Gate 1 - Group 12 - 2012

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Work Proposal

The following will detail the intended procedure for the disassembly, assembly, and respective challenges for the dissection of the product being studied.


  • The Weed Eater will first be examined externally, and the main points of assembly (screws, blots, welds, etc.) will be documented.
  • The documented points will then be disassembled with the appropriate tools and each individual part removed will be documented and sorted.
    • Tools needed for this step will include: phillips head, flat head, and allen key screw drivers; a socket wrench with various socket sizes (both metric and english units); pliers and tweezers.
    • Each individual part will be documented and sorted according to its function i.e. covers/housing, fuel related parts, electrical parts, intake parts, exhaust parts, shaft/gear parts etc.
  • The assembly will follow the opposite order of the disassembly, if necessary, and the documented parts and their respective purpose will aide in this process.


  • The expected complexity of the Weed Eater\'s assembly begs the conclusion that disassembly of a majority of the main components will not take very long.
    • No more than 1 to 3 one hour sessions in the lab.
  • Our group\'s capabilities are mostly equal, with each group member having an equal formal education and varying degrees of outside knowledge relevant to the product\'s assembly and function.
    • Two of the group\'s members have primary experience with internal combustion engines and one group member has primary experience with the repair of landscaping equipment.
    • All of the group\'s members have a basic knowledge of the mechanics and thermodynamics behind an internal combustion and how it transfers power.
    • One of the group\'s members has basic skills involving Solidworks programs and all of the group\'s members have basic skills involving AutoCAD programs.

Management Proposal

The following will detail the contact information, meeting information and timeline plan for our group.

Group Contacts

Name Email Role
Jason Gringhaus Project Manager
Erica Stamboulian Communication Liaison
Brian Bischoff Technical Expert
Michael Demeo Research Administrator
Marshall Morton Research Administrator

Group Meeting Schedule

  • \'\'\'Weekly Meeting\'\'\' - Tuesday\'s 4pm to 6pm 3rd floor Capen Library (Group Study Room)
  • \'\'\'Lab Meeting\'\'\' - Thursday\'s 4pm to 6pm 621 Furnas Hall

Group Timeline Plan

Date Objectives
10/9 Gate 2 work
10/11 Gate 2 dissection
10/16 Gate 2 work
10/18 Gate 2 dissection
10/23 Gate 2 work
10/25 Gate 2 dissection
10/30 Gate 3 work
11/1 Gate 3 dissection
11/6 Gate 3 work
11/8 Gate 3 dissection
11/13 Gate 3 work
11/15 Gate 3 dissection
11/20 Gate 4 work
11/22 Gate 4 work
11/27 Gate 4 work
11/29 Gate 4 work
12/4 Gate 5 work
12/6 Gate 5 work
12/11 Gate 5 work
12/13 Gate 5 work

Group Conflicts

Group conflicts will first be addressed by group members not involved in the conflict, and a mature solution will be formulated with all of the group members. In the event that the group conflict afflicts too many members for a solution to be unbiased, or the conflict simply cannot be resolved internally, a meeting will be arranged with the Professor to formulate a solution.

Preparation and Initial Assessment

Development Profile

The leaf blower was invented in the late 1950’s by a man named Dom Quinto, it was made originally as a part of a chemical sprayer. However, manufacturers realized that many customers were removing the chemical dispensing parts, leaving only the blower behind. Manufacturers saw an opportunity to make this as a common gardening tool. The economic situation in America was at a standstill, there were no big ups or downs, however, middle class Americans would have had the extra money to spend on convinces such as the leaf blower. Some of the global concerns around the time that the leaf blower was invented are the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cuban Revolution. The intended market for the leaf blower was the United States, and it was made to help the consumer with the maintenance of their yard, and decrease the time spent on yard work. Also, consequently this gave people more time to do what they enjoy like spend time with their family.

Usage Profile

The Weed Eater FB25 leaf blower is intended to be used as a cleaning device. It is primarily used for gardening and landscaping both professionally and at home. Many landscapers use it to clean up grass clippings and leaves left behind after they cut a lawn. It is also used to clean hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks. This is done by the product blowing air at speeds of up to 170 mph in a controlled direction.

Energy Profile

The main source of energy in this product is gasoline. Gasoline mixed with oil is poured into a fuel tank and from there it is sent straight to the combustion chamber. The combustion chamber is used with a sparkplug to ignite the fuel and push the piston into a rotation which then turns a crankshaft. The output of the crankshaft has a “turbine” like device that forces air through the machine and out the hose at speeds of up to 170 mph.

Complexity Profile

An initial assessment of the leaf blower shows 5 main components. These include the pull chord assembly, intake, combustion chamber, exhaust and turbine. These individual components take advantage of complex thermodynamic and mechanical principles, but are relatively simple devices (despite the fact that they appear to be complex). For example, the pull chord assembly uses human power to start the combustion cycle; the intake mixes fuel and air to a certain ratio; the combustion chamber transfers the energy of the combusting fuel to mechanical work through the use of a piston chamber; the exhaust expels the excess from the combustion chamber in a quiet and environmentally friendly way; the turbine takes the mechanical work from the combustion chamber and uses it to force outside air into a concentrated stream up to 170mph. The interactions between these components are not complex and in fact rather intuitive. They all work simultaneously and flow energy from one to another in the following series:

  • pull chord and intake
  • combustion chamber
  • exhaust and turbine

Components are listed together to indicate that they are working in parallel.

Material Profile

The two most prominent visible materials are plastic and aluminum. Plastic is used in external parts of the blower such as the cover, intake filter, blower tube, turbine blade, etc. Aluminum is used in the mechanical components of the engine and exhaust. Materials that are most likely present, but not visible, include copper, oil and rubber. The copper is a necessary part of the leaf blowers electrical components, including the wires and alternator. The oil is used with internal parts of the engine for lubrication. The rubber is used on other intermediary parts of the engine such as gaskets and seals.

User Interaction Profile

The consumer interacts with the Weed Eater FB25 gas operated blower during its usage as a handheld system. The blower is 10 pounds and is designed to be carried with one free hand. There is a primer located between the choke and the motor housing to ready the motor for starting. Once initiated with the starter handle cord, the user can alter the power of the blower with a throttle lever located on the top of the housing. The attached choke lever, throttle lever, primer, and start handle cord are fairly intuitive even without prior use of this product. The manual is also straightforward in the directions that are given. The product and interfaces are easy to use with steps that are uncomplicated. Regular maintenance is required however and consists of checking for loose or worn parts regularly, cleaning the air filter, inspecting or replacing the spark plug, and adjusting the carburetor. Maintenance can be somewhat time-consuming but altogether straightforward.

Product Alternative Profile

The main purpose of the Weed Eater FB25 is to clean up grass clippings and leaves. Leaf blowers are not the only product that can be used to complete this task. One product is the rake. The rake is a pretty standard tool. Some advantages of the rake are that it is environmentally and societally friendly. Rakes work on man power, which means that it does not let off any harmful emissions, and that raking could be a great form of exercise. Rakes are also quieter so they aren’t as likely to annoy any people nearby. Some disadvantages of the rake are that it is time consuming, and could be potentially exhausting work. Another product is a leaf sweeper. Leaf sweepers pick up leaves and clippings using a brush that pushes them into a bag, almost like a vacuum. Leaf sweepers are available in varying types to fit the need of the consumer. Sweepers can be hand-powered, while others are gas or electric powered, some even have the capability of being attached to lawn vehicles and be towed. Some advantages of the leaf sweeper are that it is also environmentally, societally, and globally friendly. Because leaf sweepers are so diverse, they could be used in almost any form of lawn environment; small lawns, large lawns, flat, hilly, etc. Leaf sweepers have a bag attached which stores the leaves and clippings picked up neatly. The bag could be removed and then carried somewhere to dispose of the waste collected. Some disadvantages of the leaf sweeper are that the user would have to clean the bag after each use. The work of pushing one around could be exhausting. Comparatively, the leaf sweeper is far more efficient on time than raking. Raking is also more tiring than using a leaf sweeper. The bag on a leaf sweeper is convenient whereas the person using the rake would need to find another way to collect the leaves neatly, whether it’s using a bag or transporting it just using the rake itself. These products compared to the leaf blower are not as efficient on time. As far as cleanliness, the leaf sweeper is the clear winner. Standard leaf sweepers and rakes are also more environmentally friendly because they do not use gas, where the Weed Eater FB25 does. Rakes are obviously the cheapest option with prices ranging from $10-$30. Leaf blowers range from $40-$300, however the Weed Eater has a price averaging at about $70. The most expensive product is the leaf sweeper because there are so many different types, the range is rather large. The prices range from$100 to $400.