Roller Chain from China

A project log for Modular Continuous Track System

A inexpensive modular tank track system that can be used for robotic and radio controlled vehicles.

jupdykejupdyke 06/04/2015 at 22:260 Comments

Well after a lot of emails with suppliers I finally found one that would sell me roller chain unassembled. I was surprised that most places just said no. But finally I found a few manufacturers that were interested and after several emails back and forth I got a quote and placed an order.

The shipping cost sucked in small quantities and getting it fast. If you send it by boat is much cheaper but takes forever. For production stuff this would be fine because I could order in bulk. But I had to use DHL and it cost over a hundred dollars for the shipping alone. But I got 250 feet of ANSI 35 roller chain parts. And I was able to get samples of the stainless steel version, and both mild steel and stainless for ANSI 40 roller chain. I ordered the roller chain first because I wanted to check the size of the pin holes.

I did some digging and while roller chain is defined by ANSI I could not find any hard rules for the pin hole diameter. Pins can be pressed, rivoted or even welded. The chain is defined in ANSI standard B29.1-2011 - Precision Power Transmission Roller Chains, Attachments, and Sprockets. You can buy a copy for $35 but I figured it would not tell me what I wanted to know anyway. Here is a link if anyone wants to buy me a copy.

ANSI B29.1

Best solution was to order some chain and check the pin hole sizes myself with a pin gauge set. I am quite lucky that my work has one of these and I could use it. So after about 20 emails in broken English I was able to work out the quote and place my order. About two weeks later my roller chain arrived. The packaging was pretty beat up and the plastic bags were falling apart so I used some old McMaster bags I had. I love McMaster. Even the shipping bags from McMaster are amazing.

Now that I had the parts I was able to use the pin gauge set to figure out the size of the holes in the inner and outer links, as well as the master clips. Below is a picture of the gauge set.