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Riderless mowers cut his lawn
"My riderless riding mowers cut my grass while I sit in the shade," says Darwin Carlile, Perry, Iowa, who uses a pair of riding mowers controlled by rubber bands and 40 ft. of cord wrapped around a spool to automatically cut his lawn.
Carlile bought a pair of old 3-wheeled riding mowers. He bolted a 1-ft. long angle iron "tongue" to the front steering fork and ran a large rubber band made from a discarded inner tube from the back end of the angle iron tongue up to the steering yoke. It keeps the front wheel from moving back and forth. He ties one end of the lightweight cord to the front of the tongue, and the other end to a 5 3/4-in. dia. spool mounted on top of an old planter wheel lying flat on the ground. The mower circles around the spool, starting next to it and working its way out-ward as the cord unwinds off the spool.
"People driving by slow down or stop because they can't believe what they're seeing," says Carlile. "I got the idea one hot July day when I had to mow my 3-acre lawn and had no one to help me. I simply position each mower at the pivot point, put it in low gear at 3/4 throttle, step off, and watch it go while I sit under a shade tree. After the mower uses up all of the cord and cuts a full 80-ft. dia. circle, I wind the cord back up, reset the pivot, and mow another circle. The riderless mowers cause less scalloping of the ground and use only about half as much gas. Each mower can complete nearly four 80-ft. circles on one tank of gas. It takes about 25 minutes to mow one circle. After they're done I mow between the circles. The pivot spool is sized so that the mower over-laps slightly on each pass."
One mower cuts 24-in. wide and is powered by a 5 hp engine. The other cuts 26 in. wide and is powered by an 8 hp engine. Both were rope-pull models when Carlile bought them, but the 8 hp model was hard to start so he converted it to electric start by installing a new engine equipped with a starter motor and using an automobile dimmer switch as the starter switch. He mounted a small battery just ahead of the seat.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dar-win Carlile, RR 2, Box 161, Perry, Iowa 50220 (ph 515 465-2052).


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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #4