NEW ALBANY, Miss. — Summit Mowers, a manufacturer of remote controlled slope mowers, has fitted its latest machines with 3D printed brackets, according to a story on 3ders.org. The company is based in New Albany, Miss., and sells the majority of its machines to government municipalities with steep hills to maintain.
The company’s founder, John Wright, has been experimenting with remote controlled lawnmowers prototypes since the 1990s. He recently realized it could shorten manufacturing processes with the help of 3D printing. The company has not invested in its own 3D printer, but has been using the on-demand additive manufacturing services ofi.materialise to order custom 3D printed brackets for its mowers, according to the story.
Wright and his team were already familiar with the technology, having previously used the 3D modeling software to design laser-cut metal parts.
Wright decided to start Summit Mowers after the 2008 market collapse and spent almost four years researching and developing his products: unmanned mowers which can climb and mow on extreme 40-50 degree slopes thanks to a pair of wide rubber tracks.
The mowers are built on a zero-turn mower foundation rather than being built from the ground up, which saves the company time and money. To prevent erosion of terrain, the machines can mow side to side. Wheel-driven machines can only go up and down, which causes erosion, according to the company.
Having seen the positive effects of 3D printing first-hand, Wright hopes to use the technology more. “3D printing has been around for a little while now and the technology is growing every day,” Wright says. “One day, I hope to be able to have other metal parts 3D printed.”