Group 2 - Weed Wacker - Gate 1

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Group 2 - Homelite Trim and Edge String Trimmer (UT 20698)Group 2 - Weed Wacker - Gate 1
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Name of Artifact Homelite Trim and Edge String Trimmer
Manufacturer Homelite
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Contents

Work Proposal

Overview

We plan to reverse engineer our line trimmer. In doing so, we will learn the thoughts behind each and every component and system of the trimmer.

Approach for Disassembly and Assembly

In order to fully understand all the engineering that went into the trimmer, we will have to remove every nut and bolt. From looking at it, we have put together a table of what tools will be needed for each component of the trimmer (see table 1).


Table 1: Tools Needed
Tools Component Used On
Pliers Shaft grip
Allen Wrench Handel
Allen Wrench Crack Shaft Cover
Pliers Guard Bracket (missing guard)
Flat head Screwdriver Air Filter Cover
Allan Wrench Exhaust Cover
Allan Wrench Exhaust
Spark Plug Socket Spark Plug
Cleaning Solution Cleaning of All Parts
Camera Documentation of Project



We plan to start with the outer most parts and work our way inward. In order for us to succeed in this whole process we are going to have to take extra care in remembering how things go together. We will need to take pictures of each step and take notes along with drawing diagrams. This should give us sufficient material to refer to while studying the trimmer and aid us in the reassembly process, which will be a long time after taking it apart.

We also plan to clean up every component of all debris and grease. This will help us not miss anything and allow for an easier reassembly.

We plan on devoting a full day to dissecting this piece of equipment. During this time, we will determine what parts we may need to buy/fix and what component(s) each group member is going to become an expert on. We will also clean the parts at this time. At the end of this project we will get together for another full day to reassemble our cleaned, and new/fixed parts in a manner that will allow the trimmer to function properly once again.

Challenges

Uncertainty of What Lies Within

Table 1 only includes what we can see. We are unsure of what may lie within so many more tools may be needed. A machine shop should contain all the tools we need, but we may find that we need some special tools. For example, we may need something that will help us put the piston and piston ring in during reassembly.

Missing Parts

It seems as if some parts on this trimmer are loose. This raises the suspicion that some parts may have become loose and fallen off. We may need miscellaneous hardware to get this trimmer back into operating condition. Along with this, we noticed that there is no guard on this trimmer. This may have broken off or never have been there in the first place. We may need to develop a makeshift guard in order for the trimmer to be safe to operate.

Dysfunctional Product

As of prior to dissection of our trimmer, it is not functioning. When the zip start cord is pulled, it does not fire up. It is not seized up and no fluid is leaking which leads us to believe that it is a relatively easy fix. It does not seem to be combusting whatsoever. We believe this may be due to one or more of the following issues:

• Bad spark plug

• Bad fuel or clogged fuel line

• Filthy carburetor restricting air or fuel

• Filthy air filter restricting air

• Excessive internal engine sludge build up

Summary of Capabilities

Overall, our group is relatively inexperienced with a dissection of a trimmer such as this. There will be a lot of learning in the process of disassembly and reassembly. Tyler and Cory both have experience with other types of engines but have never worked on a two stroke engine which is different than the typical four stroke engine. Their experience with four stroke engines may be translated to the engine on the trimmer and the rest of the mechanical components. For all other members of the group, this will be their first time removing a bolt from an engine. All these members have very little experience with a mechanical product of this nature.

In order to Succeed in the Dissection

Mechanically, we have recognized that some members of the group have more skills than others. Whether it may be the understanding of how an engine works or how to use tools. These members will need to develop a teaching skill in order to pass on their knowledge and skills to members of the group that lack them. All members must be prepared to strengthen their mechanical skills.

Our communication skills will also be critical during this project. We will need to communicate exactly what is going on to each member of the group so that everybody understands the trimmer. If everybody understands it, everybody will understand their individual part to the fullest extent.

Most importantly, we will need to develop our organization skills. We must follow our plan in an orderly manner and take special care in labeling and sorting. Any errors here may lead to confusion in the analysis, a longer reassembly time, and the possibility of not being able to reassemble.


Management Proposal

Management Plan

For our group to be successful in this long MAE277 project we need to be very well organized. This means members knowing what they need to have completed and by when. Also we must leave enough time for the group to come together to discuss each groups members work. Along with leaving adequate time for meeting before the due date their must be time for Mike to be able to compose everything into the Wiki page.

Contact Information

Any question you may have about our project can be directed to Michael Hynes at mwhynes@buffalo.edu or (585)-943-1478 (Cell number).

Meetings

All group members have agreed that weekends during the day is an open time. This time ranges from 11:00AM - 6:00PM both Saturday and Sunday. Corey has graciously offered his house for our group to work at, he lives about two minutes off of North Campus. We will all meet weekly or biweekly depending on the workload of each gate or if any problems arise we can meet more often.

The key to a successful group project is making sure each person is aware of what they are responsible for. A simple way to accomplish this is assigning members individual roles. Although people do have individual roles everyone is responsible for helping one another and understand the project as a whole.

Roles

Tyler Ocwieja
Project Manager
Mike Hynes
Head Wiki Developer, Scheduler
Cory Glassberg
Technical Lead
Thomas Noonan
Utility
Nicholas Mayrose
Scriber, Photographer


Roll Description

Project Manager

Responsible for the overall appearance of the project. Looks over all aspects of the project and makes sure things are running smoothly and work of each group member meets standards.

Head Wiki Developer

In charge of formatting and inputting the data collected into the wiki. Must work with all other group members well to insure that no information was missed while being put into the wiki.

Scheduler

Must be in constant contact with all group members too ensure they are aware of due dates. Also needs to plan meeting times and places that is convenient for all group members.

Technical Lead

Is responsible for understanding the technical end of the project. This means being able to handle the individual components of the trimmer and understanding what each component does. Very important role for dissection and reconstruction of trimmer.

Utility

Must have a very solid understanding of the entire project and all of its components. Should be able to fill in for any other role upon short notice and help other members when needed.

Scribe

Responsible for taking down extremely descriptive notes on every part of the project. Always writing what got done at each meeting in an organized manner.

Photographer

Responsible for capturing every component of the project. This ranges from the product as a whole to every individual piece of the product. The pictures must be labeled and organized.

Road Map

Gate 1 (Due 10/4)

Project Management: Request for Proposal:

  • Work Proposal - Tyler
  • Management Proposal - Mike

Preparation and Initial Assessment:

  • Create a development profile for the product - Nick
  • Create a usage profile for the product - Nick
  • Create an energy profile for the product - Cory
  • Create a complexity profile for the product - Cory
  • Create a material profile for the product - Cory
  • Create a user interaction profile for the product - Tyler
  • Create a product alternative profile - Tom

Create Wiki Page - Mike

Gate 2 (Due 10/23)

Project Management: Preliminary Project Review:

  • Cause for Corrective Action (To me done after Product Dissection) - Tyler

Product Archaeology: Product Dissection:

  • At Corey's house; Date TBD - All group members

Product Dissection Assessment:

  • Ease of Disassembly - Cory
  • Document the connection of subsystems - Tom and Nick

Create Wiki Page - Mike

Gate 3 (Due 11/15)

Project Management: Coordination Review:

  • Cause for Corrective Action - Nick

Product Archaeology: Product Evaluation:

  • Component Summary - Cory
  • Product Analysis - Tyler
  • Engineering Analysis - Tom

Component Assessment:

  • Component Function - Components of the part will be broken up to individual members. 

Create Wiki Page - Mike

Gate 4 (Due 12/2)

Project Management: Critical Project Review:

  • Cause for Corrective Action - Tom

Product Archaeology: Product Explanation:

  • Product Reassembly - All group members
  • Mechanisms - Tyler and Mike
  • Design Revisions - Nick and Cory
  • Recommended Action - Tom, all group members review and add to document

Create Wiki Page - Mike

Final Delivery (Due 12/13)

Project Management: Delivery:

  • Finalization of Deliverable's - All, we will decide upon speaker later by 12/6/13
  • Final Assessment - All, is sent to use via email the day the technical report is due.

Product Archaeology: Documentation:

  • Technical Report - All
  • Oral Presentation - All

This is just a recommended list and may be changed at anytime throughout this project. If conflicts are to become a problem within the group then our first call to action would be too all sit down together and have a talk about the problem(s). If this does not we will need to contact a professor.

Gantt Chart

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Preparation and Initial Assessment

Development Profile

Product History

Weed Eater, an outdoor equipment company, was founded in 1971 by a man named George Ballas who wanted to create a line trimmer that would not harm the bark of the trees when the trimmer came into contact with it. In the late 1970s, Weed Eater merged with Poulan and together the company became a leading manufacturer in gas, electric, and battery powered outdoor equipment including lawnmowers, snow blowers, chainsaws, and line trimmers. Weed Eater line trimmer was produced to trim the lawn in areas that the lawnmower cannot easily reach. Designed to operate in more rural and suburban areas, the weed eater would not be well suited to be used in cities because of its limited amount, or lack of, grass. Not constricted by a cord like an electric line trimmer would be, the Weed eater line trimmer can be used in a wider range of places from a household lawn to the lawn on the property of a school. One of Weed Eater’s main priorities in producing line trimmers is to ensure the use of comfort and safety. As a result, they have installed a padded handle on the shaft of the line trimmer as well as a safety shield on the user side of the head that blocks the cut grass and weeds from hitting and possibly injuring the user.

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Economic and Global Concerns

While trying to produce a line trimmer that was both safe and user friendly, Weed Eater also designed the product to face economic and global concerns in order to make it as desirable as possible. Because it was produced in the late 1970s, it was designed and manufactured with a gas engine because people were not concerned about the soaring gas prices as they are today. The low prices of gas that existed during that time made having a gas engine beneficial because the line trimmer has a small-sized fuel tank and requires little gas to fuel it. The product also costs less than most other line trimmers, but still does quality work, making it very cost effective for the user. The line used for the trimming also has a tendency to break when it comes in contact with hard objects such as a fence or the side of a house in which new line will be released from the head until it runs out and a new spool of line has to be purchased. As a result, this line trimmer comes equipped with a bump line feed ensuring that no line goes to waste when being replaced making the spool of line last for a longer period of time. With various locations in Canada, the vast majority of Weed Eater locations are in the United States. As a result, Weed Eater has little concerns with global factors. Although the line trimmer runs off of a combination of gasoline and motor oil which would make it globally diverse, this specific company designs them to run solely off of 87 octane gasoline, which limits it use to North America. Further limiting its usage to North America, more specifically to the United States, the specifications are presented in English units.

Product Sales and Distribution

Most Weed Eaters are produced in the United States and Canada, and are manufactured to be sold solely within North America, mainly in the United States and Canada. While foreign consumers are able to purchase a Weed Eater, the vendors do not ship outside of North America and therefore an alternative method of shipping must be established. As a cost effective product, the Weed Eater is relatively cheap, but is intended to have a long life cycle and require little maintenance aside from replacing the line in the head of the trimmer. Further increasing the cost value of the product, Weed Eater trimmers come accompanied with a two-year warranty that covers any manufacturer defects that are encountered during usage and parts and labor that might be needed if damage is inflicted on the trimmer; however, any damage imposed on the trimmer due to the use of accessories not recommended by Weed Eater or improper maintenance is not covered.

Intended Impact on Consumer and Society

The Weed Eater line trimmer was intended to represent the best value to consumers by offering quality, power, and durability at a fraction of the price of trimmers manufactured by other companies. Manufacturing various models of 2-cycle gas trimmers, Weed Eater allows consumers to get professional quality without a high price tag. Addressing the problem of limited mobility that accompanies the electric line trimmers that must be plugged into a power source in order to work, the use of a gas allows for endless mobility by eliminating the need for a power cord. This provides the consumer with freedom to easily move around and utilize the product in a faster and more efficient manner. The line trimmer also ensures that the user remains safe and comfortable by installing a safety shield on the user side of the head and having a curved drive-shaft making holding it at ground level and reaching into lower areas such as under a deck a great deal easier.

Usage Profile

Intended Use

The Weed Eater gas line trimmer is used keep lawns aesthetically pleasing. In order to do so, the trimmer cuts or trims grass, weeds, and small plants positioned in areas of the lawn that are hard to reach with the use of a lawn mower. The trimmer does this with the use of a flexible line that is rotated around the head at the end of the shaft that is powered by an internal 2-cycle motor.

Home vs. Professional

This Weed Eater line trimmer is a versatile product that can be utilized for both home and professional use, but is geared more toward home landscaping. The line trimmer we are dissecting is smaller in size and therefore is not well-equipped for the heavy duty use professionals might encounter. Mainly used for individual lawn care, the trimmer can be used by both men and women without difficultly because it is lightweight and easy to maneuver. For more heavy duty lawn care, the line in the trimmer can also be replaced with a plastic blade that allows the user to utilize the trimmer to cut or trim thick weeds or bushes.

Jobs Performed

The principal job performed by the line trimmer is trimming grass and weeds that are located in areas that are difficult to effectively reach with a lawn mower. A line trimmer is also known as an edger as a result of this main job – the trimmer is often used where the grass meets a house or fence. If the user replaces the with a plastic blade the trimmer can also be used for more heavy duty jobs just as trimming such as trimming bushes or large weeds.

Requirements for Different Objectives

In order to do different things with the line trimmer there are a few things you would need to obtain. Some examples of some of these things are different heads for the Weed Eater. With different heads you can do things such as cut branches off trees and trim bushes. Some line trimmers, along with interchangeable heads, have interchangeable shafts so you can reach further or higher depending on the job that has to be done.

Energy Profile

In order to do different things with the line trimmer there are a few things you would need to obtain. Some examples of some of these things are different heads for the Weed Eater. With different heads you can do things such as cut branches off trees and trim bushes. Some line trimmers, along with interchangeable heads, have interchangeable shafts so you can reach further or higher depending on the job that has to be done.

Complexity Profile

When looking at the complexity of this weed eater, it isn’t very complex when comparing to a clock where very high levels of complexity and precision is needed. There are a few sub systems that are part of the overall weed whacker. Each one is complete in its self and how they fit together.

Housing

All housings on the machine are made of a high density plastic that is molded to fit each part keeping the elements away from the moving parts and keeping the user safe from these moving parts also. In our situation the guard that is made of plastic is missing from the bottom which protects the user from the spinning nylon strings to cut the grass with. Each one of the plastic parts is kept on the machine with screws that keep it the correct distance away of the moving parts to let heat dissipate without harming the user.

Engine

The engine is made of many different parts made of aluminum. Each part plays its own key roles in the running of the engine. The carburetor in the engine contains an air and fuel intake that then is connected to one side of the motor. On the side there is a screw called an idler screw which controls the amount of fuel that is put into the engine, controlling the performance value. The engine block its self is made up from a solid piece of aluminum which is precisely cut to become the part it is today. The block head that is located on the top of the engine has what looks like fins on the sides for heat dissipation to occur. Inside the engine block there is a hole bored out that is the exact diameter of the piston head that moves up and down inside by combustion. This movement is translated to a crank shaft, which the piston is connected to. The combustion process that occurs that causes the piston to move is don’t by the amount of fuel that the carburetor inputs. When the fuel is sprayed into the chamber the piston is in the downward position and when it moves in the upward direction it sends and electrical signal to the spark plug to trip and cause a small explosion in the engine translating in the downward motion.

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Components Exploded

Drive Shaft

The shaft in our system is a direct crankshaft, meaning that it also has no clutch that disconnects it from the engine. Since this is true the head will be spinning whenever the motor is running. The only thing that changes is how fast it is spinning that is controlled by the throttle. The shaft is most likely made up of a braided steel cable that is housed inside an aluminum tube. This is the link from the engine to the driven head at the end of the system.

Cutting Head

The shaft in our system is a direct crankshaft, meaning that it also has no clutch that disconnects it from the engine. Since this is true the head will be spinning whenever the motor is running. The only thing that changes is how fast it is spinning that is controlled by the throttle. The shaft is most likely made up of a braided steel cable that is housed inside an aluminum tube. This is the link from the engine to the driven head at the end of the system.

Material Profile

Clearly Visible

When looking at the trimmer there are numerous materials that are able to be seen but the main one is plastic. All these plastic parts: • Cutting head • String guard (based off pictures) • The handle • Throttle • On off switch • Engine housing • Fuel tank • Gas cap Each one is made up of plastic but they are varying in color and chemical composition. After plastic the next material that makes up most of the trimmer is aluminum. There pieces are: • The drive shaft • The engine block • The engine head • The exhaust • The carburetor There is also the trimming cable and the starter cable that is made up of a nylon composition. These are all of the materials that are visible.


Not Visible

When looking at the trimmer there are numerous materials that are able to be seen but the main one is plastic. All these plastic parts:

• Cutting head

• String guard (based off pictures)

• The handle

• Throttle

• On off switch

• Engine housing

• Fuel tank

• Gas cap

Each one is made up of plastic but they are varying in color and chemical composition. After plastic the next material that makes up most of the trimmer is aluminum. There pieces are:

• The drive shaft

• The engine block

• The engine head

• The exhaust

• The carburetor

There is also the trimming cable and the starter cable that is made up of a nylon composition. These are all of the materials that are visible.

Product Alternative Profile

Other Products that Exist

There are many different types and styles of line trimmers because there are so many different manufacturers. One difference in line trimmers are the trimmer lines themselves. The trimmer line is the portion of the line trimmer that actually does the cutting. You can buy a trimmer line in different sizes, materials, shapes, and lengths; you can install different trimmer lines depending on the task you want to complete. The advantages to this are that if you have a hard job then you can go buy and personally install a new trimmer line, they are not hard to do. This feature is very convenient and the only disadvantage I can think of is that you have to install them and you could make a mistake and mess up.

Another differing factor in line trimmers is if you want a gas powered engine or an electric powered one. An advantage to having an electric powered one is that it is less expensive than buying gas for your engine. A disadvantage for electric power is that you are restricted to how long your power cord is and may not be able to reach everything you want to cut. Another disadvantage to electric power is that you don’t get as much power out of the product as you could. If you have a small home then you might prefer an electric powered one. Some advantages to electric power is that it is less expensive, they are much quieter, and they are more eco friendly. Advantages to gas power are that you get more power from the trimmer and they are more powerful. Disadvantages include cost, noise, and they damage the environment.

Another alternative is that you can have a curved shaft or a straight shaft. Having a straight shaft will create more distance between you and the trimmer line and will create a longer shaft that can reach more hard to reach areas. The only difference between a curved and straight shaft is that a curved shaft has been found to be a little more comfortable, so if you are looking for better feel you might want to go with a curved shaft.

You can also buy different types of engines for your line trimmer. A traditional line trimmer and the trimmer that we will be dissecting both have two-stroke engines that burn familiar gas/oil mix. But studies have shown that these are not the most efficient and eco friendly. Newer line trimmers have a four-stroke engine that burns the same gas as a lawn mower. The advantages to this are that the 4 stroke engine is that it is more eco friendly and a more efficient engine. A disadvantage to a 4 stroke engine is that it is bigger and heavier than a 2 stroke engine, so it is more of a hassle to move around. The 2 stroke engine is louder, less eco friendly and has less power than the 4 stroke engine.

How These Other Products Compare

While looking through the different types of trimmers I found that when comparing them, people had a general idea of what was good and not good. As for the trimmer lines themselves you get what you need, you can range anywhere from nylon to aluminum, depending on the strength you need. You can buy the trimmer line separately and install yourself for maximum satisfaction. As for the power differential it is really up to what you are looking for. Electric line trimmers are lighter, more user friendly and for a smaller workload. Electric trimmers also start easier, which makes the product more users friendly. The bad thing about the electric power is that it produces less power and it is less mobile. If you use gas power you are looking at doing heavy loads of work. These have the 2 and 4 stroke engines and are way more powerful. They have less restrictive of movement but are heavier. The 2 stroke engine is less expensive and lighter than the 4 stroke but it is louder, less eco friendly, and uses more gas. The shaft and head design is really up to the user, there are very little differences and they are only offered for comfort. The only difference is that the curved shaft might give up a little power.

Cost Difference Between Alternatives

Trimmer lines cost is dependable on what you want to buy. The major considerations are thickness, marital, and length. For example a 40 ft long spool of .05 in diameter is $2.35, but a 92 ft long spool .155 in diameter is $15.97. The differences in these lines are the length of spool, and the diameter of the line. The .155in diameter will cut through thinker materials easier then the .05in diameter. It is manufactured for tougher tasks and will be more durable.

The difference in cost between electric powered and gas power can differ. Electric power trimmers are commonly less expensive then gas powered trimmers. Electric powered trimmers range from $50-$175 depending on the power of the battery and if it is cordless or not. The price can differ from this range, but this is about the average. The reason that gas power is more expensive is that you get more power from a gas engine and they are portable. Gas powered line trimmers range from $75-$300, you can find some out of this price range put this is the normal cost of one. You also have to take into account that you have to buy the gas to put into the line trimmer, and the gas is more expensive than electricity.

As for the engine prices the 2 stroke engine is less expensive than the 4 stroke engine. But the benefits of the 4 stroke engine are worth it in the long run. The price range for a 2 stroke engine line trimmer averages around $200.00, while the price range for a 4 stroke averages a little over $300.00. So it is really up to the buyer, you will get what you pay for.

Situations to Use Alternative Products

Buying the different types of trimmers is up to the buyer, and the buyer should buy depending on what job he/she will be fulfilling, what is the level of difficulty of the job, what is the price range, and are you concerned with the environment. If you live in a rural area and you will be doing a lot of work on a lot of land I would think you would want the most power and most efficient line trimmer there is. I would get a gas power 4 stroke engine with a think trimmer line and a straight shaft. This way you will have the most power and durability out of your line trimmer. But if you are from a small city with a front and back yard I would go with the electric powered line trimmer with a thin trimmer line. I would go with this because it is more eco friendly, it doesn’t have to be portable, you will get the simple jobs done, and it will be very cost efficient.