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Title:
EASY WAGON/EASY CART/BICYCLE WHEEL MOUNTING BRACKETS SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A specific wheel mounting bracket (20) and a versatile method of using these brackets or similar items to attach bicycle wheels (26) to various vehicle frames (46) primarily made of wood, and a general vehicle structure or frame design using the brackets. The brackets (20) are flat 10-gauge steel plates, with three bolt holes (30) and a slot (32) to receive the bicycle wheel axle (24). When bolted to a simple wooden frame (46) in pairs, they act like a bicycle fork to hold the wheel (26). They support and suspend the wheels from longitudinal members (22) of the structure or frame so that the wheels can rotate. The invention provides a standardized, simple and low-cost method for constructing a wide variety of wagons, carts, small trailers, carriages, wheelbarrows and other small vehicles with bicycle wheels and wood. It enables people who do not have complex tools, skills or materials, to construct and repair various homemade vehicles. This invention makes it possible to use discarded bicycle wheels and scrap lumber to construct carts and wagons. It will help self-sufficient farmers and other people engaged in small-scale agriculture and commerce, worldwide.


Inventors:
Gough, Stephen J. (OCEAN GROVE, NJ, US)
Application Number:
07/683484
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
04/09/1991
Assignee:
Gough, Stephen John
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47H1/10; B60B29/00; B62B5/00; (IPC1-7): A47H1/10
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen Gough, Box 205 P. O. (ARON, NJ, 07717, US)
Claims:
1. 1-147. (canceled)

148. Identical industrially and commercially mass-produced brackets for mounting vehicle wheels having individual independent axles, comprising: a) simple, versatile, uniform means for securely attaching pairs of said brackets to parallel longitudinal frame members of various different vehicles, and typically to frame members made of wood or common structural lumber, b) simple, versatile, identical means for securely mounting all common bicycle wheels in between two separate said brackets, so that the wheels are detachable and interchangeable without removing said brackets from said vehicles and without partially dismantling the vehicle frames, and whereby, in combination with said means for securely attaching, the same identical said brackets effectively are standardized and made universal and applicable worldwide for simple versatile secure mounting of all common bicycle wheels on widely diverse small vehicles, including carts, wagons and wheelbarrows, and especially homemade vehicles without need for an industrial or commercial vehicle manufacturing operation.

149. The brackets of claim 148 wherein said means for securely attaching includes a flat surface with three or more non-collinear holes.

150. The brackets of claim 148 wherein said means for securely mounting includes a slot that is completely open at one end, having a width measuring approximately eleven millimeters.

151. The brackets of claim 148 wherein said brackets are steel approximately 3 millimeters or larger in thickness and have an overall width larger than or equal to 125 millimeters and an overall height larger than or equal to 100 millimeters.

152. The brackets of claim 148 further including, a right-angle bend parallel with one edge of the bracket, or a rolled edge or rolled edges.

153. The brackets of claim 148 wherein said brackets can securely mount and support all common bicycle wheels approximately 65 centimeters in diameter under the conditions of reasonably normal use of such vehicles.

154. The brackets of claim 153 wherein said means for securely mounting includes an open-ended slot measuring eleven millimeters wide.

155. The brackets of claim 154 wherein said brackets are flat steel plates approximately 3 millimeters or larger in thickness and have an overall width larger than or equal to 125 millimeters and an overall height larger than or equal to 100 millimeters.

156. The brackets of claim 155 wherein said brackets are sized to fit frame members made of common structural lumber and sized to support vehicles that are carts, wagons or small trailers with at least two wheels.

157. A method of wheel mounting utilizing pairs of identical industrially and commercially mass-produced brackets in the construction of various vehicles that have wheels with individual independent axles, comprising the steps of: a) constructing vehicle frames that include paired parallel longitudinal members with corresponding flat areas or surfaces, said members typically are made of wood and most typically are made of common structural lumber, b) providing said brackets with identical holes and identical surfaces for simple, versatile and secure attachment in various positions on various, different flat frame members, c) attaching mutually corresponding pairs of said brackets to said flat areas or surfaces, d) providing said brackets with identical open-ended slots, in which and in between two separate said brackets, the axles of all common bicycle wheels could be mounted securely so that the wheels are detachable and interchangeable without removing said brackets from the vehicles and without partially dismantling said vehicle frames, and whereby, in combination with the holes and surfaces for attachment, the same identical said brackets in effect are standardized and made universal and applicable worldwide for simple versatile secure mounting of all common bicycle wheels on widely diverse small vehicles, including carts, wagons and wheelbarrows, and especially even homemade vehicles without need for a commercial or industrial vehicle manufacturing operation.

158. The method of wheel mounting of claim 157 wherein said slots measure approximately eleven millimeters wide.

159. The method of wheel mounting of claim 157 wherein said brackets are steel approximately 3 millimeters or larger in thickness with an overall width larger than or equal to 125 millimeters and an overall height larger than or equal to 100 millimeters.

160. The method of wheel mounting of claim 157 wherein said vehicle frames are constructed for carts or small trailers with at least two wheels.

161. The method of wheel mounting of claim 157 wherein said vehicle frames and said brackets can securely mount and support various common bicycle wheels approximately 65 centimeters in diameter under the conditions of reasonably normal use of such vehicles.

162. The method of wheel mounting of claim 161 wherein said vehicle frames are constructed for carts or small trailers with at least two wheels, and the frame members are constructed primarily of common structural lumber, and said slots are approximately 11 millimeters wide.

163. A vehicle structure or frame having paired, industrially and commercially mass-produced brackets for mounting wheels with individual independent axles, comprising: a) paired parallel longitudinal frame members, typically wooden and most typically made of common structural lumber, having corresponding parallel flat areas or surfaces, b) a pair or pairs of said brackets, each said bracket directly attached to said flat areas or surfaces, c) holes and surfaces on said brackets that would facilitate simple, versatile and secure attachment in various positions on various, different, flat wooden frame members, d) open-ended slots in said brackets, in which and in between two separate identical said brackets, the axles of all common bicycle wheels can be mounted securely provided that there are proper spaces for the wheels in said vehicle structure or frame, and that enable the wheels to be detachable and interchangeable without removing said brackets from the vehicle and without partially dismantling said vehicle structure or frame, and whereby, in combination with the holes and surfaces for attachment, the same identical said brackets in effect are standardized or made universal and applicable worldwide for simple versatile secure mounting of all common bicycle wheels in the construction of widely diverse small vehicles, including carts, wagons and wheelbarrows, and especially even homemade vehicles without need for a commercial or industrial vehicle manufacturing operation.

164. The vehicle structure or frame of claim 163 wherein said vehicle structure or frame is that of a cart or trailer with at least two wheels.

165. The vehicle structure or frame of claim 163 wherein said open-ended slots measure approximately eleven millimeters wide.

166. The vehicle structure or frame of claim 163 wherein said brackets have an overall width larger than or equal to 125 millimeters and an overall height larger than or equal to 100 millimeters.

167. The vehicle structure or frame of claim 163 wherein said structure or frame and said brackets can securely mount and support various common bicycle wheels approximately 65 centimeters in diameter under the conditions of reasonably normal use of such vehicles, and wherein said vehicle structure or frame is that of a cart or small trailer with at least two wheels and said longitudinal frame members are made of common structural lumber, and said open-ended slots measure approximately eleven millimeters wide.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

A Continuation of Ser. No. 07/683,484; Filed: Apr. 9, 1991 (Apr. 9, 1991)—which was a Continuation of Ser. No. 07/417,840; Filed: Oct. 6, 1989 (Oct. 6, 1989)

C) STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

None/Not Applicable.

D) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to wheel mounting and the construction of vehicles, such as carts and wagons.

2. Description of the Prior Art/“Background Art”

The prior art involves vehicles such as carts, wagons, small trailers and carriages, the structures and frames of these vehicles, the construction of wheels, and wheel mounting methods.

The invention of carts and wagons is thousands of years old. These vehicles are among the most useful tools in human history. They were among the first uses of perhaps the single most important invention of all time, the wheel.

The wonder of wheels is not merely that they roll; it is that they support loads while they roll. Billions of people know of this wonder. Anyone who has ever done any agricultural or construction work, or traveled far on land, knows the value of wheels. However, wheels are useless, unless they are attached to something . . . . attached to something in order to support loads and roll.

Most all prior art vehicle construction involves complicated manufacturing processes and entails the necessary costs of a commercial or industrial manufacturing operation. Consequently, the result is high-cost vehicles, unaffordable and inaccessible for economically-poor people.

The EASY WAGON/EASY CART/BICYCLE WHEEL MOUNTING BRACKETS System provides a general way to avoid the difficulties and costs of a complicated manufacturing operation. One of the primary “prior art problems” addressed by this invention is, how to attach (or mount) wheels on the vehicle structure or frame. Another “primary prior art problem” is how to design and construct the vehicle structure or frame. The solutions to these two problems directly depend on solving the most difficult “prior art problem” faced by all people who attempt to construct carts, wagons, and other such vehicles, namely how to construct the wheels. That problem is solved indirectly, but effectively, by this invention.

Wheel construction is a difficult problem, but in modern times in most countries bicycle wheels are available. In the USA good bicycle wheels are frequently discarded as garbage when the bicycle is broken or partially worn out. Therefore, where and when common bicycle wheels are available, the single most difficult problem faced by all people who attempt to build carts and wagons apparently already is solved. The wheels are already constructed!

It is easy to imagine that with bicycle wheels and some wood, a person could make a wagon or cart; but how do you attach bicycle wheels to the wagon or cart? Each bicycle wheel comes with its own individual axle. It is difficult to replace these short, independent axles with a long axle joining two wheels (common axle). When mounting bicycle wheels on a common axle, it is particularly difficult to utilize the excellent ball bearings or roller bearings present in the bicycle wheel hub.

Wheel construction and wheel attachment (or mounting) are essential parts of the problem of vehicle design. How does someone design a vehicle? First they consider how the vehicle will be used. They consider the loads it is intended to carry, the terrain where it will be used, and the intended method of propulsion. Then they consider the materials, their availability, relative costs, ease or difficulty of use, and whether they will be replaceable, reusable and repairable. However, without first having the wheels, or at least a realistic prospect of acquiring or constructing the wheels, the questions of wheel mounting and structure and frame design are moot questions.

Prior art attempts to solve or circumvent these “prior art problems” can be categorized in the following ways:

1) Those that use wheels other than bicycle wheels* or bicycle-type wheels, and have limited, specific, and complex vehicle designs. They necessarily entail welding, casting, or other relatively complex metal working or wheel construction skills, tools and materials. These vehicles are lacking in versatility, simplicity, and repairability, and often lack durability and ease of replacing parts. Numerous wheelbarrows are examples in this category. They have various specific kinds of wheel mounting brackets or methods. Some vehicles in this category use wheels that are very small or are supported on only one side of the wheel, and thus are of limited usefulness. Grocery store shopping carts and baby strollers are examples.

Throughout the specification and claims, the terms “bicycle wheels”, “common bicycle wheels”, and “actual bicycle wheels” are used interchangeably to denote:

the wheels, usually but not always having metal spokes and rims and pneumatic tires, with or without tubes, usually but not always being approximately 40 cm (centimeters), 50 cm, 60 cm, 65 cm, or 67.5 cm, in diameter, which commonly are found mounted on bicycles all over the world. They usually have an axle nut on each end of a short individual independent axle that rotates on bearings inside the hub at the center of the wheel. Some kinds feature plastic pieces instead of metal spokes and rims, or solid tires or “foam inserts” or “sew-ups” instead of the regular pneumatic tire and tube, or “quick release mechanisms” instead of axle nuts. Note that in the USA the common sizes of bicycle wheels (approximate diameters) are 16 inch, 24 inch, 26 inch and 27 inch. They correspond with the metric sizes above, respectively.

The term “bicycle-type wheels” refers to wheels that resemble actual bicycle wheels in some ways, such as similar size, having spokes, or having pneumatic tires and tubes, but that either do not have an individual independent axle and are connected to another wheel by a common axle, or are specifically designed for some other purpose than to be mounted on a bicycle.

2) Those that use “bicycle-type wheels” joined by a common axle. They require special factory-made wheels and usually have special mounting apparatus and metal frame members; all adding up to an expensive vehicle that is somewhat lacking in versatility and repairability. Garden Way Carts® (Garden Way, Charlotte, Vt.) and Stanley Forge Carts® (Stanley Forge, Stanley, Kans.) are examples in this category, and certainly are excellent tools. (They provided some of the inspiration for this invention.) Other examples include wheels on some carriages and some baby strollers.

3) Those that use actual bicycle wheels and replace the bicycle wheels' own independent axles with a common axle joining two wheels. They have limited efficiency of the wheel bearings or even lack any bearings at all. They usually have a specific and complex design, necessitating the use of materials, skills and tools that are difficult to obtain. The “Build A Cart For Your Bike” plans from Popular Mechanics Encyclopedia (1982?) (pg. 324+325) is an example of a vehicle design that fits in this category.

4) Those that use actual bicycle wheels or bicycle-type wheels and attempt to use the wheel's own independent axle, but only support it on one end of the axle (and on one side of the wheel). These vehicles usually fail when more than a very light load is placed upon them. The axle may bend, or the wheel gradually tilts over and rubs into the vehicle structure. These vehicles are useful only for extremely light loads. Some of the relatively new and expensive joggers' baby strollers with small diameter (approximately 40 cm) wheels are a functional manufactured example.

5) Those that use bicycle-type wheels, each with an individual independent axle, and support the axle on both sides of the wheel. These usually are special purpose factory-made wheels designed for specific mounting apparatus and specific metal frame members. The result is a relatively expensive vehicle, comparatively lacking in versatility and repairability. Modern sulkies used in the “harness racing” type of horse racing are an example. Some large tricycle wheels and motorcycle wheels are other examples. (With some modification of the wheel mounting brackets to accommodate the larger wheels and axles, these wheels actually could be used with this invention.)

6) Those that use actual bicycle wheels and use the bicycle wheels' own individual independent axles and support the axles on both sides of each wheel. This design is versatile and effective. It also can be simple and inexpensive, but it is not necessarily so. Examples in this category include the plans by Richard Kresky of Duluth, Minn. for a two-wheeled cart, Copyright 1983, and sold at that time by magazine advertisement; and the plans authored by D. Burkholder entitled “Mother's Plans For Building the Garden Cart” (Copyright 1987 by the Mother Earth News, Hendersonville, N.C.) (The Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets System also fits this category.)

Richard Kresky's plans describe a homemade two-wheeled cart design using bicycle wheels with their own axles and supporting them with frame members on both sides of each wheel. The frames are constructed of angle iron or angle aluminum or old steel bed frames. These plans are relatively simple but still require a limited amount of metal working tools, skills and materials. Kresky's plans describe frames of metal only. They do not clearly show detachable wheels, wheel mounts, or brackets or supports other than frame members themselves with drilled holes. (Kresky's plans, in conjunction with my familiarity with two-wheeled garden carts, bicycles, wood, and the ease of construction with common structural lumber, provided some of the inspiration for the invention of the Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets System.)

D. Burkholder's plans (The Mother Earth New's plans) show a two-wheeled cart made with 50 cm. (20 inch) diameter bicycle wheels suspended from metal axle supports on both sides of each wheel, and use the bicycles wheels' own independent axles. These plans are limited to a specific and complex cart design. The wheels are not detachable without removing the axle supports from the vehicle or partially dismantling the vehicle structure. The method of wheel attachment probably would not be feasible if an attempt was made to expand the design to utilize 65 cm (26 inch) or 67.5 cm (27 inch) diameter bicycle wheels, the most common sizes. The outer axle supports are attached to “wheel wells” over the wheels via fenders constructed of 1/8 inch “tempered hardboard”, adhesive, nails, and 1/2 inch plywood in a relatively complicated arrangement. Torsion, twisting forces, would limit the durability or size of such a cart. The supports are attached through two bolt holes in a vertical line, and would tend to loosen when subjected to the forces exerted by large diameter wheels under loads and stresses of motion. (Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets, with their wide three-point, horizontally and vertically distributed, non-collinear, bolt hole locations, do not have these problems.)

It is interesting to note that both Kresky's and Burkholder's designs could be improved merely by the addition of Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets to their specific carts.

Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets provide a versatile method for homemade vehicle construction by the general public. Wheel mounting brackets are not new, nor are carts, wagons and wheelbarrows. However, wheel mounting is a secondary problem in vehicle construction, and it is surpassed in importance by the problem of wheel construction. The worldwide availability of common bicycle wheels makes this invention a universal solution to the problem of wheel construction, in the art of small homemade vehicles. No prior wheel mounting bracket effectively solved the problem of wheel construction! No prior wheel mounting bracket facilitated the simple detachable mounting of various common bicycle wheels of various different sizes on a wide variety of vehicle structures and frames!

Previous wheel mounting brackets were limited in their application to particular, usually very specific, wheel types, wheel sizes, and wheel manufacturers. Also, most previous wheel mounting brackets were limited to attachment in specific locations on specific frame members of the specific vehicle for which they were specifically designed. In most instances these vehicles were one-wheeled wheelbarrows. In many cases wheel mounts were welded on or cast as part of a specific structure or frame member.

No prior wheel mounting bracket was usable for the construction of various vehicles by the people who use the vehicles! No prior wheel mounting bracket was usable for construction of carts and wagons by the general public!

Mass-production of interchangeable parts, previously was restricted in applicability to commercial or industrial manufacturing operations. Now, standardized brackets, common bicycle wheels and common structural lumber, are the interchangeable parts of homemade vehicle construction worldwide.

E) SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION/OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

This invention consists of a specific wheel mounting bracket, a general process or method of using these brackets to attach bicycle wheels to various vehicle structures or frames, primarily made of wood, and a general vehicle structure or frame design using the brackets.

Recognizing that the three primary problems confronting people attempting to build carts wagons or other vehicles are,

  • (a) wheel construction or acquisition,
  • (b) wheel mounting or attaching, and
  • (c) design and construction of the vehicle structure or frame;
    • this invention has the following objects and advantages:
  • 1) To provide a simple method of vehicle design and construction,
  • 2) To provide a simple, versatile, universal and low-cost method for designing and constructing a wide variety of wagons, carts, carriages, trailers, rickshaws, strollers, wheelbarrows and other similar small vehicles,
  • 3) To provide a very general standardized method of vehicle construction that allows for broad diversity of vehicle designs and sizes.
  • 4) To provide a simple method of constructing two-wheeled carts or small trailers, which can replace the use of one-wheeled wheelbarrows for most tasks. With two-wheeled carts, heavier and bulkier loads can be carried longer distances than with one-wheeled wheelbarrows.
  • 5) To provide vehicles that will enable many tasks to be performed manually (“by hand”) that otherwise require motorized power or animal power.
  • 6) To provide vehicles that can be constructed and repaired by the people who use them,
  • 7) To provide a method of vehicle construction that enables economically-poor people, or boys and girls, or any other group of people who do not have complex tools, skills, or materials, to construct, repair and alter the vehicles.
  • 8) To provide vehicles that can be repaired easily. The repairability of vehicles constructed by the method of this invention needs to be emphasized. Unfortunately, the word “repairability” is becoming obsolete.
  • 9) To provide vehicles that will serve people engaged in small-scale, self-sufficient, sustainable agriculture all over the world.
  • 10) To provide homemade vehicles that subsistence farmers, and organic gardeners and farmers, can use and make by themselves.
  • 11) To provide vehicles for the people who need them the most: landless farmers and poor land-holding farmers. When equipped with carts, wagons, buckets, shovels, and other hand tools, people may be able to use some land previously not considered to be useful for agriculture. Water, soil, seeds, organic matter, vegetables, fruit and other items may be transported more easily. Discarded bicycle wheels and scrap lumber can be recycled to make carts and wagons. (People will need education and instruction in addition to carts and wagons, or this invention will be used for environmentally harmful purposes, such as reckless firewood collection, and garbage dumping; instead of for soil building, composting, vegetable growing, tree planting, and other constructive purposes.)
  • 12) To provide vehicles that, hopefully, will lighten the burdens carried by women engaged in agriculture in economically-poor countries and areas; these loads usually are carried on their heads, backs and shoulders.
  • 13) To provide vehicles that will serve people engaged in soil conservation, soil building (soil enrichment), composting, tree planting, and environmental conservation in general.
  • 14) To provide vehicles that are reliable. Their reliability stems from the strength, durability and simplicity of the wheel mounting brackets, and the simplicity of vehicle design; also from the vehicles' easy repairability, and from the worldwide availability of bicycle wheels and tires.
  • 15) To provide a method of vehicle construction which uses materials that are readily available, and widely available.
  • 16) To provide a method of vehicle construction which utilizes discarded materials and scrap materials.
  • 17) To provide a method of vehicle construction that utilizes, and helps to teach, elementary carpentry and mechanical skills.
  • 18) To provide a method of vehicle construction that only requires elementary carpentry and mechanical tools.
  • 19) To provide an extremely versatile method of vehicle construction. The versatility of the method of this invention needs to be emphasized.
  • 20) To provide a single, strong, durable, versatile and reusable piece of simple hardware that enables people to mount various common bicycle wheels of various different sizes on a wide variety of vehicle structures and frames, effectively making it standard or universal and applicable worldwide.
  • 21) To provide a method of vehicle construction in which the only necessary metalwork can be mass-produced inexpensively, and which eliminates the need for welding, casting, or other complex metalworking skills or tools.
  • 22) To provide wheel mounting brackets that allow bicycle wheels to be detachable, without dismantling the vehicle structures or frames, and without removing the wheel mounting brackets.
  • 23) To provide a wheel mounting bracket that allows the bicycle wheels to be easily detachable, yet strongly and securely supported while in use.
  • 24) To provide a wheel mounting bracket that can be located in various positions on many different vehicle structure or frame members,
  • 25) To provide a wheel mounting bracket that can be attached easily to wood, primarily by bolts.
  • 26) To provide a wide wheel mounting bracket with three horizontally and vertically distributed (non-collinear) bolt holes, in order to adequately resist the physical forces actually exerted by large diameter wheels in motion and under loads.
  • 27) To provide a method of wheel mounting that greatly simplifies the problem of wheel construction, or which eliminates the need for special wheel construction, when designing various new vehicles.
  • 28) To provide a method of vehicle design and construction that utilizes the only type of wheels in the appropriate size range that are readily available, easily available, and often even freely available: common bicycle wheels, and therefore, a method that is applicable worldwide.
  • 29) To provide a wheel mounting bracket and method for the general public (ordinary people) to construct various homemade carts, wagons and other small vehicles.

Most importantly, the method of this invention provides unprecedented ease of construction of carts, wagons and other small vehicles. It eliminates the need for a complex commercial or industrial manufacturing operation. This invention is not just one more different vehicle; it is a universal way to make an almost infinite variety of different vehicles, and to do so simply! It makes carts and wagons much simpler to construct and repair, much more affordable, and therefore, much more available to unskilled people and economically-poor people. Hopefully, its ultimate result will be to enable people all over the world to feed themselves better.

F) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Drawing Figures:

FIG. 1 (FIG. 1) is a full-scale detailed drawing of the preferred embodiment of the wheel mounting bracket design.

FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 depict the preferred embodiment for carrying out the method of wheel mounting, a two-wheeled application.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a bicycle wheel, and its axle, hub, and axle nuts, mounted in a pair of wheel mounting brackets.

FIG. 5 depicts a one-wheeled application.

FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 depict two different four-wheeled applications.

FIG. 6 and FIG. 7 include a steering mechanism: one pair of wheels pivoting in relation to the other pair.

FIG. 9 is an approximately 1/2 scale view of the preferred embodiment of the wheel mounting bracket.

FIGS. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 show some alternative embodiments of the wheel mounting bracket on a scale roughly ¼ actual size.

FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 show pieces or a few layered pieces, of sheet metal, or mending plates, and need not have so many holes.

FIG. 12 shows three strips or bars joined near the bottom.

FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 show a steel plate, which looks similar to the preferred embodiment (FIG. 1 and FIG. 9) of the wheel mounting bracket in the front view, but has a right-angle bend parallel with the top edge, thereby allowing for nailing or screwing down into the frame member, in addition to bolting or screwing through the front of the bracket into a side of the frame member.

FIG. 15 also shows the possibility of manufacturing brackets using lighter or thinner material in conjunction with rolled edges and with or without the right-angle bend shown in FIG. 13 and FIG. 14.

FIGS. 9 through 15 show items primarily made of steel, but they also can be made of aluminum or other materials.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN THE DRAWINGS

  • 20 wheel mounting brackets
  • 22 longitudinal frame members/longitudinal members of the vehicle structure or frame/longitudinally oriented members **
  • 24 axle
  • 26 bicycle wheel
  • 28 axle nuts
  • 30 holes/for attaching/attachment/bolt/holes/that facilitate attachment/(left, right, center)
  • 32 slot or opening
  • 32A slot hole
  • 34 top edge
  • 36 bottom edge
  • 38 point along each side edge (left, right)
  • 40 locations of a possible additional hold for attaching/bolt hole (A,B)
  • 42 spaces for wheels
  • 44 bicycle wheel hub
  • 46 a two-wheeled cart or small trailer (FIG. 2 and FIG. 3)
  • 48 handles extending from the front of a two-wheeled cart or small trailer
  • 50 diagonal braces
  • 52 possible rolled edges

Longitudinal members lie oriented approximately in the direction of travel (i.e., “fore-and-aft lying”) although they do not need to be completely parallel to the vehicle's longitudinal axis. Ordinarily, this also will be the direction of the length, i.e., “lengthwise”. However, in some cases the width of the vehicle (perpendicular to the direction of travel) will be longer than “the length”. Longitudinal members need not extend the entire length of the vehicle.

“Longitudinally oriented members” include all longitudinal members and also include all portions of the structure or frame that are positioned with respect to the direction of travel. For example, the end of a member that lies perpendicular to the longitudinal axis is itself “longitudinally oriented”. Likewise, vertical members attached directly to longitudinal members, are themselves “longitudinally oriented”.

G) DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention consists of a wheel mounting bracket, a general method of wheel mounting, and a general vehicle structure design, used for constructing widely diverse small vehicles with bicycle wheels.

This invention provides a simple method for constructing carts and wagons with bicycle wheels. Easy Wagon/Easy Cart Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets make it possible to attach any bicycle wheel to such a vehicle, utilizing the bicycle wheel's own individual independent axle.

FIG. 1 and FIG. 9 show the preferred embodiment of the bracket. FIG. 10, FIG. 11, FIG. 12, FIG. 13, FIG. 14 and FIG. 15 describe some other embodiments of the bracket design. Two brackets (20) are properly located and bolted, or otherwise attached, to properly spaced longitudinal members (22) (i.e., front-to-back or fore-and-aft lying members) of the vehicle structure or frame. They act to receive the axle (24) of the bicycle wheel (26) as does a bicycle fork. The axle nuts (28) are tightened just as they would be on a bicycle to hold the wheel (26) in place. FIG. 4 shows an exploded view of a common bicycle wheel, its axle, wheel hub, and axle nuts, mounted in a pair of Easy Wagon/Easy Cart Bicycle Wheel Mounting Brackets.

These brackets (20) make it possible to independently attach bicycle wheels to an extensive variety of shapes, sizes and designs of vehicle structures and frames. FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 5, FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 describe some basic designs of vehicle structures and frames. FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 depict the preferred embodiment for carrying out the method of wheel mounting. It is the two-wheeled application, the frame for a cart or small trailer (46). FIG. 5 depicts a one-wheeled application, such as for a wheelbarrow. FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 depict two different four-wheeled applications, such as for wagons. One has a steering mechanism; one pair of wheels pivot in relation to the other pair. A large carriage bolt (diameter of 12 mm or 1/2 inch or more is recommended) with washers and two nuts locked by tightening one back against the other, could be used to form this pivot. FIG. 8 shows a four-wheeled application without a steering mechanism. This basic design provides stability but with limited maneuverability.

The Wheel Mounting Bracket

The wheel mounting bracket (20) as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 9 is a flat 10-gauge steel plate (approximate thickness is 3.4 mm or 0.134 inch). It has three bolt holes (holes for attaching/attachment) (30L, 30R, 30C) and a slot (32). The bracket material is 10-gauge hot-rolled or cold-rolled sheet steel. They are mass-produced in large quantity by metal stamping. The corners are rounded, and the edges are deburred. The finished brackets are zinc-plated or nickel-plated to resist corrosion. Hot-dipped galvanizing is another possible protective coating.

The Slot (or Opening)

The bracket has a slot (32) to receive and securely support the axle (24) of nearly any modern bicycle wheel (26), making it universal and in effect, standardizing the bicycle wheel bracket. Common bicycle wheel axles typically measure between approximately 8 mm and 10 mm (or 5/16 inch and 3/8 inch) in diameter. The width of the slot (32) and the diameter of the slot hole (32A), the semicircle at the top of the slot, are both 11.0 millimeters (or 0.410 inch or 13/32 inch). The slot is centrally located and 30 millimeters (1 3/16 inches) deep, or high, (25 mm or 1 inch to the center point of the semicircle). The brackets are designed to be attached to the vehicle frame with the slot opening oriented straight down.

Overall Bracket Dimensions

The top edge (34) is the edge opposite the slot opening (32), and measures 200 millimeters (or 8 inches) long. The bracket measures 140 millimeters (5½ inches) from the top edge to the bottom edge (36). The bottom edge (36) measures approximately 40 mm (or 1½ inches) overall, and extends 20 mm (or 3/4 inch) from the center line of the slot opening (32), both to the left and to the right. From the two ends of the bottom edge (36), the bracket slopes upward on an angle to points along each side edge (38L, 38R) which are located 60 millimeters down from the top edge (34).

Possible variations include reducing the size of the bracket. Theoretically the bracket length (“top edge”) could be shortened to about 125 mm and still function adequately. The bracket height cannot be shortened by any more than about 20 mm (reduced down to about 120 mm) without sacrificing some of its utility, e.g., with 2 inch by 4 inch (nominal size) lumber.

The Bolt Holes (Or Holes For Attaching/Attachment)

The diameter of the three bolt holes (30L, 30R, 30C) is 7.0 millimeters (or 0.275 inch or 9/32 inch). One bolt hole (30C) is centrally located between the two side edges and is 45 millimeters (or 1¾ inches) from the top edge (34). The two other bolt holes (30L and 30R) are located 20 millimeters (or 3/4 inch) from the top edge (34) and 25 millimeters (or 1 inch) from either side edge, one left and one right.

A possible variation includes an additional bolt hole (40), centrally located between the two sides, and 70 mm (40A) or 75 mm (40B) from the top edge (34). This would provide an alternative to the center bolt location (30C) (45 mm from the top edge). This could be useful when the brackets are mounted on 2 inch by 4 inch (nominal size) lumber.

H) ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS OF THE WHEEL MOUNTING BRACKET

There are numerous possible alternative embodiments of the wheel mounting bracket of this invention.

FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 show pieces, or layered pieces, of sheet metal or mending plates with holes for attachment and a slot, and need not have so many holes, nor the shapes shown. The typical thickness would be about 3 to 5 mm.

FIG. 12 shows three steel strips or bars joined near the bottom. Holes for attachment are along the lengths of the bars, and a slot for the bicycle wheel axle is at the bottom. The typical thickness would be 3 to 7 mm.

FIG. 13, FIG. 14 and FIG. 15 show a steel plate which looks similar to the preferred embodiment of the bracket. (See FIG. 1 and FIG. 9.) It has the additional feature of a right-angle bend parallel to the top edge, and extra holes allowing attaching the bracket down into the top of the structure or frame member, in addition to attaching it to the side of the member. FIG. 15 also shows the possibility of manufacturing brackets using lighter or thinner material in conjunction with rolled edges, and with or without the right-angle bend shown in FIG. 13 and FIG. 14.

All of these embodiments of the wheel mounting bracket are made of steel or other metals such as aluminum. Theoretically they could also be made of other materials, such as plastic, fiberglas, etc., however it is not recommended.

The basic features of all embodiments include:

  • a) some sort of relatively flat surface or other structural means, which facilitate attaching the bracket to various vehicle frame members which usually are flat pieces of wood or metal;
  • b) holes for attaching by bolts, lag-bolts, or screws . . . . or by methods involving nails, rivets or other fasteners;
  • c) a slot or other opening, cut, molded or otherwise constructed to receive one end of the independent axle (24) of all common bicycle wheels, and to allow the bicycle wheels and axles to be securely mounted in a pair of brackets in the same manner as on a bicycle, and allow the bicycle wheels to be detached from the brackets without dismantling the vehicle structure or frame, and without removing the brackets from the vehicle structure or frame;
  • d) and means with sufficient strength or “structural support” so that a pair of brackets (or of one each of similarly functioning items) are able to support bicycle wheels under the conditions of normal use of vehicles such as carts, wagons, small trailers, etc.
    I) Operation of the Invention

FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 5, FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 describe some basic designs of vehicle structures and frames. FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 show the preferred embodiment for carrying out the method of wheel mounting of this invention. The frame is for a two-wheeled cart or small trailer (46). FIG. 4 shows an individual wheel.

Design and Construction of the Vehicle Frame

The vehicle is designed according to its intended use and the available materials. The structure or frame, usually wooden, is laid out squarely, and nailed together (or otherwise fastened). Constructing the vehicle frame of wood fastened together with nails is quite adequate for strength and durability, and makes possible easy repair and alteration. Spaces for wheels (42) are made large enough (lengthwise or longitudinally) to receive the diameter of the bicycle wheel that is intended to be used, with at least 5 to 10 centimeters (or 2 to 4 inches) of extra space so that the wheel will not rub on the frame. As a general rule, there is one longitudinal (front-to-back or fore-and-aft lying) frame member (22) for each side of a wheel. The longitudinal frame members are spaced apart laterally, wide enough to fit the bicycle wheel hub and the thickness of two brackets. When spacing the frame for the bicycle wheel hub, it is better to make the spaces a little too wide, rather than too narrow. Approximately 5 to 10 millimeters extra is good. Hub sizes vary, and bicycle rear wheels (with sprockets) have wider hubs than front wheels. If the frame is being constructed before obtaining the wheels, a spacing of about 115 mm to 130 mm (or 4½ to 5 inches) can be used as this spacing will fit many common bicycle wheel hubs. Excess space on the axle between the bracket and the wheel hub can be filled with flat washers, extra axle nuts, or other spacers. However, it is recommended that the wheels be obtained before constructing the frame.

Typical Dimensions of Two-Wheeled Cart/Small Trailer Frame

Typical dimensions for the frame or main body of a two-wheeled cart or small trailer (46) (FIG. 2 and FIG. 3) would be 1.3 meters from front to back and one meter wide (or 4 feet by 3 feet) with handles (48) extending 1 meter (or 3 feet) from the front. Typically, the structure or frame members are 2 inch by 3 inch, 2 inch by 4 inch, or 5/4 inch by 4 inch (These are nominal sizes of common structural lumber.) The actual typical lumber dimensions are approximately 38 mm by 63 mm (or 1½ inches by 2½ inches) and 38 mm by 89 mm (or 1½ inches by 3½ inches), and 25 mm by 89 mm (or 1 inch by 3½ inches) respectively.

If a platform is built on the frame, it would be made typically from boards 19 or 20 mm (or 3/4 inch) in thickness—such as 1 inch by 6 inch nominal size—which is actually about 19 mm by 140 mm (or 3/4 inch by 5½ inches). It is recommended that diagonal braces (50) (or bracing of some other type) be used on at least two corners of the frame. These braces can be on the underside of the frame. It should be noted that any type of wood that is available can be used as long as consideration is given to its strength and other characteristics, and to the loads intended to be carried. Thick wooden poles can be used if flat spots are chiseled for the brackets. It even may be possible to use the larger varieties of bamboo. Plywood can be used for the platform or box if care is taken to protect it from moisture, by painting, varnishing oiling, or other treatment. Metal, angle-iron, angle-aluminum, or old steel bed frames could be used by people who have the necessary tools and skills.

Upward extensions can be built at the ends of the handles (48) to reduce back-bending when pulling or pushing the cart, wagon, trailer, etc.

Supports or legs also can be built to support the vehicle in a level position when not moving.

Attaching the Brackets to the Vehicle Structure or Frame

The wheel mounting brackets (20) are attached to longitudinal members (22) of the structure or frame of the vehicle. They are attached through the three bolt holes (holes for attaching/attachment) (30) with either 6 mm or 1/4 inch diameter bolts. (Hexagon-head bolts, hexagon-head machine bolts, “cap screws”, carriage bolts, or hexagon-head lag bolts—which actually are screws—all are suitable.) (The use of rivets is not recommended.) Two flat washers and a nut and lock washer are recommended for each bolt. (If carriage bolts or lag bolts are used, then only one flat washer is needed.)

The brackets are attached with the slot opening (32) oriented straight down. The top edge (34), the side opposite the slot opening, is designed to be mounted slightly below, or flush with, the top edge of the longitudinal structure or frame member (22) to which it is attached.

Holes (6 mm or 1/4 inch in diameter) are drilled through the longitudinal structure or frame members (22) for the bolts, except for lag bolts or screws; then only pilot holes may be drilled (if necessary).

Note that the size of the drill bit used to drill through the wood should be the exact size of the bolt, either 6 mm or 1/4 inch, and not the size of the holes (30) in the brackets as shown and specified in the drawing FIG. 9 (7 mm or 0.275 inch). (Bolts need a little extra space to pass through metal.) The bolts may have to be tapped lightly with a hammer to get them through the wood; the fit should be snug.

A bracket should be used as a pattern or template to mark the hole locations. Ideally, all (typically four) longitudinal members (22) with attached brackets will be identical, or at least the brackets all will be located equidistant from the rear of the vehicle, and therefore the bolt holes can be aligned and drilled before the frame members actually are fastened together. Otherwise, align the brackets, and drill bolt holes with a brace-and-bit or other type of drill after the frame is built. A “C-clamp” or other type of clamp can be useful to hold the bracket in place when aligning or marking hole locations. Remove the bracket before drilling.

Mounting the Wheels

After all the brackets (20) are securely attached, and all bolts and nuts tightened, and all structure and frame members of the vehicle are fastened together as designed, then the bicycle wheels (26) are mounted in the slots (32) in the wheel mounting brackets just as in the fork of a bicycle. The axle nuts (28) are tightened just as they would be on a bicycle to hold the wheel securely in place. This final wheel mounting operation usually is most easily accomplished by standing the vehicle up and tipping it backward (slightly upside down) and leaning it against a stationary object such as a wall or a tree. Similarly, the wheels are detachable and interchangeable.

It should be noted that the common USA/English bicycle wheel sizes (16 inch, 20 inch, 24 inch, 26 inch and 27 inch) correspond with the metric measurements used in this patent application/specification (40 cm, 50 cm, 60 cm, 65 cm and 67.5 cm, respectively).

Bicycle wheels themselves are not simple items. The hubs, spokes, rims, tube, tires, axles and axle nuts can all present problems for unskilled persons. Where materials or skill are scarce, solid rubber tires, like the kind found on some very small children's bicycles, may be preferable to pneumatic tires and tubes.

J) Miscellaneous Ramifications and Scope of the Invention

The carts and wagons made with these brackets, in many cases, will not be as strong or as durable as the popular factory-made garden carts, which have a pair of heavy-duty wheels with a single common axle; but they also probably will cost much less, be easier to repair, and permit the use of scrap lumber and discarded bicycle wheels.

These brackets probably should not be distributed anywhere locally hand-crafted wheel carts are already in common use, or where the introduction of these brackets would in some other way disrupt part of a healthy local traditional culture.

Most use of this invention probably will be in two-wheeled applications such as carts and small trailers, so the brackets are used or packaged in sets of four. (Wagons typically would require eight brackets.) Note that Easy Wagon Wheel Brackets and Easy Cart Wheel Brackets and Easy Wagon/Easy Cart/Bicycle Wheel Brackets and EASY WAGON/EASY CART/BICYCLE WHEEL MOUNTING BRACKETS are all different names for the same thing, at the present time.

These wheel mounting brackets and the method of wheel mounting of this invention are not recommended for use on, or with, motor vehicles. They are not designed for use with motorized propulsion, neither mounted on a motor vehicle nor on vehicles towed or pushed by a motor vehicle.

This invention is intended primarily for two-wheeled applications and secondarily for one-wheeled and four-wheeled applications. It could be used for applications requiring 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, or even more wheels, but these applications need more testing. Extra caution should be used when designing, constructing and using such vehicles.

The utility of this invention is extraordinary, for several reasons, including:

  • 1) It provides a way for ordinary people to construct carts, wagons and other simple small vehicles.
  • 2) It provides a general purpose bicycle wheel mounting method. In effect, the invention standardizes or makes universal a bicycle wheel mount and method that are applicable worldwide.
  • 3) Most important is the simplicity and durability of the only uncommon item necessary—the brackets! In many cases these brackets will outlast the vehicle. Then they can be re-used.
  • 4) A consequence of the invention's simplicity is the almost worldwide availability of the materials, skills and tools necessary to construct, repair and alter carts, wagons, trailers, etc. with the method of this invention. Nailed-wood construction of the cart and wagon frames is adequate for strength and durability and enables easy repair or alteration. Eight-penny (63 mm) and 10-penny (75 mm) galvanized common nails are recommended only the most basic carpentry hand tools are required. Bolts and wrenches are the only extras, and only rudimentary carpentry and mechanical skills are necessary.

This invention is new. If it was obvious or anticipated by any existing device, it wouldn't be new. It would have been implemented already, because it clearly is very useful.

Although this detailed description of the invention contains many specific details, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention. Instead, the details merely illustrate some of the embodiments of this invention. For example, the bracket and the slot can have shapes other than those described herein. The sizes also are variable. These are just a few examples of possible variables in the various embodiments of this invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the claims which follow, rather than by the specific details and embodiments and examples given in this detailed description.