Category: Gardening and Lawn Care

Wheelchair-Attached Lawn Mower

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a lightweight mower that can easily attach to a wheelchair for an individual with mobility disabilities. The design includes a plastic base with wheelchair attachments that allow the base to be suspended above the ground in front of the client's wheelchair without impeding the wheelchair's motion. Two cordless electric grass shearers are attached to a base, providing a 12-inch cutting width. The device provides an even cut only on very smooth surfaces, because the shearers move up and down as the wheelchair travels over uneven terrain. The main components of the Wheelchair Lawn Mower are the shearers, the base, the shearer-base mount, two support arms, foot-bar hooks, and L-bracket attachments. The commercial shearers (Homelite, model UT44170) weigh 2.1 pounds and have a battery life of about 1 hour. The base is constructed from 0.5-inch thick high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The lateral length at the front is 19 inches, and the width from front to back in the center is 11 inches. The shearer-base mount attaches the shearers to the base. A 0.5-inch threaded zinc rod passes through existing holes in each shearer, and fastens into HDPE blocks, which attach to the base. The support arms attach the base to the wheelchair near the seat. Constructed from 1-inch aluminum tubing, each support arm contains a solid aluminum rod press fit at the bottom end, which is threaded to provide a secure attachment to the base with a 0.375-inch bolt. The device attaches to the footrest area of the wheelchair with two foot bar hooks, 1-inch diameter single-ended conduit clamps secured to the rear of the base with 0.375-inch bolts. The user slides these hooks over the footrest bar. To suspend the base assembly from the wheelchair, the support arms connect to an L-bracket attachment on each side of the wheelchair frame. Each L-bracket attachment includes an eye bolt fastened to a 5 x 1 x 0.125 inch L-bracket, one end of which slides into a slot (created for a previous adaptation) below the seat. The eye of the bolt provides an attachment location for support arm hooks fastened to the upper ends of each support arm. To mount the device, the user slides in the L-bracket attachments, puts the foot bar hooks over the footrest bar, and then puts the support arm hooks into the eye bolt ends. The power switches for both shearers are wired in parallel, and the wires extended to the top of the right support arm, where a single toggle switch allows easy on/off control. Future work may consider a flexible front suspension or wheels to help keep the shearers at a consistent height. The replacement cost for this device is approximately $200. TITLE: Wheelchair-attached Lawn Mower. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 7: pp. 62-63. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2010.


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Wheelchair-Attached Lawn Mower