New method of cutting grass? -looking to nature for answer


by taylaron
Tags: cutting, grass, method, nature
taylaron
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#1
Apr21-13, 12:49 AM
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Hey PF,
I'm looking for a new way to cut the grass on my lawn and i'm looking to nature for inspiration. I'm an engineer, not a biologist and I could use your help with naming creatures or mechanisms that are used to cut grass, flesh, bark, etc...

I've come up with the following good suggestions:
  1. Leaf-cutting ants*
  2. Crab claws
  3. Deer & goat teeth
  4. beaver teeth

Can anybody think of microscopic organisms that cut things?

Thanks in advance
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berkeman
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Apr21-13, 12:54 AM
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The parks around here use sheep...
Simon Bridge
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Apr21-13, 12:59 AM
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add slow-growing grass:
http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/07/smal...rass/index.htm

Evo
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Apr21-13, 01:08 AM
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New method of cutting grass? -looking to nature for answer


Depending on rules in your neighborhood, ground covers such as ivy and moss are a solution.

I've also heard of people planting endangered prairie grass and putting up a sign that their lawn is a protected site. I see it planted in a lot of places around here, ugly as heck, but it's not actually protected in your yard AFAIK.
Integral
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Apr21-13, 08:59 PM
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Put down a cement slab, paint it green.
taylaron
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Apr21-13, 09:03 PM
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Thank you for your suggestions, but I don't want to replace my lawn. I'm looking for creatures or organisms that have evolved to cut objects in an efficient manner. I want to build a robotic lawnmower that emulates the technology in its cutting mechanism.

Thanks.
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Apr21-13, 09:17 PM
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South America uses goats and sheep
Simon Bridge
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Apr21-13, 10:47 PM
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I don't think there is anything evolved to just cut the grass ... the idea is to eat the grass without becoming food oneself: which is a different problem - hence the teeth based grab-pull-n-swallow approach. I don't think you'll find an efficient mechanism in nature for your purpose.

The closest would be things like leaf-cutter ants - they basically nibble a path through leaves.
The large-scale equivalent would be scissors or shears - you'd use counter-rotating blades perhaps or something that looks like a hedge-trimmer.
taylaron
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Apr22-13, 12:04 AM
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Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
... The closest would be things like leaf-cutter ants - they basically nibble a path through leaves.
The large-scale equivalent would be scissors or shears - you'd use counter-rotating blades perhaps or something that looks like a hedge-trimmer.
Leaf-cutter ants are exactly the kind of suggestion i'm looking for. However, i'm confident there are more creatures that could also provide inspiration; which is why I came here.
Illbilly
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#10
Apr24-13, 01:36 PM
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Here's the mechanism that comes to mind when thinking of how herd animals eat grass, and applying that action to some sort of grass mowing machine.

Start with a square wire/bar.
Coil into tightly wound closed coil spring.
Bend into arc, or more interesting shape.
Rotate spring about long axis.

The pinching/pulling action will closely replicate the way ruminants eat.

My2
taylaron
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Apr24-13, 02:44 PM
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Interesting Idea Illbilly. So there is a round coil of tightly wound square wire which is repeatedly wound/ unwound so the gap inbetween the winds opens/ closes, pinching the grass. The whole assembly is rotated about the coil's axis, so the grass is then grabbed, pulled, then released. Right?
Illbilly
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Apr24-13, 02:49 PM
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That's the Idea. Kind of like those torture devices for the ladies to remove hair. I'd imagine you'd have problems with the coil getting clogged with long, stringy pieces, but I think secondary blades, perpendicular to the coil might work for that.

Or maybe star shaped wire... or some "beaver teeth" machined into the wire. That would have a better cutting action and help pull in material
AkInfinity
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Apr24-13, 03:21 PM
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Good question. BUy yourself a cow. it keeps grass low. DO you need your grass more cut? buy more cows. Are they cutting the grass to well? turn a cow into beef. Eventually after experiment you shall reach homeostasis; your lawn wil be the height you like it and you get some cows for milk and beef. Problem solved the natural way.
Great query btw OP +rep
taylaron
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Apr24-13, 04:05 PM
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All the comments about cows and goats are quite amusing.... But no, i'm not getting a cow. I want to build a robot!!
Simon Bridge
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Apr25-13, 09:40 PM
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Quote Quote by taylaron View Post
Interesting Idea Illbilly. So there is a round coil of tightly wound square wire which is repeatedly wound/ unwound so the gap inbetween the winds opens/ closes, pinching the grass. The whole assembly is rotated about the coil's axis, so the grass is then grabbed, pulled, then released. Right?
You mean like the coil-blade lawn mowers?
taylaron
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Apr25-13, 11:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Simon Bridge View Post
You mean like the coil-blade lawn mowers?
Do you mean a reel* mower? Because those are totally different
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Apr26-13, 12:01 AM
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Totally different from a round coil of square wire - suppose it would not be thought of as "tightly" wound.
Perhaps I should have ask - "how does this idea differ from..."? i.e. description could be confused for an existing design.

Lets see - reel mower:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawn_mower
... hmmm... though the ones I have used have a cylindrical (loose) coil of cutting blades.
The action is not unlike a rapid version of chomping at the grass.
sWozzAres
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#18
May1-13, 08:31 AM
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You don't need to cut grass to trim it! For instance, a "thin hot wire" fixed across the width of the machine might trim grass. It might also burn the grass which might not be so good for it but in my experience a lawnmower doesn't produce a clean cut anyway and the ends of the grass leaf still go brown. It would also mean a non mechanical trimming mechanism which could be safer, uses a battery so no power cables to burn through and no refuelling, lighter so easier to use. The wire might break easily though so maybe you can have a mechanism like a strimmer, when the wire breaks just feed out some more and re-attach it.


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