GoKart Tank

Build a real tracked vehicle out of off the shelf parts

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Once it was a GoKart. Then it became a half track. Now it's a full on tracked vehicle. A tank! Runs on a pair of 1000W electric scooter motors at 48V each. It's a beast, but it works. It was on display at the NoVA Mini Maker Faire on March 19, 2017 and will continue to be modd-ed and improved for months to come. The design philosophy is to use as many commonly found materials as possible and custom engineer as little as possible. The tank is able to be remote controlled since it operates off 2 twist throttles (servos anyone?) and can handle a payload of some 100lbs -- a large child. You can see some details here: Check out the video on Youtube as well:

This started as an ATV build using big tires with the hope of using rubber tracks made from a treadmill. But over time it evolved into converting my very fast (30mph+) go kart. Originally, a differential was planned so that I could use differential braking and the same gasoline motor. But an invitation to a Maker Faire and the prospect of rolling it around indoors as well as outdoors said "no exhaust", so I went all electric.

In the end I had to devise a track tension/sprung bogie system to keep track tension. Used a BMX bike shock, some pieces of angle and a small piece of square tubing. Works like a charm. The tank is underpowered though. I might convert it to gasoline engine power just because I can put a 6.5hp motor that weighs 30lbs in place of the 80lbs of motor and batteries and get triple the power. Very happy with the outcome. I had a 100lb kid ride it just fine, but a 200lb adult is too much for the 2.5hp I can get out of the electric motors.


Test run using no seated operator. The tank is in tethered remote control!

MPEG-4 Video - 15.77 MB - 03/20/2017 at 17:21


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  • It Lives!

    samern7 days ago 0 comments

    Phew. All done and ready for the Maker Faire. And it runs and runs great! In the end, I learned:

    1) My choice for track works well in one direction only. Going in reverse throws a track

    2) 2.5HP is not enough

    3) I over engineered it in the effort to make it 'Heavy Duty'. I should have stuck to a metal body

    4) I would use straight through axles for the road wheels. I have 16 pillow block bearings there. Each weights close to 3lbs. I could do fine with axles and 8 bearings instead.

    5) The lexan sprung bogie is not strong enough for heavy duty work. I have to switch to metal

    6) Electric is not the way to go for something this heavy. The motors are way too heavy and the 8 batteries are killer in terms of weight.

    But...I love it!

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Enjoy this project?



Mark Nesselhaus wrote 2 days ago point

Man, all I can say is that I love it :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

samern wrote 2 days ago point

Thanks!  A new version is in the works, using the same frame:

1) Larger motors, or gasoline engine with a differential

2) Suspension

3) Dozer blade

A larger version is also in process: 

1) Steel frame

2) Operates as both a 2x6 and a tracked vehicle

3) 2 seats

4) 6.5HP motor

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Luis Diaz wrote 5 days ago point


Very cool project! Do you have any videos on youtube or so?


  Are you sure? yes | no

samern wrote 2 days ago point

Yes.  Look me up there and you will also find an MP4 here.

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Luis Diaz wrote a day ago point


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