But once on the ground, snow can prove to be quite inconvenient.
As roads get covered in feet of snow, transport is severely affected. It becomes impossible to drive; even walking becomes a challenge.
Life comes to a halt until large expensive machines are employed by the government to clear the snow. Untill then, people have to manually shovel the snow covering their driveways.
Your snow-shovelling days might be over thanks to Ryan, an amateur inventor from Minnesota, who has found the perfect method to clear your driveway: A 3D printed RC (remote controlled) snow blower.
Ryan is an inventor from Minnesota who goes by the moniker ‘The_Great_Moo’ on the internet.
Fed up by manually shovelling snow from his house, he decided to try a novel way of getting rid of the snow from his driveway. He bought a Kyosho Blizzard SR, a small remote-controlled snowplow, to do the job. However, after a whole day of work with the Blizzard SR, he realized that his problems were far from over. Not only was the machine slow but it also failed to remove the snow completely.
Now, Ryan was well aware of the ability of 3D printing to make custom, innovative parts and so, he decided to transform his slow, powerless Kyosho Blizzard SR into a fast, powerful machine by adding 3D printed parts. In a blog post, Ryan explained his experience in the following words:
“I recently got a Kyosho Blizzard SR and could not really stand the plows performance! So I 100% designed a 3D printed snow blower. I designed all the CAD. It even has 24 pitch 3D printer bevel gears… It is about 14″ wide. Belt driven from a 540 motor.”
He went to the drawing board and made extensive changes to the snow plow. Instead of completely replacing the snowplow apparatus with snow-blower components, he chose to keep the snow plow in the front of the vehicle and the snow blowing apparatus at the back of the machine.
He also modified the body and servos to enable the vehicle to drive backward. Next, he designed the entire snow blowing mount using a CAD (computer-aided design) software. 3D printed parts have always been criticized for being weak. So, Ryan focused on designing his snow blower to be strong and durable. He says:
“It’s pretty sturdy. People think 3D printed parts are weak, and they can be, but it all depends on how you print it.”
Then, he printed all the components in ABS plastic with the help of a modified da Vinci 1.0 3D printer which took him around 40 hours. Finally, he assembled and mounted the snow blower on the back of his Blizzard SR. Ryan explains all the changes he made to transform a snow plow into a snow blower on his YouTube channel.
Ryan publicized his invention at RC snowcats category on zetaboard forums and got positive comments from many users. Encouraged by the positive reception, he went on to conduct numerous tests in order to fully analyze the snow removal capabilities of his RC snow blower. After some initial tests, he redesigned several components of the snow blower to improve its performance.
He also tried adding nylon to its blades to make them stronger but eventually settled for ABS plastic due to some technical issues with nylon. After five prototypes, he finally got the design he was looking for. He then posted a video recording of his test in which he shows an RC snow blower clearing his entire driveway from snow in less than an hour!
Most RC snow plows are little more than toys. They are slow and can’t keep up with heavy snow. Ryan’s snow blower, on the other hand, is a totally different beast. Powered by a 540 motor, it is not only faster than the any snow plow in the market but can also cut up thick snow. Thus, it is ideal for people who don’t want to tire themselves manually removing snow with a shovel and want to have fun at the same time!
Already intrigued by the RC snow blower? Want to get your hands on one? Well, you’re in luck. Ryan has recently set up a website in order to sell his products. You can order the snow blower in two forms:
First, you can buy STL files for USD $60. These are CAD files that you can use to print the various snow blower components. You’ll have to print and assemble the whole snow blower yourself.
Of course, with both options you’ll still have to buy a Kyosho Blizzard SR (which costs around USD $400) and do a few modifications to mount the snow blower kit. Incidentally, Kyosho also make the Mini-Z RC buggy, which Jason at 3D Print HQ added 3D Printed Wheels and Tyres to a few days ago.
Ryan’s project shows the potential of 3D printing in bringing imagination to reality. It allows amateur inventors to create revolutionary designs from the luxury of their homes.
The fact that he was able to modify a market-leading snow plow and release a unique, far more capable product clearly demonstrates the potential of additive printing in changing the way things are invented. No longer is there any need for large corporations to support and fund the development of innovative products.
Seen in another light, the snow blower signifies the will of human beings to Conquer Nature. As inspiring technologies like additive printing continue to evolve, this dream will soon be realized and perhaps the day isn’t far when people will be able to clear snow from an entire city block using their own personal machines just as easily as they’re able to clear dust from a carpet using a vacuum cleaner.
Are you interested in the RC snow blower? Will you order STL files or the full kit? Do let us know in the Comments. Also, feel free to Like and Share this wonderful invention with your friends.