Panther T017 was built by Will Montgomery
as a replacement for Panther T002 in order to make use
of a collection of better systems developed in the two years since T002
was built. The most important improvement was the use of heavy duty
roller chain to make the tracks.
See Track Systems for more
details about how to build various track systems.
A complete track and drive system was built for the T017 before
any part of the hull was built. This allowed for the position of various
components to be adjusted easily and reduced the overall amount of rework
required. This is very important when building any tank to save time and
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A one-piece hull was built to allow it to be easily removed in the
workshop and on the battlefield for emergency repairs. It is shown here
with it's initial base coat of paint and the beginnings of a barrel.
The true value of the roller chain track system comes in the form of
a heavy duty drive cog that will never throw a track. This drive cog
is driven by a 5/8" keyed shaft for maximum strength and reliability.
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The turret is rotated using a small geared motor and rubber wheel
that rides around the inner diameter of the turret cavity. This is
a variation of the turret drive system developed by Steve Tyng in
A flat paintball magazine is made from a surplus airline snack tray
that just happens to hold 40 paintballs. A hole in one corner of the
tray feeds directly into the paintball gun below and a piece of plastic
is gooped to the top of the tray to keep the balls from
falling out. Despite its looks, this magazine works well and feeds
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The heart of T017 is a strong, modular drive box that holds the motors,
drive pulleys and belts, and the drive axles in perfect alignment.
Construction of the drive box should be the first step in building any
tank. Once it is constructed, the under-carriage and track system
can be built in a straight-forward manner.
Shown here is a prototype speed control that uses a simple diode
circuit to provide joystick mixing and inexpensive automotive relays
to drive the motors. This circuit will be replaced by a Tri-Pact
Speed Control as soon as they become available.
See Speed Controls for more
details about building various types of speed controls.
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A simple pair of eye-bolts are used to adjust the tension and
alignment of the rear axle. Roller chain tracks don't need as much tension
as friction drive track systems (like bicycle chains or the Tyng Track System),
but you need to be able to de-tension them sufficiently to remove the tracks
for maintenance work, so plenty of motion is a good thing.