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I would like to build a robotic base to push a snowplow, mow the lawn, and have an ability to mount other tools.

To test out a few ideas, I decided to build a cheap testbed to see what works as I envision, and what does not.

The development of the robot proceeds the posts by quite a bit. It could be that Webmaster is not my thing, but the files do eventually get posted. Version 1.0 was posted on Instructables, though it has improved since then.



It's October. My underground sprinklers have been blown out so they won't freeze. My mower moves around and cuts grass. The build log is trailing way behind the actual build. My robot thoughts are drifting away from lawnmowing and back to snowplowing.
I make no assertion that this little testbed could move very much snow, but it happens that I have an american crabapple tree that litters my sidewalk with crabapples ½" to ¾" in diameter. Even this small version could push these crabapples to the edge of the sidewalk while using algorithms similar to what is needed for real snow. It would also have the advantage of colors other than white available which it can use for navigation, and the 'am I done yet' routine.

Can this 'bot still be called Rebel Yell if it does not cry mow, mow, mow?

Some thoughts for spring:

Better blades: The wooden blades do cut grass, but not as well as I would like to see. Perhaps I could have metal cutting bars cut on a waterjet saw? X-acto blade inserts?

The comb needs to have wider gaps: Grass, the fat bladed stuff I really don't want in the lawn anyway, sometimes gets caught in the comb and will not go in far enough to reach the blades. The question becomes, "how wide can the gaps be and still keep small fingers out?". Maybe this will be resolved by running it with a reel (like a combine) to push the grass harder .

Better way to keep mower in the yard: I would like to do this without installing any fixtures in the yard. The gold standard here is the Roomba. One can take a Roomba and set it in any living room, push the button and it will do its thing. No auxiliary equipment and little training is a worthy goal for a mower.




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last updated 10-27-11