Design Revisions -(Group 10)
This snow-blower has many functions on a component level that are useful to the operator in completing the task at hand. Through complex analyzing of the different sub systems of the snow-blower, a list of component improvements and additions were conceived that if applied, would improve the overall function operation. These revisions to the original design are meant to aid the operator in overall handling and function of the snow-blower and are essentially subtle drastic improvements to its existing and non-existing systems. These improvements aren’t meant to change or remove any of the major components of the snow-blower but to basically alter or add components to pre-existing ones to aid in their function. One of the important functions an engineer is to find ways to make small improvements to existing systems that have highly successful outcomes and that is exactly what these recommendations do.
Linear Drive Housing Box
- One idea for a design revision was thought of while we were attempting to disassemble the linear drive housing box. This turned out to be one of the most difficult parts to disassemble because we couldn’t remove the main axle that connected to the wheels. The way that this axle was built in was so that the actual casing would have to be destroyed in order to remove the axle. We thought of a design revision that would fix this problem and make any potential need to access the components encased in the linear drive housing box much easier. Instead of having a one piece housing box, we would like to split it up into three separable parts that would be bolted together. Currently the housing walls are welded together, but we estimate that around 15 bolts would be sufficient to replace the welding and keep the housing walls secured together. By making this revision, we would be making any maintenance necessary by the consumer much easier and potential less costly, thus falling under the category of a societal factor.
DC Power Battery System:
- The snow-blower, as it is now, is a very mechanical device with almost no electronics aside from the AC starter motor. The sun goes down early in winter then the rest of the year and so many people find themselves using their snow-blower in the dark or in limited light. The component revision proposal to alleviate this issue would be to add a DC battery to allow a headlight system to the front side of the snow-blower. The battery and light could be easily mounted in multiple locations and would allow the operator to easily navigate his or her area of need. This would also make it safer for the operator since he/she may not hear or see an approaching vehicle or pedestrian but a headlight would increase the snow-blower’s visibility and perhaps protect people from accidental injury. Injury or damage of property would cost the operator money or worse, for something that could have possibly been avoided with the addition of a headlight/ battery system. One factor that influences this design is a social factor because it allows weaker users to be able to turn on the snow blower, without the need of a stronger individual. It also serves as an environmental factor because it supports the theme of going green since using electric energy is more environmentally friendly then releasing gases into the environment.
DC Starter/ Alternator System:
1. DC Conversion:
- The snow-blower comes with a starter motor to alleviate the operator from having to use the conventional pull start. The issue with this starter is that it runs off of an AC power source and so needs to be plugged into a wall outlet in order to turn the engine over. This can be inconvenient if there are no external outlets at the operator’s location and so could possible require the operator to run a three prong extension cord outside to accommodate for this. The design alteration being proposed would be to remove the AC to DC converter from the starter motor and connect the appropriate ends to their respective battery terminals. The battery would be 12V and the same one shown in the headlight revision system. This revision would allow the operator to start the snow-blower in any desired location without the need for an AC outlet. Having the system able to start anywhere also allows the operator to restart the snow-blower if necessary. For example, if the engine happens to stall out or if it is necessary to shut it down and the engine needed to then be restarted, it would be very difficult for the operator to push it back home without the drivetrain being in effect. In total the addition adds a large amount of convenience to the system.
- The snow-blower would greatly benefit from both the headlight and DC starter systems, but neither of them would be possible for any period of time without the incorporation of an alternator system. An alternator is a device that utilizes the rotational energy from the engine and turns it into electrical energy which is used to recharge the battery. The alternator is essentially an electric motor in reverse in that it produces electricity by being spun, as opposed to using electricity to be spun. Without the alternator, the battery would die after as little as 2 starts and even quicker if the headlight were in use. The Alternator’s pulley would simply connect to one the main drive bely and mount in a suitable place on the body in that area. Once mounted in place, the alternator can be wired back to the battery and begin charging. Again, this allows the various electrical components of the snow-blower to run without worry of the battery dying.
Electric Hand Warmers:
1. When operating the snow-blower in the low temperatures that winter brings, a commonly exposed portion of the operator’s body is their hands. Even if in gloves, the hand feel the full effects of the cold and wind, often causing them to cramp, seize up and hurt immensely. By changing the handle component, adding electric hand warmers to the handles of the snow-blower, the operator can help to prevent the pains associated with the cold and their hands. These come in kits that fit over the existing handles and connect to the battery terminals to head the coil in the new grips, thus warming the hands of the operator. These are a great benefit for any user but especially elderly users, or operators with arthritis or carpal tunnel.
- $50 for a heated hand grip kit from cub cadet.