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  • New kind of leaf blower - any comments?

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Jyri, May 3, 2015.

    1. Jyri

      Jyri New Member

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      I came up with an idea for a new kind of leaf blower and I would want to ask peoples' opinions about it before I use more of my time on it.

      The idea is that there is 5-6 small air pipes (diameter 5mm), 100mm apart from each other, and they are right near the ground, and since they are so close, it would require only a small puff of air to lift the leaves off the ground. And once a leaf is off the ground, it can be collected by some sort of rotating roller to a bag. It would be pulled on two wheels and be maybe 600mm width.

      The roller can also push the leaves very tight and possibly shred them at the same time. The bag would be glass fiber reinforced to take the pressure. Inside it could be a normal carbage bag that could then be used to transport the leaves.

      The benefits (that I think) it has are:
      -It requires much less air to lift the leaves than a normal leaf blower, since the nozzle is below the leaves, near the ground. Less air --> less noisy.
      -With a normal leaf blower you move the leaves across the yard. This blower would only lift them 50mm until the roller collects them, therefore less power consumption.
      -It doesn't raise dust into the air and could be used to remove sand from sidewalks after winter.
      -It collects the leaves at the same time and packs them tight.

      Do you think:
      1. It would work the way I described and really require less power and be less noisy?
      2. Do you think it would better than traditional leaf blowers and that people would buy it?
      3. Has it been tried already?
      4. Any other comments?

      I would have attached a picture, but apparently there is no way to do that.

      Thanks!

      Jyri
       
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    3. Lochnagar

      Lochnagar Well-Known Member

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      Hi Jyri,

      Leaves on the ground are certainly a nuisance - but I wonder if you have considered the fact that leaves typically fall off the trees in late autumn - when we typically get more rain - which makes the leaves wet and as a consequence more difficult to move. Have you factored this into your thoughts on this product?

      When we have wet leaves on the lawn - I use the lawn mower (flymower) to pick them up - which puts them in the collection bag on the mower.

      When I see the roads people blowing the wet leaves off the pavement - they are blowing the leaves into the path of a 10T suction sweeper mounted on a lorry - which picks them up.

      So I guess, what I am asking - is who is this product aimed at?

      Additionally, you are proposing mounting the hoses 100mm apart - but leaves tend to be smaller than 100mm - so what about the leaves inbetween the hoses?

      For your information, you can post pictures - but it is a rather long winded process. First you need to upload your picture to a website like Photobucket - then you need to copy the unique web address of the picture - and then on this page use the icon - "insert image" - and paste the unique web address of the picture.

      Hope this helps.
       
    4. Jyri

      Jyri New Member

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      Thanks for your comment Lochnagar,

      I did consider the wet leaves thing. That's where I think this might be better than a traditional blower, since the nozzles would be right near the leaves and require less power. But you are right that the pipes should be closer than 100mm. Maybe it should be like a traditional rake, just with air nozzles at the ends of the spikes, an air rake.

      A lawn mower, huh? I haven't thought of that. I wonder does everyone use that? Or is it just for big yards or something? I was thinking that the target customers would be the ones who use traditional leaf blower. I don't know if its private people or city workers who use leaf blowers more. I have just read bad comments about them here and there and that's why this came to my mind.

      I guess I could build a prototype and test if it works on wet leaves and ask customers if they like it more than traditional ones. But I was hoping to skip that phase with this thread. If enough people think that it does work on wet leaves, or that it doesn't, it could prove the concept without testing. So far only one answer though... Thanks for your answer though!
       
    5. Lochnagar

      Lochnagar Well-Known Member

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      Hi Jyri,

      The approach to designing any new product usually revolves around these "big picture" topics:-

      1. Evaluating the products that are currently in the market place - to find out what is good about them - and what is bad about them.

      2. Finding out the price of competitor products - and finding out how many competitor products are sold per year.

      3. Finding out who your potential customers are.

      4. Evaluating whether your "new idea" really is better than your competitors product from an operational perspective. You need to be very critical of your "new idea".

      5. Evaluating whether your "new idea" is going to be more or less expensive than your competitors - (and if more expensive whether customers would still buy it).

      As you are probably aware - there are already competitor products on the market place - in addition to other ways of "solving" this problem of leaves on the ground.

      As I said before - a simple flymo will do this job - which most home owners with a garden probably already have. I don't want to dilute your enthusiasm for your "new idea" - but too often people get obsessed with their "new idea" - they end up spending a fortune in trying to develop it (in some cases selling their homes to fund the cost of development) - and they haven't bothered to look to see if there are any customers willing to buy it - and nor have they evaluated their competitor products - so please don't fall into that trap.
      Below is a sample of competitor products - or just a different way of using existing equipment to do this job.

      http://www.mysmartbuy.com/p-848-Eckman-117-Litre-Push-Leaf-Sweeper.html

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardenin...ecting-the-best-hand-tools.html?frame=3072374

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/1/dp/B002NYENHC

      http://www.thegreenhead.com/2013/07...r-yard-vacuum-with-leaf-collection-system.php

      http://toolmonger.com/2006/12/28/finds-drs-walk-behind-lawn-vacuum/

      Hope this helps.
       
      Last edited: May 7, 2015
    6. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      What you're describing isn't that much different, from a user standpoint, than a lawn sweeper, which uses a rotating brush to pick up leaves and/or grass clippings and put them into a bin. Such a device, whether hand pushed or pulled by a garden tractor, is far quieter than any kind of leaf blower. The problem with any kind of device that collects the leaves rather than just blow them, is that the bin fills up fast, requiring frequent side trips to empty it, whereas with a leaf blower you just keep blowing the ever larger pile to the side of the yard.

      600mm isn't very wide, you would need lots of passes over the area, unlike a conventional leaf blower that can cover a wide area as you sweep it back and forth.

      Personally, I'd like to see leaf blowers disappear forever... the annoying whine for hours on end is the scourge of many an otherwise beautiful autumn day (I have a neighbor who I swear his hobby is leaf blowing).
       
    7. Jyri

      Jyri New Member

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      Thanks Lochnagar and Dana,

      Seems like there is many similar devices. Actually there is surprisingly many models sold for the same purpose. Maybe different customers need different devices and for this reason they are not fully comparable with each other.

      As a quick analysis, they seem to use either rotating brushes, vacuum, or pressurized air (leaf blower) to pick up the leaves. The vacuum and rotating brush also collect the leaves. Some of them shred at the same time. Some are pushed on wheels while some move freely (leaf blower) and some are driven by sitting. Some of them are small and handy while some of them are very big and maybe more efficient. And then there is also traditional rake that people still use also. It must have some benefits too. Maybe the first thing should be to realize for which customer each of these is meant for. Especially that leaf blower that I was originally thinking of replacing.

      Interesting is that none of them seems to pack the leaves tightly to a bag. If the was such a stuffing device with environmental friendly bags, it might have some demand. I'm already thinking of something that poops out continuous bags while walking...
       
    8. Lochnagar

      Lochnagar Well-Known Member

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      Hi Jyri,

      It might be worth having a look at the video below - to see the bailing of leaves - in a municipal environment. People quite often have other equipment at their disposal - which they then seek to use - to solve another problem - as is the case below.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iLjeJ1oG3U

      (I also agree with Dana - the terrible noise that these leaf blowers make - and they are very slow at doing the job they do which means the "blowing of the leaves" goes on for ages - which can get very irritating. I see some of these blowers are now electric (though even these make a lot of noise) - which is fine if you have a mains power supply available - but not otherwise).

      It appears you are not alone in trying to solve the leaves problem - though I think this guy in the video below would be just as well putting them directly from the rake into the cage he has made - rather than feeding them through his electric vacuum - see below:)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOmKhch71Y4

      Hope this helps.
       

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