Tracked vehicle construction?

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Tracked vehicle construction?

Postby dragonfly Jafe » Sun Nov 13, 2005 2:55 pm

I am working on a design for a bicycle powered tracked vehicle, based on the M3/M5 light tank. I am concerned with the track design and forces during pivot steering. I won't be able to reverse either, so could not pivot in place (except perhaps by getting out and doing so by hand). Two 12 speed bikes will be the basis for the drive train (re-geared for max. power). Ground pressure will be far less than a human walking on boots, so I don't expect to tear up the Playa, and I doubt breaking the 5mph speed limit will be possible (for those nay-sayers out there)

Any tankers out there that have any tips/advice for designing a tracked system? How best to tension the tracks on the wheels (I am thinking a simple lever - I am trying to copy the M5 suspension set-up as much as possible, drive wheel is up front)?
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Postby Tiahaar » Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:39 pm

Oh that sounds cool! Trade you pedal time on my trike for pedal time on your tank : ) I get reverse on the trike by using a riding lawnmower transaxle in the drive setup...most of them have several forward gears and a reverse.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:17 am

Couple of things...

You do not want any cleats on the tracks, rather, you want the tracks to be (relatively) smooth on the bottom. This way you will not tear up the playa, and it will reduce the incredible power you need to run the tracks.

To turn you need to be able to stop the opposite track while continuing the other one putting power to the ground. Otherwise you will go in a straight line. Also, when you stop one of those tracks the other will take more power to drive. Generally a differential setup and brakes on your driving cogwheels will do the trick.

Finally, if you insist on making it pedal-powered, I would direct drive your drive gear, NOT make it a freewheel or coaster-brake system. That way you have some cance of being able to back up. Remember, tho, just the track assemblies are heavier than hell, and you're gonna get a workout the likes of which you have no idea thereof. Also, pushing a tracked vehicle is not like pushing your car - there's a lot of mechanical disadvantage working against you...

Good luck...
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Postby Mozy bonz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:47 am

tank very cool.
If the bicycle powered does not work out. I think this would make the tank growl. It really runs check out the video on it. use a small racing trans for drag bikes. you can get a small reverse unit small light. B&J racing used to make one but I don't think they are around any more.

on a six wheel.. the middle wheels drive and you can reverse one side or the other or both. there was an atv that had a reverse. you could look in a motor bike junk yard. If you do the bicycle powered get a big fly wheel with a cluch to power up for more hp for the turn or reverse. you know like the car toys that you push on the ground to get them up to speed and then let go.
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very coool!
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Postby robotland » Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:15 am

I had been mulling over the tank possibility as well, but using a more "theatrical" approach...DECORATIVE tracks. A four-wheeled, pedal-powered frame with lightweight treads and outer wheels carved from foam or scavenged plastic bits. I would like for the ultimate outcome of the vehicle I'm constructing to be that it can "wear many hats"- In effect, a skeleton that I can "change costumes" on quickly. The body of the "tank costume" would be canvas or tarp, stiffened with fiberglass rods or PVC struts, and then lights and military props added.

(But I still want a ride on Jafe's tank.)
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:01 am

Yeah, a faux-tank was my first thought also (a spray can, a tank, a tandem cruiser bike, etc), and I still might make the "tank" bits removeable (for maintenance on the bike bits if nothing else). But I started looking at real tank photos, and the insanity took hold at once...

...and yes, my tread design so far is flat wood, with 5 tires per side in contact with the ground. Pivot steering probably will have the greatest effect on tearing up the Playa, that is why I am trying to keep the PSI load so low...and I am working on a very low geared bike system, so the crew will basically be pedalling like crazy and the tank will be slowly creeping along...I plan on plenty of ventilation openings!
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Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:09 am

Just you wait... until you look up close at a D-4 cat... and start thinking, "gee, I could do this and this and this..." and you lie awake at night thinking of the possibilities...

At that point it's all over, you go invest in a set of tanks, welder, grinder, spare sheet metal, O.D. and camo paint, etc... and hit up the want ads for a running used one. Ummm Hmmmm....

The best part is they were made to run out in the middle of God-forsaken nowhere, and with smooth tracks (and a low range max speed of like 3-5 MPH) the effect - down to the clanking tracks - would work. Of course, you sure don't want to run over anyone with it, no more than a regular car...

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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:15 am

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:Just you wait... until you look up close at a D-4 cat... and start thinking, "gee, I could do this and this and this..." and you lie awake at night thinking of the possibilities... bb


EBay: CAT DOZER D4 RUNS EXCELLENT *LOW HOURS* US $4,300.00
Item number: 7563405020


Now all I have to do is win the lottery, and I can rule the Playa! (fiendish laughter fades into distance as Jafe looks for winning lottery tickets in gutter)
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Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:42 am

dragonfly Jafe wrote:
Bay Bridge Sue wrote:Just you wait... until you look up close at a D-4 cat... and start thinking, "gee, I could do this and this and this..." and you lie awake at night thinking of the possibilities... bb


EBay: CAT DOZER D4 RUNS EXCELLENT *LOW HOURS* US $4,300.00
Item number: 7563405020


Now all I have to do is win the lottery, and I can rule the Playa! (fiendish laughter fades into distance as Jafe looks for winning lottery tickets in gutter)


Heh heh heh... I won't remind you of the motto of Apokiliptika... >>grins<<

That's why I like the D-4 - they're built like a tank >grins< are relatively cheap, cheap on fuel, easy to drive (if I could learn how to run one at 7, then...) and are a lot of fun. Plus in non-art-tank configuration they can actually do a lot of stuff with the right goodies...

Hell, you took a car, and built a tounge that steers like a gondola. I shudder to think what you could do with such a chassis...

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Postby EB » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:36 am

Cool idea, Jafe. Can't wait to see it...

Suggestion You've Probably Already Thought Of:

A "tank noises" mp3 on an endless loop. Those guys who did the playa submarine had a "ping" going that floored me. I can't remember what the sub looked like but I sure remember that ping.

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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:42 am

As long as it sprays water, I'll all for it.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:43 pm

Image

This is what I'm talking about! (drool)

here are some more cool sites for tracked vehicle wanna-be's;

http://www.rctankcombat.com/articles/track-systems/
http://www.rctankcombat.com/tanks/T005/
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Postby skygod » Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:36 pm

Holy Shit! that looks so cool!
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Postby robotland » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:26 am

It sure LOOKS like it works....
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Postby Mozy bonz » Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

WoW!

can't wait to see it!
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Postby Mr.? » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:09 pm

That Track Bike is SICK!!! I am looking for that next year. Congrats!!!
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Postby Tiahaar » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:35 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote: ...you're gonna get a workout the likes of which you have no idea thereof...

BBS this really made me chuckle and dang if you and Jafe haven't just given me a great idea for a problem solution...would give a new meaning to something called a "NordicTrac" : ) new secret project begins development
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Existing pedal-powered vehicles

Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:48 pm

Greetings!

Perhaps I may offer some thoughts on pedal powered vehicles in the 1000 pound class. I have been riding two such Contraptions in Kinetic Sculpture Races and parades.

You may not need multiple gears on the Playa. My 900+ pound "Henry Ford Goes Surfing" can be easily ridden in one gear on level ground. You may simply need to experiment with the ratio until you find a suitable "general purpose" ratio. On the other hand, you may need a "granny gear" for turning, considering the friction.

I humbly and respectfully disagree with the Hororable Bay Bridge Sue about the freewheel feature. My experience is that pedals can hurt you when you fail to keep up the pace, and at some point you will.

Lawn tractor transmissions with reverse gear can work well, as someone else here pointed out. Several Kinetic Sculpture Racers use them.

Now that I have registered (after lurking a long time) I shall try to check in once in a while, but I travel a lot and I am incommunicado when on the road, so please have patience with me.

I shall now attempt to post a photo or two. (Which may be hard to do while I am holding my fingers crossed, but here goes)

<img src="http://www.swt.org/events/kinetic/PA260144.JPG">

<img src="http://www.swt.org/events/kinetic2004/P9180143.jpg">
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:50 pm

Hmmm, well, at least the avatar works. Are there any tricks to making the photos work on this board?
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Postby Tiahaar » Sun Dec 18, 2005 11:17 pm

for images just use the Img shortcut button, add the URL (starting with http ending with .jpg) and then click "Close Tags".

I peaked at them ... that's a HUGE trike!!! I'll race you with mine, as long as no water is involved heheh
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:08 am

Well, Kinetic Sculpture Racing is an amphibious sport, so I guess you lose by default :twisted: It is called "The Two Ton Tricycle", but I have not weighed it -- I just wanted the alliteration.

I'll try your info on photos now.

This is "Henry Ford Goes Surfing"; weighs 900+ lbs.
[img]http://www.swt.org/events/kinetic2004/P9180143.jpg[/img]

"The Two Ton Tricycle"
[img]http://www.swt.org/events/kinetic/PA260144.JPG[/img]
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:16 am

(Please pardon the newbie while he practices his computor skills.) :roll:

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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:17 am

:idea: :!:

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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:24 am

By jove, I think I've got it. Had to activate HTML in my Profile. :D
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:57 am

Nice to meet you Elliot - I bow to your bike creation skills. Good to see you figured out the image thing. Thanks also for the tip about the weight/effort (how fast can you go?). I have rejected a direct drive as too hard to drive straight, the potential danger is another good reason. I have already started looking into lawnmower transmissions, I remember having one as a kid that I could turn by hand and make work (never got that go-cart built to my parents relief...). Also, I plan on having a common power axel that both pedals power, that way only one person can drive the beast if need be (although much slower) and it should make driving straight easier. I am toying with having a variable speed pulley system to allow differential steering w/o having to shift...but I really think a reverse is needed for each side if you want to call it a tank (must be able to spin in place on a trailer to unload, etc)
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:35 am

Hard to say what speeds we achieve -- I always answer that question with "oh... walking speed". Or when they emphasise the word "fast', I answer "Heck no, not with me on it!"

At the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Port Townsend, WA, in 2004 we were climbing one of that towns famous hills and spectators were passing us on foot. That was fine, but when a dachshund passed us, I decided to build lighter Contraptions in the future. Weight is the enemy.

Your idea to use a Collector Shaft (as I call it) is sound -- most of us do this. Gives you freedom to align components also. Then we split the power again with a lawn tractor differensial. Many of us put the freewheels on that Collector Shaft / Jack Shaft. BMX bicycle freewheels work well, but you need to fabricate a hub for it to screw onto. I usually weld the threaded part from a bicycle wheel hub onto an industrial hub that fits the shaft.

There are two basic styles of lawn tractor transmissions. The earlier ones have a plain box, maybe eight or so inches square, roughly, with chain output. Newer mowers use a transaxle where the transmission and differensial and rear axle are all in one unit. They have in common that MOST of them turn the power 90 degrees, which is usually a serious drawback. Some -- of both styles -- have a protruding shaft that can be used for in-line power input -- this shaft often has a tiny disk brake in the original application. Trouble is, that shaft turns backwards, so to use it for input, you must run the chain in a figure 8 -- or some other solution.

Friction belts -- V belts -- suck up energy like a sponge. I have a decorative Ferris Wheel that is powered by a 1/3 HP swamp cooler motor and I once brought it to a halt by overtightening the belts. Stick with chains and gears.

Now for the biggie. There is a steering system that would suit your purpose that uses no braking. It was invented by a Kinetic racer in Corvallis, Oregon, and there is now also a Contraption in Klamath Falls, OR, that uses it. It is complex, but works fabulously. Give me a few minutes to figure out how to explain it. I'll find the guy's web site too.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:11 pm

Here is the web site for Bob Durst, the inventor of the Differensial Drive Steering System -- or whatever it might be called.

http://fst.orst.edu/bob_durst/Tomato.html

Look at the pages about "background" and "the Tomato Years" first.

Bob does not go into the details of the system on the web site. The first few years he seemed to enjoy the excusivity of his work, and we certainly cannot blame him for that! He is one of the great Champions of KSR, and very well deserved. But thousands of people have since had the opportunity to study the silly thing, and Bob has honored me with a personal blow-by-blow explanation. And last year, an other Oregon team became the second KSR vehicle with such a steering system, so I think it is safe to say that the cat is out of the bag.

You look at the web site while I ponder an explanation of how it works.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:38 pm

.
:shock: Warning, Technical Text follows. :shock:


Bob Durst’s Differential Drive Steering System.


It is possible, of course, that others have invented this system at various times in history, and I would not be surprised if it has been used in, say, real battle tanks. But Bob came up with it in his garage in Corvallis, so let’s hoist an organic, non-alcoholic beverage in his honor. Here goes:

The DDSS uses no conventional steering parts or methods. Nothing gets turned sideways, and there is no braking.

Instead, there is a second drive system that propels the two sides of the vehicle in opposite directions.

First, let’s consider the main propulsion system. From the pedals (or collector shaft, if multiple riders), the power goes thru a chain to a differential of the go-kart / old lawn tractor type. From there, the power goes out the two exposed axles to the wheels. Entirely straight-forward as we covered in an above post.

The second system begins with a hand crank -- one hand is enough -- made from a bicycle crank set. It is important to grasp that this hand crank will not serve as a steering wheel, nor as a tiller, but will be rotated continuously during all turning motions of the vehicle. From the hand crank and common bicycle chain ring, this chain goes to its own differential, which is mounted parallel to the main drive differential. From both output shafts of this Steering Differential the motion is then transferred to the Main Drive Shafts thru two chains. In other words, the steering system is a parallel, or redundant, low power drive system, terminating at the wheels just like the main drive system.

Here comes the magic: It’s in those two chains that connect the Steering Differential Shafts to the Main Drive Shafts. One of them runs backwards. (Tah-dah!) I call these two chains the Magic Chains.

Reversing the motion of a chain can be done two ways.
Bob runs his left Magic Chain in a figure-8. He has guide plates on the sides of the sprockets and he simply replaces the chain when it becomes worn from rubbing against itself.
The other way is to run the chain over the “back side” of the sprocket. This is easily done by having two idlers at points beyond the sprocket. The new KSR Contraption built at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, OR, uses this arrangement.

Now we need to comprehend what actually happens.
Imagine you are pedaling straight forward while holding the Steering Crank still. The Main Drive Shafts turn The Magic Chains and the shafts of the Steering Differential turn in opposite directions. That’s the key. I repeat: Thanks to one “Magic Chain” being reversed, the shafts of the Steering Differential turn in opposite directions. Thus, the innards of the Steering Differential go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, while the housing of that differential stays still.
Stop the vehicle, and just sit there for a moment. Now start turning the Hand Crank. The Hand Crank only, to keep it simple. This motion goes to the Steering Differential. The Steering Differential Housing turns. The two Steering Differential Shafts turn -- in the same direction. But when the motion arrives at the Main Shafts, the Magic Chains have reversed the rotation on one side and the Main Shafts turn in opposite directions. The vehicle turns in place around its own center. Children cheer with delight and adults clap their hands in appreciation of True Glorious Folly.

Apply yourself to both systems and you get any combination of forward motion and turning motion you desire. The only thing you have to learn is which way to spin the Hand Crank to go left, and which way to go right. If you must have logical steering input, you could put a bevel drive there.

I could polish this text a bit, but I have to get ready for a trip.

Anyone who is serious about building a DiffDriSS really ought to take the trouble to attend a Kinetic Sculpture Race and meet Bob and see his Contraption in action. Your safest bet will be at the (Leonardo) daVinci Days Festival of Art and Science in Corvallis, Oregon 14-15-16 July 2006.

If you don’t want to wait that long, the Klamath Falls machine will probably race in the Grand Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race in Humboldt County, Northern California, 27-28-29 May 2006 (Memorial Weekend).
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:01 pm

This sounds exactly what I have been trying to invent/discover...I will spend some time perusing the site (I grasp the basics from your explanation - thanks!). I wasn't aware of Kinectic Sculptures...thanks for the research direction and the fine technical tips.

By using a simple energy balance I calculate that 2 humans (~100 watts each) should be able to go ~2mph, which is slow walking speed and seems to match your description (which is also encouraging...) I am planning on having the "tank" parts be easily removeable so the base track bicycle can be used with minimal effort most of the time (also to allow conversion to other art forms)

I hope to use industrial conveyor that is sold by the "link" and has sprockets/rollers to match (Dynaveyor). This is by far the lightest solution, and should also be the strongest/best looking. A variety of surface textures are available, including mesh and rubberized.

Thanks again for your assistance!
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:19 pm

100 watts sounds about right. If you want to learn more about human output in watts and other high tech schtuff, Google Human Powered Boats / Human Powered Vehicles - Boats and get on their e-mail list.

I haven't been to BM yet, but many Kinetic Sculpture Racers are burners and tell me I "need" to go, so I have been lurking here and I get the BM e-mail newsletters. I was born in Norway, so I'm watching the Battle of Herring with some interest!
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