I’ve been playing over the years with a series of robotic kits including two tracked robots[one, two, three]. The experience of using a robot tank versus a robot on wheels is different for the most part.
I like these platforms because are capable to overcome obstacles much easier than a wheeled robot. For me, this was the most exciting thing about these.
The downside was that the driving speed is lower for a robot tank compared with a robot on wheels with the same specifications for DC motors. Another disadvantage would be the plastic tracks that are not very resistant. The good thing is that these can be replaced very easily.
Since last year catches my attention a series of metal platforms with tank tracks. These platforms usually come with a metallic chassis, two DC motors, and that’s all. The small number of components included in the kit has the advantage of letting the user choose which motor driver and controller to use. Since most platforms have two 6 or 9V motors, choosing the motor driver is not difficult.
Choosing the motor driver also leads to the choice of the controller. Among the options are the most used DIY boards – Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
Another feature of these robot platforms is the space. The metal chassis and the tank track that distribute the weight of the robot over its entire surface, allow the platform to be loaded with a higher number of accessories and high capacity batteries. You want to attach a robotic arm, a series of sensors, a large battery, a webcam, all of which can be attached to the chassis – one at a time or all at once.
Another feature of these platforms is the ease with which the user can assemble them. A chassis kit with wheels has several components to assemble, so there may be assembly errors or you need a manual to get to the final product. On a chassis track kit, things are simpler. There are fewer components to assemble, so the space for errors in assembling is much smaller. Usually, there is no need for a manual to assemble such kits.
Below I made a list of five such platforms. These are easy to assemble and control with an Arduino board if you want a remote controlled or autonomous robot. For a remote-controlled, Internet controlled or autonomous robot, Raspberry Pi 3 (WiFi and Bluetooth) is probably the best solution.
All the platforms are available on Amazon.
- XiaoR Geek Big track Robot Car Chassis Smart Tank Platform | Price: $84.90
- KOOKYE Robot Car Chassis Smart Tank Platform Metal | Price: $79.99
- Mountain ark Tracked Robot Smart Car Platform Aluminum alloy Chassis | Price: $49.99
- Devastator Tank Mobile Platform | Price: $108.90
- Tracked Robot Smart Car Platform Metal Aluminium Alloy Tank Chassis | Price: $89.99