Sunday, December 27, 2009

Human Powered Snow Blower

I get the craziest ideas.

I have this idea to figure out how and to build a human powered snow blower. Ideally, pedal powered, but perhaps arm powered or a hybrid (human/electric of course). Why you ask? Why not, I say.

Last year, this pedal powered snow plow was built. I think its neat, but I suspect not very effective in deep snow, as the snow will simply spill over the top of the plow blade.

I'd think that it should be possible to build something a single stage snow blower connected via belt or chain to a set of pedals. Perhaps with a 3 speed gearing to allow for getting the blade turning at sufficient speed to not lose all momentum on contact with snow. Another thought along those lines would be to add a flywheel/weight to the system so that the rotating mass counters the mass of the snow contacting the blade. Or, add a pedal assist motor along the lines that are seen on the various e-bike designs out there.

It would also need to have 3 or 4 wheels for stability while moving at such slow speeds, and have a disengage-able drive, either connected to the primary pedals, or using a battery powered propulsion so as to control the rate that snow is fed into the chute. Obviously, the target usage would be primary for sidewalk clearing. If you could make the snowblower removable/interchangeable, I could envision other add-ons. Sweeper brushes, reel style lawnmower blades (a long time idea of mine), golf ball gatherer.