Conceptualize a DIY battery-powered, autonomous steep terrain brush mower
Image credit: Grator.com
Darko SavicAug 01, 2022
Please leave the feedback on this challenge
Is the problem still unsolved?
Is it concisely described?
Bounty for the best solution
Provide a bounty for the best solution
Bounties attract serious brainpower to the challenge.
Develop detailed building instructions so that amateur engineers can build their own battery-powered autonomous steep terrain brush mowers.
Commercial remotely operated and/or autonomous mowers are extremely expensive, but their components are not. The ability to buy the machine is what separates the average end user from the service provider (machine owner). So let's try to provide people with the ability to build such machines themselves.
The future of land maintenance is in automation. Let's empower people to build their own high-impact farming/maintenance tools. Open hardware tech for the electric/battery-powered era.
There are plenty of Youtube videos showing DIY remotely controlled flat terrain rotary mowers, but to my knowledge, none show DIY machines that autonomously traverse steep terrain and mow brush as well as tall grass.
Many landowners in my area simply give up and let their land on steep terrain overgrow with brush. This makes the land unusable for agriculture and the area look bad.
Some orientation guidelines
When designing the machine:
Lowest complexity of the build. Aim for the fewest number of parts to reduce the number of things that can go wrong and thus the need for frequent servicing/repairs.
Use parts that are readily available worldwide (recycled/repurposed when feasible). Make it easy for people to replace them with locally available alternatives.
Use open-source software.
Assume that people will be able to cut/weld steel themselves, but may not necessarily have access to more advanced tools such as plasma cutters or CNC machines.
Assume that people aren't programmers but can follow instructions to configure the suitable open source software.
Keep the safety of the operator in mind. The machine should be designed so that fatal errors cannot easily be made by the operator.
List all of the necessary components and where people can get them.
A few examples to get you started
What the DIY mower we are designing should ideally be capable of:
Here are a few DIY mower builds that show various stages:
What if you somehow installed a powerful laser that can cut grass, smaller plants or bushes?
Lasers are cool
lasers can cut grass, especially the stronger ones
possibly spend less energy than rotation blades (definitely need to check this)
How would it work?
I imagine the design as shown in the picture below.
A strong laser would be connected to the energy source. It would be strong enough to cut the grass in matter of seconds. It could be in a classic mulcher design (scheme 1) for the front end use or the rotational cutter (scheme 2) for the rear end use. The main thing would be to make sure it is never used if unsafe (protection layer damaged, laser broken, etc). Maybe even the closed design could be a way to go (to not allow anyone to open the product and use it for other purposes).
Please leave the feedback on this idea
6x6 or even 8x8 steel wheels instead of rubber tracks
Darko SavicOct 19, 2022
There are a few downsides to using rubber tracks for such a machine:
Usually, the tracks are made in China and have to be imported. This means having to pay import tax, a high shipping cost, and contributing to global warming by shipping the tracks across the world
Rubber tracks don't dig into the terrain much, so eventually, the machine would reach its maximum slope climbing ability before the tracks start slipping in place
I propose using spike wheels made of steel in 6x6 or even 8x8 configuration. This is my 4x4 example:
By using steel spike wheels you get to:
Build them anywhere in the world without importing. Thus reducing the cost of the machine by avoiding shipping, import tax, etc. Steel is available everywhere.
Very long durability. Wear and tear is negligable.
Simpler machine operation. Rubber tracks tend to slip off when the machine drives sideway on a steep slope. Steel wheels never slip.