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Making Tracks...


Rob W
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Guys,

 

Here’s a weasel track project from the T-15 ” skunkworks” you all might find interesting:

 

This project has been in works for some time and is finally getting closer to fruition.   

 

Basically, the scope of this project is to remake OEM style bands for the T15 weasel.  (T-15 tanium) 😉  (though a similar process could be used for the T-24/M29 series.)  There are currently no plans to build those.

 

The concept is to do the bands in a modular form, instead of a continuous band.  The modular design is very similar to that of the M114/M116.  That way if you break a band, you just replace the band/section and not the whole track.  You still need a serviceable set of grousers to make this work.

 

  The band wires are fully vulcanized and encapsulated in rubber similar to the weasel.  The wires terminate in steel blocks that are then bolted to the ½ way point on a grouser. Several sections of band make up a band assembly.  Because the number of grousers on a T-15 is a prime number there will be one odd, band with one less grouser attachment.

Bands, h plates and end terminals are vulcanized and encapsulated in rubber. Terminal blocks of different design have been tested in a tensile tester to 8,000 lbs pull before failure.

The following photos should give some clarity to the design. Here are some screen shots....most of this is the early work that has been revised already....many revisions... final design before molding is not show.

 

We hope to be cutting the molds soon.

 

This is project is being done for Mike Howard.  Contact him if you are interested.  This particular band could also be used on the M7 snow tractor with some modification to the mold, but plans for that have not been solidified. 

 

Enjoy...

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That looks slick Rob - nicely done.  Look forward to watching the progress and getting Mike fired up for the T-24 track bands 😁

One of the other great benefits of this design is that you will be able to easily experiment with materials and design enhancements and comparison test the ideas on the same track.

Patrick

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Guys..

There are several different versions in the pix. I know it's kind of confusing at first look, but just imagine the standard weasel bands only modular...and they bolt together on the grouser. Much easier to manufacture then a continuous band....and much easier to repair by replacing a section vs scrapping the whole band.

Progress is slow, but there is progress.  Track projects don't happen over night. Some momentum now though...time to make tooling and cut molds. some test blanks, not bent or milled are shown below.

 

Mike can be reached at mhowardems at GeeMail.com  (not spelled that way, just trying to keep him from getting spammed)

Tom, got you message...will give you a call soon,

Rob

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  • 1 year later...

Here are some updates..., it's been a while.  This is a segmented band system, they bolt together on the the grouser, much like a M114/M116.  Segmented so you can replace a section if it fails.  Both ends  of the segment are fully crimped in a 100 ton press.  The H plates and cables "float" in the vulcanized rubber just like the OEM bands were made. The crimps have been tested to over 8000lb pull strength. (see previous photos) Whole cable assembly is fixtured in matching mold halves with unvulcanized rubber, and put in a 200 ton heated vulcanizing press.

These are only for the T15 right now, first full set are being molded, and should be tested soon.  A similar setup could be used on a standard weasel but you would need to make new molds, same concept should work though.

This pitch and grouser setup is the same as the M7, so with an insert in the mold to adjust for length, they would work on that vehicle as well.  M7 uses the same grouser as the T15 and same pitch.

Enjoy.... 

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Edited by Rob W
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Thanks Guys,

It's been a long road to get this far.  Much of the credit on this project goes to Barrett D. from the old weasel board... (he might be lurking on here too😉) Without his tool making skills and work, (he did those beautiful molds and more), this project wouldn't be where it is.  Also had some help from Jason B. from the old board and of course Mike H. for believing in this idea and making it happen.  

These are the "beta test" version, they will go on a machine in the near future for testing to make sure things are where they need to be.  If they work well, there will be a small production run for T15 vehicles in the coming months.

There are no plans at this time to make this type of band system available for the standard weasel track. However,  pretty much the same recipe could be used, it would need appropriate molds and parts.  Not impossible, to do,  but not nothing either.

 

 

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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)

Guys,

Haven't posted much on this in a while, but the "modular bands" progressed quite a bit to the testing stage.  Mike Howard has received his bands and done a bit of work getting his T15 ready for testing.  He has reported great success in the first 25 miles of operation.  He probably has at least double that by now and I will update as he gets more information.  He's gotten to third gear without any issues,  stated that they are very quiet, excellent turning, etc. No perceptible wear at this juncture.  He also ran it in the mud, but that was not intentional....so he says😂 

This definitely appears to be a viable solution for re-banding weasel tracks with original the original look and function with upgraded serviceability.

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Edited by Rob W
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Posted (edited)

Hi Larry, 

Thanks.

Mike has asked us to start putting the production schedule together.  I'd like to see some more miles before we start down that road.  Always a good idea to test, test, test.  Especially before committing to design and production.   We'll try to keep posted a little better, but likely you'll see things available end of summer early fall, in time for winter.

These things take time and all the vendors and production have to come together... a challenge any time in making a small production run of a high quality, reasonable cost project, but even harder during the crazy economic times the last couple of years.

Will try to post some more pix and info soon.

Regards,

Rob

 

Edited by Rob W
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Great fix Rob. Better than the conveyor belt I have used. I would purchase a complete set for the M-29C 55 grouser track with the 4 wide bands when they become available.

Edited by D.R.H.
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