The majority of hobbyist robot projects that surface on the internet use either wheels or legs as their method of propelling themselves around. It’s time to consider the under-appreciated tank chassis. Aside from looking insanely cool, it means your robot can easily handle terrain that would cause problems for a robot rolling around on wheels or using a leg based mechanism.
To prove this point take a look at the Raspberry Tank made by Ian Renton. He bought the tank chassis and then added a Raspberry Pi and webcam with the intention of eventually making it autonomous. Check out a video of it in action below. Treads solve a common problem of deciding what to do with the wheels that aren’t being driven by motors. In this case there’s locomotion for each side and by driving just one tread, or driving both in opposite directions, the bot can turn on a dime.
Want to build a tank robot for yourself? The good news is several Tindie sellers stock tank based robots from just the chassis, right up to a complete solution.
This bare-bones tank chassis made by Doit.Am will add a real wow factor to whatever type of robot you choose to build with it. The gear system alone is really quite cool and interesting to look at. The fact that it also makes for a great way for a robot to get around is an obvious plus! This chassis is designed for easy installation of an Arduino R3 or NodeMCU and it comes with space for a 9g servo and ultrasonic sensor. While the chassis is optimized for certain hardware, the platform clears both treads which lets you build in any direction and makes it easy to add whatever piece of hardware you feel like. Thanks to the abundance of mounting holes on the chassis you could, for example, follow in the footsteps of Ian’s Raspberry Tank and add in a Raspberry Pi and a webcam for wireless operation and maybe even some autonomous driving!