R/C Tank Combat

Tank #T001

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The track is assembled by sandwiching a 4 inch wide slice from a treadmill belt between the inner and outer treads, which are secured using four 1/8" aluminium rivets per tread. A scarf joint is used to connect the ends of the belt without overlapping it, since that would prevent the belt from bending easily. Six treads span that joint, each of which are glued using polyurethane glue to help reinforce the joint.

October 26, 2003: The Tiger-1 has the "coolest camo scheme" according to Shain Tyng (age 14). The new track system went through the entire weekend of battling without any problems. All of the molded interior treads were fully intact and all of the exterior oak treads showed little wear from the hard dirt battlefield. Most battlers agreed that the Tiger's mobility was significantly improved since the last battle because of the new motors and tracks. See Battle In The Badlands for details.

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January, 2004: A new rotate system was installed to increase reliability. The previous friction-based drive mechanism mounted in the turret was much smaller, but it could be rendered ineffective by slimy paintball juice. The new system uses a strong geared motor and a roller chain mounted under the top deck of the hull.

Any wires that need to come down from the turret into the hull of the tank can be fed through the center of the turret sprocket. Currently, that only includes two small sets of servo wires to control the elevate and trigger servos.

The rotate motor consists of a strong gearhead motor and a pair of right-angle sprockets that allow the motor to be mounted horizontally. A 10-tooth #35 roller chain sprocket is used to drive the 30-tooth turret sprocket, providing a slower and more accurate turret rotation. A 20-tooth turret sprocket can be substituted if additional speed is necessary.

Evidence of a new welding career can be seen in the homemade mounting bracket. It certainly isn't the prettiest weld ever made, but it's strong enough for the purpose.


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February, 2004: A new drive system is installed that includes a pair of EV Warrior drive motors operated at 12 volts and a 9-to-1, dual-stage, #35 roller chain transmission to provide optimum power and speed. Since the Tiger-1 uses a friction-drive track system, no "slippage" is needed in the drive system, allowing chain to be used for the transmission. This reduces the load on the motor axle bearings (because to heavy tensioning is needed) and increases the efficiency of the drive system. Two pairs of 10-tooth and 30-tooth sprockets provide the reduction needed for each motor. Sprockets are mounted to the motors using spring pins and to the other axles using keys and set screws.

The EV Warriors were purchased along with the mounting brackets that were originally used to install them on a bicycle. The large steel straps are perfect for holding the motors without blocking the cooling holes. A metal plate was welded to the strap so that it could be securely bolted to the bottom of the drive system assembly. Simply position the motors so that the chain tension is just right and drill two holes.

Here are the EV Warrior specifications:

No load RPM2210 rpm4480 rpm
Peak Horsepower.378 hp1.55 hp
No load current2.6 amps2.6 amps
Stall current99.2 amps198 amps
Stall torque691 oz-in1,400 oz-in


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Two 2x2" inch muffin fans (from a surplus catalog, of course) are mounted between two pieces of plexiglass to circulate air around the motors. Although not absolutely necessary, it never hurts to keep the motors cooler to increase reliability. Muffin fans draw very little current, so they are always on whenever the main power switch is on. The low hum also serves as a nice reminder that the power is active in the tank.

April 25, 2004: The only way to truly determine if a winter's worth of modifications were beneficial is to take the beast out onto the test field again. As can been seen in this field test video the new drive system (3rd generation) and improved track system (4th generation) worked great. The Tiger has plenty of speed and power, and is more durable than ever before.
Video Clip
(mpg, 927.0KB)

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June 2004: During the Maryland Massacre, the Tiger gets into the desired firing position, using a small pine tree for additional protection.

June 2004: It doesn't get any better than this ... two tanks battling it out in close quarters in the thick underbrush.

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