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mixdenny
10-18-2014, 07:21 PM
I have a custom push-type leaf blower I designed and have been using for years. It uses a very high volume airflow instead of a high velocity like all the commercial ones. It is very quiet compared to them and does an amazing job on my half acre wooded lot. But my knees are giving me more trouble and this year it is hard to wheel around. I would like to make it self propelled.

I blow all my leaves into the adjacent woods, so I only blow them one direction. This means I push and pull the blower back and forth, so I need a forward/reverse gearbox. A transaxle type like this on sold by the Surplus Center would be perfect if it had that capability. The blower is designed around a standard two wheel dolly with 14" between the insides of the two wheels.

https://www.surpluscenter.com/Power-Transmission/Transaxles/Mechanical-Transaxles/SINGLE-SPEED-TRANSMISSION-1-2948.axd

I have seen numerous lawn tractor transaxles for sale, but they are huge compared to this one.

Dennis

Axkiker
10-19-2014, 12:12 AM
Yeah that unit is made for self propelled mowers. They typically dont have reverse.

I was hunting these same units when I was converting my band saw from wood cutting to metal. I ended up with a full trans out of some sort of riding tractor. This gave me 5 gears and reverse.

I wont swear to it but I do think a few models allowed for reverse based on if the user pulled the handle backwards. This sounds like what you want if I read correctly. Not sure if it was done with gears or more likely belts. You may do some searching for the specific mower then seek whatever drive train it incorporated.

If it even exists.... Like I said I could be totally wrong.

RussZHC
10-19-2014, 01:27 AM
Size, weight, cost are all going to be concerns.

We have a gear box that is just forward reverse on our riding packer http://www.brutusroller.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=36 hoping one would be able to find the same thing but much cheaper (their items are way over priced for what they actually are). I can get dimensions easily enough but likely too heavy (its all cast and fluid "filled"), its just push/pull to change direction.

Found any number of forward/reverse gearboxes but most will be too large (even smallest ATV box) like this https://www.kazumausaparts.com/index.php?cid=5010
to too expensive (karting or other race type applications can get pretty small but cost...)
something like this for a grain auger is considerably larger over the largest dimension that the example you gave http://www.alinetrading.com.au/product-catalogue/gearboxes/auger-boxes/fra8-forward-reverse?PHPSESSID=37fbb70deed8f338b71a80fe00964d7a

the only other sort of/maybe possibilities I have found would be a marine transmission (there were some suggestions off older, smaller outboards...I have no clue how those transmissions work, "vpt"among others likely would know) or a really heavy duty transmission from a radio controlled vehicle

Guido
10-19-2014, 02:19 AM
Took apart more than once, the lower unit of an old 35 HP Johnson outboard. With a little fab, welding, machine work, a forward, neutral, reverse box of sorts could be put together. Would take a bunch of homeshop work to be ready for this fall.

Forward and reverse gears are mounted/splined onto the main prop shaft, with a spiral type input gear powering either one or the other, but a neutral when not engaged. Design is simple for a slow input rpm, with a dog type clutch for engagement.

Gear sets from a salvaged lower unit of a 10 hp motor would probably be a good place to start. Example assembly drawings can be found on the internet.

G

Hawkeye
10-19-2014, 02:39 AM
If you want to build a transmission this may help.https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=bVtDVKuqOo3_yQTT_4HYDA&url=http://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DBWHAfaC-pPg&ved=0CBsQtwIwAA&usg=AFQjCNF96l4watjt9xo8EcZ2Xzf2Lh1CNQ&sig2=rkuWc1k02e_p_vomGpu79w

Black_Moons
10-19-2014, 04:10 AM
How about looking at it from the other way around.
Connect an alternator to the motor shaft and two DC motors to the wheels (Can often find motors connected to gearboxes right to wheel rigs for cheap enough, little kiddy cars and stuff)

PStechPaul
10-19-2014, 04:16 AM
Maybe you can adapt an electric motor for the drive wheels. Lots of parts available for robotics. You can probably get by with about 1/4 HP (200 watts) and one or two 12V 12Ah batteries for about an hour of run time. With some ingenuity and circuitry you could make a handle that also controls speed and direction (like the "Personal Pace" mower).

A mechanical solution is to have a rotating plate on the motor and a sliding rubber wheel that presses on it. As the wheel slides further toward each end it turns faster, and as it crosses the middle it stops and then reverses. Not very efficient but relatively simple. You can put more pressure on it to get more torque, and the plate on the motor could have a rubberized coating for greater traction, but smooth in the middle so it can slip easily. Or just a "dish" or indentation where it does not even touch.

That might be a good method to vary the speed and direction of a lathe or tapping tool. :cool:

Black Forest
10-19-2014, 06:17 AM
What type of power plant does your blower have? Vertical or horizontal shaft from the motor? How many HP? How big of a place do you have to mount the drive unit? Post a picture of the blower to give us an idea of what you have to work with.

CarlByrns
10-19-2014, 08:40 AM
Why not push the blower with an entire garden tractor? You can pick one up cheap enough on craigslist.

Failing that, you might find a power equipment repair shop with a bone yard, but you'll be amazed at what gear drives sell for. I would avoid a used hydrostat unit- a lot of them are not field-rebuildable.

CarlByrns
10-19-2014, 08:43 AM
A mechanical solution is to have a rotating plate on the motor and a sliding rubber wheel that presses on it. As the wheel slides further toward each end it turns faster, and as it crosses the middle it stops and then reverses. Not very efficient but relatively simple. You can put more pressure on it to get more torque, and the plate on the motor could have a rubberized coating for greater traction, but smooth in the middle so it can slip easily. Or just a "dish" or indentation where it does not even touch.


You could source the parts for this from a self-propelled snowthrower- that's how most of them drive the traction tires.

Bob Fisher
10-19-2014, 10:34 AM
You might want to consider parts from a hydrostatic drive. Mine goes just as fast backwards as forwards.Bob.

mixdenny
10-19-2014, 11:28 AM
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I made a Photobucket account so I'll see if it works.

The blower uses a 5 hp engine, the blower wheel is geared down about 2 to 1. The blower is running about 50% faster then any standard rpm I can find listed for that size blower. It puts out a prodigious amount of air, it will nearly sweep your feet away if you walk past! I had already thought about an electric drive, but the engine loads down pretty good, doubt there is much reserve power left for a generator. I had not thought about battery power, hmm....

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e13/mixdenny/BLOWER_zpsbac8406c.jpg (http://s36.photobucket.com/user/mixdenny/media/BLOWER_zpsbac8406c.jpg.html)

Dennis

mixdenny
10-19-2014, 11:44 AM
OK, looks like the photo worked. Since yesterday I have been searching eBay. Looks like a Tecumseh Peerless transmission is about as good as I can locate. It doesn't seem to be a transaxle. Here is a link to a 3 speed. None of them mention a reverse gear, so I'm not sure if they have one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TRANSMISSION-3-speed-Tecumseh-Peerless-Mod-509-ser-3094-7412-37G-/221563838570?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33963be06a

Norm W
10-19-2014, 12:21 PM
Ariens had a "Power Handle" that you could attach a mower or snow blower on the front. Your machine looks a lot like it. If you could find one of those units at a mower junk yard, I'm sure it could be modified to mount the blower. If the motor of the "Power Handle" was shot yours, would bolt right up. The drive sections of snow blowers usually holds up, it's the blower that ingests something it can't chew that gets them junked. It would give you forward and reverse with variable speeds.

CarlByrns
10-19-2014, 12:41 PM
Ariens had a "Power Handle" that you could attach a mower or snow blower on the front.

Not Ariens. Toro (my employer) made the Power Handle. I had one with the tiller option.

Whereabout Syracuse are you? I live outside of Liverpool.

sasquatch
10-19-2014, 01:45 PM
Peerless made a 3 speed rear axle with reverse, i have one and back a bit was able to get parts for it. Tough little rear end.

mixdenny
10-19-2014, 02:42 PM
Update: The Power Handle looks great, but I only found one for sale in the US. But I was searching for Ariens at the time. Actually, any snow blower might work nearly as well. Lots of them for sale.

But the more I think about it, the idea of a 12 vdc drive sounds better and better. As it is, the leaf blower is nose heavy, so a battery box and gearmotor behind the axle is a natural. I figure 100 rpm max at the drive wheels. Surplus Center has this one:

https://www.surpluscenter.com/Electric-Motors/DC-Gearmotors/DC-Gearmotors/100-RPM-12-VDC-GEARMOTOR-5-1649.axd

But.... as I searched Craigslist, I came across a local guy who has many Invacare wheelchair parts, and he even suggests the drive units would be good for a remote lawn mower. Waiting to hear from him.

Dennis

Willy
10-19-2014, 03:49 PM
Dennis, I like your leaf blower...a lot!
Especially now that I'm looking outside at my maple and apple trees.

I just wonder how much easier it would be to push with larger diameter, lower rolling resistance wheels?
Like you say it is nose heavy at this point, this also will make it more of a chore to push easily. Just a thought but maybe a bit of refinement will ease the burden of moving it around.


PS...Thanks for the pics, I may use your idea. If nothing else it will sure clear out the house the next time I deep fry fish.:)

PStechPaul
10-19-2014, 04:15 PM
You might be able to use a higher speed non-gear drive and cut splines on the shaft to press onto the tires of the wheels you already have. A 1/2" shaft would give 20:1 ratio for 10" tires, so 2000 RPM would give you the 100 RPM on the wheels. That would be about 11.5 km/h or 7.1 MPH. A larger diameter collar on the shaft might give more surface area for traction, so you might need about 500 RPM out of the motor.

My http://enginuitysystems.com/EVCalculator.htm can help with calculations of speed, torque, thrust, etc.

Good sources for gearhead and straight motors are:

http://www.mpja.com/13VDC-700-RPM-Gearhead-Motor/productinfo/16392%20MD/

http://www.herbach.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HAR&Product_Code=TM01MTR4476&Category_Code=MTR

Maybe a couple of these:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Buhler-Permanent-Magnet-24-V-DC-Large-Hobby-Motor-with-Pulley-5000-RPM-/291259493508
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Indiana-General-D-C-Motor-9-2V-2315-28-16769799-002-Used-Tested-/331049870293
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-24V-2000RPM-8mm-Dia-Shaft-Electric-Planetary-Gear-Box-Speed-Reducing-Motor-/281470507278
http://www.ebay.com/itm/24-28-Volt-DC-Permanent-Magnet-Motor-/291210731491

mixdenny
10-19-2014, 04:37 PM
Dennis, I like your leaf blower...a lot!... I just wonder how much easier it would be to push with larger diameter, lower rolling resistance wheels?... Just a thought but maybe a bit of refinement will ease the burden of moving it around.

The design has evolved over the years. I started out with an electric motor but dragging 150 feet of 12 gauge cord got old. It balanced perfectly when I built it. It was completely silent. People used to stop their cars and ask where I got it. Then I upgraded to the 5hp Briggs. I just checked the date on that photo, hard to believe I built it in 1998! I added the second muffler and piped the exhaust towards the ground. It is really quiet and the exhaust adds a bit of airflow. I changed the pulley ratio a time or two until I chickened out on the rpm. The blower is off an old oil furnace I had, probably from the 1950s. It really rolls fairly easy, just lately my knees are acting up. Sigh... just turned 68.

It could also use an electric start, as the blower is belted without a clutch and the blower is always pumping air. I just shut it off every November and start it again the next October. Never drain the gas or add Stabil. Starts great except for the heavy pull. Dennis

Willy
10-19-2014, 07:52 PM
................
I changed the pulley ratio a time or two until I chickened out on the rpm. The blower is off an old oil furnace I had, probably from the 1950s.
.........

Yeah I'll bet that thing puts out some serious air!!
I've got an old squirrel cage blower like that and with a 1/3hp 1800 rpm motor it is amazing the amount of air that comes out of the chute. In a house with all of the duct work loses they don't seem that powerful but unhindered by the duct work they do move a lot of air.
I can only imagine what 5hp at 3600 rpm would do, especially spooled up. Judging by the pulley size on the engine in your photo I can see you have it geared up considerably over stock. I'll bet the old Briggs is workin' pretty good to move that much air.
I could blow the leaves right across the street with that thing.:)

Boostinjdm
10-19-2014, 08:54 PM
That looks to me like a snowblower with the auger swapped for a fan. The pulleys and fan shaft are even in the right orientation and general position. I'd suggest modifying a snowblower.

Don Young
10-19-2014, 09:31 PM
Riding mowers with the variable speed belt (Reeves type) drive use a transaxle with forward and reverse only. I have A MTD/Yardman so equipped.

mixdenny
10-20-2014, 11:15 AM
Riding mowers with the variable speed belt (Reeves type) drive use a transaxle with forward and reverse only. I have A MTD/Yardman so equipped.

Now that's interesting. I found one on eBay with the case opened up. Looks like a fixed final ratio and to get forward and reverse a pinion slides to either of two opposite facing ring gears. Is yours like this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MTD-Ranch-King-Parts-Transmission-Transaxle-Axle-Rod-717-0764A-717-0540-717-1012-/390951605814?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5b06881636

dockterj
10-20-2014, 11:25 AM
In addition, how about putting a handle on the "front" as well as the back? That should cut your blowing time in half - get to the end of the row and walk to the other side of the blower and push it the other way.

rock_breaker
10-20-2014, 11:29 AM
Two thoughts here, older riding lawmowers have reversable transmissions -- perhaps a yard sale or salvage yard? I purchased a revesable "hydraulic drive" from the local irrigation equipment dealer but it is pricey about $700. It is connected to a 8 HP engine and moves a 1/4 mile long irrigation pipe. Similar units are used on each wheel of "zero turn" lawn mowers.

Have a good day

Ray

Black Forest
10-20-2014, 11:44 AM
The drive system on my Agria mower would be perfect for what you need. One hand lever for neutral, forward and reverse.
http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab91/burnandreturn/drivesystem.jpg (http://s853.photobucket.com/user/burnandreturn/media/drivesystem.jpg.html)

Black Forest
10-20-2014, 11:47 AM
How much reserve power do you have to work with? You need X hp for the blower so what is left for the propulsion?

PStechPaul
10-20-2014, 12:44 PM
Offhand I think 1/4 HP should be enough to propel the blower. My ~100 pound electric riding mower tractor, with 220 pounds of me aboard, was able to move (although slowly) with about 10-15 amps from a 24V battery, which is 1/3 to 1/2 HP. The combined losses of the DC-DC boost converter, VFD, 3 phase electric motor, transmission, differential, and (badly worn) wheel bearings probably meant about half going to the wheels.

Don Young
10-20-2014, 09:56 PM
Now that's interesting. I found one on eBay with the case opened up. Looks like a fixed final ratio and to get forward and reverse a pinion slides to either of two opposite facing ring gears. Is yours like this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MTD-Ranch-King-Parts-Transmission-Transaxle-Axle-Rod-717-0764A-717-0540-717-1012-/390951605814?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5b06881636

Yes, that is the type of transaxle in my mower. Has forward, neutral, reverse and differential functions. Simple, light weight, and sturdy. Should do the job with suitable pulleys and a loose belt clutch arrangement.