Tracks or Wheels?

Has anyone used tracks before? If so can I please have some help finding the equipment for that. thanks!

Team 195 used tracks for the past few years and now their quality has decreased and we are now going to use a six wheel design because of the lack of reliability of tracks.

My understanding is that tracks, while great for stability, are not so good on turning and drain the battery pretty quickly when making a lot of turns. If you’d like to pursue it, I think most teams use belts from McMaster-Carr for their treads.

Last year we ‘simply used’ (hah!) a four-wheeled system with two of the IFI traction wheels chained to the kitbot transmission – it worked great at school on the gym floor, but when we went to the Rochester Rally (thanks again, 1511! You rock!) we found that we had so much traction we couldn’t turn, and had to do a big re-design.

I can imagine that tracks could easily experience a similar problem.

Patrick Freivald – Team 1551

365 had tracks on their '05 bot, look on their site for pics.

Look through the FIRST Mechanism Library to get some ideas. Good luck.

BRECOFlex is a fairly commonly used vendor by FIRST teams for tank treads, check out their website here

Heres a pic from team 195’s '04 robot which incorporated modular track assemblies LINK

The trick with tracks, especially when it comes to turning is to make sure there is a slight pivot point at about the middle of your track setup. It allows for much smoother turning.

Team 703 has used tracks for several years now and the only problem we ever run into is breaking the track. We’ve improved upon the system to help prevent this, however this year we’re working on a totally revolutionary drive system. I’ll probably post some pictures after the build season, as it is currently “Top Secret”.:yikes:

awwwwwwwww plz tell us or at least give us a hint

well i wouldnt consider using treads for your robot because of reliability issues, and when you make a turn theres a chance of the tracks slipping off, but if you already have that design in mind, it would probably be a good idea to use belts other than treads, and theres always the issue of draining the battery with treads.

Naw, you wanna talk draining batteries, last year we had all 6 CIM motors on our drive train! That thing had power but changing the batteries after every match was a must!

You want a hint? Ok, fine this is all I’m giving you… :rolleyes:

Remember how I said breaking treads was a problem for us? Well we’ve found a way to create a drive system that simulates the effects and advantages of treads without the possibility of breaking or falling off like a tread. :smiley:

Feel free to post an guesses you may have. :wink:

Omnitreads just has to be the answer!

Okay, seriously, my vote goes with wheels over tracks for this year’s competition. Every team that I have seen with a tracked robot ( except 753 in 2004…) have a very difficult time turning from all the lateral friction. Wheels are easy to set up and easy to design around, which is why we’ll be going that way this year.

I think instead of asking “should we use treads or wheels?”, you should first establish what you want your end functions to be.
Ask questions like:
“How important is turning on a dime?”
“How much weight will we have?”
“What do we have the resources to build succesfully?”
“Would we rather be powerful or agile?”

After you set up what you want your robot to do, your design choice will pretty much fall into place. You can use some tools such as a decision matrix to further investigate what the best design for your application is.

Remember, let function drive design, not the other way around.

Thats right you put the GEU111 into good use!

Nah, I got my roots in FIRST and PLTW. There’s alot of good resources out there for teams to use to prepare themselves for the build season. Conferences from the championship event and kickoff workshops are all online. Use them.

My team had the same problem our rookie year. It is because the robot was longer than it was wide, so the motors didn’t have the torque to turn the bot. It will be even harder to do with treads because of the increased traction.

A poll would be nice here.

I think there may still be a misperception about treads here, last year we used treads and we were probably one of the most agile robots on the playing field! Not all track systems are bad, you just have to figure out how to optimize them to make them functional, just about anything you can do with a wheel design you can do with a track design (With the exception of Omniwheels), plus get the added traction and pushing power. :slight_smile:

Oh, and sorry Gabe but no Omnitracks for us. :smiley: We’re trying to keep as close to the standard track system as possible.:cool:

Well it would seem one of our team members has gone and spoiled the suprise for ya, if you want to see our prototype drive system for 2007, click the following link:


You can use self guiding timing belts, in which the belt has a ridge going down the center, granted you need to purchase or make pullies that have a channel for the ridge to ride on, this will prevent side to side slipping of the tread (p.s. remember to lower the middle so you can turn)

We always use tracks (except our 1st year). Outback Manufacturing does a great job helping us. Tracks FTW