pic: Track System

What goes both 5 fps and 15 fps, and can politely escort any bot across the field? That’s right folks, it’s the Outback tracks mated to team 114’s robust and powerful (yet compact and light) 2 speed gearboxes. Keep an eye out for them next year!

Where did you get Inventor versions of the treads?

They were originally designed using solid works, and I haven’t been able to do anything with the files.

I don’t know if you’ve thought about this, but I’ve heard that the Outback Treads are completely un-maneuverable in high gear. 997 locked their AM shifters in low gear for this reason. Their robot moved fast enough in low gear!

The tracks are undergoing design changes to allow them to turn better all around.

I got the Inventor files through a member of team 997. However, now that I’m learning Solidworks, I kinda want to get them in solidworks so I have real stuff to learn on. Wanna swap?

Nice to see this tread system becoming more popular. From what I hear, it’s an awesome setup, designed to push! I think our team was planning on getting some for an off-season project, but we’ll have to see how it turns out. I can see them becoming a very popular product for FIRST teams.

The tracks worked great, I hope that Sam makes your team do awesome!
(670, 997 and 753 fully (ab)used them)

I don’t know if you’ve thought about this, but I’ve heard that the Outback Treads are completely un-maneuverable in high gear. 997 locked their AM shifters in low gear for this reason. Their robot moved fast enough in low gear!

they are going to have different gearboxes and hopefully some other modifications, and Sam from Outback makes them better and better, so hopefully soon with some coordination between teams they will be close to perfect :wink:

As for a solid works File…
It’s what Sam originally made them in, if you contact him he might be willing to hook you up.

Beware of (ab)using these track systems. My team (1662) thought about using them but decided against it for a cople of reasons:

1. **Track material falls off**. Last year we saw 753 at the davis regional and they did very well, bt they (ab)used the eystem so much, tread/track material started to fall off in pieces. This also happened this year where a team on our alliance (dont remember number) left a three inch long by inch and a half wide piece of material on the field.

2. **These belts break if (ab)used too much**. Just ask 997. In their 6th qualifying match sat. morning at the championships, they were pushed from the side and a belt snapped, leaving one side of the robot disabled. they said it took an hour to change both belts.
  1. Teams do not gear them low enough. This year and last year, we have been able to psh or at least stop any robot with tracks. last year we had very low gearing with 4 two inch wide by 8 inch diameter IFI wedgetom traction wheels. We pshed 753 arond no problem. They did have more traction than us, but they were geared so high that they pulled too many volts when they lugged thir cims down low, their robot wold essentially shut down to protect itself, enabling them to be moved across the entire field.
    This year we had 6 two inch wide 6 inch diameter IFI wedgetop wheels with a lowered center wheel and a bit higher gearing for mare speed and manuverability. Of the three track systems we encontered this year, we pushed two and stood up the third (they couldnt move us, we couldnt move them).

We love traction wheels:D We havent benn moved in the last two years!!
A track system cold definately outpush us if you designed them right.
Instead of 5 fps and 15 fps(most teams end up locking them in low gear anyway), try 2 fps and 6-8 fps or 3 fps and 9 fps.

Just tying to provide a little insight, thats all.

I would have to agree that the advantages of a track system just don’t outweight there weight penalty as well as complexity, cost, and reliability. A well designed 6 or 8 wheel drivetrain with high traction wheels will perform almost as well in brute strength but be much easier to build, and theoretically less prone to failure. If you break a belt you’re completely, however if you break a chain in a wheel based drivetrain you still have partial drive, assuming you have multiple chain runs. Thats just my 2 cents

Nah. The belts are fine. We made the mistake of trying to move away while being pushed side way. That’s what killed the belts. If we just sit there and don’t try to move, the belts won’t get damaged at all. It didn’t take an hour, more like half a hour. And that’s because we had to get around our platforms.

My team is looking to find a decent drive system that will stay together and work well. Do you recomend this?


I would think that not being able to move when being pushed without snapping a belt would be a serious problem. I know our drivers drive away from people if they are in a pushing match to not lose time. Also snapping those belts and having to replace them costs a pretty good amount of money.

actually it wasn’t that bad, we can move while being pushed from the side with a normal team, but this was against a beefy drive train and the brecoflex belts have a steel whire running in them and rather then jump they snap… while some teams when being pushed from the side move sideways, we do not move at all. just something we have to deal with, next year this wont happen, we are improving the rollers :smiley:

670 was being pushed around left and right though, at SVR, Davis, and ATL.

I’ve thought about tank tread – and while it is cool looking and works well, our team went with 4-wheel tank-style drive and haven’t lost a pushing match once (well, maybe once to 1662…)

All hail the tank track! The tank track is the coolest drive train set up out there. (just look at the M4 Sherman)

But, its not cost effective, and they can be a bit slow and hard to turn. Just look at some of the new Military APCs that use a wheel system rather than tracks.

For these tracks, they turn just as good as a 6 wheel, and for a full drive system, only cost $1200.

How much does each drive module cost?

Highly. This year, the only issues in the system (when other teams had it, 114 is going to use it next year) came through user error. As well as this, a powerful tranny will be available with the tank treads.

Not sure of the individual cost. If you’re interested in going with these next year (they’ll be adapted to fir the field, if climbing is needed, it’ll be modified to fit with that) just get in contact with Sam Shawe. You can contatc OutBack Manufacturing at www.outbackmfg.com, look around there for their contact info.

I am not really that interested in treads, but if they are good at machining FIRST parts, I would like to get a quote to machine parts for our new drivetrain. I am really looking for a cost just as a comparison.

  1. Track material falls off Last year it happened yes…but not This year? To an OutbackTrack at least. Interesting. Outback fixed the problem with a thicker track and beveled edges this year.

  2. These belts break if (ab)used too much Both Belts snapped. :frowning: Only because the force of the robot going sideways and the tracks moving forward put a wedge between the lower layer of the track and the drive wheel, Snapping the belt instantly. This problem can be fixt by enclosing the plastic layer of the belt more, allowing it not to move. At all, side to side.

The simplicity of the track system 997 is using allowed them to change out 2 belts completely in less than 45 minutes. In the past I have seen this take up to 3 hours. for just one track : /

  1. Teams do not gear them low enough I would have to agree with you that the Gear ratio for a track system needs to be refined. The amount of traction a system like Outbacks needs the implementation of a well designed 2-speed gearbox. @ 2fps that track system would push anybody. I have yet to see a well geared track system be pushed by a wheel driven drive train. With 2 fps for lower and 7 for high gear. Driver practice. Good game.

For the most part teams tend to avoid using a track system for a drive train because it is a real pain in the As(s) to make them right. It is not the same as throwing 6 wheels/sprockets onto some axles and slapping a chain down. But, through trial and error a well designed Tred/Track system (in my opinion) has proven to be the most efficient if you want reliable traction/power.


Well, I’ve been listening to the people who may actually consider buying transmissions once we swing into gear to sell them, and so I’ve designed another one (Did it in the last hour. I got bored and inspired, and have mad CAD skillage…). The new one has a low speed of 4 fps, and a high of 10. Drivers will most likely stay in high gear most of the time, and when they hit a pushing match, they will shift down to be able to torque.