If you could design the perfect mower

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fdew, Mar 4, 2000.

  1. fdew

    fdew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    Background; I am a mechanical designer who just bought a used commercial mower for my own use. Being a engineer type I spent months asking questions and learning about what these machines do and what you do with them, before I bought.<br>I am very impressed with the business and the machines. The machines are built for one job and they appear to be built well. But the designer in me wants to know what would be the best. I know some answers will be contradictory. Example; Very rugged, well built, and light so they don't get stuck on soft lawns. But if you would like to do some dreaming, just for fun lets go.<p>To get it started, here are some things I think I have learned.<p>The ZTR seem to be on top because they maneuver well, are fast, and fit on a trailer well, <p>There is no such thing is fast enough. It is limited by quality of cut and staying on the machine.<p>Maintenance is an issue things need to be quick/easy to get to. One man I talked to says he changes the oil once a week and the blades once a day! Is this normal? Shouldn't the blades be very easy to change?<p>Fuel Should the mower hold a days supply? How long is a day? Gas, diesel, or? What if the Diesel saves fuel but weighs 50 lbs more and cost $300 more.<p>Weight How much is to much (it is easy to add steel to make a stronger machine.) It is harder to add smarts to make a stronger machine.<p>Should the mower fasten it self to the trailer, Should the mower have a hydraulic tongue on the front so you drive up behind your truck, push the button to lower the tongue and lower the road wheels and drive away. Alternate. The trailer has two wheels and a tongue but no bed. You drive up between the wheels, push the button, and the mower arms go out and lift the mower 6 in. And you are off. We are dreaming here right?<p>Should the mower have a road speed of 30 MPH (no blades) to go from job to job.<p>Better seats?<p>Suspension seat<p>beverage holder?<p>Lights<p>More instruments. (Gas gage, temperature ETC<p>How about exhaust? Out the back, Vertical stack to get it away from you? <p>What am I going to do with these ideas, Well I would love to design a machine but to be honest this is probably just for fun.<p>Frank<p>----------<br>&quot;Thinking like we always have is what got us where we are.<br>It is not going to get us where we are going.&quot; Albert Einstein
     
  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,950

    I think the emark lazor 60&quot;+ inch deck is my idea of a ideal machine. Improvement that need to be made on it:<br>1). Will lock down and slide going down slight inclines.<br>2) Needs a deisel engine<br>3) The tires dig into the ground on zero turns<br>4) Deck wheels are time consuming to adjust for higher cuts(I don't even bother adjusting them)<br>5) on mine you can't tell how much gas you have left unless you take the tops off the tanks and look in. A gas meter put on the top of the tanks would be helpful.<br>Fix all this and you have a perfect machine<br>I have no experience with the dixie choppers. Or scags.<p>
     
  3. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 474

    Take that exmark and give it the operator controls used on the Walker machines. Super fast, great cut, awsome manueverability. <p>----------<br>Dave in S.Ontario<br>
     
  4. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I like the way you talk!!!!!!! (In Sling Blade slang). I would like to see the 30mph travel speed, maybe 2 stage tranny, 2nd stage would not allow blades to engage but would allow faster travel speed between yards or back to the trailer. <p>Some sort of knock off blade change option would be good also, while we're on the subject of blades, how about carbide tipped blades that would last up to 100 hrs without sharpening.<p>I have given considerable thought to a specialized trailer that would drop to within 2&quot; off the ground(eliectric/hydraulic) at the touch of a button inside the cab. Unload without lowering a gate, reload without raising, then hit the button again to raise the platform to the correct travel ht.<p>Kinda got off track but something to consider!<p>Homer
     
  5. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    Homer, a hydraulic operated jack to lift the front of the mower to change blades would be cool too, like Indy cars :)
     
  6. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    what about atachments, pressure washer, air compresor, generators, power converters for 110 for lights things like that automatic fertilizer bins that drop the fert. or what about microjet spray nozzle for the operator to get cooled off every 10, 15 , 20 seconds <br>and while were at it a sandwich warmer and beverage cooler would be nice too, lol<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
     
  7. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 627

    hey frank- If you build it, I'll buy it.:)<br>The new gravely z 260 has a suspension seat, ferris has drive train suspension like shocks for the drive wheels, bobcat has cup holders (some others do too) & a few have lights. <br>Some new mowers have flip up decks to get to the blades, & my steiner 220 has a high & low range- top speed is 11 mph, but more would always be welcomed.<br>The only prob. is nobody builds ONE mower with all that. Tim the Tool man needs to get into the scene, ya know? He had a cool episode where he raced bob vila with the dixie chopper with the helicopter jet engine-that was a good one. Could just buy a Z with a blown engine & put a small block Chevy on it!<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<p>
     
  8. fdew

    fdew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    This is great stuff. Some of the ideas could be added to existing machines (like the Indy car jacks and I think I could design a quick change blade (no tools) that would be a modification to an existing spindle The trailer would be a snap and would be fun to build. I did some research and it would lower the back end to rest on the pavement and pivot around the truck hitch (not the wheels like a tilt boat or snow sled trailer. When lowered it would be at a 2.5 deg slope (10 in. in 16 feet) it would lower in 5 sec and raise just as fast. An added plus would be that a lowered trailer would be very difficult to steal. Now the bad news, It would probably add $650 to the cost of a trailer. What do you think?<p>----------<br>&quot;Thinking like we always have is what got us where we are.<br>It is not going to get us where we are going.&quot; Albert Einstein
     
  9. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    I think a ZTR with a 3 point hitch would be handier than a pocket on a shirt. Aerating with a 3 point hitch is the only way to go on a bigger lawn, but I hate that darn steering wheel on my JD. The hydraulics are already there, so why not a 3 point hitch. My JD has only one pump as far as I know and it runs the hyrdo, power steering, front attachments and the 3 point hitch. A ZTR would have to have a weight bracket on the front to counter ballance any 3 pt. attachment. Just another thought.<p>Smitty, I noticed you mentioned the Jet Chopper, I have a picture of it on my website. I took the picture of it when I was at the DC Factory in November.<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.townserver.com/elm/&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>
     
  10. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    Keep working on the trailer! It would be worth the added expense in the long run in labor and time savings. Figure lowering and raising the gate 10-15 times a day x 8 months. It adds up. I know there is a ez-gate, but having the trailer lowering as you are pulling up to the stop would be a kick. Get out, hop on, go mow, load up, hit a button and start pulling off! <p>The 3 point hitch would be a great idea. All sorts of implements could be hooked up to that, and with a ZTR you could cover some territory.<p>Homer
     

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