The WEEDINATOR project continues .... The inevitability of robots working on farms draws ever nearer ....

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In the world of professional agriculture, a lot of focus has been put on large, incredibly expensive machines that work in huge open fields where just one crop is grown. Whilst this is incredibly efficient and produces very cheap food, it's not good for pretty much everything else!
There does exist a substantial backlash against this farming model where small farmers grow 'organic' vegetables on small farms with respect to the environment and indigenous wildlife.
Although robots have a bad rep for stealing our jobs, there are some jobs that most people just don't want to do. Not only are these tasks boring, but they can often tip the wage scales over the minimum threshold and make small farms financially unviable.
Here I introduce the Weedinator - an autonomous agricultural electric tractor that can be used on small farms to cultivate, till and weed seed beds. It will travel up and down 56 inch wide beds, several times a day if necessary.

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.5)

2018 sees the project moving forwards with the addition of a side project managed by Jonno which uses a skid steer system and higher powered drive motors. It will use the same control system as the WEEDINATOR.

This year we've also got more people on the team, including Tristan Lea, a successful open source entrepreneur, who apart from having superb technical skills, has actual open source business experience.

Also, the WEEDINATOR will be exhibited at the Liverpool MakeFest, 30th June 2018 and myself and Jonno will be available for intelligent conversation.

Project logs will be updated soon with development of the control system, featuring a 3 core MCU, ultra precision GNSS and more ...... so please subscribe!

Weedinator MEGA + 3 core 07.pcb

PCB design for main control board. Opens with 'Design Spark' free PCB software.

pcb - 388.00 kB - 03/13/2018 at 16:05


  • Main Body of the CNC to be Assembled

    TegwynTwmffat☠14 hours ago 3 comments

    I had planned to build the CNC later on in 2018, but I just could not restrain myself! Previously, two saddles were installed on the 200 x 100 box section for the X axis. With some extra rails and ballscrew for the Y axis (Not shown) these are the components to finish the CNC build (Motors not shown).

  • Testing CNC X Axis Motors

    TegwynTwmffat☠03/15/2018 at 09:07 0 comments

    The WEEDINATOR, if you did not know already, is an autonomous roving CNC machine that travels around a farm weeding beds of vegetables. The actual weeding mechanism is similar to a woodworking router, but acts on soil not wood.

    I tested the X axis motors with a 100 kg spring balance thinking that it would never pull more than 50 kg ..... How wrong I was! It easily pulled a full 100 kg on the ball screw with ample capacity to spare. The Leadshine ACM604V60-01 brushless DC motor is rated at 400W, 8.6 amps and only pulled 1.7 amps at 48 volts during the test. I reckon it could create as much as 500 kg at full wack.

    If you want to use these motors, the best place to buy them is where you get good prices, excellent service and fast delivery. The motors do need to be set up properly with the Leadshine Pro Tune software, so don't forget to buy the serial cable to connect to a PC.

  • Control Board Upgrade

    TegwynTwmffat☠03/13/2018 at 16:04 0 comments

    Debugging is an ongoing process, trying to spot the idiosyncrasies of this machine and make appropriate improvements, but basically, it works pretty well now. 

    Not all PCBs are made equal ...... I've had some made from some companies where the screen print has been off by as much as 2mm which makes populating the boards very difficult, especially on small 0402 stuff. 

    $2 PCBs & Big Discount on First order Shipping:

  • WEEDINATOR starts to become autonomous

    TegwynTwmffat☠03/04/2018 at 08:23 0 comments

    Now that most of the code is running on a 3 core microprocessor, it's time to start joining the navigation code with the drive and steering code and allow the machine the freedom to roam around the fields.

View all 4 project logs

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berryfarm wrote 03/04/2018 at 18:34 point

Can your motor controller be used on other motors besides stepper motors?

  Are you sure? yes | no

TegwynTwmffat☠ wrote 03/05/2018 at 07:03 point

 Yes, we are using the controller on other motors including servo and cargo

  Are you sure? yes | no

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