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Grant-o-vations Building something crazy? Trying something totally out of the box? Post it here. Lets see what all those wacky minds are doing out there. These posts should be somewhat technical in nature, but dont necessarily have to be 4x4 related.

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Old 01-14-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default Built your own tracked vehicle?

I am seriously looking at trying to build my own sno cat type two tracked snow machine.
I would be using an automotive rear axle with a cutting brake type steering mechanisim because a cletrac or neutral turn type differential doesn't seem like it's in the budget right now.
My big question is, do you think that the open diff car axle will have too much bump steer or wander when driving in rough or off camber terrain?
Any suggestions or experience would be greatly appreciated thanks.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

The simple ones I've seen with solid axles didn't have suspension it was all in teh tires driving the track. It's more of a 2wd truck driving on conveyer belts with an _M_ (bolted through the belt to a piece of angle steel for traction) shape that the tires roll in. in my head I picture an axle with up and down but no articulation and an idler made out of a trailer tortion axle end. The tracks I've ridden in were ROUGH riding.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

an open diff track rig will just turn in circles if you get into anything soft. One track would stop turning. You would have to have a selectable locker and unlock it every time you wanted to turn with that setup.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

well, thats the expensive way, right? the cheaper way is turning brakes. If you want to push a big track I'd suggest a big set of brakes. Speed will be fairly low, multiple caliper or disc configuration sounds effective.

Or a CVT tranny, with variable outputs. But that sounds complicated and expensive.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Open diffs with cutting brakes seem like it would work ?? thats what Tractors use

why not Hydraulic???
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

a detroit would work.. you could apply brakes in the direction you wish to go, and it'd go straight good too.

Another slow option would be using hydraulics, but that's a whole new monkey. with valving you could vary the speed and direction of the tracks as desired.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris112lee View Post
an open diff track rig will just turn in circles if you get into anything soft. One track would stop turning.
If one side was slipping you add brake to even it out .

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Originally Posted by RSOVJR View Post
a detroit would work.. you could apply brakes in the direction you wish to go, and it'd go straight good too..
How would that work? A Detroit lets one side go faster, it does not let one side go slower.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

I think w/ turning brakes you need an open diff, or at least a selectable locker. If you have strong enough brakes you wouldn't ever need a locker.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

I think the open diff would work fine in the snow, not sure on ice. Some nice big disks would sure be nice though.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

I've helped build one. Open diff, cutting brakes and torflex axles fom 6-robblees. I have some Nodwell tracks if any one wants to buy them off me.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_kipp View Post
I've helped build one. Open diff, cutting brakes and torflex axles fom 6-robblees. I have some Nodwell tracks if any one wants to buy them off me.
how many feet and what do you want
also pics would be nice
please pm me
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Yes tell us more about the tracks.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:48 AM   #13
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

tracked vehicle sounds interesting and fairly promising. i used to drive the Abrams for the army and so have some experiance with that kind of machinery if you'd like some input or advice feel free to PM me.

ps there are alot of old M29 weasels out here for some reason, if you could get your hands on one, even if it was total junk , it could give you a decent idea of how the transmission, steering and braking would work on something alot smaller than my old battlewagon.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Many options here , rednektanker and I drew and discussed three options and pencil whipped the strength and weaknesses of each

System 1 Single engine/single auto trans to LSD/open diff with disc brakes equipped with two calipers per rotor. Cheapest, simplest mostly junkyard (FLAPS) parts.

System 2 Single engine/trans optional driving a hydraulic pump through to hydralic lever operated control valves to hydraulic motors on the drive wheels. More expensive, less parts to fail, easier maintenance.

System 3 single engine/ driving through a custom drive case to two auto transmissions to two differentials with dual caliper rotors. Very expensive, complex, more difficult to maintain. Heavy, and bulky. Lots of machine work, critical alignments=$$$$$

Why reinvent the wheel, use existing parts wherever possible to keep the project moving and costs down, I expect the prototype would be a proof of concept effort with changes to be made as necessary.

There are several options for these three systems including diesel electric or gas electric drives, finances and facilities are the limiting factor.

Obviously, making use of existing assemblies would be the most cost effective and expeditious.

The hydraulic system intrigues me due to its' simplicity of design, easy maintenance and troubleshooting, pumps , motors, control valves, hoses and fittings could be expensive if purchased new, depends on the scrounging ability of the builder, or experience in sourcing low cost material. Some machining required. $$

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Old 12-31-2011, 12:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggyant View Post
I am seriously looking at trying to build my own sno cat type two tracked snow machine.
I would be using an automotive rear axle with a cutting brake type steering mechanisim because a cletrac or neutral turn type differential doesn't seem like it's in the budget right now.
My big question is, do you think that the open diff car axle will have too much bump steer or wander when driving in rough or off camber terrain?
Any suggestions or experience would be greatly appreciated thanks.
Everyone is responding to this initial post, it has led to some confusion on what the original poster was asking for. A SnoCat has four tracks while the poster is asking about a two track rig such as the one below. Another note is that most two track snow rigs have the drive sprocket in the front.



This machine is turned with each track having its own variable transmission to each sprocket. The turning radius is atrocious and a common complaint. But with each track moving during the turn traction was maintained to the inside track to help it from digging down through the snow.

It seams the two track design has fallen out of modern production for use on the snow. Poor turning, lots of maint, and lack of side hill ability I'm sure helped it fall to the four track design.

The term SnowCat is tossed out pretty generally to describe any large vehicle that has tracks and is made to go in the snow. The Tucker company has been making the snowcat for most of a century now and really is the only company that has made this there Niche market. Bombardier has been doing it for a long time also but its not really there focus.

Tucker has been making the snowcat since the late 30's and the modern design is very simular to what they have used since the late 60's and 70's
the front and rear tracks are turned using straight axles, in the case of the one we have at work the front is a 60 and the rear is a 14 bolt.

To turn the entire axle and leaf springs are mounted on a plate that is pushed or pulled by a hydraulic ram. Both the front and rear axle swing for turning purposes.

This may seam real complicated but really your talking leaf springs and steel I would imagine that to be far cheaper to build and maintain than a system that uses multiple tranny's or gear splitters and such.

Here is a picture of the one at work I took



You can see the leaf springs and the way the whole assembly pivots, the side hill in this design is very good and will induce quite a "pucker" factor if your in it.

The climbing ability with a good base is dumb founding it will go up hills that you would have a hard time walking up.

Here is a photo from the machines used in antartica in the 50's still the same basic design used today but no leaf springs.

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Old 12-31-2011, 02:32 PM   #16
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?




There were a couple Weasels on C List this summer for fairly cheap. One I looked at the guy wanted around $5k.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M29_Weasel


Also Hagglunds SUSVs come for sale once in a while as well.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

The trend toward 4 track machines is probably due to greater flotation in snow and other soft surfaces. Ive looked at a couple of Tucker Snow Cats on the slope, the one s I looked at seemed to be 3/4 ton or bigger truck chassis equipped with Tuckers version of Mattracks,with a box moose buggy type cab. Of course this is an over simplification. I can't see how their turning radius could be better than a two track vehicle due to limited turning of the tracks mounted on spindles. I have to admit my examination was cursory at best.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

The trend toward 4 track machines is probably due to greater flotation in snow and other soft surfaces. I've looked at a couple of Tucker Snow Cats on the slope, the ones I looked at seemed to be 3/4 ton or bigger truck chassis equipped with Tuckers version of Mattracks,with a box moose buggy type cab. Of course this is an over simplification. I can't see how their turning radius could be better than a two track vehicle due to limited turning of the tracks mounted on spindles. A two track vehicle properly designed should be able to reverse on track and forward the other pivot steer in it;s own length. I have to admit my examination the Sno Cats was cursory at best.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

4 track machines ride much smoother. No climbing and falling. Also mantain better traction. However the KISS approach with option #1 will work fine for a small machine. I would use a rear diff with 4 spider gears. Inboard brakes would be best but not required.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasillashack View Post
I can't see how their turning radius could be better than a two track vehicle due to limited turning of the tracks mounted on spindles. A two track vehicle properly designed should be able to reverse on track and forward the other pivot steer in it;s own length. I have to admit my examination the Sno Cats was cursory at best.

The problem the two track machines have in deep snow is when the lock or or attempt to turn one track reverse the inside non or less turning track digs in severely so you kind of have to slip it around a turn. It would all really depend on the snow you were in and the terrain.

The tuckers turn reall well because both the front and the back pivots, picture a loader with four wheel steer.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:04 PM   #21
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Nate - good pictures, i like the bus, would be interesting to see that sucker go downtown in anchorage

Rdrash - you make some good points, especially about the difference between sno-cat and stuff like the Snow Trac picture you posted, i didn't really know the difference about that stuff untill you pointed it out honestly.

my main idea was keeping it simple 2 tracks w/ suspension and drive and idle wheels is plenty complicated and maintenaince intensive as it is, and with 2 tracks you could have what they refer to as a "zero turn radius" where if you were to stop one track, or even reverse on track, you're turning radius could be as small as the width/length of the vehicle, as long as you don't get sea sick it works well ( ask me how i found that out ).

two tracks would be plenty for a home built rig, especially if it was mostly simple car parts and some "rocket city redneck" engineering.

my opinion on 4 tracks is " why ?" the reason for that is you have 4 tracks to maintain instead of 2 , which means you would have to find a way to turn the tracks, which means either A. one pair wouldn't be powered or 2. you'd have to make the drive train flexible enough to handle so much metal moving, plus the stress of tracks on a drive system, plus the torque and tension of things bending from "dead ahead" to simply turn right or left, plus the steering wheel and the parts that would drive them and the tools/parts needed to steer the vehicle.

also you could not have a zero turning radius rig like a 2 track design, as one pair of tracks would overtake the other dragging them sideways and more than likely throwing two tracks, instead of one ( ones bad enough ) and you would get a seperation in the tracks, and therefore the weight of the vehicle wouldn't have as low a ground pressure as one with one pair of tracks going the full length on each side.

i've looked at alot of designs, real and fictional and the closest ones i've seen are an old Russian tank i think they called the Troyanov Tractor and a US tank called the T-28 and all 4 tracks are side by side here's one link to a site about them - http://www.kaskus.us/showthread.php?t=6376950

the biggest reasons the military never used 4 tracks on any one single vehicle, is maintenance, complexity and cost, and the Abrams with it's 75 tons and fairly gutless turbine engine, can still navigate pretty deep snow, sand and mud, i'd prefer a diesel piston engine for a tracked vehicle simply to get actual torque out of it instead of the "awesome 1500 horsepower turbine" that has no torque at all. but it makes a pretty good space heater in the winter time when things get frozen solid. also the Isreali Merkava, especially the Mk4, has been noted as " digging it's own battle position" by pivot steering, so if i can twist and turn on it's own axis, and make a little "tank bunker" for itself, and still be able to pull out of a deep enough hole to hide the entire hull, all you'd have to do is adjust the hiight and angle of the "lead end" of the track, as long as it's the idle arm/wheel that's not hard, the drive sprocket can be anywhere you want it truly, but the front or rear is nearly universal, with the exception of some bulldozers. but as for digging in when you pivot steer, with a full length track each track is going in two directions, the back half is going one way, the front half going the other direction, so that tends to keep things fairly even and when you start going forward they tend to ride up over the divot you would push into whatever you were driving on.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:32 PM   #22
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Tanker some counter points to your post

I understand it that you spent some time driving the M1, I myself have spent considerable time rebuilding and recovering them. 75 tons is almost 10 tons over the weight of one fully combat loaded. The AGT1500 makes almost 3000 foot pounds of torque and lets the machine move out quite well, we have to govern it to 45 mph lest the track fly apart.

From experience I can assure you the abrams does well enough in snow but not in deep snow it is far to heavy to ride on top of it and just ends up plowing. Mud will also stop an abrams in its tacks when its 36+ inches deep it simply bottoms out and is mired untill it can be winched back to hard ground. There were many area's in Iraq after a heavy rain that the abrams had to avoid till the ground firmed up a week later.

Also the military uses four tracked vehivles every day, snow cats, haglunds, and four tracked john deer tractors.

With a homemade track rig with two tracks you need to lift the entire chassis above the tracks to clear them fore and aft then fabricate the carriage for all your road wheels drive sprockets and idler wheels. Unless you plan on a very rough ride your road wheels are mounted on arms the key into a torsion bar to compensate for ground contours.

Now thats all without even getting into the drive systen or steering.

With four individual tracks you would just take an already manufactured 4X4 like a suzuki samurai spend a week making a set of tracks then jack the rig up and bolt them on.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:23 AM   #23
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

well honestly, Touche i believe is the word i would use, and yes i spent 5 years driving the M1A2 SEP, which is combat loaded, 75 tons and it is alot heavier than the M1 and M1A1 versions due to the computers ( don't get me started on that) and insane amounts of depleted uranium in the armor ( don't get me started on that either ) , most of my driving them was in either Fort Hood Texas ( for all you active duty guys, never go there) and Fort Carson Colorado ( great place for out doorsie guys, trails, hunting, the works) as in Iraq i had to park mine in the sand after 9 days of use ( it damaged the roads too much when driven in an active warzone aparently ) so i had to deal with sand, snow, ice ( think 75 ton bobsled complete with cannon ) and while i was in , myself and many of my drivers had a hard time getting them to go faster than 40 going down hill, i blamed the extra weight more than anything. that's been my experiances with the land battleship.

as for the home made tracked vehicle, you do have a fair enough point, to purchase them from mattraxx is somewhere around 4 grand for a set though , not including instalation, which i was hoping to avoid when i was thinking about doing that for my truck.

as for a homebuilt rig i was under the assumption that this was going to be a complete home built deal, like a giant tracked go kart or that Ripsaw thing from Howe And Howe Tech. i was also thinking alot more low tech solution to the suspension with axles using 1/2 of a leaf spring per side for a suspension "arm" and a coil and cylinder shock combo per wheel to keep things flexible and somewhat floating rubber tires or just steel wheels being just two of the options you could use. or maybe canabalise some snow machine tracks and or parts ? each one should be rated for 200-400 lbs ? i don't know exactly but that could be a 4 tracked solution but i guess i'm biased towards a 2 tracked system due to floatation of the full length track vs 4 tracks that cover half the ground.

you know we three should get together sometime over lunch or a beer or whatever and actualy hash this thing out on paper, i bet between the three of us we could come up with some pretty good simple ideas that could be low cost, easy to make at home and fairly fun to actually build, let alone drive around.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:26 AM   #24
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

It seems we have drifted from the original post concept, but have aired some ideas and experiences that could be beneficial.

After thinking a little more and some Knob Creek there may be an even simpler solution to the drive train of this theoretical beast. Single engine, gas or diesel, trans/no trans, driving a hydraulic pump though two Forward/ Neutral/Reverse control valves to two hydraulic pumps attached to drive wheels. Engine choice would be whatever is available, transmission would be optional, but may allow better gear ratio choices and torque multiplication.
If you are handy at scrounging parts it could save a lot of money, otherwise sources like Surplus Center have about the best prices I have found for anything. Graet Plains and Northern Tool might be good sources as well. Bogeys could be made from 2-3" sections of 6-8"pipe with plate centers, bogey arms could be fabbed from round and square tubing, suspension could be as simple as stacked valve springs acting on the bogey arms. I am not a snow machiner but if the weight was kept low enough sled tracks might suffice(cheap, readily available and light weight)Feel free to chime in on this idea and any others. Another possibility for bogeys and spindles could be space saver type spare tires for a little side wall flex and a rocker style bogey mount spindles from a front drive car rear axle are cheap, plentiful and found anywhere and bolt on. Easier fab.

Since the purpose of this track rig is as yet undisclosed, the final hull and superstructure can be designed to suit. Pillow block and other bearings would be a big expense depending of course on scrounging abilities.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:32 AM   #25
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Default Re: Built your own tracked vehicle?

Tanker, Shack there is a guy here in the valley that has a two track rig he built himself its about the size of an argo. It is powered pretty much as you both have thought out just needs some refinement. Small engine powering two hydro pumps one for each sprocket. Track is short enough that it has just one or two regular tires per side for road wheels and the track is coveyor belt rubber with angle iron bolted through it for traction.

Works well enough to get him back off the road three miles or so during moose season and is stout enough for him his gear and a quartered moose. Seen him the last three years on the same trail. Maybe Tanker and I can stake out the trail this year when moose season comes around Shack you could come too as long as you bring the bourbon.
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To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, right or wrong - is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

“A liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake at the moment”
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