Engineering student project... Need advice :D - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Engineering student project... Need advice :D

Hello, I'm an EE student at a snowy state school and our senior capstone project is to modify an existing snowblower to become somewhat autonomous.


The first hurdle will be the construction of a turning mechanism. We think that the easiest way to do this would be to pick a self-propelled snowblower that allows for the rotation of one wheel while the other is stopped. I'm not sure if that exists, but if it had a simple differential or other mechanism built-in (we are not mechanical engineering students!) then we could build a brake system that applies to one wheel at a time and allows the other to rotate the machine. Is there anything similar to this out there? It seems that some Ariens models have something similar, called an Auto-Turn feature but the new models are out of our price range. But I think we can buy from Craigslist so any help is appreciated, including entirely new ideas.


Thanks! If anyone is interested, I can update this thread with future progress.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 08:22 AM
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sounds like fun! You will most likely have a quicker start finding a blower with powered steering levers. Just as you mentioned one wheel is powered while the other isn't. I think the autoturn would add a level of complexity that isn't needed and more difficult to overcome since it isn't always powered in one or both of the wheels :


I posted the TroyBilt (MTD) video because it was convenient but others will likely have opinions on other models that might be easier (and possibly better) to find on CL.

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post #3 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 08:22 AM
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Garage
MTD and Craftsman have them, MTD makes Craftsman snowblowers and other brand names.

1986 Ariens ST522, 5hp, 22"
1995 Murray Craftsman 10hp, 29" w. 12" impeller
A 1983 Real John Deere 10hp, 32" w. 12" impeller, 16" auger, 20" high front, cast iron gear box, chains
Noma 9hp, 27" w. 12" impeller
Noma 5hp, 24" w. 12" impeller, 20" high front
Gravely Convertible, 12hp Kohler cast iron, 26" width, 600 lbs of cast iron & steel, 2 speed impeller, 4 ground speeds
Dynamark 8hp, 26", 12" impeller, for sale
Several other 5hp, 8hp, several 2 cycle, all for sale
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 08:29 AM
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the guts...

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post #5 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 08:31 AM
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the to main types are a dual clutch style setup with a trigger on each handle, when the trigger is pulled that clutch disengages and the opposite wheel keeps turning. The second is like a differential in a vehicle, pulling the machine in a direction will cause the axel to turn easy in on direction. Id imagine adding servos to replace the triggers would be an easy way.


Noma 10/29
Cub cadet 5/26 conv to 8/26
Toro 8/24
Husqvarna st230p
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Specific question: For the second type, I would think that most normal usage works like this: the operator disengages the clutch to turn the machine around. Do you know if any models allow for such turning while the clutch is engaged? Or better yet, if that is how it normally works. Thanks. I am worried that we will get a model that is self-propelled and allows for independent wheel turning, but not at the same time.
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 09:42 AM
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There are 2 clutches, one on each side. Both are engaged until a trigger is pulled to release a wheel.


Noma 10/29
Cub cadet 5/26 conv to 8/26
Toro 8/24
Husqvarna st230p
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, I misunderstood. Thanks
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 11:00 AM
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I'm going to chime in here with a couple of thoughts. First off, all my blowers have solid axels so it's only based on what I've read. I'm wondering how easy it will be to turn the unit based on wheels only with the auger on the pavement. I'm wondering if it might be easier to have either a 4 wheel (like a BobCat/loader) setup or tracks? If it's 2 wheeled, you're going to have to have the auger down all the time. If it was 4 wheeled or track it might be possible to rig a means of elevating the auger housing when attempting a turn.


Just thoughts.
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-13-2019, 01:50 PM
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In previous projects ive seem like this, without somthing to turn the front of the machine, the rear wheels need to be controlled independently 100% of the time either by electric motors or hydro setup


Noma 10/29
Cub cadet 5/26 conv to 8/26
Toro 8/24
Husqvarna st230p
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