Sunday, October 18, 2020

Three Design Flaws

Our claim of design flaws focuses on the seat not the sitter.  We have purchased nearly one dozen Ames Lawn Buddy carts.  They are claimed to be used by adults but several have broken leaving them completely useless and the dignity of the gardener damaged.  This photo was not intended to show improper use but it does.  Behind the sitter a hinge pin can be seen.  Located on each side they are intended to keep the lid in line with the base.  If the weight of the person was closer to the other end, the stress on the hinges would be greatly reduced.  Sitting on the end as shown can place great strain on the hinges.  We have broken more than one.  When that occurs for most people I'm sure  the entire unit is trash.  I do not give up so easily!


The raised lid illustrates our correction of a design flaw in the lid itself.  The lid consists of two thin plastic casting that are glued at the edge.  Little imagination is required to see that the lid pieces will quickly separate.  If entry holes are drilled close to the bottom's edges, expanding spray foam can fill the nonsupporting voids.  With the two pieces connected, the side seams are less likely to split open.  If the foam is introduced after the split, duct tape can help connect the lid pieces.  We have experienced success if the alteration is completed before the new cart is pressed into service.

 This picture shows what may be the most serious design flaw and our correction.  As delivered, there were two small protrusions that mate with matching indentations in the lid.  One remains in place near the top of the photo and a ragged hole marks the location of the broken one near the bottom.  When both are in place, four points of support keep the lid aligned with the base.  With one broken, the lid will move to the side occasionally dumping the gardener into the tool storage cavity.   When that happens it is not a pretty sight and getting upright is not easy.  Becky hates it when that happens to her!

The wooden H is our latest attempt to save an otherwise useful garden tool.  Three sheet metal screws tightly fasten the side of the cart to each wooden support.  Actual use of the corrected cart has yet to happen but so far the seat seems sound.  The cross piece is essential in spreading the load to both sides but it negatively impacts access to the tool storage area.  That is a small price to pay if this modification prevents the eager weeder from being unceremoniously thrown to the ground or worse.  

Our first purchased cart came with a lift out tool caddy that is no longer supplied.  A redesign of that feature could include overhanging edges that were in firm contact with the outside edge of the cart. Ames Tool Company is welcome to incorporate any of these modifications into the future production of a better garden cart.  

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