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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Every time I see a photo showing a Snapper Rear Engine Rider's rear vertical pipes projecting upward, they seem to say to me, "Mount sun canopy here." Why aren't sun canopies common additions to these machines? The following photo is not exactly what I have in mind. But it shows one example of how a canopy can appear on these small riders. This installation was positioned way too high above the driver's expected eye level to enable ideal sun blocking function.

One mower owner, discussing his small mower's canopy, said he was getting used to bending over before sitting in his mower's seat so his head wouldn't hit his canopy's frame. He felt that effort was a small price to obtain benefits his canopy provided. Canopy side-skirt height compared to seated eye level principally determines how effectively any sun canopy blocks sun from directly reaching the rider's eyes.

Heavier machines have been fitted with various heavier surfaces to form sun canopies. One person recycled an old Chevy El Camino bed cover to form his canopy top. Light-weight is desirable. But if light weight means the resulting canopy is too fragile to be practical, keep looking for more suitable candidate materials. A recycled golf cart canopy is an obvious potential match. Sewing your own canvas tent or tarp section might be a suitable solution. The following canopy heights appear much more functional to me. Longer side skirts with a higher roof minimize frame-to-head contact while maximizing sun blocking benefits. None of these illustrated models use the time-honored "surrey with the fringe on top" configuration, which was popular 100 years ago.

Your sun canopy does not need to be symmetrical. I saw one which had fixed skirts hanging down from its front, right side, and rear. Its left side skirt was hinged along its intersection line with the top. That hinge allowed the left side skirt to be flipped up out of the way during the driver's entrance and exit to and from the operator's seat. That configuration minimized required driver bending while preserving full-skirt sun-screening benefits.

Old pickup truck bed liners might be recycled to form canopy sections. We could cut a section which includes front and right-side skirts attached to the top, from one bed liner corner. The rear skirt might be fixed. The left side could be hinged to the top.

Two 10-foot electrical conduit sections, each suitably bent with 3 corners could be supported by Snapper rear support pipes. They can be joined at front center with a single conduit joint. Cheap, springy, durable, paintable, effective and removable. Borrow or rent an electrical conduit bender if you don't already own one that you can use to make those six bends. Consider tilting the entire canopy upward at its front. Then if you pull it down to level with a front tension-loaded cable, the entire canopy support becomes spring-loaded by the support tubes' elastic deformation. Spring-loaded structures are more dimensionally stable. Also its position compared to the mower's body is more stable.

Would a recycled pickup bed liner accept paint? I'd prefer not to have an all-black sun canopy. Yet all pickup bed liners I've found are black. Sun exposure would not heat reflective colors so much.

We have lots of possible options by which we can create low-cost sun canopies. I hope this post triggers others to think along those lines. Canvas, hard shell and flexible shells are all workable choices. Do those rear vertical posts now appear more inviting?
John
 

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I find that the Sun Canopy idea is a good idea, in theory, but impractical for my purposes. Frankly, we just have way too many (fruit/decorative) trees with low branches that will interfere/damage any kind of sun canopy installed.

I understand the idea of a Sun Canopy is to help keep you out of direct sunlight, but it is nearly impossible to be completely isolated from the direct rays which can cause annoying sunburn. As you can clearly see in the pictures, the sun rays are never perfectly perpendicular to the ground and therefore they sneak in under the sun canvas from various angles depending on what direction the tractor is pointed (light is directly hitting the foot rests, side(s) of the seat, etc). Therefore I ask, what can a sun canopy do that a full-brim hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water can't?

However, it is always fun to tinker and try to reinvent the wheel -- therefore I'm interested to see what people could come up with with redesigning the Sun Canopy for their needs. One thing I would suggest is some sort of adjustment so when you sit onto the tractor, you can adjust the Canopy to be closer to your head instead of a permanently fixed height that is only reasonable for getting on/off the machine.

Good luck!
 
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