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James Bruton improves his triangle-tracked tank

Arduino TeamFebruary 22nd, 2023

Tanks are already quite maneuverable, because the tracks allow them to rotate in place. But what if they were even more maneuverable and could drive in any direction? About a year ago, James Bruton built a small robot tank that had that capability thanks to a triangle-shaped track system with omniwheel-style rollers. But it had trouble climbing over obstacles, so Bruton redesigned his omnidirectional Triangle Tank in his newest video.

The overall concept is the same as the original: three tank tracks arranged in a triangle formation contain rollers perpendicular to the track direction. The rollers let the tracks slide freely side-to-side, but provide grip when the track moves forward or backward. With three of those tracks, the robot can move in any direction by vectoring the relative rotational speeds. The original design struggled, because it couldn’t get traction unless it was flat on the ground. The new design has three differences to address that: trapezoidal tracks, a sort of pivoting suspension system, and dual rollers positioned on the outsides of the tracks.

Bruton 3D-printed all of the parts, with the exception of the hardware and electronic components. Those components include an Arduino Mega 2560 board, an OrangeRX DSM radio receiver, and a trio of motor drivers. Power comes from a hobby LiPo battery pack and Bruton can use his custom DSM radio transmitter for control.

The new Triangle Tank proved to be much more capable than the first version. While it isn’t quite as adept as a regular tank, it is far more maneuverable and does a pretty good job of clearing obstacles.