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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tamiya 1/16 Scale Leopard Chassis....

I have a couple of updates relating to robotics to share this week. Below is a picture of a Tamiya 1/16 scale model tank that was given to me as a gift. It is actually one tank with the upper plastic tank looking parts on the right and the metal mechanical motorized chassis on the left. I want to thank my friend DV here for giving it to me - Thanks!
Looking at it in detail it is clear that this is a quality kit but it has seen better days. The metal treads are not rolling smoothly and the tread tension adjustment is maxed out and the treads are still loose (maybe they have a few too many links!) There is also some missing screws and other things that at first glance I thought were missing parts but now I believe they were removed in an attempt to make this thing go.

The drive mechanism for this is pretty sophisticated considering that it is a model. There is one drive motor that is running all metal gears that is connected to two mechanical clutches (black cylinders in the picture). The clutches are activated by a servo (missing in this tank) similar to the servos that I used in My Robot.
The really neat thing about this kit and what really caught my eye initially is the quality of the gearbox and the fact that most of the entire chassis is metal.  The suspension for the treads actually works with each idler wheel in the tread being supported with a torsion spring. Additionally the plastic top seems to have amazing detail and a 'real' look to it. I'm not a tank expert but it appears that everything looks right...
These days I'm not spending a lot of time in the freezing cold garage where I can work on this but as soon as the weather warms up a bit (or at least the garage) I'm going to carefully photograph the entire chassis, gears etc... strip it down, clean it, paint and re-assemble it all to at least the point that it's at now. The action of the clutches seems to be really stiff and it needs a lot of work but I think that this is the beginning of a really cool project. I'm not sure if I'll rebuild it as a tank but I will figure it out and get it running.

On a similar and related note my son built up a tank as well as you can see in the second picture. He got his designed and 'running' in a matter of several minutes! Similar scale but it has a much more flexible architecture!!

As my son works on his vehicle I'll work on mine and post the progress of each as they progressively progress onward....

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