Treads 101

:smiley: Ok, I’ve seen posts from a few other teams regarding treads.
My team is also pursuing the option of treads as well.
This thread is not to debate whether or not treads are a good idea, but is intended to seek out where to start if you’re thinking of treads.

So, here’s some questions I’d like to see answered, from teams with tread experience:

-What type of tread/pulleys did you use?
-Where did you get it from?
-What size did you use? (Length, Width)
-Did you buy the tread a set length or cut it to size
-If cut, what methods did you use to close the loop?

Just to get the ball rolling.

My team is a 4 year team, but alot have been involved for 5 years. We’ve never made an FRC tread drive, but are thinking about it for this year.
We want to come up with a design draft, but can’t even find out where to get decent treads/pullies. We’d like tread that won’t slip off (centersinked, if possible) and will be grippy already (we looked into modular treads at mcmaster, they look good, but the pulleys use 1" shafts (eww!) and they are mostly made out of slick material or metal (!).) Weight is another issue.

Can nanyone at least refer me to a website with belts and pullies?

My Team has never used treads, but I’ve done a lot of mechanism scouting on a lot of robots from a number of years. So heres what I see the most.

Treads? The most commonly two used have a Roughtop and Wedgetop tread
Look at this thread here for a whole lot more discussion on it. Conveyor belt materials are the material most used.

Where to Buy? McMaster-Carr Is popular, reliable and VERY quick. A lot of information related to treads (from the tread itself to the material to lacing it) can be found on pages 1091 to 1096 of their website. (They dont like links so just search for one of those pages)

Size? I’ve seen anything from 1" all the way to 4" thick treads, I’d say theres a good range of 1.5" to 3" but it all depends on the speed, manueverability, and friction you want to make with the ground. The Length usually is long enough to go around as if their was wheels (once in awhile you see a half track design, only half the robot having treads, the rest with wheels)

Lacing, I dont know too much on this but choose a system to replace easy, treads tend to wear down over practise, regionals, and the championship. McMaster pages 1094-1096 had appropriate materials for lacing.

Check out this site for some pictures of robots using treads, it may help out a bit (wheels are there too) as for teams that have used treads successfully in the past, Team 180, SPAM is the most reknowned for using treads effectively.

Brecoflex has all what you need for treads. they have every type of covering

if you go out to our web site we have a lot to show you

We have been doing tracks for the past 11 years so we have it down pretty good.

and if you need any other help e-mail me at I will try to show you how easy it is to get set up with tracks