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Printable caterpillar track

by carlosgs, published

Printable caterpillar track by carlosgs Dec 8, 2012

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Testing a caterpillar track that is printable in one piece :)

UPDATE: Here is a video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nigrV9n9658

UPDATE 2: New version 1.2 of the tracks and wheels: more curve to avoid slipping


Scad code is messy, but i wanted to publish the promising results ASAP :)


  • [DONE] An idler is required to reduce lateral force in the servo axis
  • [DONE] The chain needs to be even more curve to prevent it from slipping out
  • Still need to figure out a nice chassis

In order to print the tracks, I use Cura (https://github.com/daid/Cura) and a 0.5mm nozzle.
Settings in Cura:
Bottom/Top thickness = 0mm
Wall thickness = 0.5mm
Fill density = 0%
Solid infill top = OFF
Joris the outer edge = ON

These settings will print the track as a continuous, single-walled spiral, which makes them very flexible and resistant :)

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How can I change the radius of the indentation for the servo mount? I'm new to openscad and im not sure what to change

nevermind I figured it out

What plastic is this printed with?

The tracks were printed with green PLA from http://RepRapWorld.comRepRapWorld.com. I have found it is more flexible than PLA from http://faberdashery.co.ukfaberdashery.co.uk (first design, printed in yellow), which makes it better for this purpose.

i see, thank you! Awesome!

Is nobody building this on the Replicator 2 using MakerWare?  I've tried everything and it always fills the first layer.

I made a more cleaner scad code for the track, the wheel will come soon. I add the possibility to have mores wheels for larger track, snow blade each x teeth:

r=45 ; // outter radius of track
h=6; //heigth of track teeth

n=50;// nb of teeth of the track keep 9/10 ratio radius/nb of teeth

t=1;//perimeters width

w=15; //track width

ri=7.5;//radius of the internal wheel at least 1/2 of the width of the track


j=1;//nb of internal wheel for large track

tw=pi*r/n;//perimetral size of tooth

b=0;//blade each teeth -for snow track, keep integer ratio with the number of teeth set to 0 for none

sb=3;//size of the snow blades


linear_extrude(height = w)teeth();

linear_extrude(height = w)jante();




module teeth(){



if (b > 0)






module jante(){



module innershape(){



hope this help

because the derivative code from the bracelet is a bit messy !

Can anyone provide guidance on printing this on a R2?  Using MakerWare?

I see the option to print without infill, but it still tries to print what looks like a bottom layer (before I stop the print).  I don't see any options to not draw a top/bottom layer.


(FYI I'm working on cura/replicatorG but it has it's own list of problems I'm trying to work through just to get it to print anything at all)

What type of servo did you use? Brand and size?

Those are Futaba 3003 modified for continuous rotation removing the electronics.
But it was just for the first test, I am planning to use SpringRC S4303R (360⁰ continuous servo).

 I was thinking making that remote controlled would be too hard for me since I have a receiver and I would mainly just have to buy a transmitter and servos.(I'm not sure if I will since I don't have much money right now) Could you upload the stl for the track that isn't solid (the one that is in the picture).

It would be cheaper using an Arduino with a bluetooth module :)
The track is solid because Cura has an option to allow printing only the perimeter as a continuous single-walled spiral.

 Ok, thanks

What am I doing wrong - the track is a solid disk?

Print it without infill/up/downskin. This garantees a good solid single line. Same trick is used with some bracelets and most models from "Joris"

That's it.
I strongly recommend Cura https://github.com/daid/Curahttps://github.com/daid/Cura which is an optimized and simplified version of Skeinforge :)

LOL I hadn't realised you were Daid the developer of Cura, thanks! haha :P

I made a little modification in the caterpilar track scad file:
to make wider track I made the number of circular bump in the base parametric.

m=50;// number of bendy parts around the circle
nb=3;// number of circular bump on base

internal_radius = 3; //9
and made the other modification :


in the module base1 and module base2

so you can increase the width of the track ans add the number of circular bump you need.

I plan to make a ski doo so it is better to have larger track

by the way if a open scad wizard coul explain how to make a transversal fin each 5  zig zag (to increase traction on snow) ....

it coul add some versability to the design

This is why I love open-hardware :)

I will try those parameters in a moment, thanks for the feedback! :PMore iterations are required to get the perfect chain pattern!

Awesome, I'm glad someone finally made a real tank out of these. People kept suggesting it, but I don't have any motors lying around. Well done.

Thanks Emmett, I love all your designs!! they are very inspirational :)

You took arround 2 hours to make it into the Featured list! Congratulations!!!

By the way, its awesome!

Your design is amazing!!! Congratulations! 

Looking good. I like the one piece tracks. Way less hardware required.