Oh my god, I’ve been in Minnesota for too long

Because I started drooling and making strange guttural noises when I read this story of a remote-controlled 3-D printed snowblower. I was having these mind-blowing fantasies of sitting in my home office with a joystick, clearing my driveway while sitting in warmth and comfort.

(Turn the volume down, you don’t need to hear the awful cacophony of the soundtrack to this clip)

I don’t have a 3D printer, and I probably couldn’t afford the kind of model that would suffice for that thing, so why doesn’t someone come out with a pre-assembled version for sale? I’m not sure this one has enough oomph to handle the mountain ranges of snow that the snowplows drop across our driveway, but it could probably handle our sidewalks.

On second thought, maybe it would be nice to have one where I could just print up damaged parts as I need them. Our existing manual snowblower is currently laid up with a cracked gas tank, and having one I could fix on the spot would be so handy.


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    That thing is not going to go through the 6-8″ snow falls we have been getting lately here in NW Wisconsin. It will either not get through at all or blow something trying. This winter has been tough on my John Deere Gator I plow with and my Ariens snow blower. This thing is not the answer.

  2. flange says

    It is pretty cool. But:
    I’m guessing at 0˚F, you’d be lucky to get 10 minutes of continuous operation.
    You have to stand outside there with it, managing the remote control.
    I doubt that the batteries or motors can be 3D printed.
    A Minnesotan shouldn’t get to have that much fun snow-blowing the driveway.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    Last I checked (yesterday), shovels still work fairly well. Decent workout too, what with the freezing rain between the two snow dumps.

  4. says

    Yeah, he claims he gets a couple of hours of runtime. I don’t believe it. Batteries drain tremendously fast at -20°.

    It wouldn’t have enough force to get through a half meter of packed snow and ice, like we regularly get at the base of our driveway. It could mainly handle maintenance of a previously cleared path, I would think.

    But I can dream!

  5. microraptor says

    I find myself wondering about the durability of the plastic that’s used in 3D printers at subzero temperatures.

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ll pass on the design. Looks too wide compared to height for both Dah Yoo Pee or Chiwaukee. Means the impeller is likely under powered, especially for non-powdery snow (ie, slush). I do like he concept of clearing out my driveways and sidewalks while still in my PJ’s, reality still isn’t there.

  7. gijoel says

    You could always move to Australia. Only half of the country is on fire at the moment. The other half is cleaning up mud from recent floods.

  8. John Morales says

    poeducker, duh. If I want to listen to rock music, I will put on a rock music video.

    This is supposed to be about a device operating; what I want to hear is the device operating, without an overlay.

    gijoel, nah. Oz is big. Where I live, it’s beautiful weather. No floods, no fires, nothing nasty.

    (And never snow!)

  9. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    Meh. Keep your 3D printed snow blower.
    Give me overbuilt, heavy steel, remote controlled snowplows!!! (with tilt and lift functionality)

    Build thread here: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?4314-More-Mule-then-Rover/page23

    Might finally complete the frame for my modular rover chassis sometime this year, which would open up possibilities like a tiny skidsteer front-end loader for landscaping and snow clearing. Been planning to go with a pretty well-insulated (maybe also heated) LiFePO4 battery pack that lifts in/out of the chassis, so should be cold-weather ready.

  10. says

    And here we’ve been working to turn up the whole planetary temperature so that kind of thing wouldn’t be necessary. Can’t you just wait for it to melt like everyone else?

  11. fishy says

    I think you could fix your gas tank with an epoxy like JBWeld that is designed for working with metal.

  12. says

    OK, I admit that we only had one week of snow, but I don’t really get it:
    Shovelling snow is a nuisance, especially when it means having to get up earlier, but at least it gets you warm. This guy was standing outside without much movement for the whole time.
    I also doubt that it would be much use in wet, packed snow. For the light fluffy snow he had here I got an awesome little “shovel with wheels” which I simply push along the sidewalk. With about 60m of sidewalk (our and my neighbour’s, she’s87), it’s a real time saver.