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Last summer it was brought to my attention that you could buy nearly everything you needed for automated lawn care but a seed spreading robot. This intrigued me. For starters, why on Earth would anyone make lawn care robots in the first place? There are countless reasons this seems like a bad idea. Secondly, a seed spreading robot sounded like a bizarre robotic cross between Wall-E, and Johnny Appleseed. The idea clearly had potential.

So, when asked if I wanted to actually take on the challenge of building one, I obviously responded with a definitive yes. Even though I personally don't own a lawn (my backyard is concrete and weeds), it seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up. In terms of actually using it, I found a willing victim in Glenn Derene of Popular Mechanics. He was more than happy to let this thing loose on his lawn (along with a slew of other robotic lawn care contraptions). So one fateful day last summer, I tightened the last bolt, wrote the last line of code, packed it up safely, and shipped it cross country to meet whatever fate lie in store.

Albeit I only later saw a video of it in action, it is my understanding that it performed about as well as you would expect an experimental DIY seed spreading robot to perform on its initial run; in short, not very. Rather than a cross between Wall-E and Johnny Appleseed, it is more of a cross between Johnny 5, and the groundskeeper in Caddyshack.

Nonetheless, I think the structural design of the robot is solid. If the code is tweaked a bit, and the rangefinder repositioned, I think this robot could spread seed like a champ.
 
gkouranos1 year ago
I really "hate" you for this PERFECTLY illustrated instructions, and I hope you win. keep up the good work.
anoniemouse2 years ago
By The Way This is a great job.
My previous post was meant for the post monitor.
I have a couple of joystick operated electric chairs and I would like more info on the track system.
anoniemouse2 years ago
You just like to take all the fun out of stuff....[:0)
joshuam5112 years ago
This is probably the most detailed instructable I've seen. Great work, I'd love to try some of those techniques in other projects.
earthwaybp2 years ago
I must say that this is the best use of one of my spreaders I have ever seen! As the sales manager at Earthway I fully endorse the project. If anyone has video they can forward I would like to feature at a tradeshow.
BOFH_22 years ago
Great Job! I went through all 65 steps and just kept being amazed at the detail that you designed and created the seed spreader. I had a larger lawn once and found it easy to attach a seed spreader to the back of the mower.

I have a couple things to ask:

1. Would it be difficult to add a random mode to the code so that the seeder would not be on the same track?

2. When you were designing and building this did you ever come across a unit that already had a motor and tracks that you could just attach the revolution counter, the spreader bucket and the wall sensor to? I am going to look around myself because that part of the build had many parts to it and I want to see if there is anything that will make a build like this easier.

Again, Great Job.
martzsam BOFH_22 years ago
If your looking for an easy to break down tracked chassis you might consider something like this:
http://compare.ebay.com/like/130789699664?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar

They are rather cheap and easy to remove parts from. They are, however, of significantly lower quality than the track assembly used in this instructable.
spylock2 years ago
Very nice.
Darkmon2 years ago
WTF!!! SOOOOOOO COOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!
oredney2 years ago
super cool.....!
ArrowRoSA2 years ago
Hi Sir!.Grate job, do you have any video to see how really it works with expaned code?
thx!
ajsivsan2 years ago
Good one!!!. Last month i tried a project with arduino. Me and my wife planned for a three weeks vacation. We had few potted plants and we seeded them two months ago.. we were worried who is going to water them daily when we are gone for vacation. Then i used arduino and ethernet sheild to access the waterpump from anywhere in the world and water is when ever needed :)

Initially i planned to have a modified remote car carrying the water hose to each plant and watering it but i bought a small CAR which did not withstand the weight of the hose with water. So i had no time to buy a new one and do the experimnet but still i hooked up the hose to all the plants, made some holes and it will water all the plants at the same time
In one picture i see that the seeds are spread on the front side.. did the Ultasonic range finder sense them as wall?
randofo (author)  ajsivsan2 years ago
This did not seem to be the problem from what I could tell.
robotmaker2 years ago
VERY cool design,like the use of lynxmotion tracks ,i am using one to build my own johnny five design with on-board computer
i build and collect a lot of robots
also a great board to use and program easy is EZ-ROBOT
stoobers2 years ago
Hello,
I will throw in my 2 cents:
My roomba goes around in a spiral, then bumps into a wall and goes to a different space covering algorithm. It might work for the lawn, too. Or you might try to establish the perimeter first, then fill in the "gap" which is the center. This sounds like a fun project.
Ovin2 years ago
Haha!!
Lindie2 years ago
Very cool! Send me one..... :-)
randofo (author)  Lindie2 years ago
I don't think your lawn is the right layout.
Lindie randofo2 years ago
You are probably right. But The digs would love baking at it.
randofo (author)  Lindie2 years ago
SPEELING!
Lindie randofo2 years ago
Haha!
kooth2 years ago
Once again: Awesome! I will build one of these after I finish my "Wack-A-Mole" and "Vein Finder"!

Nice job!!!
Grissini2 years ago
Really cool. And after you have spent enough time mowing the lawn, you start wishing you had 3grand for a lawn bot. Poop patrol, imho, is the pinnacle of yard robotics.
Poop patrol, imho, is the pinnacle of yard robotics.

Oh please build one of these!
kooth artlife2 years ago
Yes, this is a GREAT IDEA!!!
Kiteman2 years ago
This would be fun to "release into the wild", but, you mentioned a video?
randofo (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
The video is not mine to post. Perhaps it will end up on the Popular Mechanics website. Not sure. Have not taken my own video.
Kiteman randofo2 years ago
You could ask nicely, or at least add a link when it's up elsewhere...
plucas12 years ago
I can see this being modified for lawn mowing. edging etc.
I was thinking about your issue with the sensor detecting the ground, maybe you could get it to detect an obstacle then stop then try to detect it again if its stopped, if nothing there when its stopped then it continues forward if there is something there it turns.
randofo (author)  plucas12 years ago
It actually accounts for something moving in front of it briefly in the code. I think what is happening is that it is seeing the lawn as a wall. I wasn't there for the trial run, so I was not able to do any real testing.
M.C. Langer2 years ago
Awesome!!!! I love it!
HollyMann2 years ago
You're amazing - I'm amazed!!! Great job! :)
maboy2 years ago
Excellent! Now to fill my robot minions with dandelion seeds, and send them into neighboring lands! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Great !!! Wish I had this one last summer, my lawn looks like homers head :)
hkortus2 years ago
That is great. But you really could use a video.
nspirit2 years ago
Using an hammer to crush the ant. I definively love this XD !
I find your design clean and i love the hall sensor on the frame, if the motor is dead, just swap it.

gada8882 years ago
awesome,thx for sharing sth which is beneficial to Mother Earth.