Mowing the lawn can be a tedious job. Tired of the effort involved, [i did a thing] decided to enlist the help of [Makers Muse] to build a radio controlled mower instead to make the backyard chore a little more interesting. (Video, embedded below.)
The mowing itself is done by a typical push-along garden mower with a gasoline engine. However, it’s fitted with twin DC gear motors harvested from a mobility scooter. The mowers original front wheels were also removed, replaced with casters from the same mobility scooter that donated the drive train. Off-the-shelf speed controllers were then used to run the motors, and hooked up to an RC receiver. The mower could then be steered via a radio controller set up with mixing to enable the twin-motor setup to steer and drive.
An FPV camera was then fitted on the front of the mower, sitting on a stack of kitchen sponges that act as a isolator to negate the effects of the engine vibrations on the camera. The result is a relatively smooth video feed, allowing the operator to sit at a comfortable distance and control the mower via radio and goggles.
It may not be the most effective way of trimming the lawn, but it does look like a fun project, and sometimes that’s all that matters. Of course, you could always upgrade to a fully autonomous mower instead.
Continue reading “Building A Quick And Dirty RC Mower With FPV”
[nodemcu12ecanada] is serious about saving water, which is why they built this strange lawnmower that can cut grass taller.
Short lawns are one of those clever marketing victories, like convincing people to eat a lot of sugar, that’s been doing more harm than good ever since the victory was won. Short grass is weak grass, with shallow roots, weakness to weeds, and a lot of water requirement. On top of that the grass is always in a state of panic so it grows extra fast to get to a more “natural” height. It’s great if you want to sell fertilizer, seeds, and lawnmowers. Maybe not so great for the environment.
Most lawnmowers can’t even be set high enough for healthy grass so [nodemcu12ecanada] took three electric weed whackers and bolted them to an angle iron frame. It has a lot of advantages. It’s light. You don’t need to sharpen a blade. It’s quiet. It’s electric. It’s strange appearance will scare your neighbors off from borrowing any of your tools. We love it!
Sure, mowing the lawn is a hassle. No one really wants to spend their time and money growing a crop that doesn’t produce food, but we do it anyway. If you’re taking care of a quarter acre in the suburbs it’s not that much of a time sink, but if you’re taking care of as much grass as [Roby], you’d probably build something similar to his autonomous skid-steer mower, too.
This thing isn’t a normal push mower outfitted with some random electronics, either. This is a serious mower that is essentially a tractor with blades attached to it. Since it’s a skid steer, it turns by means of two handles that control the speed of the left or right drive wheels. Fabricating up some servo linkages to attach them to specialized servos takes care of the steering portion, and the brain is ArduPilot hooked up to a host of radios, GPS, and a compass to allow it to drive all around the runways at the airport without interfering with any aircraft.
This is a serious build and goes into a lot of detail about how servos and linkages should behave, how all the software works, and the issues of actually mounting everything to the mower. The entire project is open source too, so even if you don’t have a whole airport runway to mow you might be able to find something in there to help with your little patch of grass.
Thanks to [Vincent] for the tip!
Continue reading “Skid Steer Mows Airport Grass Autonomously”
Like all publications, here at Hackaday we are besieged by corporate public relations people touting press releases. So-and-so inc. have a new product, isn’t it exciting! But we know you, our readers, we know you like hacks, and with the best will in the world, the vast majority of such things have nothing of the hack about them. Just occasionally though a corporate offering does contain a hack, and today we have a fascinating one from Charm Industrial, who are doing their best to make hydrogen from biomass. They were finding cut grass to be an extremely difficult material to handle, and their account of how they managed to feed it from a hopper into their machinery makes for interesting reading.
You might expect grass to flow from a conical hopper like an ungainly liquid, but in fact it readily clogs and forms bridges, blocking the outlet. Changing the design of the hopper made little difference, so they tried an auger. The auger simply compressed the blockage harder, resulting in the counter-intuitive strategy of running the auger in reverse. But even that didn’t work, leaving the area round the auger clear but the rest of the grass as a solid clump. Rotating plows were tried with multiple different profiles followed, but finally they settled upon a vibrating bin activator. It’s a crash course in materials handling, and though the Hackaday bench is likely to avoid having to handle cut grass except when emptying the lawnmower, it’s still worth a look.
We may have done very little with handling cut grass, but we’ve certainly taken a look at creating it.
How would you go about sculpting a garden in the 21st century? One answer, perhaps predictably, is with a 3D printer. Gone are the days of the Chia pet. Thanks to a team of students out of University of Maribor in Slovenia, today we can 3D print living sculptures of our own design.
PrintGREEN traces its roots to an art project undertaken by Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik, and Simon Tržan — an engineering student who worked on the project’s 3D printer — all mentored by professor Dušan Zidar. It uses a modified CNC machine to print layers of clay soil, water, and grass seeds that germinate and sprout in short order.
The goal of the project was to meld art, technology, and nature. Hard to argue with the results. With the rising necessity of environmentally-conscious technologies in all areas, even gardening it seems, is not lacking for innovation.
If you’re looking to implement some more tech into your gardening, check out this homemade watering controller, as well as some space-saving solutions for urban gardening.
New Project Hosting site
[Paul] wrote in to tell us about his brand new hack hosting service, HackHut. Based on WordPress with some modifications, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on as new features emerge.
Speaking of project hosting, Instructables are a common source of projects as well as complaints. Instructabliss by [Daid] is an often mentioned solution in our comments, and we thought we would bring it up so commenters don’t have to. We understand why it was made and think it was a clever hack, but we don’t officially endorse it. We survive on Ad revenue, if someone were doing this to us, it would hurt. We’re also not sure about the legalities of such a service, so keep us updated.
Grass Burning Robot
[Sebastian] brings us his grass burning, flame throwing robot. This robot takes in SVG files to create its burn path, and burns away. Not too many details, but be sure to check out the photos on his site.