Hackaday Prize Entry: The Weedinator Project, Now With Flame

We like that the Weedinator Project is thinking big for this year’s Hackaday Prize! This ambitious project by [TegwynTwmffat] is building on a previous effort, which was a tractor mounted weeding machine (shown above). It mercilessly shredded any weeds; the way it did this was by tilling everything that existed between orderly rows of growing leeks. The system worked, but it really wasn’t accurate enough. We suspect it had a nasty habit of mercilessly shredding the occasional leek. The new version takes a different approach.

The new Weedinator will be an autonomous robotic rover using a combination of GPS and colored markers for navigation. With an interesting looking adjustable suspension system to help with fine positioning, the Weedinator will use various attachments to help with plant care. Individual weeds will be identified optically and sent to the big greenhouse in the sky via precise flame from a small butane torch. It’s an ambitious project, but [TegwynTwmffat] is building off experience gained from the previous incarnation and we’re excited to see where it goes.

8 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: The Weedinator Project, Now With Flame

  1. Google Sizz Weeder. It was invented in the 1940’s, cut the cost of cultivation per acre of cotton to 47 cents, down from $4 for hand hoeing. It also cut the production time per bale to 11 hours, 45 minutes of labor (also with mechanical picking) VS 235 hours labor per bale with all hand work.

    1. The earlier version used to this kind of system except it was mechanical rather than flame. The current version is totally different it is a whole electric driven tractor which behaves like a CNC machine.

  2. He’s going to break an axle with that design, they are way too light for the amount of shaft unsupported. Eventually metal fatigue will set in neat the outboard bearing and snap off.

    1. Thank you for your comments, yes it is certainly possible. Which axle do you think will break first? I think the steering is more subceptable as it has an unsupported length of 350 mm, so maybe I need to beef up the steering column a little bit ?
      Another factor to consider is that the machine moves very slowly so IMO there are not too many nasty inertial loads on the shafts.

      1. 350mm is way too long to have unsupported. Even moving slow it will still fail. I would avoid having the axle rotate at all. Put the bearings in the wheel hub and drive the wheel through a chain. You could do all this with commercially available hubs and axle stubs designed for trailers. If you are in the US a good source for stuff like this is http://www.surpluscenter.com I have gotten lots of goodies from them for various projects.

        Don’t forget, you can always skid steer which simplifies design.

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