RC SnowBlower


Author: Dave
Date: 12.02.14 - 5:08am






Update: Well I finally took the plunge and built my own remote control snow blower! I also kept a full video build log as I went. You can find more details here. Total price was about $1200


I have been doing some research the last couple weekends on what it would take to build a remote control snowblower. I have never built any other RC projects before so this would be a rather large first.

My first concern was traction, I really wanted to use tracks because well they look really cool and they have loads of traction. I was pretty surprised at how expensive track kits are. were talking about $700 just for a set of tracks and to drive wheels. Then you start searching about what it would take to cobble your own together. YouTube has a fair amount of videos on ideas but they all require an obscene amount of work. Also one thing I didn't think about was how much extra power they require.

Okay so tracks are out this brings us into the realm of four-wheel-drive with an aggressive tread tire. This could probably be done with two motors one to drive each side and then still have a skid steer type movement. I was figuring it would take two chains per side one to connect the motor to one of the shafts, and the second set of sprockets to connect the two shafts together, that way you could tension each separately and not need idlers to wrap the chain around the drive sprocket in some manner.

Initially I was thinking I would use an old gasoline powered snowblower to stage. But there are several considerations with this one is the engine noise from the spark plug interfering with your RC. Nothing like having a 200 pound machine go berserk realm into the road and get hit by a car. Also there is the weight consideration the heavier the payload more expensive all of the drive train is going to have to be.

So now I'm thinking I don't necessarily need an RC snowblower that handles every snow load, how about one that just covers 80% of the work. My average snowfall is anywhere from 1 inch to 6 inches. Anything more than that is really a storm and we only have several a year I can pull out my big gas snowblower for those and I think it would make the design much more manageable and cost-effective for the build.

Let's say I just wanting easy to build robot without any major headache. Here are the parts that I think I would use:

hah. I just went to look at the prebuilt robot chassis I was thinking of and found this from the same company

the fully assembled model is $8500, and the parts kit minus the snowblower itself is 6200. I don't think many people are going to have that much money to throw into a tool like this is basically like buying a used car!



anyway my parts list would be something like: the snow Joe seems to have a decent throwing capacity. The real benefits are that it is only 42 pounds, rechargeable, and already has in electric actuated shoot control built-in. (goto 4:50 in the video below to see it in action)



I don't really know what the longevity of the snow Joe is, my guess is that it's not good but rechargeable battery technology has come an impressive way lately. a gas powered single stage might be worth trying as well. The bottom line is the weight is very attractive and probably worth the risk in trying it. Of course if you build your chassis around that weight expectation you could fall flat on your face and now have a robot chassis to light to use for something else and have to sell it to upgrade.

Trying to balance all of the factors well that is the art of engineering it is the make or break element between the business failing or succeeding that and experience, and even networking skills but that's another conversation

it's not a take long people are totally going to have these in the near future. but I think the final price would really have to be in the $1500-$3000 range.

ultimately I don't think I'm going to create this project, the risk versus reward is not very attractive for something that I would only use three or four months out of the year. Held the price of the robot is about a month rent in Florida that would be way more fun and enjoyable :)




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