Create Tank tread in Solidworks

I’m wondering if anyone knows how to create VEX tank tread in solidworks and then how would I attach it? Is it even worth the trouble?

I’m working on tank tread link stuff for Google Sketchup. I can convert it to another file type, but I don’t know how compatible it would be. as for connecting them, I have no idea as I don’t have solidworks. If it is in any way similar to Sketchup, I believe the best approach would be to have a pont in the center of the hole on teach link and manipulate them via that point. (if that makes any sense)

I have an idea of how to do it but to me it seemed really inefficent and didn’t know if maybe there was a tool in solidworks that would make it easier.

Is Solidworks free? (I already know it comes with the Vexplorer)

I got a free copy throught the solidworks summer school program.

But otherwise no it’s not free.

Connect the links using the mate command.


What I tried doing was mating the little round tab into the hole using a concentric mate. That worked. Then I mated the area around that tab to the area around the hole, the flat sides, and that was a coincident mate. Then I saved it made a new assembly and opened it up twice did the mates and now I have 4 links together. I kept doing that till I have 72 links.

However when I went to attach it to my robot I found that the tread would not bend, it was only mated in 2 places so there should have been that 3rd direction for it to move in, nope. So now I’m stuck, again…

hey i have the same problem in AutoDesk Inventer 09 so if any one has a solution for inventor that would be much apreciated

I have worked with chains before in Autodesk, but the same basic principle will apply. When you make the assemblies of 2, 10, 20, 72 links, they are going to be held in that one position that you specified in the original assembly if you place that assembly into the other assembly which contains the rest of your robot.

there are two ways of solving this, one way is to find the distance between the two drive sprockets, if they are arranged linearly, and open up a new assembly. put in two more of the drive sprockets, and constraint them to be the correct distance apart. you can then go and put in your tread pieces, constrainting each one individually. this takes a lot of time, so i would recommend using another method.

start a new assembly, and put into it a bunch of chain/tread links, as well as your drive sprocket. constraint the links together, but leave them with rotational capabilities. form a 180 degree loop with that section of the chain/tread around the drive sprocket. once the chain/tread sections are all in place, delete the sprocket, and save the file. this will enable you to place this 180 degree section of chain/tread into your main assembly.

in order to make a straight section of chain/tread, create a new assembly, and insert a bunch of chain links. constrain them all together, and drag them into a straight line, by grounding on of the end links. this takes a lot of computing power, so you can do that or open up the chain/tread link file, and add a very small rectangular extrusion on one of the flat faces. by using the angle constraint on this new extrusion, you can force the links to form a straight line (or any other angle for that matter).

ive attached pictures of this concept done with chain links in Inventor for my teams 2008 FRC robot
large loop.jpg
lift chain run.jpg
long drive chain run.jpg
long straight chain.jpg
small loop.jpg

Do you know anything about vex metal?

It consists of just steel with square perforations in it. You put screws and the such, erector set, blah blah

Its impossible to do in Inventor. Your team seems experienced in Inventor, maybe you have dealt with such problems.

A screw will not mate very will with a square hole because it is not an axis, like a circular hole. If i try to get the screw to mate with the edge of the rectangular hole, it sticks to the side. My only solution so far was to make a lattice of work lines. There has to be an easier way.