Off Road Tank Treads

Right now vex offers the standard tank treads and the rubber links.

The rubber links only work indoors.

So i was wondering if vex could make tank tread pieces covered with rubber with small spikes or nubs that protrude out the bottom, they could dig into the ground and get good traction that way.

I also think that these treads should be sold separately so you can buy an upgrade kit that comes with 2 treads one for each side like the regular tank tread kit.

Its just that the tank treads that come standard have no traction at all, i can try and drive up something steep and it slides back.

The regular links don’t work well outside? I am surprised that the regular links don’t work well outdoors because the surface you will be driving on is rougher so the links don’t need to be? Have you actually tried to drive it outside?

Either way, tank treads suck for mobility.

I have driven it outside, but only on hard surfaces, the regular treads still don’t dig into the dirt.

The regular treads have like a notch in them but i like the tank treads i just wish they had more traction.

You could try putting zip ties on the outside of the treads and cutting off the the long part so only a little bit of the tie is left. This should help with traction a little bit.

I have another idea, i think that i may take 20-30 treads and drill small holes on either side. I will then take some small short screws and a nut and put them through the holes. This should give a crap load of traction in the dirt.

I don’t know if that is a good idea, because the holes would be small and if put under a lot of stress they may break that is why i want the spike to be part of the tread.

Might as well try it. If you screw them into the middle of the tank tread it wont be too fragile. Just dont screw them into the ends, they would probably snap.

i agree the tank treads need to have alot more traction they don’t get good traction on most surfaces like: my basement, hard wood, tile, etc. although they do get ok traction on: my driveway and carpet

Remember traction comes from friction and you can increase friction by increasing the coefficient of friction(generally making the surfaces rougher) or by increasing the weight of your robot.

My treaded robots get bad traction on hard wood floor, smooth concrete, and other very smooth surfaces but when i put them on rough surfaces it seems to be ok but i would really like to see tank treads with a lot of grip.

This is the kind of tread that i want, it has so much grip that it can go up a 60 degree angle.

Skip to 5 minutes in the video to see the robot climb on a 60 degree angle.

The treads in that video look like the small size of the advanced tank tread kit. The surface also looks like it would be perfect for maximum grip.

Yes they do have a series of nubs on the bottom that provide traction but the main point that i wanted to show was the material that the treads are made of, the tank treads in that are not snap together like the vex. It looks like it is a full rubber tread.

I have no objection to snap together pieces, i like them because you can adjust to any size you wish.

I’ve found the standard tank tread links work pretty well on carpet on rough surfaces like blacktop. They don’t work so well on smooth flooring, and I haven’t tried them on dirt or grass outside.

I just received my tank tread upgrade kits, and I will be installing them on my main spybot shortly. They certainly appear to be just the ticket to get more grip on pretty much any surface.

As for spikes, you could probably figure out a way to make a different insert for the conveyer-belt links in the tank tread upgrade kit. Each such link has a small T-slot that the rubber flapper slides into, but you could probably slide some small nails into the slots and hot-melt-glue them in place (just keep that 'bot away from my hardwood floors!!!)


  • Dean


This stuff is amazing for tank treads!

a little modification on how to drive them with vex and it can grip to anything:D

srry but you gotta tell us the part # because that link only goes to mc master carr homepage

welcome to the vex forum!