Title:
Ice auger cordless drill adaptor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An ice auger adaptor for connecting a portable drill to an ice auger. The adaptor includes a connecting pin having a first end for connection to the chuck of a power drill and a second end configured to install on the shaft of an ice auger. Disposed on the connection pin between the two ends and proximate the first end is a flange. A retaining disc having a center aperture is installed on the connection pin so that it abuts against the flange. The center aperture has a diameter sufficiently larger than the diameter of the connection pin to permit free rotational movement therebetween. The retaining disc also includes two peripheral apertures which can be connected to the ends of an elastomeric retaining cord. The retaining cord has a length such that, when it is wrapped around the body of the drill, the retaining disc and remainder of the adaptor are secured snugly to the drill. The retaining disc and retaining cord cooperate to keep the ice auger secured to the drill and prevent accidental falls of the ice auger through the ice. They also serve to support much of the weight of the drill lid, thus preventing damage to the chuck.



Inventors:
Kowalewski, Tracy Alan (Clinton Twp, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/344277
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
01/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25C5/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FULLER, ROBERT EDWARD
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (900 WILSHIRE DRIVE SUITE 300, TROY, MI, 48084, US)
Claims:
1. An adaptor for connecting an ice auger to a cordless power drill comprising: a connecting pin operative to mechanically couple a shaft of an ice auger to a chuck of a power drill and including a first end terminating in a shaft configured to engage with said drill chuck, and second end configured to engage with said auger shaft, and a flange disposed around said pin between said first and second ends; a retainer including a center aperture, said aperture having a diameter sufficiently greater than a diameter of the connector pin to permit rotary movement therebetween and a diameter larger than the diameter of said flange, said retainer further including a pair of opposed peripheral apertures located proximate a perimeter of said retainer; and an elastomeric retaining cord having a length sufficient to snugly engage a portion of said electric drill, said cord having ends engageable with said pair of peripheral apertures such that, when said retainer is installed on said connecting pin and a said drill is coupled to said auger via said connecting pin, said retainer is held stationary with respect to said drill while said connector pin is free to rotate with rotation of said drill.

2. The adaptor of claim 1, further comprising a socket formed at said connecting pin second end for retaining a portion of said auger shaft therein.

3. The adaptor of claim 2, further comprising a bore extending through a wall of said socket, through which a retaining pin may be inserted to retain said shaft in said wall.

4. The adaptor of claim 2, further comprising threads formed on an inside of said socket wall for engagement with mating threads formed on an end of an auger shaft.

5. The adaptor of claim 1, further comprising a clamp for securing each of said cord ends to a respective peripheral aperture.

6. The adaptor of claim 1, wherein the retainer is configured as a circular disc.

7. The adaptor of claim 1, wherein the first end of the connecting pin further includes at least one flatted portion to facilitate engagement with the drill chuck.

8. The adaptor of claim 1, wherein the disc is formed of a material selected from the group consisting of: ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene; Delrin; Teflon; nylon; and a metal.

9. An adaptor for connecting an ice auger to a cordless power drill comprising: a connecting pin operative to mechanically couple a shaft of an ice auger to a chuck of an electric drill and including a first end terminating in a shaft configured to engage with said drill chuck, a second end configured to engage with said auger shaft, and a flange disposed around said pin between said first and second ends; a disc including a center aperture, said aperture having a diameter sufficiently greater than a diameter of the connecting pin so as to permit rotary movement therebetween and sufficiently smaller than a diameter of said flange, such that said connecting pin is free to rotate when said disc is installed on said connecting pin and said connecting pin is attached to said drill, and a pair of opposed peripheral apertures located proximal a circumference of said disc; and an elastomeric retaining cord having a length sufficient to snugly engage a portion of said electric drill, said cord having ends engageable with said pair of peripheral apertures such that, when said disc is installed on said connecting pin and a said drill is coupled to said auger via said connecting pin, said disc is held stationary with respect to said drill while said connector pin is free to rotate with rotation of said drill.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based on and claims priority from U.S. provisional patent application 60/647,933, filed Jan. 31, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of ice auger adaptors, and specifically to ice auger adaptors which safely and securely connect a portable power drill to an ice auger.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In order to engage in the popular winter pastime of ice fishing, it is first necessary to make a hole in the ice so that the fisherman can access the open water lying therebelow. Ice augers, which are designed to bore a hole through the ice to permit such access, are in common use. However, while such augers can be operated by hand, hand drilling the hole through the ice is a laborious and time-consuming process.

Hence, a variety of methods are commonly used to power the ice auger. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,971,161 discloses an ice auger conversion kit which can be mounted to a conventional gas-driven grass trimming apparatus. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,705,632 and 3,731,751 both teach using the power of a snowmobile to drive an ice auger.

Portable power drills provide a source of rotary power which is much more convenient and inexpensive than the ones described in the patents cited above. Accordingly, a number of adaptors are on the market which serve to couple the shaft of the ice auger to the chuck of a portable electric drill. However, many of these known devices suffer from the problem that the auger can detach from the drill when it is in operation, thus resulting in the ice auger falling through the hole into the water. U.S. Pat. No. 6,705,412 discloses an ice auger adaptor which is provided with a safety disc mounted on its shaft between the respective attachment ends for the auger and the drill chuck, the disc having a diameter which is sufficiently larger than the hole drilled by the auger so that, should the auger and connector become detached from the drill, the disc will prevent the auger from falling through the ice. A similar device is disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0240954. U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/50205298, filed Sep. 22, 2005, teaches a further refinement of this concept by providing a disc which “floats” around the shaft of the adaptor, thereby allowing rotation of the shield to stop should it accidentally come into contact with clothing or the operator while it is in use.

However, all of the prior art devices described above suffer from certain disadvantages. When they are in use, the chuck of the drill must bear the entire weight of the ice auger (plus whatever adaptor is in use), which often leads to detachment of the auger from the drill and/or damage to the drill chuck. In addition, the whole assemblage is very cumbersome to use because no bracing is provided to help steady the power source end against the vibrations that result from the cutting bit of the auger biting into the ice. Accordingly, the operator must continually attempt to steady the entire apparatus, which is quite difficult because of its long combined length, and also is very fatiguing because drilling the actual hole takes a significant amount of time to accomplish.

Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide an improved ice auger adaptor which overcomes these difficulties. In addition, it would also be advantageous if the improved auger adaptor also helped to prevent detachment of the auger from the drill and subsequent falling through the hole in the ice.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention claimed herein has been designed to overcome the deficiencies of the prior art described above. It is an improved adaptor for connecting an ice auger to a cordless power drill. The adaptor includes a connecting pin operative to mechanically couple a shaft of an ice auger to a chuck of a power drill. The first end of the connecting pin terminates in a shaft configured to engage with the chuck of the power drill so as to mechanically attach it thereto. A second end of the connecting pin engages with the shaft of an ice auger, thereby providing a mechanical connection from the ice auger to the connecting pin to the power drill. A flange is disposed around the pin intermediate between the first and second ends.

The adaptor further includes a retainer having a center aperture formed therethrough, the aperture having a diameter which is sufficiently greater than the diameter of the connecting pin so as to permit rotational movement therebetween. However, the center aperture also has a diameter which is sufficiently small such that it cannot pass over the flange. The retainer is positioned on the connecting pin such that it abuts the flange on the side of the flange which faces toward the second (auger) end. The retaining member also includes a pair of opposed apertures which are located proximate its periphery. An elastomeric retaining cord has two ends which are engageable with respective ones of the pair of peripheral apertures. Preferably, clamps are provided for securing each end of the retaining cord to its respective peripheral apertures to secure the cord to the retainer. The cord has a length sufficient to snugly engage a portion of the power drill when its ends are secured to the retainer via the peripheral apertures.

Thus, when the retaining cord is wrapped around the drill and its ends secured, it holds the retainer firmly and snugly onto the connecting pin with the connecting pin free to rotate within the retainer as it is driven by the power drill. Hence, the ice auger which is connected to its second end will also rotate while the retaining disc is held stationary with respect to the power drill. Furthermore, the retainer and the retaining cord serve to secure the connecting pin and ice auger to the drill chuck, thereby preventing unintended detachment when the adaptor is in use. Furthermore, the retaining cord, when in place, also transfers much of the weight of the ice auger to the body of the drill, which not only helps prevent detachment, but also serves to brace the drill with respect to the auger, thereby stabilizing the entire apparatus. It also helps prevent damage to the drill chuck caused by prior art auger adaptors which place all of the weight of the apparatus on the chuck.

Preferably, the retainer is configured as a flat, circular disc, with the center aperture and the peripheral apertures located proximate the circumference thereof. However, since it does not rotate when in use, other shapes can be advantageously employed.

The first end of the connecting pin is, as explained above, configured to be retained in the chuck of the power drill. To this end, one or more flats may be machined into the first end of the pin in order to provide a secure, non-slip fit with the drill chuck. The second end of the connector pin may be configured to terminate in a socket, into which the shaft of the auger may be fitted. Optionally, the socket has a throughbore formed in its wall for insertion of a pin connector in order to retain the shaft in the socket. Alternatively, the inner wall of the socket is threaded for engagement with mating threads formed on the end of the auger shaft. This embodiment is generally preferred, although the pin connector will be advantageous in those instances where the auger shaft is not threaded.

The elastomeric cord of the present invention may be formed of any material having sufficient elasticity to stretch around a portion of the body of the power drill (typically, this portion will be the handle of the drill where it joins the rest of the body), while having sufficient retentive strength to hold the retainer and auger assembly securely in place, even when the drill is operational and the ice auger is employed in drilling through the ice. Elastomeric cords of the type known as “bungee cords” may be advantageously employed in this capacity.

The retainer of the present invention is preferably formed of a sheet material having smooth, slippery surfaces so that the connection pin and flange will not bind therewith when they are spinning. Typical materials which may be employed for this purpose include various polymeric materials such as, for example, nylon, Teflon, Delrin, or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWP). UHMWP has been found to be particularly suitable for this purpose because it is, compared to other materials possessing similar properties, relatively inexpensive and easy to work. Alternatively, metals such as aluminum, steel, brass or the like may be employed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description may best be understood with reference to the following drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ice auger adaptor of the present invention shown in use attached to an ice auger and drilling a hole through lake ice;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an ice auger adaptor according to the present invention with the retaining cord installed on the retainer;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are bottom and side views, respectively, of the retainer and elastomeric cord of the adaptor assembly; and

FIG. 4 is a side view of an ice auger adaptor of the present invention attached to an ice auger and to a power drill.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Throughout the following detailed description, like reference numerals are used to refer to the same element of the herein invention shown in multiple figures thereof. Referring now in particular to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is shown an ice auger adaptor 10 which includes a connection pin 16. Attached to a first end 12 of the connection pin 16 is a conventional cordless power drill D of the type which is most typically battery powered. Attached to the second end 14 is a conventional hand ice auger A.

In the side view of FIG. 2, more details of the present invention can be discerned. A connection pin 16 has a first end 12 adapted to attach to the chuck of a drill and second end 14 adapted to attach to the shaft of an ice auger. A flange 18 is disposed around the body of the connection pin 16 at a location which is between the two ends and, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, proximate the first end 12. Connection pin 16 has a retainer 20 (best seen in FIG. 3) installed onto connection pin 16 in the FIG. 2 view. Formed in the center of retainer 20 is an aperture 22 which has a diameter sufficiently larger than the diameter of the connection pin 16 so as to permit rotational movement therebetween. However, the diameter of the aperture 22 is less than that of the flange 18 so that, when installed on the connection pin 16, the retainer 20 abuts securely against the flange 18. Retainer 20 also includes a pair of peripheral apertures 24 (best seen in FIG. 3). As can be seen in FIG. 3, the ends 28 of a retaining cord 26 have been threaded through the pair of peripheral apertures 24 and are held in place by a pair of clamps 30.

In FIG. 4, the retaining cord 26 has been wrapped around the body of the drill D and the adaptor 10 has been installed onto the drill. The length of the retaining cord 26 is such that, when stretched, it will reach around the body of the drill so that the ends 28 can be installed in the retainer 20, yet will hold the retainer 20 snugly against the drill. In the FIG. 4 view, the ice auger has been installed onto the second end 14 of the adaptor 10 via a threaded connection. The threaded connection is formed by threads 38 which are formed on an inside wall of a socket 32 formed in the second end 14 of the connection pin 16. Alternatively, the connection to the ice auger may be made via through bore 36 (shown in FIG. 2) and a mating pin (not shown).

The ice auger adaptor of the present invention is used in the following manner. First, the retainer is installed onto the connection pin so that it abuts against the flange. Since its aperture has a slightly larger diameter than that of the connection pin, the two parts may rotate freely with respect to each other. To facilitate this rotation, it is preferable that the retainer be formed of a sheet material which surfaces have a low coefficient of friction. Such materials include polymers such as Delrin, Teflon, UHMWP, etc. As noted above, metals may also be employed. After installation of the retainer, the first end of the connection pin is then installed into the drill chuck. Preferably, a plurality of flats 32 are machined into the first end 12 of the connector pin to facilitate this process and improve the grip of the chuck. The ends of the retention cord are then threaded through peripheral apertures of the retainer and each secured with a clamp. The retention cord is then wrapped around the body of the drill. Typically, it will be wrapped around at a location where the handle of the drill abuts against the main body of the drill, as can clearly be seen in FIG. 4. The drill and adaptor of the present invention are then ready for installation onto the shaft of an ice auger, either via a threaded connection or a pin and hole connection, as described above. The ice auger is then ready to be employed to drill a hole through ice, as is shown in FIG. 1.

In contrast to all of the prior art, where the entire weight of the heavy ice auger is borne by the drill chuck when the assembly is in use, the retainer and retaining cord of the present invention provide a way for transferring much of the ice auger's weight to the relatively heavy body of the drill, thus relieving the delicate chuck mechanism. Thus, the ice auger and adaptor are much less likely to detach during use than are the devices known in the prior art. Furthermore, the ice auger is held securely to the drill by the retainer and retaining strap, thus preventing accidental detachment and subsequent falling of the ice auger through the hole in the ice. Finally, the retaining cord and retainer serve to steady the entire drill rig when it is in operation, thus making it easier to handle and less fatiguing to use. Thus, the ice auger of the present invention is uniquely designed to provide a maximum combination of safety, ease of use, and security.

While the present invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments and exemplifications thereof, doubtless certain design variations may occur to one of skill in the art without departing from the spirit of the present invention. It is the claims appended hereto, and all equivalents thereof, which define the present invention, rather than the exact embodiments and exemplifications.