Apr. 22, 2015 | By Kira

Earlier this year, we reported on the development of an impressive 3D printed RC snow blower built by designer and all-around maker Moo Skyper (a.k.a, Ryan). Now, Ryan has launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to bring his 2nd generation 3D printed snow blower to the market.

The machine itself is a 1/10th scale 3D printed snow blower designed to be used with remote control vehicles—namely, the Kyosho Blizzard SR, however with modifications it can also be compatible with other models. It is powered by a standard 540 sized motor and uses standard RC servos to raise and lower the blower, as well as to turn the shoot that directs the snow. Although it is not designed to clear an entire driveway—Ryan points out that there are large scale RC snow blowers on the market that, for a couple thousand dollars, can accomplish that job—his invention can nevertheless plow through 14 x 5 inches of powdered snow in a single pass, making it ideal for hobby-level consumers looking for a fun way to play around in the snow.

for more videos of the RC snow blower in action, check out Ryan's YouTube page

Reactions to his initial iteration, posted on RC Snowcats last January, were overwhelmingly positive, and Ryan has managed to sell several kits. However, he says that there is significant room for improvement, and that he has learned new techniques that will make the new machine stronger and better overall—he just needs the funds to justify the months of time, energy, and resources he has already invested into the design.

Currently, Ryan 3D prints and assembles all of the parts himself using two customized 3D printers. Each has E3D Volcano extruders with 0.6mm nozzles and are run by the newest Smoothie board controller. In addition, he uses a full aluminum CNC machine that he designed from scratch, and has a self-proclaimed “lifetime of computer experience” to produce the best possible parts for the kits. Given that he has worked with 3D CAD and CAM designing, 3D printing, and CNC machines for over eight years, alongside creating content for Second Life and dabbling in wood working and other hands-on projects, we’re inclined to believe him.

The Kickstarter campaign has so far raised over $2,000 of its $10,000 goal. If successful, the funds will go towards the development and manufacturing of the snow blower. As an addition to the previous iteration, the funds will also be used to develop a tracked vehicle that is dedicated to the snow blower. Since the current model is attached to the Kyosho Blizzard SR, which is both limited and quite expensive for the average consumer, Ryan wants to design a dedicated tracked vehicle that will have more pushing power and be better suited for snow removal.

Finally, the Kickstarter would help with his overall production process. Currently, Ryan runs the entire project with help from a few friends and family members, however, he stated that with enough support and pledges, he could invest in more 3D printers, hiring more help, or even outsourcing his work to other companies to actually produce the components.

Backers have the option of either pledging to receive the digital STL files to print the snow blower at home (minimum pledge of $60), or they can receive several products in either kit form or fully assembled (minimum pledge of $400). Backers can also choose between the ‘Standard’ kit, which consists of the snow blower kit and a mounting system to attach to the Kyosho Blizzard SR, or the ‘Deluxe’ kit, which includes the snow blower connected to a dedicated all-in-one custom tracked vehicle. A pledge of $1,500 will get you the fully assembled Deluxe 3D printed RC snow blower ready to run with electronics, motors, servos, speed controllers and radio system all included. Since kits are being tested and built now (believe it or not, Ryan is actually planning on buying a snow machine so that he can properly test his new designs throughout the Minnesota summer!) they are expected to be ready and shipped just in time for next winter.

Given all of the positive reactions to the first generation snow blower, as well as Ryan’s undeniable passion for designing and creating fun and functional tools using 3D printing technology, this venture is very promising. And, as a born-and-bread Canadian, I can honestly say that any project that has the potential to make our winters even slightly more tolerable is a worthwhile project indeed.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

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