Shine On, Harvest Moon

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Now that we’re settled on designing a leaf grinding robot for the Servo City #AHA, let’s turn our attention to the drafting of a robot wish list. The features that our robot should have are:

  • autonomous
  • hands-free
  • efficient
  • portable
  • rugged
  • durable
  • low maintenance

Oh, and we don’t want to remove the chipped leaves. The shredded leaves should just drop back onto the lawn as a mulch layer for the grass.

That’s a pretty good feature set for a leaf grinder and by using #Actobotics products at least five of those features are satisfied by its aluminum product line. Our next step is converting that wish list into a viable product design. And in that regard we have to look to other machines that successfully address the collection and subsequent processing of organic matter.

During this phase of designing our leaf grinding robot we get to take a trip to the farm. No, not the nut farm, the wheat/flax/corn farms of the Midwestern Great Plains. On almost all of these farms you will find a self-propelled (or, tractor pulled) device that collects, cuts, separates, and discards the chaff from the grain of America’s biggest crop yields. This device is called a combine harvester and it is an ideal machine for emulation in our leaf grinding robot design.

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(Photo courtesy of Massey Ferguson)

Just look at that beautiful machine! Everything that we want in our leaf grinding robot can be found in this combine harvester. The sweeper pulls the ripe stalks into the cutter where the separator removes the chaff from the grain.

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(Photo courtesy of Massey Ferguson)

Once the chaff has been separated from the grain, it’s exhausted from the rear of the harvester and serves as a protective mulch for the ground until spring planting.

So that’s it! We are going to build a small-scale combine harvester for chipping leaves and exclusively use the #Actobotics product line in our construction. Now let’s head back to my workshop where we can begin turning this farming workhorse into our dream project.

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(Photo courtesy of Massey Ferguson)

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