lawn mower project.

I am a third year product design student at John Moores University, Liverpool. I am currently undertaking a ‘lawn mower’ project for my major project.

I have found a few problems/areas I can look into:


1. Cutting wet grass- People are encouraged not to cut wet grass.

Anyone know why?

is it the safety issues- in terms of using electric machinery in damp conditions.

Is it because of uneven cuts?

Grass damage?

Grass clippings sticking to cutting blades, therefore reducing the efficiency of the process?


2. Safety- the easy access the user has to the cutting blades and also the problems with the electrical flex/cable.

3. Storage- Most existing products are difficult to store, even though some products fold away, they still don’t solve the problem of storage.

4. Maintenance- Existing products are difficult to maintain, in terms of cleaning the cutting area, replacing blades etc.

I know of a self-sharpening blade/system which is now on the market.

5 Removal of waste- In terms of empting the grass waste in bags. It’s very difficult because most grass box’s are very large, heavy and difficult to empty. Even the new flymo which has a basket that can be easily removed is difficult to empty into waste bags.

6. Multifunction/adaptors- People need to buy extra products such as aerators, seeders, trimmers etc which are very expensive, large and difficult to store. Therefore i was thinking of producing a range of adaptors, which can clip onto the lawn mower. these can be bought of the shelf and are smaller and cheaper to purchase than existing products.

There is a trimmer and lawn mower combo on the market but I think this is an area with real potential.

7. Safety problems with cutting slopes/banks- When people cut the grass on banks they tend to mow horizontal, therefore the mower can tip due to the weight of the mower and also the added weight of the waste grass.

8. Cutting methods- there is a hot wire lawn mower which was designed a few years ago, but there are problems using this on wet grass and also the danger of setting fire to dead grass. I need to investigate cutting methods in all types of industries.

Anyone have suggestions of what indusrties/technology i should look into.

I would be grateful for any opinions on problems with existing lawn mowers and/or anything that you think i should consider/research.

thanx

darren. :astonished:

“Finished or in-progress, share the fruits of your labor.”

showing something will get more of a response than writing. or asking questions.

I believe most Lawn Mowers use a shearing blade. The advantages of course being that the blades self sharpen when sheared against each other. It’s actually a really cool concept, it’s like scissors but at like a 360 deg. chopping area X the RPM. Also a rotary shearing blade is like a electric shaver, it cuts and re cuts. Whoever thought of that was genius. As for wet grass, I thought you weren’t suppost to cut wet grass because it clogs the mower and accelerates rust damage. Also the effectiveness of the cut is better when the grass is dry. Also, what if you slipped and fell and the lawn mower tipped and sliced you up. That would suck.

The project is in progress and at an early initial idea stage. I will post some images of my sketches as soon as I can.

[quote]As for wet grass, I thought you weren’t suppost to cut wet grass because it clogs the mower and accelerates rust damage. Also the effectiveness of the cut is better when the grass is dry. Also, what if you slipped and fell and the lawn mower tipped and sliced you up. That would suck.

Ive been researching non corrosive materials, chemical and fertiliser resistant materials etc, to prevent rust damage.

Also i have an idea for a mechanism/sensor which cuts the power to the mower when the its tilted above a certain angle, therefore you wouldnt have access to the cutting blades and therefore would stop the risk of ‘slicing you up’.

ill post the images as soon as i can.

thanx for the feedback.

darren.

When i lived in a house in england, i was the one stuck with the mowing. every few yards i had to tilt the thing, stick my hand around the blades and scoop out the mulch that clogged the thing up…scary and annoying.

you mentioned somethign about adaptors since there are a lot of gardent tools that involve cutting. think of a vacuum cleaner, with all those attachments for specific little jobs…why dont you apply this concept to your mower?

souds like a nice meaty project. lots of room for improvement…not huge innovations in this area lately. good luck

When i lived in a house in england, i was the one stuck with the mowing. every few yards i had to tilt the thing, stick my hand around the blades and scoop out the mulch that clogged the thing up…scary and annoying.

you mentioned somethign about adaptors since there are a lot of gardent tools that involve cutting. think of a vacuum cleaner, with all those attachments for specific little jobs…why dont you apply this concept to your mower?

souds like a nice meaty project. lots of room for improvement…not huge innovations in this area lately. good luck

update?

To pay for college, I was a landscaper. Wet grass is relative, it depends on the length of grass, how wet it is and the power of your mower. One problem is the weight of water, it can mat the grass down and you won’t get a good cut. This is especially true with longer grass. Also, if you are bagging the grass, the wet grass tends to clump more and will clog the chute to the bag before the bag fills. You have to stop a lot and it is very inefficient. If you are not bagging, the grass will still clump and kind of looks like dog s***. Customers don’t like that look and you would have to spend a lot of time raking up the clumps. The clumps can also smother and kill the grass below. In my experience, engines with more than 6 hp lessened the problem of clumping.

…waiting…

very interesting…
Now that I think about it one of the most annoying aspects of using my lawn mower is the noise. I feel like I’m bothering the neighbors with the noise, maybe a quieter mower would be nice. That way it could be used late at night or early in the morning when the sun is out. Cleanliness is also an issue. I wish I could wash it with plenty of water everytime I’m done using it. Maybe some areas you could explore.

Nice project btw, sounds very promising!

any chance something will be shown? please update.

hi sorry been busy with many projects.

ive been developing a few ideas and have started to make some simple models.

the idea im going with at the moment is a compact, light and easy to use strimmer, which will be marketed towards users who dont have large lawns and therefore need a simple, quick and easy to use alternative to a lwan mower.

after coming up with inital ideas i decided to chnage the direction of the project from a conventional lawn mower to a strimmer instead, but using a system i developed for a lawn mower.

im developing a system which cuts the grass with the movement of air which inturn moves the blades.

i cant really describe the idea or post diagrams because i am looking at getting a patent for the idea once ive made some models and proved it works.

i know ist very difficult to understand the concept without any sketches or pics of the models im making but ill have to investigate if i have a registered design/copyright before i post.

as soon as i can i will scan some images of sketchs i have done for the lawn mower.

thanx for the feedback.


regards darren

“i cant really describe the idea or post diagrams”

defeats the purpose of this forum section - “share the fruits of your labor”. will move to General for any additional discussion.

Ykh, original poster has some justifiable confidentiality issues, given lawnmowers have to this day stayed the awful medieval monstrosities they have been for decades, but are serious bread for many firms out there. Lots of people beside designers follow these threads on Core. Good ideas may indeed be the proverbial dime a dozen but the evidence is in that, even so, many firms in 2005 are sadly bankrupt in this respect.

I’ve worked on a similar project, and if you’re in the right geographical area, you may even want to consider the just-as-terrible “family” snow-blower as project. It’s heartening to see some designers tackling more technical terrain in desperate need of original working solutions, but traditionally treaded by engineers alone, with the results we see.

Some hints.

  1. Check the forces developed by the steel blades under even the cheapest models on the market, and consider that last century the French sold for several decades the famous Citroen 2CV automobile, which really stood for 2HP. That was a CAR carrying 4 adults. You cut grass blades. Usually once a week. More often if you’re retired or unemployed.

  2. Safety. Big, big issue here especially if you have your 2 year-old losing stuff in the grass that later gets projected either in his face, your car or someone’s errant dog. Made in China plastic trinkets aside, consider stones and other typical garden litter of the harder variety.

  3. Someone here mentioned noise. You better believe it that on a nice Sunday morning, birds chirping and all, with three of your neighbors simultaneously at work on these you’re not a happy camper.

  4. Weight. You have to try this yourself on the stupid little wheels they have to understand why on earth someone would want to push that thing around for any length of time, especially on terraced or sloping backyards. Companies making these products firmly believe you have to suffer for a natural carpet lawn.

  5. Gardena of Germany sells a lighter, re-chargeable cordless electric, OK for tiny lawns, definitely one of the more forward-thinking models out there. It also uses the superior spiraling blade system you see on manual mowers that does a better job at low speeds than rotating blades, runs on two wheels and a roller, and produces almost no vibrations or decibels. Have a look at it.

  6. Tall, wet grass sticks, is very heavy and really the main reason some of these behemoths go up to 6HP (gas) or even more. The other is the quintessential American obsession with size and power. These are the SUVs of lawn-care really. Remember, you’re only cutting organic GRASS, not machining steel.

  7. Storage space. Check out how much valuable real-estate these cumbersome clunkers take in a typical garage, more if gas-powered, let alone the wisdom of storing gasoline cans in your house.

I think your air-controlled blades idea borrows too heavily from Dyson’s vacuum cleaner and sounds like an impractical power hog, though the lawn-mower today begs for an iconoclastic Dyson-like solution and is a great marketing opportunity in the right hands.

There is a very common, inexpensive and closely-related product out there that should have shown power mower manufacturers the way long ago, but the marketing lobbies of this industry have more clout than people with common-sense. Translation: there was no money in making people’s lives easier so a new product category, requiring an additional purchase and periodic maintenance, was created. The evolution of that particular product into a safer, practical everyday lawn-mower never happened, but walk into any hardware store and look at it. And you thought only ink-jet printer makers took people for a ride.

This is a product design case which, in order to succeed, requires a well-drafted design brief and necessarily borders on invention. Speaking of which, do start with a solid search on the US Patent Office web site, it will show better for your project and later job search.

“Ykh, original poster has some justifiable confidentiality issues”

no argument. not the reason it was moved.

thanx for the feedback egg.

you mentioned lots of issues that i have been thinking about and trying to solve through this design i am working on at the moment.

Safety, weight, storage and the possibility of a re-chargeable model are key issues that im working on at the moment.

the problem with re-charging is the size, charge time, power, weight etc, all very important issues.

safety- I belive i have solved many safety issues but at the same time due to the type of system/function i have created them too.

weight- this is very important factor which has been considered in many models of strimmers, gardeb vacs etc with the introudction of rollers/wheels which reduces the strain on the user.

Aerodynamics, liquid-dynamics and mechanical enginnering are key issues that i will be talking to engineers about shortly. in terms of cutting speeds, air flow, weight, gears etc.

once i have produced my final design and i have copyright/registered design/patent i will definately post images but at the moment i dont feel in the correct LEGAL position.

thanx again for the feedback.


darren.