Drive System treds/tracks

where could i get a set of treds/tracks to use as the drive system instead of tires?

They’ll send you free catalogs with product information, as well.

You should be aware you’re going to spend A LOT of money though.

I’ve also heard that they take a long time to get.

plus there hell once there on your drive, unless u made a slot for those treds. they wll keep trying to slip out, they can eat away at what evers in there way.

so f u do it right, it has to be done the first time

breco-flex is one of the best suppliers for these types of treads…they offer a huge variety of belt sizes and types.

as mentioned above you will definately want to run their guided series of belt. these belts come with a self-aligning nub and mate to their own brand of pulleys designed specially for the belt. we skipped their pulleys because of price, and instead got a print from their engineers and machined our own. much cheaper if you have the resources!

they will take a while to get though. our actual belts didn’t arrive for about 4.5 weeks. a lifetime during FIRST season. if you have the funds and want to build a drivetrain for 2005 order what you want now.

i know andy baker and the technokats have a ton of experience with belts…andy gave me another supplier to use last year but i’ve since forgot their name. maybe he’ll chime in with some help.

once you start designing there are plenty of other considerations…ask about them later if you still want to shell out the cool grand for a full set of treads. :wink:

It is called a v-guide I believe. they put a groove down the center of the pulleys and the belt has a track down the center. Also, make sure you get a steel core belt because the kevlar based core normally snap.

you can also order all the same items from they are more expensive, but lead times are shorter. I also recommend if you are planning on ordering these belts for this season you do it NOW because the lead times on pulleys are about 5-6 weeks. If you are only ordering belts the lead times are normally 2-3 weeks…

good luck

My rookie year, which also was my old teams founding year we used tank treads with the v-guide and it work beautifully. WHen i was on the team in the past we discussed going back to tread but we didnt becasue we wanted to try something new. Example: 2003 front wheel stearing. My suggestion if you are going to do it do it right and it will work how its suppose to.

Edit: I forgot to say if you are going with the treads make sure that the rest of the robot is light, treads take up alot of weight. Thats why are 2001 robot was nicknamed “swiss cheese” because of all the speed holes :rolleyes:

I’m pretty sure this was the site that Andy was referring to that they used in the past.

It was. I priced it out…the pulleys are MUCH more expensive (and the lead times are much shorter), but the belts are only slightly more expensive (the lead times on the belts are almost the same if not longer)


You don’t have to buy a belt from there self centering series of belts. You can put a solid tracking bar down the center of almost all of there belts (except the generation 3 series). It costs a little more than buying a catalogue tracking belt, but offers more options with what you get.[/quote]

These are the brand of belts we used on team 45 in 2003. They worked well, but yes they were expensive. Steve Butler (Delphi engineer on team 45) found them and had regular contact with the company. We bought delrin pulley stock from the same company. Austin Butler (Steve’s son, one of our team leaders this year) spent about a week making fancy white delrin chips when he lightened them up and put the v-groove in the pulley. These delrin pulleys are much lighter than the purchased aluminum ones, and they are relatively cheap if you buy the stock and whittle on them yourself.

Making a treaded robot is not trivial. We did it in '99, '01, '02, '03. Many other teams have used them for repeated years. There are some advantages but there are as many headaches too. Countless threads on this site have been devoted to tread design.

To sum up advice on treads, 3 things are important:

  1. wheel/pulley alignment must be precise
  2. treads must stay very tight (this, btw, leads to much inefficiency)
  3. you will want to design in a convex “bow” on the bottom of your tread.

Good luck,
Andy B.

This year our team used treads for the first time. We were very pleased with their results. We got them from a company in the UK so there was a long lead time, but it was well worth the wait. They are specifically designed for climbing obstacles. They also were made from Kevlar, making them very strong. There is little to no wear on them after a year of use.

Here is the company website if anyone is interested.

as far as i can tell there is little to no advatage to using tracks. not only do they have a habit of falling off if they are put on just slightly off centered but they take up a tremendous amout of current when they try to turn. they also have a very limited agility. otherwise they have a great amount of traction and almost never get pushed around. so choose wisley…