Title:
ANCHOR APPARATUS, ASSEMBLIES AND METHODS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus including a ground anchor having an elongated member which has a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and which also has at least two flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member. The flanges include two wing-like flanges disposed in the same imaginary plane. Assemblies and methods for anchoring a structure to the ground using the apparatus are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Howard, Russell J. (Denham Springs, LA, US)
Fore, John C. (Denham Springs, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/670710
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
02/02/2007
Assignee:
STEALTH ANCHORS, L.L.C. (Denham Springs, LA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D5/74
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
AHMAD, CHARISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McGLINCHEY STAFFORD, PLLC (Attn: IP Group 301 Main Street, 14th Floor, BATON ROUGE, LA, 70801, US)
Claims:
That which is claimed is:

1. An apparatus comprising a ground anchor comprising an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and at least two flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the flanges comprise two wing-like flanges and wherein the wing-like flanges are disposed in the same imaginary plane.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore, which bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for forcing the ground anchor below a ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

4. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore which bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for forcing the ground anchor below a ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

5. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion.

6. The apparatus according to claim 2 further comprising a tether structure for adjusting the position of the ground anchor below the ground surface.

7. The apparatus according to claim 6 further comprising a stabilizing body which is sized and configured to coordinate with the tether structure, and which stabilizing body is partially disposed below the ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

8. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein the stabilizing body comprises at least one gripping portion for limiting movement of the stabilizing body along the ground surface when the stabilizing body is in use.

9. The apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the tether structure comprises a threaded shaft attached to the elongated member at a first end of the threaded shaft, and a nut sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the threaded shaft and wherein the stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture whereby the position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which threads extend beyond the aperture.

10. The apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the tether structure comprises a flexible cable attached at a first end of the cable to the elongated member, and a winch assembly sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the cable and wherein the stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture sized and configured to accommodate the second end of the cable whereby when the second end of the cable is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and disposed through the winch assembly, the position of the ground anchor is adjusted by action of the winch assembly.

11. An assembly for anchoring a structure which comprises: A) a ground anchor for disposal below a ground surface; B) a tether structure for adjusting the position of the ground anchor below the ground surface which tether structure is attached to the ground anchor; and C) a stabilizing body sized and configured to cooperate with the tether structure which stabilizing body is partially disposed below the ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

12. The assembly according to claim 11 wherein the ground anchor comprises an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and at least two wing-like flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member.

13. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein the flanges are disposed in the same imaginary plane.

14. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion.

15. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore, which bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for forcing the ground anchor below a ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

16. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein the stabilizing body comprises at least one gripping portion for limiting movement of the stabilizing body along the ground surface when the stabilizing body is in use.

17. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein the tether structure comprises a threaded shaft attached to the elongated member at a first end of the threaded shaft, and a nut sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the threaded shaft and wherein the stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture whereby the position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which threads extend beyond the aperture.

18. The assembly according to claim 12 wherein the tether structure comprises a flexible cable attached at a first end of the cable to the elongated member, and a winch assembly sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the cable and wherein the stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture sized and configured to accommodate the second end of the cable whereby when the second end of the cable is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and disposed through the winch assembly, the position of the ground anchor is adjusted by action of the winch assembly.

19. A method for anchoring a framed structure to the ground, which method comprises: driving a ground anchor into the ground which ground anchor has a first end of a threaded shaft of a tether structure attached thereto; attaching a stabilizing body to a second end of the threaded shaft; biasing the stabilizing body toward the ground anchor so as to provide tension along the threaded shaft and to urge the stabilizing body into the ground; and securing the stabilizing body to the framed structure so as to inhibit lateral and vertical movement of the framed structure.

20. The method according to claim 19 wherein the ground anchor comprises an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and at least two flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member.

21. The method according to claim 20 wherein the flanges comprise two wing-like flanges and wherein the wing-like flanges are disposed in the same imaginary plane.

22. The method according to claim 21 wherein each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion.

23. The method according to claim 19 wherein the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore, which bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for driving the ground anchor into the ground.

24. The method according to claim 20 wherein the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore which bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for driving the ground anchor into the ground.

25. The method according to claim 19 which method further comprises limiting the movement of the stabilizing body along a ground surface by partially disposing a gripping portion of the stabilizing body below the ground.

26. The method according to claim 19 wherein the tether structure further comprises a nut sized and configured to cooperate with the second end of the threaded shaft and wherein the stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture whereby the position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which threads extend beyond the aperture.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit and priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/764,961, filed Feb. 3, 2006, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to ground anchoring devices, especially for manufactured homes.

BACKGROUND

Despite prior developments in the art, a need exists for ground anchoring and/or tie-down systems which can be used by manufactured home installers of new manufactured homes in concert with the anchoring straps usually provided by the manufacturer and by manufactured home owners of older manufactured homes with after-market anchoring straps, to efficiently and quickly secure manufactured homes in their desired locations. In addition, the anchoring system should be cost effective to produce so that the cost to the home owner is minimized.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention meets these and other needs by providing, among other things, apparatus comprising a ground anchor comprising an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and at least two flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member. Because the front end portion of the elongated member is essentially straight, it is easily manufactured without need for extra bending or extra fabrication steps. The chisel-shaped feature of the elongated end portion of the ground anchor makes the process of driving it below a ground surface relatively easy to accomplish. The flanges comprise two wing-like flanges, and the wing-like flanges are disposed in the same imaginary plane.

In another embodiment of the invention, the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore. The bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for forcing the ground anchor below a ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

In one particular embodiment of the invention, each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion. Another embodiment of this invention provides an apparatus further comprising a tether structure for adjusting the position of the ground anchor below the ground surface.

In another embodiment of this invention, the apparatus further comprises a stabilizing body which is sized and configured to coordinate with the tether structure. The stabilizing body is partially disposed below the ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

Yet another embodiment of the invention provides an apparatus wherein the stabilizing body comprises at least one gripping portion for limiting movement of the stabilizing body along the ground surface when the stabilizing body is in use.

The tether structure for adjusting the position of the ground anchor below a ground surface may include any rigid or flexible body which connects, either temporarily or permanently, the ground anchor and stabilizing body.

In one particular embodiment of the invention, the tether structure comprises a threaded shaft attached to the elongated member at a first end of the threaded shaft, and a nut sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the threaded shaft. The stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture. The position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which extend beyond the aperture.

Another embodiment of the invention provides an apparatus wherein the tether structure comprises a flexible cable attached at a first end of the cable to the elongated member, and a winch assembly sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the cable. The stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture sized and configured to accommodate the second end of the cable. When the second end of the cable is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and disposed through the winch assembly, the position of the ground anchor is adjusted by action of the winch assembly.

Another embodiment of this invention provides an assembly for anchoring a structure which comprises:

  • A) a ground anchor for disposal below a ground surface;
  • B) a tether structure for adjusting the position of the ground anchor below the ground surface which tether structure is attached to the ground anchor; and
  • C) a stabilizing body sized and configured to cooperate with the tether structure which stabilizing body is partially disposed below the ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

Another embodiment of this invention provides an assembly wherein the ground anchor comprises an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion and at least two wing-like flanges extending outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member. The assembly also provides flanges which are disposed in the same imaginary plane. Each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion.

The assembly of an embodiment of this invention also provides that the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore. The bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for forcing the ground anchor below a ground surface when the ground anchor is in use.

In another embodiment of this invention the assembly provides that each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion. The stabilizing body comprises at least one gripping portion for limiting movement of the stabilizing body along the ground surface when the stabilizing body is in use.

An embodiment of the invention provides an assembly wherein the tether structure comprises a threaded shaft attached to the elongated member at a first end of the threaded shaft, and a nut sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the threaded shaft. The stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture whereby the position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which threads extend beyond the aperture.

Yet another embodiment of this invention provides an assembly wherein the tether structure comprises a flexible cable attached at a first end of the cable to the elongated member, and a winch assembly sized and configured to cooperate with a second end of the cable. The stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture sized and configured to accommodate the second end of the cable whereby when the second end of the cable is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and disposed through the winch assembly, the position of the ground anchor is adjusted by action of the winch assembly.

Another embodiment of this invention provides a method for anchoring a framed structure to the ground, which method comprises: driving a ground anchor into the ground which ground anchor has a first end of a threaded shaft of a tether structure attached thereto; attaching a stabilizing body to a second end of the threaded shaft; biasing the stabilizing body toward the ground anchor so as to provide tension along the threaded shaft and to urge the stabilizing body into the ground; and securing the stabilizing body to the framed structure so as to inhibit lateral and vertical movement of the framed structure.

Another embodiment of this invention provides a method wherein the ground anchor comprises an elongated member comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion. At least two flanges extend outwardly from the elongated member and along an imaginary longitudinal axis of the elongated member. The flanges comprise two wing-like flanges and the wing-like flanges are disposed in the same imaginary plane.

In another embodiment of the invention a method provides that each of the flanges comprises an angled tail portion.

The method of the embodiment of the invention also provides that the elongated member comprises a rear end portion which defines an axially extending blind bore. The bore is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod for driving the ground anchor into the ground.

One embodiment of the invention provides a method which further comprises limiting the movement of the stabilizing body along a ground surface by partially disposing a gripping portion of the stabilizing body below the ground.

An embodiment of the invention also provides a method which provides that the tether structure further comprises a nut sized and configured to cooperate with the second end of the threaded shaft. The stabilizing body defines a substantially centrally disposed aperture whereby the position of the ground anchor is adjusted when the threaded shaft is positioned through the aperture of the stabilizing body and the nut is tightened along threads of the second end of the threaded shaft which threads extend beyond the aperture.

These and other embodiments, advantages and features of this invention will be apparent from the following description, accompanying drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention showing a ground anchor.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the ground anchor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the ground anchor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of an embodiment of the invention showing a ground anchor attached to a tether structure.

FIG. 5 is a top perspective view of the ground anchor and the tether structure of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention showing a cable component of an a tether structure positioned in a winch assembly of the tether structure.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention showing a stabilizing body.

FIG. 8 is an end view of the ground anchor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective top view of an embodiment of the invention showing a stabilizing body.

FIG. 11A is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention showing a stabilizing body.

FIG. 11B is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention showing a stabilizing body.

In each of the above figures, like numerals or letters are used to refer to like or functionally like parts among the several figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-5 illustrate one embodiment of this invention. An apparatus is shown to include a ground anchor 10 which comprises an elongated member 12 comprising a chisel-shaped, substantially straight front end portion 14 and two wing-like flanges 16,16 extending outwardly from elongated member 12 along an imaginary longitudinal axis Z of elongated member 12. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, each flange 16,16 comprises an angled tail portion 24,24.

FIG. 2 shows another view of the apparatus of FIG. 1. Thus it may be seen that ground anchor 10 forms openings 58,58. Openings 58,58 in ground anchor 10 are sized and configured to accept flexible cable 46 (as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5).

As best seen in FIG. 3, angled tail portion 24 is angled in a range of about 1 to about 30 degrees offset from imaginary plane P. This angle for angled tail portion 24 provides additional resistance to removal, once ground anchor 10 has been driven below the ground surface.

FIGS. 4 and 5 present different perspective views of the apparatus of FIG. 1. As seen in these figures, tether structure 26 comprises flexible cable 46 attached to elongate member 12 of ground anchor 10 at a first end 48 of cable 46. First end 48 of cable 46 passes through openings 58,58 in ground anchor 10 and is secured to cable 46 using ferrule rings 60,60. Both FIGS. 4 and 5 show the apparatus of the invention aligned in a relationship such as would be found when ground anchor 10 has been disposed below the surface of the ground and after the position of ground anchor 10 has been adjusted using tether structure 26.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the invention which provides tether structure 26, comprising a winch assembly 52. Winch assembly 52 comprises winch ratchet mechanism 54 which interacts with a second end 50 of cable 46 to take up any slack in cable 46. This causes adjustment of the position of ground anchor 10, from the position as best seen in FIG. 9, to the position of ground anchor 10 as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5. Second end 50 of cable 46, after being positioned through winch ratchet mechanism 54 is acted on by winch lever 56 to effect taking up of slack in cable 46.

FIG. 7 shows stabilizing body 28. As seen in this embodiment of the invention stabilizing body 28 is constructed of U-shaped metal material, commonly referred to as “channel” to which is welded gripping portion 38, here seen to be constructed of L-shaped metal. A material of construction is carbon steel, though other materials can be used if they provide suitable tensile strength. FIG. 7 also shows a typical method of securing the apparatus of the invention to anchor straps S,S. Anchor straps S,S pass through split bolts 40,40 and are wound around split bolts 40,40 when the bolts are turned in stabilizing body 28. When proper tension has been placed on anchor straps S,S nuts 32, 32 are applied to split bolts 40,40, effectively locking anchor straps S,S into place. As shown in FIG. 7 one anchor strap is aligned substantially perpendicular to stabilizing body 28 while the other anchor strap is seen to be positioned at an angle off set to the perpendicular. This would be a common alignment for manufactured homes having anchor straps already attached to the undercarriage of the manufactured home. Of course, it is possible to provide one or more anchor straps that extend from the apparatus of the invention and over the top of the home. In this application the anchor strap extends from one apparatus of the invention on one side of the home, over the top of the home and down to a second apparatus of the invention on the other side of the home. This use of the apparatus of the invention would be particularly attractive to owners of older model manufactured homes that were not required to have anchor straps attached to the undercarriage by the manufacturer.

FIG. 8 illustrates an end view of ground anchor 10 which comprises a rear end portion 18 which defines an axially extending blind bore 20. Bore 20 is sized and configured for receiving a removable driving rod 22 as best seen in FIG. 9. Flanges 16,16 are seen to be disposed in the same imaginary plane P.

FIG. 9 illustrates an embodiment of the apparatus of the invention which comprises ground anchor 10, tether structure 26, here shown as comprising a threaded shaft 30 and nut 32, sized and configured to thread onto threads 36 of second end 44 of threaded shaft 30. Threaded shaft 30 is attached to elongated member 12 at first end 42 of threaded shaft 30. This attachment is shown in the form of welding first end 42 of threaded shaft 30 to chain link 64. Link 64 is, in turn, looped through half link 62 which is welded to elongated member 12. The flexible alignment of link 64 and half link 62 provides the range of motion needed to allow ground anchor 10 to be positioned with its front end portion 14 headed into the ground while ground anchor 10 is being driven by force placed on driving rod 22, which is inserted into blind bore 20. The force applied to driving rod 22 can be supplied by manual tools such as a post driver or a maul, or the force can be supplied by more powerful tools such as a jack hammer. Once ground anchor 10 has been forced or driven into the ground to the proper depth, which will vary depending on soil conditions but which is typically in the range of about 20 to about 50 inches, driving rod 22 is removed from bore 20 and from the ground in the area above ground anchor 10. When ground anchor 10 is being driven into the ground, a component of tether structure 26, shown in FIG. 9 as threaded shaft 30, is carried down alongside driving rod 22. Though driving rod 22 is removed, treaded shaft 30 remains in place. Once ground anchor 10 and threaded shaft 30 are in position, with second end 44 of threaded shaft 30 exposed above ground surface G, stabilizing body 28 is brought into position. Stabilizing body 28 comprises a substantially centrally disposed aperture 34 (as best seen in FIGS. 10, 11A and 11B). Threads 36 project through aperture 34, and nut 32 is tightened onto threads 36. This tightening action causes tether structure 26 to adjust the position of ground anchor 10 so as to be perpendicular to ground surface G. This final position of ground anchor 10 is best seen, for example, in FIG. 5. In addition to causing motion of tether structure 26, tightening of nut 32 onto threaded shaft 30 also causes gripping portion 38 of stabilizing body 28 to dig into the surface of the ground G. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 9, gripping portion 38 has an L-shaped configuration. Gripping portion 38 can be provided as having a small bend as seen in FIG. 11A or as being substantially straight as seen in FIG. 11B. Gripping portion 38 can also be provided as a plurality of downward turned edges, as best seen in FIG. 10.

With ground anchor 10 in final position along with stabilizing body 28, anchor straps S,S can be attached and tightened as described above and as shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 shows stabilizing body 28 with openings 58,58 for insertion of split bolt 40 (as best seen in FIG. 9. Gripping portions 38,38 are shown to be a plurality of downwardly turned edges of stabilizing body 28.

FIGS. 11A and 11B show two embodiments of the invention which include slightly different configurations of gripping portion 38 of stabilizing body 28 which limit movement of the stabilizing body along the ground surface when the stabilizing body is in use.

Except as may be expressly otherwise indicated, the article “a” or “an” if and as used herein is not intended to limit, and should not be construed as limiting, a claim to a single element to which the article refers. Rather, the article “a” or “an” if and as used herein is intended to cover one or more such elements, unless the text expressly indicates otherwise.

This invention is susceptible to considerable variation in its practice. Therefore the foregoing description is not intended to limit, and should not be construed as limiting, the invention to the particular exemplifications presented hereinabove.