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Help in designing commerical mower needed...Question 1!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jamie, Mar 3, 2001.

  1. Jamie

    Jamie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7


    My name is Jamie Palmer, and I'm a student at NC State University working on a project involving designing a commercial mower. I've actually been a member (lurker) of lawnsite for a while and previously received some terrific advice for my lawn at home. You folks were the first group I thought of when we got this project at school. Our team already has asked you a question, Saunders got many replies when she was asking you what types of mowers you folks owned and used.

    We're looking at the same market currently occupied by the Wright Sentar and the Hustler ShortCut--small, ride-on machines that try to offer the same space-saving advantages as the standers. Our goal is to design a mower that exceeds anything on the market now in this class but could compete with them on a price basis. I'd like to ask you folks, the obvious experts in the area, some questions over the next couple of days/weeks about capabilities and features you like (or don't like, for that matter!) Hopefully this is the right forum? I've looked in past conversations that you've had along these lines and it looks like you had some great ideas!

    My first question is this: Looking at the Great Dane and the Wright standers, it looks like the Great Dane's deck is suspended like the larger Mid-Z's, while the Wright's is not. Does this make a real difference, cut and adjustment-wise?

    Thanks for any time you can give us answering these questions...and please feel free to offer any ideas you've got!

  2. First question:

    How do you plan on circumvent the patent of Wright mfg.?

    You can't produce a machine in which another company holds the patent
  3. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    I myself like the floating deck (Great Dane) better then the fixed, they seem to give a better cut. Adjustment is handled with ease.
    Wright has a new mower out now I think it is the sintar, it is a stander with a seat on it basically. You might want to also check out the convertable mower, I dont remember who makes it,it is convertble from a z to a walk behind.
    Good luck on your project, I think you are going the right way, ask those who use and work on them. Dont just sit back in a design office and build somthing to force on people, find out for yourselve what works and dosnt. Somthing else you might want to do is actually go out and demo some machines for yourselvs. I am sure you can find some shops that will be glad to help you.
    Do not forget to talk to the mechanics to find out how easy it would be to work on.

    Jims openion only the openion of others will vary.
  4. plow kid

    plow kid Banned
    Messages: 516

    Lawrence, all you have to do is change the size of the bolts or hydro lines, exc. Someone did that to me on one of my sidewalk plows for a tiller.
  5. Jamie

    Jamie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Lawrence, we're not trying to steal anyone else's design--after all, this is a class project! We're actually thinking far enough "out of the box" where I don't believe anyone else has designed a mower like this one...yes, that's a tease, but I can't reveal too much yet.

    Natural, I appreciate the comments. We've spent some time with both a GD and a Wright, and couldn't really tell a lot of difference (small amount of time and little grass to cut yet). I appreciate the expertise! We have spent some time with several ZTR's, walks, and standers (it pays to have friends in the business!!) but obviously don't have the experience you folks do!

    Anyone else got an opinion out there about floating vs. non-floating decks?


  6. turfman99

    turfman99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    I understand this must be a project for an engineering class and you are out to design the utopian machine. As part of any manufacturing decision, the accountants would have to give the go ahead on the project.

    Why in the hell would any one try to manufacuter a mowing unit and introduce it into an already over crowed , low margin market full of mowers that work and don't work, try and develope national distribution, and lose money for the first three years ???

    Tell your instructor that you ran a market analysis and that the conditons for producing another unit are not there and you just saved the company a whole boat load of money....

    I think you should get a "A" with that rationale, because it's true.

    Not to be condensending, but I doubt if your going to come up with an idea that one of the 20 plus manufactuers has not already tried, developed or abandonded in one form or another.

  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    Could you make a 60 inch with say 12 small blades
    offset ina line.Ive often wondered howthat
    would work.Might be fun playing w the idea.
  8. LJ lawn

    LJ lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 356

    i believe that with the right amount of POSITIVE input,you could design and develop a far superior machine that exceeds all the inferior TRASH that is mass produced and spoon fed to the general public.the problem is most of the people who buy this equipment price gouge down to the penny. who is going to pay $10-15 grand for a mower?certainly not the average joe lawn co.there are some really good high -end machines out there already but not too many people are buying them,(DYNA-MOW,SCHWEISS etc)let alone even heard of them.if you can develop a mower as small as a WALKER,(small out front deck)30 hp engine,capable to side discharge or collect at the turn of a lever or flick of a switch,10 mph ground speed,single joystick control,direct hydro power to the blades (no belts or gearboxes).and a comfortable air seat.i think you'd have the perfect mower-but just too expensive for most to afford.
  9. Vibe Ray

    Vibe Ray LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 785

    There is always some idea that noone has thought of......ALWAYS. You are making a small compact rider??? I have a suggestion. Make it as light as possible without sacrificing anything important. Lighter mowers leave less ruts in a lawn and can mow in wetter conditions than one that weighs more. It also seems to me that everyone really puts all the fancy features and quality parts on the bigger counterpart mowers, so try to do everything that you can to make everyting work better or last longer on the smaller units as well and don't save it just for the bigger models. Your mower definitely has to have a niche. It has to be a really good niche to be a sucess. Something that no other nower has or does or no other manufacturer does or can do. There are many forms of niches, you just have to find your own and don't limit it to just one. Have as many as you can
    Also don't forget to make double blades standard on it!!!
  10. swing blade

    swing blade LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    look up a john deere model 111 riding mower. the deck suspension works very well, but takes a while to take on and off. make sure that your design is built as low to the ground as possible, and as wide as possible. this will prevent tippage and reduce the chances of rolling the mower. is it going to be a zero-turn? go with a large deck, similar to scag, or dixie chopper. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, GO TO A CONVENTION OR OPEN HOUSE!!!!! good luck, and e-mail me with the finished prodict.

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