Copying a Very Complex Pattern

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Old 05-10-07, 05:17 PM
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Copying a Very Complex Pattern

Did you ever really look at a high tunnel deck lawn mower?
Until recently, I never gave it a second thought. If you own
a walk behind mower in the mid to upper price range it
probably has a high tunnel deck. The back of the deck is
much higher than the front. It kind of looks like a ski slope.

I want to make a pattern out of thin plywood or hardboard in the
shape of a rectangle. It would surround, but not touch the motor.
Don't worry, I know mower engines are air cooled. I have no
intention of restricting airflow.

The problem I'm having is the incredible number of angles, bumps,
and troughs on a high tunnel deck. I've got a couple of contour
gauges, usually used for copying the shape of a complex molding.
You can't easily use a contour gauge to copy the pattern of a
mower deck.

If you're accustom to creating complex shapes in wood, metal, or
plastic maybe you can share some of your "tricks of the trade."
 
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Old 05-10-07, 05:35 PM
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Just out of curiosity...what the #@!? are you building?
 
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Old 05-10-07, 06:47 PM
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I was going to ask, but I had to bite my tongue.
 
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Old 05-10-07, 09:55 PM
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Rewinder,

You have a vision of something that is hard for us to comprehend, with the information provided. Please provide more details or even a link to a picture of what you mean, so we can better help you.

Thanks
 
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Old 05-11-07, 06:25 AM
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I apologize for my lack of clarity. Hiking ten miles through a
nearby forest is less tiring to me than posting on these online
forums.

My dad has a walk behind mower with all the bells and whistles.
The house my parents live in has a large front and backyard.
This mower is well suited for their property, except for one
problem. The mower requires constant maintenance. They
don't have a lawn covered with grass. Its all thick weeds.
After the lawn is cut the mower is buried in soil, sand, and
grime.

My dad kept talking about hiring a lawn service to do the
mowing. In the mean time, I'm elected to clean and repair his
mower when it becomes so clogged it won't run anymore. I
decided to hire a lawn service for them. These guys are
doing a truly awful job.

I was thinking about constructing a shroud that would keep all
the crud off the engine. It would consist of a rectangular frame
covered with a type of screening that is rated for high temperatures.
(My profession is electrical engineering. I have access to all sorts
of unusual materials.)

I can build a simple rectangle from thin plywood in 30 minutes.
Constructing something that would follow the angles and curves
of a high tunnel deck mower is another story altogether!
 
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Old 05-11-07, 02:17 PM
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Sounds to me like your time would be better spent inproving the soil so that you have grass instead of weeds. Even if you could build such a cover the dust and sand would still pass through the screening as it is very fine. The screen would have to be more like a filter and would probably plug quickly.
Try some topsoil and fertilizer. Put the topsoil about 2 inch deep on top of the fertilizer. put on grass seed and cover with straw. Water throughly twice daily (morning and evening) and in about 2 weeks you should have grass. Do not mow lower than 4 inches. sounds like you are mowing too low now as you are getting so much debris.
 
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Old 05-11-07, 03:40 PM
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Raising height of mower blade might be helpful. Weeds should be killed with broadleaf weed killer before taking on the project of establishing a lawn. A soil test will reveal what amendments need to be made to the soil. Quality top soil is expensive. 4" minimum top soil. 6" is better, as grass roots reach deep in soil to find moisture and nutrients. Another option is to naturalize the area to minimize or eliminate mowing.
 
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Old 05-13-07, 03:26 PM
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Hang a piece of cardboard on a workbench or table high enough for the mower to sit under it.. Tape a pencil to a dowel rod, and as you move the dowel along the top of the mower deck, draw the contour on the cardboard..

It seems that many times in these forums, people want to answer questions with reasons why you should not do what you have in mind.. Or they offer no solutions at all.. Frustrating, for sure..
 
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Old 05-14-07, 03:54 AM
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Yeah, but there are simpler answers to life's questions that don't require changing the theory of relativity. Why go to all the trouble and time wasting to build something that won't work anyway? Shrouding an air cooled engine is a design for disaster. A simple hosing of the engine and mower (as should be done after every usage anyway) after it cooled down would keep the mower clean.
 
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