This instructable is going to be more of a general process than a step by step as a step by step would be 50 pages long. I am going to cover the process by which I tackled this project in the following categories:
-planning (super important!!!)
-building the track structure
-building the body structure
-detailing the whole thing
-putting in the servos to drive the tank
-finishing the tank
Here is what I used to make this replica:
-MDF. I used a number of sheets of 3mm MDF for the big flat parts of the tank
-3/16 steel rod for axles for the 56 wheels
-hundreds of small nails for rivet heads
-3 rolls of PLA plastic for the 3D printed parts
-lots of glue
-a plethora of patience
Step 1: Planning
Then I found some line drawings of orthographic views of the tank. This was a huge help! I printed these orthographic views up in the exact size I wanted the final tank to be. These line drawings would pretty much dictate sizes for everything.
Step 2: Building the track structure
After getting the sides cut out I simply attached them with blocks of wood to space them out according to the plans.
Now the fun part...I knew the tank needed a LOT of wheels on the bottom of the track assembly for the tank to roll on. I modeled and printed all the rollers and geared wheels that would be built into each track assembly. Using the 3/16 steel rod I bought, I cut out all the axles needed making sure to have enough for the other side as well.
This step took quite a while...probably 20 hours of work easy.
Step 3: Printing the track
I modeled and printed test after test of a track piece that would interlock and be flexible enough to go around the geared wheels of my track structure. After getting a piece I was happy with I just printed TONS of them. using Nails I pinned them together. After many days of printing I had enough pieces to go all the way around the track structure!
Now that I had two track structures complete I needed to build the body that would go between them.
Step 4: Building the body structure
Step 5: DETAILING!
A lot of the printed detail is actually the same piece printed over and over. The strapping with fake rivets, the edge strapping...they are all the same piece just cut to fit and glued in place.
The detailing phase took a LONG time. I just kept adding more and more detail wherever I could. The 3D printed parts fit great and it is easy to simply churn out more pieces so I just kept adding. you can never have too much detail!
As for the hundreds of rivets on the tank...I just used small nails. Pre drill each hole (or else the MDF could break) and put in a nail....then dremel off the extra bit and you are good to go...repeat hundreds of times!
Step 6: Installing servos
Once I modified the two servos to act as motors I simply printed up a gear to attach to the servo. Then I screwed the servo in place on the track assembly with the servo gear meshing with the geared wheel on the track assembly.
a receiver and battery attached and all that is left is to setup the radio to drive the servos. I set it up so that the right stick controls the right servo, and the left stick controls the left servo. Both sticks forward to go ahead, both back to reverse, and turning is somewhere inbetween....just like a real tank!
Step 7: Painting
Step 8: Gazing at the wonder of your steel behemoth come to life!
the tank is capable of moving around via RC and looks great doing so! I never would have been able to create this project without the capabilities of 3D printing...we live in an amazing time!