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Conceptualize a DIY battery-powered, autonomous steep terrain brush mower

Image credit: Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Aug 01, 2022
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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:
  1. 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.
  2. Use parts that are readily available worldwide (recycled/repurposed when feasible). Make it easy for people to replace them with locally available alternatives.
  3. Use open-source software.
  4. 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.
  5. Assume that people aren't programmers but can follow instructions to configure the suitable open source software.
  6. Keep the safety of the operator in mind. The machine should be designed so that fatal errors cannot easily be made by the operator.
  7. 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:

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General comments

Alen Žibek
Alen Žibek 2 days ago
I agree, that all the autonomous mowers are expensive, and use a lot of unnecessary components. Some remote and robotic mowers are absurdly poorly designed in some cases like:
  • High center of gravity and lightweight,
  • small smooth wheels or opposite (spikes that grab material),
  • hard to find and replace electronic parts,
  • random mowing path logic,
  • small capacity batteries,
  • small blades or huge hammers,
  • poor waterproofing.
Batteries should be used as a weight and be distributed as low and as wide as possible. Wheels should be like those that NASA uses for the mars rover (soft and airless). Arduino in waterproof housing could be a good alternative as a controller for (copy-paste code). Most of the parts should be 3D printed. The wheels need to be maneuverable like on the Combilift forklift (sideways movement) to prevent awkward positioning and maneuvering.
For me, this would make the perfect robot mower/mulcher.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 days ago
Alen Žibek all good points👍
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic9 days ago
I imagine something like this but bigger and fully autonomous

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