R/C Tank Combat

Tank #T023


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Here is a shot of the upper hull. The small black circle is a ring of magic marker around the punch mark for the turret center. I haven't decided the exact mechanism of rotation yet, so I haven't cut the hole.

This is the upper and lower hull mated together. The seams will be sealed with some rubber stripping to make it water resistant. I have no illusions of being amphibious, but I want to be able to play in a light rain, or splash through puddles, not to mention be safe from errant paintball splatter. In the lower left, you can see one of the road arm pivots sticking out. I still need to cut the holes for the drive and idler sprockets and return rollers.

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A shot from the other end. Woo! Baby got back!

A look at the inside. I haven't put in the battery support straps yet, but I thought it prudent to wait until I actually have the batteries in hand. I suspect the springs I got may actually be too strong, but if they are, I can always stretch them out a bit.

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I haven't been able to test the strength of the suspension as I don't have the road arms yet. I needed some track dimensions first.

Which is why I made this. I designed the links and drive and idler/tensioner sprockets, then I test fit them to make sure the geometries would mesh properly. Not quite, but they were very close. Some minor tweaking and they were there. Obviously, the real track will have more bits in it. I just thought this looked kinda cool, and gave an idea of what it will look like. It's going to be a huge investment of time, but it should cost next to nothing. I can't wait to hear the links clacking across the field, and those cleats should give me some raging grip in snow or mud. When I get it running I may never stop grinning.

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July 2004: This was a fantastic find! I got it for less than $20 from surpluscenter.com and it has proven to be almost perfect. I was a bit concerned about the length they had listed on the website, but it came with a brake encoder on the end. Once that was removed and the shaft trimmed, it was right about 5 7/8" from the bottom edge of the mounting flange to the end of the motor. Perfect considering my 6 1/8" inside hull depth! It's bearings are also sealed, and it has a rubber mounting gasket attached. That should keep the paint goo out. Also, it turns out that it does have a 1/2" hole through the center. That will make it easier on me, since the receiver needs to go in the turret. It was listed as 4.5 rpms, which should put me in the ballpark of where it needs to be. And it's strong! Probably too strong, actually. In fact, that is the thing that makes it almost perfect. There is no slippage mechanism. In the event of a collision, or if the barrel snags on some brush, the weakest link will be the barrel itself. I'm going to have to lend some thought to some kind of break-away mechanism for it...

A closeup of the assembled suspension. It's riding pretty high right now because the lower hull only weighs 32lbs. I anticipate the total weight to be around 130-150 depending on a couple decisions I have yet to make.

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A shot of the lower hull. As a test I loaded it with some scrap steel to about 140lbs and it sat roughly an inch lower (just what I was aiming for). I then rolled the loaded chassis over a 2x4. Zero hull deflection, and the wheels made a cool Doink! sound as they snapped off the other side. Luckily they won't do that once the track is on.

And here it is. I kinda like the golden hue it has in this shot, but it's just a trick of the light. So far my method of biding my time until just the right component presents itself has paid off bigtime. The turret rotate sounds awesome, the lashing of the gears is a decent approximation of the real thing. I hope the tracks give me the satisfying clack-clack I'm looking for. In all honesty, I think the guys at work are more excited than I am that I finally started working on it again. I used to get a lot of snide comments about building a speedboat. Next stop, drivetrain!

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