How to increase wheel friction?

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How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » May 27th, 2012, 8:14 am

It's not a major issue, but I do find the wheels struggle for traction when crossing laminate floor room transitions. I'm not one for permanent modding, but maybe someone has an idea as to how to easily increase the wheel friction? Even better if reversible.

I've already considered slicing the wheel rubber with a Stanley knife, or rubbing on a thin layer of hot melt glue. Anyone any better ideas? What's your opinion of my ideas?
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby Boomerang » May 27th, 2012, 9:47 am

fore wrote:It's not a major issue, but I do find the wheels struggle for traction when crossing laminate floor room transitions. I'm not one for permanent modding, but maybe someone has an idea as to how to easily increase the wheel friction? Even better if reversible.

I've already considered slicing the wheel rubber with a Stanley knife, or rubbing on a thin layer of hot melt glue. Anyone any better ideas? What's your opinion of my ideas?


How about putting a small amount of Baby Powder on the laminate transition or some other type that is more gritty ...corn meal....etc. Someone may come up with a better choice....DON'T cut wheels on Neato....that would be a last resort. :roll:
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby MarkProper » May 27th, 2012, 10:00 am

Liquid rubber cement would give a better griping surface, easy enough to apply. Can be removed as well. Think it would be perfect.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby Wing Nut » May 27th, 2012, 4:03 pm

There are spray-on products for squeaky car alternator and fan belts that I guess work by improving friction between the rubber and metal components. Might be worth a try?
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby vic7767 » May 27th, 2012, 4:58 pm

A fat rubber band will also work.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby aq1okl000e0f03ldpsa0 » May 27th, 2012, 8:58 pm

These suggestions are just adding rubber to rubber.

To make the "rubber" wheels sticky again you must clean it thoroughly with warm soap and water. The wheels will then stick like new! (until they get dirty again)
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » May 28th, 2012, 5:51 am

"How about putting a small amount of Baby Powder on the laminate transition or some other type that is more gritty ...corn meal....etc. Someone may come up with a better choice....DON'T cut wheels on Neato....that would be a last resort."

--> I would have thought baby powder would act like skin dust, which I imagine is what is causing the friction loss. Why are you against cutting? I suggest only a very shallow scrape, a bit like adding a tyre grip, just to rough it up a bit.

"Liquid rubber cement would give a better griping surface, easy enough to apply. Can be removed as well. Think it would be perfect."

--> Looked this up. Looks interesting. I already have some Silicon Sealant which I might try (reversable but perhaps won't stick as well as liquid rubber).

"There are spray-on products for squeaky car alternator and fan belts that I guess work by improving friction between the rubber and metal components. Might be worth a try?"

--> Will look this up. Not too keen on the spray idea but I guess you can spray into a container then brush on.

"A fat rubber band will also work."

--> I think this is the one I'll try first. I'm just worried about it slipping off on the axle side and buring out the motor or something. I guess I can keep a close watch while I assess the idea.

"To make the "rubber" wheels sticky again you must clean it thoroughly with warm soap and water. The wheels will then stick like new! (until they get dirty again)"

--> This I do regularly. Grip is best when both the floor has recently been mopped and the wheels have been cleaned. It only takes a run through the whole house for it to suffer problem again. I only know that it should work better than this because I had a much cheaper Roomba copy which had softer rubber wheels and had no problems at all. It's also possible that my VR100 black rubber wheels are made of a harder substance that the clear Neato wheels. In my video, thread entitled "Epic VR100 video", you can see the problem at exactly 4:55. In that case it managed on attempt 2, but that's not always the case.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby MarkProper » May 29th, 2012, 5:28 pm

You'd be surprised at the "tackiness" of rubber cement. I remember when I was young make bouncy balls with it. Even when dirty it still maintains a great frictiony substance. Much more so then what the rubber tires on the neato would give you. Easy to apply with the brush applicator.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby Wing Nut » May 29th, 2012, 7:07 pm

If you Google 'anti-slip spray shoes' it will bring up some aerosol products that might work. Professional roofing and antenna contractors use something like this on their preferred footwear and it wears off after a day or two. A similar product is used on the paws of show dogs and it too wears off. It seems that neither product are like a thick spray-on latex sole - simply a thin coating that might be OK on a pair of Neato wheels without seriously increasing their circumference and affecting navigation.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby a4refillpad » May 30th, 2012, 7:31 am

Slightly off topic, but I don't find that the neato xv15 has any traction issues. In fact I have found that its extremely good in this area. Have vorwerk used a different material for the wheels for some reason?
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » June 3rd, 2012, 5:28 pm

We can't be certain, as it might just be my personal circumstances, but I did hear this before, so it's possible the VR100 wheels are made of a harder rubber. If so, I think this was an oversight on the part of Vorwerk; a lessen for them to learn.

Don't get me wrong, the traction issues are not a big deal, and it's possibly the only crack in an otherwise top product.

Ah, but I should say that I'm slightly concerned that the right bumper sensor seems not to trigger as easily as it used to. It's the one that tracks the wall, so regularly engaged. I keep my eye on that.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby a4refillpad » June 3rd, 2012, 6:25 pm

If indeed the neato wheels have better traction then an option would be to buy a neato part and swap? I thought I saw somewhere that someone was selling spare parts for the neato.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » June 4th, 2012, 3:18 pm

MarkProper wrote:You'd be surprised at the "tackiness" of rubber cement. I remember when I was young make bouncy balls with it. Even when dirty it still maintains a great frictiony substance. Much more so then what the rubber tires on the neato would give you. Easy to apply with the brush applicator.

So I was looking on the bay for Rubber Cement and saw several posts for inner tube repair. Thing is, I have a tube of that stuff. So I might have what I need already to hand. So is this inner tube repair stuff the same as what you refer to? It does say Rubber Cement on the tube, but I guess there are different grades.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby glnc222 » June 5th, 2012, 1:42 pm

Silicone Sealant's aren't tacky, some silicone used for lubricant. Increased flexibility might give a bit more floor contact, though, but dubious. Rubber bands best using rubber cement or stronger automotive SealAll flexible glue just to secure the band.
The number and placements of problem transitions matters if one might be amenable to improving the surface. Non-skid spot flooring cover in hardware, trim to suitable strip. Thin strips of wood grain printed vinyl flooring. Too much of a mess probably.

The same flooring material comes in tape from various makers ready to wrap the wheel: anti-slip tape, e.g.
http://www.amazon.com/3M-7635NA-Safety-Walk-Outdoor--180-Inch/dp/B0006HVKM4/ref=sr_1_6?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1338923405&sr=1-6
This has a gritty surface gripping shoe soles. Attach either to wheel or to floor transitions.

There is a tacky material strip on Post-It notes (available in large sheets as well), which could be glued onto the wheel.
Trouble with all coatings is they will clog with dirt.

3M auto trim fastening tape is thermoelastic foam, thinner than regular mounting tape. Clean glue off one side with solvent?

Mousepads and placemats are thin foam material which might provide a more flexible tread surface with more contact area.

Also thin foam weatherstrip, open-cell type. Very light, easily compressed. Cuts with scissors to thinnest desired.

Anti-slip tape above looks most interesting.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby glnc222 » June 13th, 2012, 2:55 am

tread anti-slip tape
Hardware store sold this by the foot from open reels in two types: a granular pattern smooth rubbery material, and another resembling the strikers on matchbook covers. For protecting floor finishes the smoother one might be preferred. I'd still try rubber bands and foam weather strip first, softer materials. Not like it needs tire chains.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » July 23rd, 2012, 2:51 pm

As an update, I ran with the Silicon Rubber idea. Turns out it's too sticky; super amazing at first, but quickly attracts dust that renders it worse than previous. It comes off easy enough though, so I'm back where I started.

It really needs something that gives, but there is quite a fine tolerance between the wheel mount and the wheel, too tight for adding anything like a fat rubber band for instance, so in the end I think I'll stick with cleaning the wheels every few rounds.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby vic7767 » July 23rd, 2012, 3:19 pm

It doesn't need to be a fat or wide rubberband just one that will provide a little traction.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » July 23rd, 2012, 3:33 pm

It should be at least flat, to prevent it rolling or slipping. I haven't completely given in. I'll try and find something suitable and report back.
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby glnc222 » July 23rd, 2012, 9:47 pm

Instead of the wheels, what about the problem transitions in the floor? Hardware tape too ugly?

Thinner rubber: strips from party balloons. Latex gloves (those medical ones, or police detectives).
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Re: How to increase wheel friction?

Postby fore » August 26th, 2012, 7:32 am

The rubber band idea was short lived. After 1 spot clean they had already shifted to the edge of the wheels. I note glnc's idea to stick them down, but I also noticed that the main brush was lifted a little higher, so I'm not keen on adding to the wheel diameter. I've definately decided to just clean the wheels when needed. Perhaps as the rubber ages its properties will change. I think the perfect solution would be to buy a set of translucent U.S. Neato wheels to replace the VR100 black wheels, but it's not bad enough to justify this. Thanks for the ideas though.
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