Pedal Dozer Project An Artist and an Engineer design and build a Tracked Vehicle


VW Bug Tracked Vehicle

tracked VW bug

The VW bug is a go-to platform for DIY vehicle mods. Its light, its simple, and its cheap.

Here is an example of a bug with tracks fitted with an extra axle, gullwing doors, and track covered extensions. I like the home made tracks, too -- metal stock bolted to a length of continuous conveyor belt and inner cleats to grip the rubber tires.


Tracked Electric Locomotive

electric snow sled
This creation by Yvon Martel functions as a personal locomotive to aid in all kinds of weight pulling. It is a tracked unit containing batteries, electric propulsion, and control unit.


1939 Lehaitre Tracked Motorcycle

I present the 1939 Lehaitre tracked motorcycle. WWII made engineers see tanks and tracked vehicles everywhere, and apparently this enthusiasm spilled over to the world of motorcycles.


Half Track Restoration Project

half track restoration

The Creeper Track Society is restoring a Citroën Kegresse P17E half-track vehicle. These fellows are carrying out the restoration in detail and documenting the process on their website: Creeper Track Society. I'm very interested in the process -- and the excellent skill and dedication of the team -- as they show their work restoring the boogies to building their own track replacement from scratch.


Tracked VW Snow Bus

What a great example of custom vehicle hacking. Bernd Berger has taken an old, derelict, 1966 Volkswagon van and combined it with the running gear from what looks like a small Prinoth tracked utility vehicle.

vw snow van

The results look fantastic.


Amphibious Tracked Transport Vehicle

CAAT - Amphibious Tracked Transport Vehicle

DARPA funded the development of this tracked vehicle -- Captive Air Amphibious Transporter (CAAT) -- which is part paddle wheeler and part tank. Designed to be an autonomous transport vehicle in land and water, this vehicle seems to take the best qualities of the track tread and make it work in these two environments.


Smart Tracker


Now, I know this is cool and all, but it is also a patent fake, 'shopped', a photoshop composite image. This image of a 'Tracked Urban Mobility Scout" or TUMS appears to be someone's imagination exploring the idea of fitting a Mercedes Smart car with a German Military Weasel light tank.


3D Printable Track Design

A visitor to the site -- t00tie -- sent over a link to a very cool 3D printer model for plastic tracks.

3D printable track model

The model is called "Moon Rover" created by emmett on the site Thingiverse. The track design is derived originally from a expanding bracelet and it utilizes the pliability of ABS with the natural flex of the deep inset hinges between each cleat to get a simple yet effective tread.

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Timbersled Motorcycle Track Conversion Kit

There have been a number of tracked recreation vehicle designs popping up lately pushing into an interesting area of hybrid conversions. Specifically, these are kits designed to convert an off-road motorcycle into a uniquely capable snow machine. There are many companies, however, Timbersled is a popular kit out here in the mountainous West Coast of Canada.

timbersled motocycle track conversion kit


Omni-Crawler Track Design

This innovative track design from Japan's Osaka University allow a vehicle to carry heavy weight and gain the advantage of multiple directions of travel.

The design uses interesting split track layout mounted on wheels they call omni-balls -- spherical balls split into two hemispheres -- as the drive mechanism for the track. It appears from the video that the drive shaft attaches to the front and rear of the track mechanism and this supports the weight of the vehicle and transmits power and control inputs to the track.


Skizee Tracked Pusher Vehicle

skizee tracked vehicle

Just stumbled upon this site about two guys, Tim Park and Jim Maidment, from Kimberly BC Canada who made a tracked vehicle they call the Skizee. Intended for ski patrol and back country skiiers to gain additional mobility and range in their activities.


All Terrain Tracked Motorcycle

As part of our brainstorming session, Greg and I discussed the possibility of a single tracked bicycle design where the track could flex into an arc for the purposes of cornering. Turns out, a couple of crafty German designers, Tilmann Schlootz and Oliver Keller, thought of this long ago and in 2006 released a motorcycle model for the Michelin Challenge Design competition.

baal tracked motorcycle


Small Motorized Tracked Vehicle


Interesting find on the web -- the DTV Shredder motorized personal track vehicle. The prototype was designed and built by fellow Canadians BPG Werks located in Brampton, Ontario. They claim to have financial supporters for civilian and military applications and expect to be in production in the next 18 months or so.


Golf Cart Frame Up and Running

We have found an old 3 wheeled golf cart and rebuilt all the required parts to make it a reliable machine for this year's Burningman event.

This platform has a good gas motor, large electric starter/generator, and solid variable speed transmission. Next year, we plan to remove the rear wheels, extend the back, and add tracks.

It's hard to look too serious while riding a 3 wheel golf cart with red fun fir seats . . .

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Home Made Track Build

Discovered this page where some robotics enthusiasts made their own tracks out of bicycle chain, PVC pipe, and bolts. Looks like an effective design and I'd like to see it in action!


Tank Tricycle

Given the constraints of managing steering and traction, Dave and I have settled on a tracked tricycle design similar to that used in WW2.

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Local Students Make Pedal Powered Track Vehicle

I saw this in the Globe and Mail and had to post it here:

Pedal powered Tracked vehicle

I really like their concept and the simplicity of the design. Seems like they used a snowmobile track, cut in half down its length, and all the stock drive cogs and idler wheels. Bicycle pedals and frames welded on to a square tube chassis rounds out the package. I'm curious to know how well it works and to talk with these guys... If you're out there drop us a comment!


ATV Track Examples

Found some smaller ATV track examples. Similar to the car previously posted, however, smaller. One attractive thing about this design from a human powered vehicle perspective is that we would no longer need to utilize the skid-steer method of turning, which is inefficient and difficult for a load capable track design. In this ATV example shown below, the tracks in front steer independently and the rear are fixed.

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Rubber Timing Belt as a Track

Found a belt on the McMaster-Carr website that may serve as a good rubber track for the project.

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Subaru STI with Retrofit Tracks

This video shows a modern all-wheel drive car fitted with custom tracks. The interesting thing for us is the design of these tracks: The 4 wheels at the bottom contact patch, all connected by pivoting arms that allow the track to follow the ground. This is very similar to the design we created out of lego. Also, the use of a rubber track in this application is parallel to our own plans.


Sketch of Overall Design Concept


Notice the cab-forward position of the driver(s) who also pedal the vehicle. The mid section is two doubleseat benches positioned sideways for the passengers (tentative seating plan) and a gear section to the rear where the sketch shows a cooler and radio.

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8 Wheeler Concept

Dave Montie and Greg Montie's 8 wheeled ground following track concept.

A late night Lego session lead to the creation a number of possible track designs. This one ended up a likely candidate for our goals:


Next, Greg did some 3D computer modeling of the design:
8 wheeled track concept

Each of the 8 wheels will be bicycle rims and each set of two wheels is joined by arms that themselves pivot to follow the irregularities of the terrain.

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Super High Rolling Efficiency Concept

This is Greg Montie's concept of a high rolling efficiency track.

The idea is to have a single V-belt for low weight, and a high efficiency linear (smooth) roll motion. A chain of aluminium cleats are riveted to the V-belt to complete the track. The cleats wings are curved to the diameter of the pulley wheel. This makes for a smooth rolling surface for the pulleys to travel on.

The cleats are made from 0.032" (or 1/32") aluminium. This aids in weight reduction and allows for each cleat's connector tabs to flex while following the V-belt around the pulley wheel. The cleat wings are not very strong as they are cantilevered on either side of the V-belt. However, the strength is improved by the general curved shape of the cleat. Furthermore, each cleat wing is protected during its most loaded duration - directly under the pulley wheel that carries the majority of the vehicle weight. This is accomplished by welding drums on either side of the pulley wheel, of equal diameter, that directly support the cleat wings under load.

3D File can be found here: 09-09-25 Assembly

09-09-25 assembly

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Remote Controlled Tank Examples

Here is a link to a very detailed R/C Tank website that discusses a variety of options for building tracks. Below are 7 methods illustrated:

Bicycle Chain Track

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Dave's initial Thoughts:


Greg's Thoughts:

Bulldozer drawings


Track Conversion Kit for Bicycles

Article from the Star describes a conversion kit that turns any mountain bike into a snow capable mode of transportation.


Human Powered Tracked Snow Vehicle Example

Comments on an interesting style human powered track vehicle.

Some positive points that come to mind:

  • Recumbent position for the rider and the seat looks good
  • Simplicity of chain drive mechanisms taken directly from a bicycle
  • Center of gravity looks to be positioned close to the front of the track - matches the requirement for easier turning of the track according to Greg.

Some negative points:

  • Slider on track (201) seem too high friction for our intended use.
  • Complexity of idler gears throughout the chain drive
  • Don't much care for the look of such a small wheel at the rear of the track

Kick-Off the Project!

Here is our first post introducing the project.

Stage 1: Collect ideas and examples from the internet.

Stage 2: Design and document our own plan

Stage 3: Begin the build

Stage 4: Testing and revisions

Stage 5: Demonstration!

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