Title:
Hole digger
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to post hole diggers. In particular, the present invention describes a post hole digger that constructs uniform diameter holes. The post hole digger of the present invention is comprised of a pair of handles, digging scoops and a hinge bracket. The hinge bracket translates the movement of the handles into movement of the scoops. The hinge bracket restricts the movement of the handles as digging occurs, allowing for the construction of a relatively straight-sided post hole, essentially removes the tapering of a hole as the hole becomes deeper.



Inventors:
Swartz, David Carl (Ashville, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/137825
Publication Date:
01/16/2003
Filing Date:
05/01/2002
Assignee:
SWARTZ DAVID CARL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21B11/00; (IPC1-7): E21B17/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HALFORD, BRIAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WAYNE L. LOVERCHECK, ESQUIRE (LOVERCHECK & LOVERCHECK, P.C. 931 STATE ST, ERIE, PA, 16501-1451, US)
Claims:

What it is claimed is:



1. A hole digger for making uniform diameter holes, comprising: a pair of elongated handles each one of said pair having a first end and a second end; a pair of digging scoops, the first one of said pair of digging scoops attached to said first end of the first one of said pair of elongated handles and the second one of said pair of digging scoops attached to said first and of the second one of said pair of elongated handles; and, a hinge bracket securely attached on and between each of said first and said second end of said handles.

2. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said elongated handles are made of wood.

3. The hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said elongated handles are 4 to 6 feet long.

4. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said elongated handles cross when said digging scoops are in the open position.

5. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said digging scoops are hardened steel.

6. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said pair of scoops comprise a groundbreaking edge, said ground breaking edge having teeth.

7. A hole digger according to claim 6 wherein the teeth of said first one of said pair of scoops incline toward said second one of said pair of scoops and the teeth of said second one of said pair of scoops incline toward said first one of said pair of scoops.

8. A hole digger according to claim 7 wherein said teeth incline at an angle in the range of 0° to 28° degrees.

9. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said hinge bracket is located at a midpoint between said second end of each of said elongated handles and a top of said scoop.

10. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said hinge bracket is located between said top of said scoops and said midpoint of said elongated handles.

11. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said handles are removably secured to said hinge bracket by a screw.

12. A hole digger according to claim 1 wherein said hinge bracket is made of hardened steel.

13. A hole digger for making uniform diameter holes, comprising: a pair of elongated handles each with a first end and a second end; a pair of digging scoops, the first one of said pair of digging scoops fixedly attached to one of said first end of said handles, and the second one of said pair of digging scoops attached to said first end of the second one of said pair of elongated handles, each one of said pair of digging scoops movably joined to each other; and a hinge bracket securely attached on and between each of said handles.

14. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said elongated handles are made of wood.

15. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein each one of said elongated handles are 4 to 6 feet long.

16. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said elongated handles cross when said digging scoops are in the open position.

17. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said hinge bracket is located at a midpoint between said second ends of each of said elongated handles and a top of each one of said pair of scoops.

18. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said hinge bracket is located between said top of each one of said pair of said scoops and said midpoint of said elongated handles.

19. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein each one of said pair of digging scoops are hardened steel.

20. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein each one of said pair of said digging scoops further comprise a groundbreaking edge said groundbreaking edge having teeth.

21. A hole digger according to claim 20 wherein the teeth of said first one of said pair of scoops incline toward said second one of said pair of scoops and the teeth of said second one of said pair of scoops incline toward said first one of said pair of scoops.

22. A hole digger according to claim 21 wherein said teeth incline at an angle in the range of 0° to 28° degrees.

23. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said hinge bracket is removably secured to each of said pair of handles by a screw.

24. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said hinge bracket is made of hardened steel.

25. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein said scoops are pivotally joined by a first bolt.

26. A hole digger according to claim 25 wherein said hinge bracket is located four inches above said first bolt.

27. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein the first one of said pair of digging scoops further comprises an upper portion, said upper portion having at least one protrusion; and the second one of said pair of digging scoops further comprises an upper portion, said upper portion defining at least one slot, said at least one slot receiving said at least one protrusion.

28. A hole digger according to claim 13 wherein each one of said pair of digging scoops further comprises an upper portion, each one of said upper portions having a first side defining a slot and a second side defining a hole.

29. A hole digger according to claim 28 further comprising a protrusion, said protrusion received by said slot and said hole in each one of said pair of digging scoops.

30. A hole digger of claim 29 wherein said protrusion is a said bolt.

31. A hole digger according to claim 28 wherein said hinge bracket is located four inches above said protrusion.

32. A hole digger for making uniform diameter holes comprising: a pair of elongated unitary parts, each one of said pair of elongated unitary parts having two ends wherein the first one of said ends is shaped as a digging scoop, each scoop having a top end, an upper portion and a groundbreaking edge, and the remaining portion of each of said elongated unitary parts forming an elongated handle; and a hinge bracket securely attached on and between each of said elongated handles.

33. The hole digger of claim 32 wherein said digging scoops are securely joined to each other.

34. The hole digger of claim 32 wherein said hinge bracket is located at a midpoint between the second end of each of said elongated handles and said top of said scoops.

35. A hole digger according to claim 32 wherein each of said ground breaking edges further comprises teeth.

36. A hole digger according to claim 35 wherein the teeth of said first one of said pair of scoops incline toward said second one of said pair of scoops and the teeth of said second one of said pair of scoops incline toward said first one of said pair of scoops.

37. A hole digger according to claim 36 wherein said teeth incline at an angle in the range of 0° to 28° degrees.

38. A hole digger according to claim 32 wherein the first one of said pair of digging scoops having at least one protrusion on said upper portion of said scoop, the second one of said pair of digging scoops having at least one slot defined by said upper portion of said second scoop wherein said at least one protrusion is received by said at least one slot.

39. A hole digger according to claim 38 wherein said at least one protrusion has a head wider than said at least one slot of said second scoop.

40. A hole digger of claim 38 wherein said at least one protrusion is a bolt.

41. A hole digger according to claim 38 wherein said hinge bracket is located at least four inches above said protrusion.

42. A hole digger for making uniform diameter holes comprising: a pair of elongated handles each with a first end and a second end; a pair of digging scoops, the first one of said pair of digging scoops contiguous with a first hinge bracket section and attached to said first end of said first one of said pair of said elongated handles, the second one of said pair of digging scoops contiguous with a second hinge bracket section and attached to said first end of said second one of said pair of elongated handles, each one of said pair of scoops including a groundbreaking edge, and an upper portion, the upper portion of said first one of said pair of digging scoops and the upper portion of said second one of said pair of scoops being movably secured to each other; and said first hinge bracket section and said second hinge bracket sections being operatively joined together.

43. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein each one of said pair of elongated handles are each made of wood.

44. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein each one of said pair of elongated handles are 4-6 feet long.

45. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein said pair of elongated handles cross when said pair of digging scoops are in an open position.

46. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein said upper portion of the first one of said pair of digging scoops further comprising at least one protrusion; and said upper portion of said second one of said pair of digging scoops defining at least one slot wherein said at least one protrusion is received by said at least one slot.

47. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein said first one of said pair of digging scoops and said first hinge bracket section is hardened steel and said second one of said pair of digging scoops and said second hinge bracket section is hardened steel.

48. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein each one of said groundbreaking edges further comprise teeth.

49. A hole digger according to claim 48 wherein said teeth of said first one of said pair of scoops incline toward said second one of said pair of scoops and the teeth of said second one of said pair of scoops incline toward said first one of said pair of scoops.

50. A hole digger according to claim 49 wherein said teeth incline at an angle in the range of 0° to 28° degrees.

51. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein said hinge bracket is secured to each of said two handles by a screw.

52. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein said scoops are securely joined by a bolt.

53. A hole digger according to claim 42 further comprising a protrusion wherein said upper portion of each of said digging scoops has a first side which defines a slot and a second side which defines a hole, said protrusion received by said slot and by said hole.

54. A hole digger according to claim 53 wherein said protrusion has a head wider than said slot of said second scoop.

55. A hole digger of claim 54 wherein said protrusion is a bolt.

56. A hole digger according to claim 53 wherein said hinge bracket is located four inches above said protrusion.

57. A hole digger according to claim 42 wherein one of said digging scoops has at least one protrusion on the upper portion of said scoop, a second digging scoop has at least one slot defined by the upper portion of said second scoop wherein said at least one protrusion is received by said at least one slot.

58. A hole digger according to claim 57 wherein said at least one protrusion has a head wider than at least one said slot of said second scoop.

59. A hole digger of claim 58 wherein said at least one protrusion is a bolt.

60. A hole digger according to claim 57 wherein said hinge bracket is located four inches above said at least one protrusion.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The following application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/903,737 filed Jul. 7, 2001.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to hole diggers. In particular, the invention describes a post hole digger that makes uniform diameter holes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] To utilize the post hole diggers generally in use, the hole digger is thrust into the ground and the handles are pulled apart to close the blades and scoop out the dirt. As the hole becomes deeper, the upper portion of the hole becomes progressively wider and larger in diameter. A three-foot deep hole made with a traditional hole digger with a closed blade having an+ approximate diameter only five inches must be opened up ten to eleven inches at the top. The hole created will be tapered which creates a lack of ground support when concrete or similar fill material is used to keep a post or pole in position. The instant invention enables the digging of post holes of essentially uniform diameter from ground surface level to the bottom of the hole.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention is able to dig a hole without appreciably enlarging the upper section of the hole. The present device is comprised of a pair of handles, two metal scoops and a hinge bracket. In an alternative embodiment, the device may comprise two unitary pieces incorporating the handle and scoop into one unit with the unitary pieces joined by a hinge bracket. In another embodiment, each scoop is contiguous with a hinge bracket section, forming one piece. The hinge bracket is designed to limit the movement from the elongated handles and to translate the movement to the scoops. In the most preferred embodiment, the handles slightly cross in front of each other while in the open scoop position and open to form two parallel straight lines when the scoops are closed.

[0005] In a preferred embodiment, the scoops are joined together to provide strength and limitation of movement. The digging scoops can be joined together by a bolt or, in a preferred embodiment, one of the scoops may have a fixed protrusion fitted into a slot formed in the second scoop to allow a sliding movement of the first scoop providing a more secure hold on dirt, soil or gravel when the scoops are closed. The hinge bracket is positioned near the midpoint of the pair of handles or, alternatively, between the midpoint of the handles and the top of the digging scoops. The bracket hinge limits the movement of the handles and translates the handle movement to the digging scoops.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1A shows a side view of an embodiment of the post hole digger in which a bolt holds the scoops together.

[0007] FIG. 1B shows a side view of a preferred embodiment of the post hole digger.

[0008] FIG. 2 shows a top cross section of the hinge bracket.

[0009] FIG. 3A shows the scoops in a preferred embodiment slidably attached using a bolt-slot sliding union.

[0010] FIG. 3B depicts a pair of unattached scoops.

[0011] FIGS. 4A and 4B show side views of alternative embodiments of the post hole digger where each scoop is contiguous with a hinge bracket section, forming one piece.

[0012] FIG. 4C shows a front view of the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 4B, illustrating the location of the handles at the open position of the scoops.

[0013] FIG. 5 shows a front view of an embodiment of the groundbreaking edge of the digging scoop.

[0014] FIGS. 6A and 6B show the post hole digger of the instant invention and a prior art post hole digger, respectively, in operation digging a hole.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to accompanying drawings. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitations of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations as scale of the parts, materials used, position of the hinge bracket, color or weight which would fall within the spirit and the scope of the invention described herein.

[0016] FIG. 1A shows a side view of one embodiment of the post hole digger 14. The post hole digger 14 is comprised of two handles 8 approximately four to six feet long with a diameter of approximately one inch. Blades 12a and 13a of scoop 28 are fixedly attached at one end of one of each handle 8. The handles 8 are joined by a hinge bracket 9 attached to the two handles. The hinge bracket 9 has a pin 7 that rotates to translate the motion applied to the handles 8 into movement of the scoops 28 allowing the opening and closing of the scoops 28. In a preferred embodiment, the hinge bracket is located at a midpoint on the handles with the midpoint defined as the point midway between the top 29 of scoop 28 and the top of the handles. In an alternative preferred embodiment, the hinge bracket 9 may be located between the midpoint and the top of the scoops. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, the scoops are securely joined together by a bolt 29. In the present invention it is not necessary to have the scoop joined but it is a preferred embodiment to provide strength and restrain movement. It should be recognized that the handle/scoop component can be fabricated into a single unitary part, such as by forging, with two such unitary parts joined using hinge bracket 9 and the scoop attachment bolt 29 noted supra.

[0017] FIG. 1B shows an alternative preferred embodiment of the post hole digger 14. As in FIG. 1A the device has a pair of handles 8, two digging scoops 12 and 13 and a hinge bracket 9. The location and function of the hinge bracket 9 is as in FIG. 1A. At the end of each handle 8 a scoop blade 12 or 13 is fixedly secured. In the upper portion of scoop 12 is fixed protrusion 11. The upper portion of opposite scoop blade 13 has a slot 10 that slides forward and backward on the fixed protrusion 11. In one embodiment, protrusion 11 may be a bolt. The top or head of the protrusion may be wider then slot 10 to ensure the protrusion will be confined within the slot 10. The efficiency and closing power of the movement of scoop blades 12 and 13 is enhanced by the sliding of scoop 12 into and away from scoop 13.

[0018] FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional view of the hinge bracket 9 and the handles 8 of the post hole digger. The handles 8 are securely attached to the hinge bracket by a screw 18 that passes through the hinge bracket 9 and attaches hinge bracket 9 to the handle 8. In the preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 7, the screw extends into handle 8 approximately one-half the diameter of handle 8. It is recognized that other attachment methods are possible such as a nut and bolt combination, adhesive or rivets. The hinge bracket 9 has a rotatable attachment 17 joining the two halves of the hinge bracket 9 between the handles 8. The rotatable attachment 17 rotates to translate the motion applied to the handles to the opening and closing of the scoops for the removal of dirt from the hole. This allows for the digging of a hole of essentially uniform diameter in which the width or diameter of the hole is only slightly larger than the distance between scoop blades 12 and 13 in the open position without appreciably enlarging the upper portion of the hole. The hinge bracket 9 is preferably made of hardened steel and the handles 8 of wood. It is recognized that other durable materials can be used to fabricate hinge bracket 9, such as aluminum, plastics, and other suitable materials known in the art. Suitable metals, fiberglass, plastic and plastic coated materials can be used to fabricate handles 8.

[0019] FIG. 3A shows an enlarged side view of the scoops. In FIG. 3A, arrow 15 depicts the direction in which scoop blade 13 slides on protrusion 11 which projects through slot 10. Scoop blades 12 and 13 are able to slide into or away from each other. The scoops of the post hole digger can be made of any material that is suitable for outdoor use and digging. Preferably the material will be durable, generally non-corroding and substantially lightweight. Some of the materials that may be used include, but are not limited to aluminum, hardened steel and others. In a preferred embodiment, the scoop blades will be made of hardened steel. The material composing the scoop blades can be varied accordingly to the type of soil being dug such as a loose sandy soil or a hard-packed clay soil. The scoops can be attached to the handle by pressure insertion or by a bolt or a screw or by other methods well known in the art.

[0020] FIG. 3B depicts the scoops in an alternative embodiment in which both scoops are identical. One side of the upper portion scoop blade 6a defines a hole 16 through which protrusion 11 passes. (See FIG. 3A). The opposite side of the upper portion of scoop blade 6a defines a slot 10 that will allow for the sliding movement. Once the hole 16 and the slot 10 from each pair of scoop blades 6a are aligned, the protrusion 11 is passed through both holes 16 and is secured. In one embodiment, protrusion 11 is a bolt. In a variation, protrusion 11 may be two bolts used to connect the pair of scoops 6a together. In either variation, the top or head of the protrusion is wider than the width of the slot 10 allowing for stable sliding movement and stronger closing power. The head of the protrusion 11 is defined as part or all of that portion of the protrusion that extends through slot 10. FIG. 3B also depicts a receiving section 32 formed to receive handle 8. Persons of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other methods exist to movably attach scoops 6a to handles 8 such as rods with internal or external threading to receive bolts, nuts or rivets and threaded receiving section 32 adapted to receive a handle with a compatibly threaded end.

[0021] FIGS. 4A and 4B show side views of alternative embodiments of the post hole digger where each scoop is contiguous with a hinge bracket section, together forming one piece. In FIG. 4A an alternative embodiment of the post hole digger 14 has each scoop 30 and 32 contiguous with a hinge bracket section 37 and 38, respectively, each forming one piece with scoop blade 30 and 32 respectively. It should be recognized that the handle/scoop component can be fabricated into a single unitary part with each unitary part joined to form post hole digger 14. As in FIG. 1A, the device has a pair of handles 8, two digging scoops 30 and 32 and a hinge bracket formed by sections 37 and 38. In this view the sections 37 and 38 of the hinge bracket keep the scoops section 30 and 32 in an angle. It should be appreciated that hinge sections 37 and 38 may be attached in an approximately straight line perpendicularly transversing the handles 8 at the top of the hinge similar to the embodiment of FIG. 1B. The trimming at the sides of the hinge bracket allows for more power or force to be applied to the scoops. The scoop 30 is elongated in the upper section to join a section from the hinge bracket section 37 to form one contiguous piece. Similarly, hinge section 38 is joined with scoop 32 to form one contiguous piece. In a preferred embodiment, hinge bolt 7 is located 20-21 inches from the scoop tip 40. In a more preferred embodiment hinge bolt 7 is 10-18 inches from the scoop tip 40. In a most preferred embodiment, hinge bolt 7 is 12-14 inches from the scoop tip 40. However, any suitable distance between the hinge bolt 7 and scoop tip 40 will allow the hinge bracket to translate the movement of handles 8 to the scoop blades 30 and 32 enabling the scoops to close. It should be understood that the hole digger is still functional if the bracket is located at the midpoint as in FIG. 1A or as low as approximately 16 inches above the scoop tip. At the end of each handle 8, a scoop blade 30 or 32 is fixedly secured with a screw 39. It can be appreciated that other means available to someone of ordinary skill in the art could be used to secure the handle to the scoop blade, such as adhesive, bolts, threaded connections or pressure fitting. In the upper portion of scoop 32 is a fixed bolt 11 as in FIG. 1B. The upper portion of opposite scoop blade 30 has a slot 10 that slides forward and backward on the fixed bolt 11 as in FIG. 1B. The efficiency and closing power of the movement of scoop blades 30 and 32 is enhanced by the sliding of scoop 30 into and away from the fixed scoop 32. It should be understood that the hole digger also functions if the scoops are joined by a bolt 29 as in FIG. 1A or are not joined except by the hinge bracket sections.

[0022] FIG. 4B illustrates a most preferred embodiment of the post hole digger 14 where each scoop 42 and 43 is contiguous with a hinge bracket section 40 or 41, forming one piece. The post hole digger 14 shown in FIG. 4B is similar to the post hole digger 14 shown in FIG. 4A except for the cutout region 44 present in 4A and the angled handles 8 shown in FIG. 4B. The contiguous region from scoop 42 to hinge section 40 forms a solid panel 45 that defines slot 10. The arrangement of scoop 43 and hinge section 41 are the same as that of scoop 42 and hinge section 40. The solid panel 45 adds strength and leverage to the design. In the most preferred embodiment depicted in FIG. 4B, solid panel 45 measures approximately 4 inches from hinge bolt 7 to sliding bolt 11. However, persons skilled in the art will understand that the use of shorter and longer solid panels will allow the attached hinge bracket sections 40 and 41 to translate the movement of the handles scoops 42 and 43 enabling the scoops to close. It also should be understood that the hole digger is still functional if the bracket is located as in FIB. 1A or as in FIG. 4A. In this most preferred embodiment, the handles 8 cross in front of each other when the scoops of the digger are in the open position. FIG. 4C illustrates a front view of this most preferred alternate embodiment. It can be appreciated in FIG. 4C that the handles, when in the crossed position, allow for a space to be present at the top of the handles. The operator of the hole digger moves the handles away from each other to close the scoops and remove the dirt from the hole.

[0023] FIG. 5 shows an enlarged front view of an alternative embodiment of scoop blade 35. The figure depicts the ground braking edge or blade of the scoop with teeth 33. The teeth 33 at the tip have a slight bend towards the opposite scoop. The bend of the teeth has an angle 34 in the range of 0° to 28° degrees. In the most preferred embodiment, the bend angle 34 is between 18° to 22° degrees. The teeth 33 with the slight angle 34 at the edge contribute to closing of the scoops with less force, making removal of dirt from the hole less tiring when digging in certain soils. The teeth 33 can be present or absent from the digging blades in any of the embodiments presented in this application.

[0024] FIGS. 6A and 6B depict the one embodiment of post hole digger of the instant invention and a prior art post hole digger, respectively, in operation. In FIG. 6A, it can be appreciated that the hole 19 dug by the post hole digger 14 of the present invention is relatively uniform in diameter from top to bottom. In comparison, the hole dug by the prior art post hole digger 27 is wider at the ground surface than at the bottom. The prior art post hole digger 27 has two scoop blades 26 and 24 and a bolt 25 joining both scoop blades. Both of the scoops are fixed in position by the bolt 25 whereas in the present invention post hole digger 14 has a fixed scoop 43 and a sliding moving scoop 42. It can be appreciated that each of the scoops is contiguous with a hinge bracket section 40 or 41, forming one piece. The hinge bracket limits the movement of the handles 8. The hinge bracket has a pin 7 that rotates to translate the minimum motion applied to the handles 8 into movement of the scoops 42 and 43 allowing the opening and closing of the scoops 42 and 43. In this figure the scoops 42 and 43 are closed, showing the uncrossing of the handles 8. Line 21 illustrates the width of the open handles. In contrast, with the prior art post hole digger 27, as the hole 20 becomes deeper, the movement of the handles 23 becomes wider and more extreme creating a tapered hole rather the more uniform hole 19 fashioned by post hole digger 14 of the instant invention. The teeth 33 can also be observed in the close position of the scoops, allowing for a better grasp of dirt with a minimum of force in some soils. Persons skilled in the art will realize that in all embodiments described herein, longer handles and suitably placed hinge brackets or hinge sections will enable the digging of deeper holes with approximately uniform diameter.





 
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