Getting all wound up, using grass to unwind

I often talk about projects around the barn for the goats, etc. this one isn’t lasered but I did use the Glowforge as a very fast way to fit the flange as you will see:

The problem is that the riding trails at the barn often become severely overgrown by mid summer (the weeds can get 5g high!). I have found the tractor mower can’t deal with that and m]basically makes an impossible mess if I try without knocking it down with me with a brush blade. Most of the stalks are 1/2” diameter (12.5mm) and no string is going to efficiently cut through that. So I use a brush blade. Given I am near horses decided this year to go electric (40V battery). Home Depot was having a sale of the 40V Ryobi trimmers, so got one and the additional brush blade pack. On my gas trimmer I’ve used all the brush blades (the triangle one, the saw blade one, the chainsaw blade one, etc…). None of them were awesome really. The Ryobi has these swinging plastic serrated blades.

I gave them a whirl and they worked great, EXCEPT this happens every minute or so… grrr:

That is tight enough to stop the head from rotating. There is a large gap behind the shield to the transmission above where that stuff can bind. So we clearly needed a blade on the top to cut that grass. The giant weeds don’t wrap as they are so thick, they’re more like tree branches. So my first thought was a 3D printed collar in polycarbonate. To get the flange right I used draft board as there is a key way in the top of the head and to get the clearances right.

Design one worked great for a total of 5 minutes until the teeth on the print wore down to nothing, so (none broke!) new design and material was needed. First off had to go aggro on my material choice, and switched from polycarbonate (very tough) to a fiber filled nylon. For those unfamiliar with your choices nylon (or PA - polyamode) is super tough itself but very soft, so while virtually unbreakable it is a poor choice for a cutter since it tends to mush out of the way. Now hardness and abrasion resistance are key in a cutting blade (hence why we mostly use tool-steel). But nylon accepts fibers mixed in (lie your favorite smoosh-in at cold-stone creamery) with the most common material being glass. While most people associate glass with being stiff and brittle fiberglass is a perfect example of flexibility. But it does add good dimensional stiffness and makes nylon extremely impact resistant (your power tools use PA-G for the case). But I didn’t think impact was my primary problem since none of the teeth broke they wore down. So that printed to abrasion resistance (which is provided by a hard material), so that led me to Kevlar, which is an aramid fiber. Kevlar which everyone associates with tensile strength also turns out to be very hard and the fibers are super hard to cut. So when mixed in to nylon for a very abrasion resistant polymer. Even better aramids bind via hydrogen bonds like nylon so forms a strong alloy polymer. For the same reason it is hell on 3D printers and you absolutely must use a hardened steel nozzle with nickel plating. Like nylon it has no desire to stick to the print bed, but there are solutions to that. I got a spool of Matterhackers nylonG and nylonK

The fibers sticking out of the nylon give it a horribly rough surface finish (and the filament is super rough too). So that has about 1mm of clearance around the metal casing and it locked into the key way of the head’s shaft. The version 2 got those side teeth to try and aid the chopping. They are actually quite sharp.

When using this, obviously safety glasses, and I have polycarbonate shin guards and steel-toes on in case that flies apart…

Anyway off to the barn this morning to try the last 1/4mi stretch of the trail I didn’t get last time, since it is finally not raining for once…


I hope this solution works so you can spend more time enjoying the riding trails and less time on maintenance. It would be nice if you had some goats to eat the weeds and keep things tidy.


Goats like eating stuff, it’s just hard to point them towards specific stuff to eat since they’re morons… or as my daughter phrases it: all the goats in the world share one brain cell, and today isn’t your goat’s turn…


I have the interchangeable heads so you can switch them off easily. but for high grass that I am not needing to trim rocks or fence wires I find this really useful. Especially if it is kept sharp.

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Yeah, I’ve been pondering turning some loose in our woods…would they be nice and eat the underbrush for me, or would they eat the bark off the trees instead? I guess there’s only one way to find out.

But first…there’s a whole lotta fence-building in my near future!


They will tear the trees apart. Not only are they morons but they’re kinda jerks too. The horses find them endlessly amusing though…


I just bought a roll of the kevlar/nylon filament. I haven’t had a project that I needed it for yet but it just sounded so interesting.

I use Slice Engineering’s vanadium nozzles and have had good luck with them for carbon-fiber PETG, which would wear through the steel nozzles in about 1 kg.

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I use the E3D Nozzle X (I used to use the Olsen Ruby but didn’t like their performance). For everyday I use the nickel plated copper E3D nozzles.


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We use this in our yard to take out small shrubs with a 2" - 3" base with a couple whacks. There is a slight kick back so a shin guards might be needed. But have had no problems with it. hope it helps.

You owe us goat photos. We haven’t had any in quite some time. Please :slight_smile:


The pictures are less exciting since sgt. rocky deployed:


For those who don’t know goats, most people think the natural enemy of the goat is the wolf, but in fact it is the hat…

if you put a hat on them, they immediately find their buddy and have them try and bash it off their head (it’s a service I guess within the herd if you get a branch stuck on your head?). Note getting a goat into fatigues is really hard since those don’t stretch at ALL. And their joints don’t bend the same way ours do. Also figuring out what child size your goat is, took several orders… Going by weight was WAY off…

And yes I do have the pants to go along with the shirt, but there was only so many black and blues I wanted to sustain…


Oh my word! Thank you for sharing this. It really did make my day. Now, of course, I have to ask, WHY did you decide he needed fatigues? :grinning:


Can’t have him out of uniform…

it was for a video for a project. (for a software demo)


But they have gotten a few hikes in (it’s been raining non-stop here)


Shared the top pic with my girls. Needless to say they loved it. Why did I think you had 2 goats? You really should share a regular supply of goat pics with us. Some of us NEED them.

They do have a Facebook channel (goats of Sage). We got 2 baby-girls last year (unfortunately we got them before they were weaned and they refused bottle feeding)…, so the boys are Rocky and Butterscotch and the girls are caramel and Oreo. We almost lost the entire herd in the spring when someone (drunk) threw an azalea branch into the pen and they ate it and became digoxin poisoned. They spent a week in the ICU at Tuft’s Large Animal. It was a great teaching case for the students since plants containing digoxin are common in the north east (foxglove being the actual source of digoxin); and normally critically ill goats become steaks, but these are our pets, so we went full bore. Oreo being the independent one luckily didn’t eat it, but the others were pretty close to death, with butterscotch in complete heart block and caramel was seizing.

The only good thing that came of that was when the team noted they were anemic they tested their stool for parasites (the largest killer of goats worldwide is the Barber Pole worm - there is a WHO eradication program), so they got treated for that (that was not fun, giving goats medications). And we also discovered that caramel who was always way below the growth curve had mycoplasma pneumonia (so called “walking pneumonia”) which is the most common cause for baby goats to fall off the growth curve. so she got a week of antibiotics. Oreo being a total escape artist kept breaking out at the animal hospital (which is crazy because the rooms have heavy steel doors) and the staff kept reporting that they’d hear a goat somewhere where there shouldn’t be goats and there would be Oreo standing in some supply closet or what have you…

She continues her escaping (I think I have finally blocked her last method?) and Woody was horrified at the total breakdown of law and order at the farm. After that photo he looked at me and shook his head in disgust.


It’s the stories as much as the pictures that make the goat adventure posts so entertaining :smiley:


I love reading through your problem solving posts. But hear me out… have you ever thought of getting a scythe? Super easy to keep sharp, no electricity needed, can get a brush blade to take down those 1/2" stems, can cut in the dew of the morning… I use one to maintain my backyard (and curse all the mowers that I hear all day for being soooo loud). You could even haul out the roughage to feed to those cute goats!