Getting traction

The wheels for the Hack-E-Bot work rather well, but being cut from acrylic means that they have a hard time with traction on smooth surfaces. This can be fixed by adding a rubber traction ring around the wheels, but most of these add extra expense to the robot. So I have been looking for something that would be supper inexpensive to do the job.

I looked at rubber bands, but most of them are to thin to securely fit over the wheels. I do have some experience with casting rubber and could easily make a custom mold, but that takes a lot of time and money to do. I’ve seen a few people use rubber tape to stick around the edges, but that stuff can be a bit hard to work with such small wheels.

My solution came randomly while in the sports section of a local store. I suddenly realized that bicycle inner tubes would be perfect. They are cheap, strong, and can be cut to any width for a perfect fit. I got a bicycle inner tube, a 700c x 23mm i think, and cut out a 1/4″ section to test. It fit very tight over the wheel, but when it was on, it perfectly wrapped around enough so it would not easily come off. This one $5 bile tire will yearly about 100 traction tires for the Hack-E-Bot.

So this may not be the best option for someone just making one robot, but if you make a few bots that have the same wheel size, this is the way to go.

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