Ride on mower grass deflector

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This is a very quick and simple "hack" project to increase the versatility of some types of ride on mower.

Some mowers only offer the ability to collect the cut grass or to mulch it, but lack the capability to simply leave it on the ground. This is because cutting decks designed to drop the grass in place typically have a side opening in the deck to let the cuttings escape. Collection mowers often use a enclosed deck with a substantial updraught of air created by angled blade tips to blow the clippings up out of the deck and through a rear discharge chute into the grass collector.

On "normal" length dry (ish) grass, collection usually works well. However the first cut of the year, where the grass may be wet and long, air draught collection mowers can often clog which makes mowing very time consuming with much effort expended dealing with multiple clogs.

To try and fix this in the past I had experimented with simply not fitting the collection bin (and disabling the interlock so the mower would still run) thus maintaining as much airflow as possible. This did much reduce the clogging, but also projected a 10' long fountain of grass out the back of the mower, which blew grass everywhere making a huge mess! (and if the wind is in the wrong direction, you get a face full as well)

So since this year had been exceptionally wet - delaying the first mow, the grass was even longer and wetter than usual, and I thought there must be a better way!

Lets build something

The idea was to build some kind of cowl, that would redirect the grass laden air stream from the back of the mower, and turn it though ~90 degrees, so that it is directed down onto the ground. This was it:

View from the other side, admire the authentic fake wood grain!
A scrap of 4x2, two bits of melamine faced chipboard salvaged from an old bit of flat pack furniture, and some hardboard, quickly screwed, glued and nailed into a deflector, that "catches" the stream of clippings being ejected from the back of the mower, and directs it down onto the ground.

A couple of spring clamps were used to stop it vibrating out of place.

In Use

Mowing very slow over the long grass, seemed to be enough to allow the grass discharge "keep up" the rate it was being cut. This resulted in minimal clogs. Once the grass has laid on the lawn for a bit and had chance to dry for a few days, it can be collected by a second mow, or if you have a tow behind sweeper, that would also do the job nicely.

The following week

So a week after the big deflector mow, I was planning on doing a collection mow to pick up the now (slightly) dried grass. It worked on the less "wild" bits but was still clogging where the longer bits had been previously "felled". So I switched to the "tow behind" sweeper and collected a fair pile from what was cut last time.