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Old 07-07-2017, 08:24 AM   #1
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DIY Reel Mower power conversion


I just acquired a used Fiskars 18 inch reel mower in very good condition - as a trade for an unused Roku 3.

I'm extremely impressed with the build quality and design of the Fiskars mower. It really is a well executed design and modern update on the tried and true reel mower. It occurs to me that a near perfect yard tool would be a self propelled power version that runs on one of the existing battery powered OPE platforms I already have (Ryobi 18v and 40v).

So, I'm considering doing just that. Finding a used Ryobi 18v or 40v chain saw or power head and cannibalizing its parts for my Fiskar mower's drivetrain.

I'd like for this to end up looking like something Fiskars may come up with - as close to a "stock" mower look as possible.

Any thoughts or input appreciated. Here's a few shots of the stock mower and showing the existing chain drive.





Here's a shot of an existing conversion that works but does not achieve the "stock" look I'm going for or use of an existing OPE battery platform conversion:


Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 07-07-2017 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:37 AM   #2
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


Here's a video showing three of these constructed in parallel using an Echo 56volt platform conversion:



Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 07-07-2017 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:45 AM   #3
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


Very cool stuff.

Nothing cuts better, in my opinion, than a reel mower.
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:35 PM   #4
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


A Reel mower presents a bit of a light workout depending on grass height and thickness but you just have to cut the yard more often to keep it manageable. Fiskars design, being a near frictionless blade configuration makes this thing extremely easy to use. The resulting cut is far superior to what I'm used to from my John Deere lawn tractor (LA115).

Very satisfying to cut the grass with no noise, no fuss. Just grab the mower and start walking. Its ready to work at a moment's notice.

I think Fiskars has a winner with this design. Its obvious they thought out the challenges involved with the traditional reel mower platforms and addressed most all of them with this mower. Its done very well.

That's why I think they'd really have a corner on the market if they would offer a motorized version of this machine. Its virtually maintenance free. It would be the near perfect OPE machine. They could license the battery tech from someone like Ryobi or Ego and keep the form factor minimalist. It would be a bonus if you could use your existing Ryobi or Ego batteries (depending on who they choose to partner with).

I really think that would be a killer product and my goal is to create what I envision to be the prototype of what they would design themselves. It should look like a stock battery powered machine from Fiskars. I'm keeping a watch out on Craigslist for a used Ryobi or Ego chainsaw to use as the basis of this conversion. I think that may be the minimum size powerplant that would be required to propel the 50 pound mower and turn the blades at the same time. Perhaps a 40 volt circular saw may also work, but I like the fact that a chain saw is basically plug and play with the Fiskars existing chain drive wheel axle design.

Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 07-07-2017 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:17 PM   #5
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


A few pics of the stock mower drive assembly. I think the best approach would be to add a sprocket to the rear axle and build the self propelled powerplant from there. There is plenty of space above the rear axle to accomodate the electric motor, battery and drive mechanism (be it belt or chain driven). Deciding between using a cordless angle grinder vs a cordless drill to supply power to the axle.







The existing chain drive is secured to the axle from this allen screw. I expect to remove this in order to weld a drive sprocket or belt pully to the axle. Haven't decided on whether to use a belt drive or chain drive.


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Old 07-09-2017, 10:07 PM   #6
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


Actually my looking at those pictures it looks like the conversion should be relatively simple. I would probably go with a chain drive mainly because that's what they already use although obviously either would work.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


Was thinking that I may try a belt drive first, simply because it may work just wrapped around the axle (similar to vacuum cleaner belt drive). I'd still need to remove the axle to get the belt on, but I wouldn't need to bother with fitting a sprocket onto the axle. Although that may be simpler than I'm aware. I just don't have a welding rig in my garage to make it so.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:51 AM   #8
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


If you change the axle out for a longer one you could put you pulley or sprocket on the end with out welding. maybe. just a thought, good luck.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:24 AM   #9
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Re: DIY Reel Mower power conversion


I'd like to keep the width of the mower the same so that when I need to cut next to a wall or edge, I can push in either direction. For that reason, and because I have lots of empty space to work with between the center of the deck and the rear axle, I'm going to try to work in that area.

One thought occurred to me after doing more research, to secure the axle or pulley to the axle, I could just drill a hole in the axle and secure the pulley or sprocket with an allen key screw without needing to weld. So, thats probably what I'll do.

My current challenge is settling on the motor. I'm debating between using a used drill assembly vs purchasing an Traxxas RS 775 motor from Amazon. The drill motor is already geared to provide torque needed for this project. If I use an RS 750 I think I'd need to add a gearbox. Although I've seen several videos of people using stock 550 and 750 motors on scooters, longboards and ebikes.

Here's an example:


Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 07-10-2017 at 07:35 AM.
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