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Robot Track System Lawn Mower Build Pt: 1

RoBO Lawn-Mower

So, I work at our church on the grounds team and my job is to use a push mower on the VERY steep hills around the main building; I would say there is about 2 acres of this extreme hills that need to be mowed every week. Whew... it's pretty rough sometimes!! Of course my inner-geek always comes out while I'm mowing and I think of how I could make it easier... well, what about having a robot do this for me!!

But what sort of robot could manage these hills and do a GOOD JOB of cutting God's grass... hummm...

I have been doodleing and drawing for about 6 months on this and finally started building last week!!

Here we go...

I had a small push mower that I had just bought so I was going to use that for my platform and started researching what sort of motors are best for robots and battle robots; and found that wheelchair motors are awesome work horses.

I found some on eBay for the Jazzy Pride 1 wheelchair, perfect!! I also found some tracks for a snow-blower that were about 22" long and about 4 3/4" wide which was about the right size so I snagged those as well.

For control I was of course going to use my trusty Arduino Mega and a simple H-Bridge however after researching I found that the Sabertooth 2x25amp micro-controller had everything I needed plus it was easy to 'flash' if I ever needed to hack the firmware.

Once everything had been ordered the real fun started... the building!! Everything was from scratch so there have been lots of ... what in the world... head scratchers along the way so far... biggest was how to mount the motors to the drive wheels and tracks.

Couldn't find anything I wanted to use online or any ideas from other building blogs so I came up with my own version of the "motor in the wheel" like some x-large excavators use. By welding (also, never have welded before so that's a new learning curve as well!! LOL) a piece of plate to the top of the motors I am able to use the motor itself as the mounting arm for the tracks. I had asked the Lord for help  on that as I had hit a total dead-end and BANG, as He always does he gave me this new idea and it's worked great and saved me a lot of weight!

The frame gets mounted to the mower deck via some all-thread so that you can adjust the deck height of the mower.

 These are the wheelchair motors with the piece of 12g steel plate mounted to the top; then a second piece is welded to the side with a piece of 3/4 round bar for the idler wheel.

Now the tracks and the drive and idler wheel mounted to the motor assembly.

 (Drilled and tapped some holes and then added some grease zerks to the idler wheels - friction is the enemy!!!)

Track assembly gets mounted to the frame via some 1" steel box tubing and all welded together. 

Next step is extra bracing and building my battery boxes - then, well everything else!! LOL So far so good... till next time; hope you are out there hacking, making, building or coding SOMETHING!! ENJOY!!!


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