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From: "Steve Tyng" <stevet-at-stcharlesmd.com>
Subject: An "Unbiased" Review of the Tyng Track System (TTS)
Date: 7 Jul 2003 18:05:00 +0800
Reply-To: tanks-at-rctankcombat.com

For those contemplating a TTS (Tyng Track System) for your tank here's a review of 
the system after two hard days of battling.  For those that may not know, the TTS is 
built using treadmill belting with wooden pads nailed and glued (GOOP brand 
adhesive) to both sides of the belt.  On my tracks there is a guide tooth attached 
on alternating "links" which keep the tracks in position.  Christopher Denis has 
built a TTS with guide teeth on all links.  The guide teeth are made of wood and are 
nailed and glued to the links.  Now on to the review.

When I first came up with the design of the TTS I thought of four failure points 
that may occur with the design.  These were:

 - Track would separate at the belt splice
 - The belt would rip or tear
 - Treads would pop off
 - Guide teeth would break off

I'm happy to state that none of these occurred over the weekend.  The treadmill 
belting is turning out to be a very robust material for this application.  The GOOP 
brand carpenters adhesive has shown no sign of failure in keeping the treads glued 
to the belt and the belt splices stuck together.  I used Titebond II water resistant 
glue for attaching the maple guide teeth to the maple treads.  None have broken off. 
 On pieces tested to destruction, I had to use a hammer to bust the guide tooth from 
a tread.

Before I go any further a little note on wood:

I know many of you would never consider wood in an application like this.  Those who 
think this way ( I surmise) may only have experience with softwoods (i.e. pine) like 
what the typical 2x4 is made out off.  hardwoods like maple, oak, cherry, and 
others, are much denser and stronger than any softwood.  Consider a maple butcher 
block or a wooden hammer or axe handle for an example.  In fact, Joe Sommer broke 
several acrylic axle supports on the first day of battling that were replaced with 
some walnut that evening (it's what I had lying around in the correct thickness) .  
The next day Joe broke the rest of his axle supports with the exception of the 
walnut ones.  One drawback with wood is that it will rot.  To prevent this you coat 
the wood with any number of coatings.  Frank Pittelli uses epoxy, I go a cheaper 
route and just slather on a coat of Titebond glue and then paint.  On my tracks I 
used paint on the inside and used 3M undercoating on the outer treads.  I've learned 
that the undercoating does not stick well to the wood (at least in this 
application).  One aspect of the undercoating that I think will be an advantage is 
that it is petroleum based which should act as an excellent preservative for years 
to come.  Now to continue with the review,


Traction and operation of the TTS:

First off, the field conditions.  The field we battled on was a reclaimed gravel 
mine.  Field conditions included grassy areas with dispersed areas of gravel.  
Throughout the field were various leftovers from the mining operation which included 
protrusions of steel, broken masonry, and other various junk.  The field was also 
rutted here and there from the machinery that was used to smooth the site during the 
reclamation process.

The above mentioned obstacles proved to be quite a challenge for several of the 
vehicles that day.  I am happy to state that the field conditions were of little 
hindrance for T005 equipped with the TTS.  It is my 'unbiased' opinion that TTS 
exhibited the best traction qualities of all the track systems participating in the 
event.  On several occasions T005 was easily able to power through and over field 
obstacles (and in one case over another tank) due to the superior traction abilities 
of the TTS.  Of course the power of my drive system helped in this area.  In tests 
the T005 is easily able to climb up shipping pallets propped at a 40 degree angle.  
One particular advantage the TTS has over any other existing track system is that it 
is "closed".  What I mean by this is that the continuous belt design does not allow 
any debris to enter into the track system from below.  This generally keeps most 
items out of the wheels and treads of the tank.  With an attachment chain based 
track design, debris can enter the track were it wraps around a wheel and jam the 
mechanism when it "closes up" again as it straightens out.  When this happens 
something will break, either the debris item, the tread, or the drive system as the 
system jams.


Friction Drive:

It was a concern that a friction drive system would slip to much to be of any use in 
R/C Tank Combat.  The TTS, properly tensioned, did not exhibit any undue slippage.  
Slippage that did occur would occasionally happen on the "reverse" side during a 
turn in place.  This was usually when attempting a turn in place when the vehicle 
was in a rut or some other obstacle impeding the turn.  I think of track slippage as 
a safety valve saving other components from failure and eliminating motor stalls 
which could fry the wiring and batteries.  T005 took numerous hits in the track area 
and I did not experience any undue slippage due to the lubricating qualities of the 
broken paintballs.  John Pittelli's tank, which is using the original chain design 
pioneered by his brother Frank, did experience slippage due to paintball 
lubrication.  John overcame this somewhat by throwing dirt onto his drive wheels.  I 
think John experienced lubrication slippage, whereas I did not, because the TTS can 
handle a higher track tension.  Tensioning the TTS places tension on the inner 
treads which then directly tensions the belt.  The original chain design has its 
treads located on the outer side of the chains and are attached using pop rivets.  
Thus, when you tension the chain design, the drive, idler, and road wheels are 
attempting to push the treads away from the chains.  This puts a lot of stress on 
the pop rivets.  I know that John lost several rivets over the weekend of battling.


Looks:

I know it doesn't matter to some but, the TTS looks (at least to me) most like a 
tank track of any system currently in the hobby.


Conclusion:

Overall the TTS has exceeded my wildest expectations.  It has proven to be a 
relaible and good looking system.  If you are moderatly good at woodworking or has a 
friend that is and have some time.  Then the TTS may be a good option for your R/C 
Combat Tank.


Steve Tyng