Building a commercial walk behind mower, your info please

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by motor86, Feb 14, 2001.

  1. motor86

    motor86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I cannot afford to buy a new walk behind mower. They cost too much. I have determined that they are what I want for lawn care. They look like they are very manuverable and not as heavy as a rider.

    I am considering building one since I cannot afford one. I have a few questions about the controls and other things. I am going to build a gear drive model.

    How do the gear drives steer? Should I make independent brakes on the two drive wheels and press on the one brake to turn?

    How are they clutched? Since they are hand clutched, I assume you couldn't have as heavy of a spring. Do they use a belt clutch?

    How do they track going accross a flat yard? Do they run strait, or do they want to turn to the side? How about on sidehills?

    I am not sure how I want to build this machine. I was considering belt drive, but then I thought of how high the belt tension would have to be. I have also though about a friction plate and wheel system like on a snapper. Then I could shift while on the fly. Any suggestions?

    I can buy a 15 year old lawn tractor for $20. I could take the transmission off and engine and deck and put it in a new frame that I would make. I think I could build the whole thing for about $100.

    Any imput on this idea, or if anyone in my area has a used commercial mower for cheap (need not run) that I could buy, please reply.

    Thank you
  2. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    Dont waste your time! Its not a easy task... do you know how much time and research commerical mower companies put into there product? You cant just wip one up in your garage! You can get a decent used commerical walkbehind for 1,000 bucks!
  3. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    Not me! But,

    If you could find junk mowers with all the necessary parts, could you have it running in time for Spring?
    How dependable do you think a homebuilt from junk is going to be?

    Maybe you are a lot handier w/ a wrench than I am. But I'd rather be cutting grass!

    Personally, I went the dealer financing route (last week!).
    I got a bullet proof machine w/ a bullet proof warrantee.
    And I've got dealer w/ a reputation for helping his customers(ME)

    eXmark 48" $3000
    Stihl 2 cycle stuff $1000

    More of an investment than an expense, and I hope to have it all paid for by the end of the summer!

    If you dont want the new stuff, used is certainly a viable option! But I would buy junk that I had to piece together and then hope it would work. Much less try to make a living!
  4. Shack

    Shack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    Have you thought about a used walk behind? I am sure you will have better sucess than with a home made.
  5. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    If I couldn't afford a new mower, I would borrow the money to buy a good used commercial mower. What happens if that thing falls apart and something falls in a the blade and kills someone. Make sure you have good insurance on that mower. You can't sue the mfg. and people are sue happy.
  6. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    Well, if you are really motivated to do this, then I guess there is no stopping you. But you are a lot better off buying a used one. If you look you can find a decent one for less than it would cost to build one. And if you did succeed on constructing one, I think its a fair bet to say that there will be alot of problems with it. Now, I'm not doubting your abilities, but just saying that there is alot of engineering that goes into making a professional peice of equipment. You will end up spending more time fixing (spending $$) than you will cutting grass.
  7. VLM

    VLM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 189

    You may be wrong about weights. Most commercial wbs are made of solid 1/4" steel. They weigh from 600lbs up. I doubt a hardware store tractor is heavier. Definitely buy a used wb. No sense in trying to reinvent the wheel.
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    You're young, you've got the energy, let us know how it turns out and post a picture of it. Maybe others would want one.
  9. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    The main thing you need to be concerned about is safety. Building your own mower would probably be hard to meet safety specifications.
    Listen to the others, try to find a used one.
  10. motor86

    motor86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Would someone please answere my question. I want info so I can build one, I don't want someone telling me I can't. I have built many machines before, and I know this will work. I will use parts like mower decks off of garden tractors and buy transmissions. Please answer my questions!


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