardware to join them together.

Most of our orders have been for around 200 links. I am not sure if those people are planning on building two robots or not. We can also offer sprockets at a really good price, because we get a distributors rate on those.

As for a discount for FRC we were offering a discount on the colored version of the track. But we have sold everything we can produce in time for the competition. Which is why I have arranged for this bulk order to be made by our partner. Since they will all be injection molded in the same run we can not make different colors and only black is available. These prices are the lowest we can make the parts for. In fact we have paid rush charges to get the parts to be coming off the mold Feb. 1st.

If you are interested in colored versions and are willing to accept a 4-5 week lead time we can offer a educational discount.


Does this mean if we ordered on Monday that the orders have been shipped or that all orders will be shipped around the 1st?

Thank you

These parts are being injection molded. So all the setup work will be completed and the first parts will be coming out of the mold on Feb 1st. I am not sure exactly how many parts they can complete per day, but the full 5000 will be completed within a week. My goal is to actually pick up the parts in person and ship them in partial shipments. So shipments will start going out the week of Feb 1st.

The order that shipments will be mailed is the order they are received. So if you place an order on Monday, you parts will ship after all the orders that were placed before it. While this probably wont changes things by much, it could add a few days.

We have already ordered a 5000 part run. It seems like the average order size is 200 parts, which means this is really only enough for about 25 teams. We can increase the order size anytime before Feb. 1st. But those parts will be made after the first 5000 are done. The injection molding shop can only make so many parts per day from a given mold. Ideally we could make a bigger mold which would be able to make more parts faster. But we placed the mold order today and they will begin that very shortly. We probably only have about 1 week to change the mold design without impacting the ship date. If we get orders in enough time we could increase the size of the mold, which would increase the number of parts that can be made the week of Feb 1st.

We are doing everything in our power to get parts made and shipped as soon as possible. But the bottom line is the earlier you order your parts, the earlier you will get parts. We are exploring every opportunity to get parts to teams sooner.


Hello All,

I just wanted to give a brief update. The order was placed on Wednesday for the injection molding and we start shipping parts the week of Feb 1st. We still have some parts available from this first 5000 parts. And can increase the size of the order at any point.


Can you provide the weight of this track system, either by link or by length?

The assembled track weighs 1.17 pounds per foot of track. One foot of track is 16 links.

I hope this helps. I know the competition has some weight limits. We have thought about investing in some plastic roller chain for a light weight option as well. But it would obviously not be as strong as the steel chain.



I received some video and pictures from one of our previous customers. The Dalton School in NY designed and built a robot for the FIRST FTC competition. They were kind enough to share these with me and gave me permission to publish them. They said they would try to make a video about how they combined the track system with the Tetrix Robotics Kits.

I hope this helps some teams get an idea of how our track system works.

Here is a link to the video first. It is not very long but I think it shows the tracks working very well.

I have to upload the pictures to another site so that I can link them on here. So I will make another post in a little bit after that is done.


And here are the pictures I promised. The Dalton Team did an amazing job on this robot.

Perhaps you could look into aluminum as a middle ground? My team isn’t considering these for this season, but might for future seasons. Are you familiar with the CoF on carpet of these treads?

While the Bulldozer configuration (using those 2 large sets of sprockets does use less track per side - as seen on that FTC bot pictured and videoed), I personally believe a regular tank tread configuration, while using more track length & equaling more final weight on the robot equaling a lower CG also (four sets of much smaller sprockets, 2 high & long, 2 low and short and a center low drop idler wheel set in the middle of the lower run of tread, to make turning on the carpet - mounted both inner & outer but inside the chain contacting the inner rubber portion of the tread,), would make a much better use of track footprint and give you the WC Drivetrain feel of driving it much faster and over anything you wish to drive over.

It would also spread out that weight end to end on the bot, and be much less apt to flip over easily even on steeper climbs like a real tank. It would raise the tread height on both front and rear of the bot making getting over obstacles easier driving the bot in either direction making turning around unnecessary to cross the Defenses in Stronghold.

       {}Drop center Idler wheel, 2 speed shifter, 2 or 3 CIM'S per side, 8 sprockets & 2 lower drop center idler wheels per tread side. You can mount gearboxes & drive center / center, or on each opposing end to even the weight out so no end is heavier than the other and spread that LOW CG out over the entire kitbot frame.

Positioning the tread runs under a long/narrow kitbot frame wouldn’t be that difficult concerning the additional fabrication necessary to support / drive the chain treads (if you just adjust the inner rails), and still allow easy bumper addition to the outside of the frame perimeter as opposed to adding bumpers to that belt driven tread addition avail. on AndyMark. Just a personal opinion there as that other one seems to be a nightmare to add legal bumpers to that don’t also defeat the treads that only rise on one end.

I have never seen aluminum roller chain. I have seen mild steel, stainless steel and plastic chain. We have a partnership with a manufacturer which sends up parts before they get assembled into full chain. Because these chains are made in bulk the price for chain components is reasonable. Custom aluminum chain might be significantly more expensive. But we will look into it.

They do sell aluminum sprockets which would really help save weight on a robot.

As for the coefficient of friction on carpet; That is not really a simple thing to answer because there are thousands of types of carpet. I assume that people here only care about the regulation carpet for FIRST. Which I don’t have access to. What I can tell you is that the treads are made from Shore 70 A Urethane rubber currently and the injection molded parts are almost the same material. This is very similar to the rubber in your car tires.

If you would be interested in doing some tests I can send you some samples. I would ask that you share your method and results. I also would like to be allowed to post the details on my website.



My team isn’t in a position to test ourselves, but I’ll share that FIRST uses cheap commercial carpet that is replaced every 1-2 events. The robots top out around 130-150 pounds wet, with the battery and mandated bumpers on. That might help guide your testing if you optimize for the FRC market.

Even if plastic chain isn’t the best look for one of our drive systems, there are many years that call for conveyor systems inside the robot. This year could even see some action for that.

Hope this helps–welcome to our strange little world. :slight_smile:

cglrcng has a good point. There are quite a lot of different configurations of tracked vehicles. When I designed this track system I wanted it to be modular and highly configurable. So you could easily change your design.

One of my other customers is a University building a robot like what cglrcng mentioned. They ordered a set of Tank Chain and are in the process of upgrading their robot. They had problems with the conveyor belt they were using for track because it didn’t have grip.


I just wanted to give a small update. The mold is being machined right now and should be completed shortly. Our other parts have shipped from China and should also arrive in a few days. I talked with the injection molder today and we are on schedule to have 7500 parts molded on Feb 1st and 2nd. We plan to be packaging parts that evening and putting them in them mail the next day. So everything is on track to mail out parts the first week of February.


Talked with the injection molding company and it sounds like they will be able to run the parts in two days. I am planning on being onsite the first day and we should be able to ship most of the orders out from the first batch of parts. So most orders will ship out Feb 2nd.

We increased our order of injection molded parts, so there is still plenty of parts for other teams.