Self-contained rover tracks

savagemakers

In this post, you’ll find the details on how to print and assemble this a self contained 3D printable rover tracks that can be reused on your projects.

Many times I designed and downloaded already designed rovers to be 3D printed. Usually there is no isolation between the rover tracks and the rest of the body. This leads to the need to redesign everything on any new rover you make.

The idea is to isolate the tracks of my rovers, and create something that can be reused on many tracked robots, so you just think in the body, not the wheels.

I thought about adding also the motor controller, so you can just remove that element from your body and use that space for something else. Though it’s not really needed to put the controller there if you what to use another type, or just want to place it with the rest of your electronics.

Also, as the motor controller supports two motors, you could place it in one of the tracks, and just send the power cables to the second motor. I’ll show that later with pictures, so you know how to do that.

You can view and download the fusion 360 model of this design from here.

Materials

For each track you will need the following parts:

  • 1 Yellow DC Gear Motor (like this one)
  • 1 mini DC motor controller(like this)
  • Some M3 wood screws (get them here) (I find them to work perfect with 3D printed stuff. I used 10 mm ones here, but I’d recommend getting a bunch of measures, because you’ll use them for sure)

3D printing

The design can be found in its thingiverse page. I would really appreciate if you send me a picture of your build, or mark it as made in thingiverse, It is awesome to know what I did helped someone.

When printing the driver wheels, I would recommend to place the motor axis into the wheels hole while it is still hot. The objective is to make it fit tight without needing further work.

Assembling

Before fitting all parts together, use colored cables and take a picture of the connections, so you don’t need to open it later to see where was each cable connected.

In this slideshow you can get an idea of the internals of this assembly:

  • Get the motor mount

 

  • When printing the driver wheels, I would recommend to place the motor axis into the wheels hole while it is still hot. The objective is to make it fit tight without needing further work.
  • As this fits as a left or right track for a robot, there is no real left or right for this mount. That is why I named each side with A and B. Keep this naming to understand on which side of the assembly each par goes. If it has an A in the name, then it goes on the same side as the rest of the A parts, same for B.
  • Check at the list of images uploaded to this thing to get an idea of where does each part should fit
  • To link the tracks use a peace of 1.75 filament. If you leave about half millimeter extra on each side, you can melt that extra with a soldering iron, so you get a nice finish.

 

 

To use it in your project you can create a body that connects to the 4 screws in the inner side of the assembly, or you could just replace the wheel enclosure, and model whatever mounting points you need…

Once I have a nice body that uses this, I’ll upload more details here.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Self-contained rover tracks

  1. We are thinking about building a hexapod walker with tracks at the foot of each leg. I could go deeper into it, but just google NASA Athlete robot, swap the wheels for tracks and you got it.
    My question is about the motor boards, are they capable of “brake” keeping the tracks from rotation? We need the “brakes”on to climb, so the foot has traction. Or could this be done in the Arduino programming?

    1. I am not 100% sure, but as far as I understand, you can set both in1 and in2 to high and that sets the motor to break state.
      You should verify this though.
      Good luck with your robot! I’d love to see it!

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