This week’s selection is The Obliterator by Antonio Alonso.
Georgia-based Alonso is a 9th grade student, and using his 3D skills he’s been able to produce a rather useful garden design. “The Obliterator” is intended to pulverize garden weeds by modifying a standard weed trimmer.
The problem with weed trimmers is two-fold: they cut the tops off weeds, but leave a trunk that can regrow. Secondly, the diameter of a weed trimmer’s polymer filament is sometimes too wide to allow for use in close situations — you wouldn’t want to accidentally slice off those flowers, would you?
Alonso turned to Blender to produce a 3D model of an attachment that would replace the normal filament spool on weed trimmers. The idea was to simply rotate this attachment to literally grind weeds into pulp. This would allow for detail work between favored plants, and get rid of the weeds efficiently.
Of course, The Obliterator does not destroy the roots of the weed, and larger plants will likely grow back, although far slower than if their trunks remained as they do with conventional weed trimmer action. However, The Obliterator is designed to work with small, emerging weeds rather than the big ones. For small weeds, The Obliterator will indeed rip their roots right out of the ground.
Alonso documented his journey to develop The Obliterator in a recent video, where you can see a considerable amount of iteration was required for this seemingly simple design. From an array of equal-sized stumps in his initial design, it evolved into a sophisticated but geometrically simpler group of variably-sized teeth. They would appear quite menacing to a small plant.
Alonso also provided information on how best to 3D print this part, as its usage demands specific mechanical strength properties. These were also developed during extensive trial and error sessions by the young designer.
The design has been placed online at Thingiverse for anyone to download and use at no charge. While some have suggested the designer should patent the creation, he says he just wants everyone to use it:
“Perhaps I will patent some of my future ideas. For now, I’m happy to give this idea away :)”
If you give this design a try, be aware that the dimensions are intended for specific models of weed trimmers only, and that you may have to tweak the dimensions and connective bits to make it work on your trimmer.