Group 10 - Snow Blower (Gasoline Powered)
To ensure the smooth flow of the project throughout the semester, 5 project gates have been set where certain tasks must be completed by the due date for evaluation. The 5 gates are the following:
- Work Proposal
The disassembly of the Bolens 726-01 gas powered snow blower is expected to take the larger amount of time versus assembly. It is expected that this step will take us about 6-9 hours of lab time to accomplish fully. This is so because during the process of disassembly our group will be documenting every step that is taken during the removal of parts and components. We will do this by taking pictures of the different pieces in order to provide a visual reference for someone following our guide. Pictures may also be used to show how complicated parts fit together along with written descriptions in order to clarify the task best. Smaller parts such as nuts, bolts, washers, O-rings and so on, will all be bagged and labeled in order to guard against lost pieces of hardware. Larger pieces such as the engine block itself will also be tagged and documented. Parts will also be cleaned after being disassembled in order to ensure as good of a visual inspection as possible. An important step that will be taken before any disassembly is to take place will be to remove any flammable fluids such as gasoline and oil to ensure the safety of group members.
- Difficulties with Disassembly
The assembly will be done in reverse order of the disassembly process. This step is not expected to take as long as the disassembly process because all the parts will be cleaned and well documented. We will be able to refer to our own notes and findings to reassure that everything is where it needs to be. Again we will be taking pictures and written descriptions or the steps involved to ensure an easy to follow guide for someone who hasn’t just taken the machine apart following the previous section. This will be expected 3 to 5 hours of lab time in order to complete the physical aspect.
- Assembly Difficulties
- Tool Required
- Documentation Tools Required
- Managment proposal
- In order for our group to successfully reverse engineer our snow blower according to the standards set by our professors, we will need an organized , efficient and collaborative group effort from each of our members. We will need to make use of each of our strongest abilities(listed below) in order to output the best quality analysis of our product as possible. In order to keep the group updated and all on the same page, we created a Facebook page for group 10 where all deadlines, information, questions and discussions regarding the project may be posted. This page is extremely effective because it allows us to share thoughts, pictures and ideas easily at any time of the day.
- Meeting Information
- This group will hold meetings at least once a week. More meetings will of course be held whenever deemed necessary. We will vary our meeting location based on the purpose of the meeting. Meetings for dissection will take place in the dissection lab while general meetings will take place in the group study section of Capen Library. Days and time will vary in efforts to try and fit to each group member’s schedule.
- Group Conflict
- In the case of any conflict within the group, the issue will be brought up at the next meeting and discussed amongst the entire group in an effort to come to an agreement. If common grounds are nowhere to be found, the next step will be to discuss the conflict with a professor.
- Project planning Pofile
Product History The first snow blower was invented in 1925 by the Canadian inventor, Arthur Sicard. His invention consisted of a chasis from a four wheel drive truck, a truck engine, a snow scooper attached to the front and the actual snow blower in the front with its own engine. It was able to throw snow over 90 feet away, making it much faster and easier to clear roads. The snow blower we will be dissecting is a Bolens 726-01. It was made in 1973 and was a top of the line snow blower during its time.
- Economic and Global Concerns
During the time this particular snow blower was in the market, concern for the environment wasn’t as large of a concern as it is today. That being said, product efficiency wasn’t emphasized in the making of gas powered products as much as it is today. Although time has changed our attitude towards the environment, the desire to save money is timeless. That being said, the designers of this product more than likely took into consideration of cost of usage and must have put in some sort of effort to increase the efficiency of the product.
- Intended Sale Locations
The intended regions of sale are limited to areas where it actually snows, in particular places with heavy annual snowfall. Regions of the world with tropical climate for example will have no use for a snow blower.
- Consumer Impact
The development of the snow blower made the labor intensive process of snow removal much easier and faster. It allowed people who may not be physically able enough to use a shovel, easily clean out their surrounding property. Transportation during wintry conditions has also been made safer and faster as a result of the snow blower. Today the snow blower is pretty much a necessity when covering large areas of land, but can be a considered a luxury when cleaning out smaller areas where a simple shovel may do the trick.
- Usage Profile
The intended usage for this product is to clean out snow from areas where human navigation is necessary and throw it to a more desirable location. The Bolens 726-01 is mainly intended for home use. It is not quite large enough to effectively remove snow in a larger setting than anything besides a driveway or sidewalk around a house. There are not really any other uses for this snow blower other
- The Bolens 726-01 gas powered snow blower acquires its energy chemically from the gasoline which initially powers the snow blower allowing it to function. The snow blower starts off with the user pulling the power cord, which turns the flywheel and the crankshaft causing mechanical energy, and this causes combustion to occur. Combustion occurs when the flywheel, rotating along the crankshaft sends magnetic energy to ignite the snow blower. The gasoline flows to the combustion chamber and burns forming chemical energy which then converts into mechanical energy and powers the pistons. The mechanical energy from the pistons then travels to the crankshaft allowing for rotational energy to occur which spins the blades which will force snow in and out of the chute. The mechanical energy also causes the gears to spin which cause the wheels to rotate, and allows the snow blower to self-propel itself. Energy by the user is only used to steer the snow blower in the desired direction.
The complexity of a system can be defined as a complicated arrangement of parts. In this particular kind of machinery it can be said that certain parts are more complex than others.
From close inspection it can be determined the snow mobile has around 30 main components, but totaling around 100 components when counting screws and other minor parts that keep the snow mobile together and functional. Most of the components that are simple include the various screws, bolts, washers, wires, the fuel tank, fuel line, various flamings, the handles, and the chute. Looking at the more complex components we get the engine with its many components such as the piston, the spark plug, the valves, and the crankshaft. Other complex components we see are the clutch, the augers, the impeller, the choke, the throttle, the carburetor, and the pull cord. When looking at each piece individually, they all may seem simple but when put together they become complex.
The interactions that occur can be looked at and understood to a degree. The complexity of the system starts in the engine and then extends to the other parts of the snow blower. When the user pulls the pull cords and combustion occurs, the crankshaft starts to move the pistons and the valves let in air and gas at proper times and this process powers the snow blower. Many components working together at the same time in unity is what makes this system complex. With the engine powered the user can control the throttle which controls how fast the snow blower goes, and with faster speeds, more air is required to enter the system and with the choke and carburetor the system can control the amount of air and gas mixture required to power the system at any time. The augers and the impellers are also made in way that they can successfully break up the snow and allow it to flow up and out the chute. The framing of these parts has to be right or else snow will fail to travel through the chute which is what makes these parts complex. When a system has several components that depend on each other, it can always be said that it is a complex system and the snow blower certainly has several complex components, some more complex then others.
For the Bolen 726-01 the housing seems to be comprised of mainly steel, which is great for the durability of the machine. The outside of the motor is either steel as well or aluminum with some smaller plastic pieces. The internals are most likely caste iron or aluminum. These are common materials for engines and being older caste iron is more likely.
- 6.User Interation
The user interaction with the product will be more intended use than anything else. The product being a piece of heavy house hold machinery means that only responsible adult will be operating the equipment. The product is relatively easy to use is has a similar premise to that of a lawn mower. Reading the instruction manual should be sufficient information in order to correctly operate the snow blower. Maintenance is not regularly required other than filling with gas before operation. Every year the user may want to change the oil in order to keep the machine running efficiently. Also fuel stabilizer should be added to the gasoline tank during months not being used to keep it from going bad and requiring the engine to be opened and cleaned out. This maintenance is very easily done and even someone with no experience can do it since it is as simple as removing a bolt.
- 7.Product Alternatives - There are many alternatives to a gasoline powered snow blowers that compare well and show both the advantages and disadvantages of the product. Alternative products for snow removal range greatly from snow blowers to more industrial means such as trucks with jet engines mounted on them. We will focus more on the residential aspect of snow removal since that is more of what our product deals with.
The alternatives that are offered to a gas powered snow blower include
- Electric (AC) The AC electric snow blower is plugged into an outlet
- Electric (DC) The DC snow blower is powered with a rechargeable battery
- The electric versions offer a size advantage, as they tend to be smaller and lighter and lack the emissions that are released from the gas versions. The main comparison is size and emissions. The electric Snow blower is generally smaller Compared to the gasoline alternative. In both cases they offer a limitation with range, the (AC) Electric snow blower has a distance range limitation only allowing to go as far as your longest extention cord, and the (DC) Electric snow blower has a time range limitation only lasting as long as the battery will allow.
One of the oldest methods of residential snow removal is the basic activity of shoveling; it is environmentally friendly and a good workout if you are looking for some extra exercise. The draw backs are it is so labor intensive that not all people could do it also it takes a long time to complete the task compared to a snow blower.
- Truck Plowing
Another alternative is to plow your driveway with a truck. This is very quick and will allow instant access back to the road. The down side is not everyone has a truck and if they do, plowing is putting a lot of strain on the vehicle’s engine, and with most people relying on their vehicle day in and day out they cannot have them breakdown.
- Heated Driveways
One final is to have a heated driveway. This would literally mean that snow cannot accumulate on the surface and there for you would not have to do anything else. The down side is that this method is very expensive and impractical to most people.
The advantage to be had with a combustion engine powered snow blower is that there will generally be more torque and therefore they can be applied to larger, heavier jobs than an electric. It’s a preference choice between power and the environment. Although the electrics are more green they can lack the power for heavier jobs and with the power of the gas version comes the weight of a large metal frame and engine. Comparatively electrics cost much less but have their tradeoffs, often pricing around the 200 dollar range compared to Gas snow blowers which will run closer to $500 or more. So with higher pricing comes power but mass and emissions and with lesser cost comes a green footprint but less power. The snow blower is less labor intensive than shoveling, will not put strain on your vehicle which you rely on every day, and is relatively inexpensive. For the average American the snow blower is clearly the best choice.