| Tracked Base Using Flexible Ladder Drive Components |
Last Modified: 2006-07-25
Ladder drive components on a Rug Warrior sized robot.
There are a number of flexible drive systems available from manufacturers of drive products. Some of these are molded from different flexible plastics. The consistency of these plastics is something like a skateboard or inline-skate wheel. Also, molded into the "chain" are a number of braided wires, usually made of stainless steel. The internal wires keep the "chains" from stretching and add significant strength.
Wheels and idlers can be made from the sprockets. They are usually machined from Delrin or Nylon and come with a wide variety of tooth/bore combinations.
While these are not suitable for large robots, they are quite sturdy for smaller robots. The ladder chain shown above is the intermediate sized molded ladder chain available from WM Berg . Other manufacturers offer similar drive components. To date, this configuration has never slipped off the sprockets of this Rug Warrior.
Protruding Teeth Considerations
The sprocket teeth may protrude just slightly from the ladder chain and therefore the chain will not make positive contact with the ground. This can easily be remedied by putting the sprocket on a extra piece of shafting in either a lathe or a drill. Spin the sprocket and sand or file down the teeth a small amount at a time. Stop the spinning, and test the ladder chain on the sprocket to see if the teeth are recessed. Repeat until the ladder chain makes contact with the ground first. Take care not remove too much of the teeth as this will allow the ladder chain to slip off the sprocket more easily.
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