Title:
ICE BUGGY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A small, inexpensive, lightweight vehicle in the nature of a wheeled buggy is provided for movement over frozen bodies of water such as ponds and lakes, with the vehicle being powered by a gasoline engine which is alternatively used to power an ice auger.



Inventors:
Gancarz, Robert M. (Chicopee, MA, US)
Gancarz, Daniel J. (Granby, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/681897
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25C5/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILLIAMS, MAURICE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCCORMICK, PAULDING & HUBER LLP (CITY PLACE II 185 ASYLUM STREET, HARTFORD, CT, 06103, US)
Claims:
1. An ice buggy for movement over a frozen body of water comprising: a frame; an axle mounted for rotation on the frame and having a pair of spaced wheels mounted on opposite ends thereof; ski means mounted on the frame and depending therefrom; a seat for a driver mounted on the frame; steering means operatively connected to the ski means and engageable by the driver for steering the ski means and the ice buggy; an ice buggy drive shaft mounted for rotation on the frame; drive means operatively connecting the drive shaft to the axle; a gasoline engine; an ice auger; and means for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice auger or for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice buggy drive shaft; the gasoline engine being operable in a first mode wherein it is connected to the ice buggy drive shaft for rotating the drive shaft, axle and wheels for propelling the ice buggy over the frozen body of water, and being operable in a second mode wherein it is connected to the ice auger for drilling holes in the frozen body of water.

2. An ice buggy according to claim 1, wherein the drive means operatively connecting the ice buggy drive shaft to the axle comprises a pulley on the drive shaft connected by a belt to a pulley on the axle.

3. An ice buggy according to claim 1, wherein the ice buggy drive shaft is vertically disposed.

4. An ice buggy according to claim 1, wherein the steering means comprises a T-bar connected to the ski means and engageable by the feet of the driver and straps connected to the gasoline engine and the T-bar.

5. An ice buggy according to claim 1, including means for directing exhaust gas emitted by the gasoline engine away from the driver.

6. An ice buggy according to claim 1, including brake means on the frame for manipulation by the driver for effecting braking action of the ice buggy.

7. An ice buggy according to claim 1, wherein the wheels are of such diameter as to maintain clearance between the frame and the frozen body of water therebelow.

8. An ice buggy for movement over a frozen body of water comprising: a frame having front and rear ends; an axle mounted for rotation on the frame adjacent its rear end and having a pair of wheels mounted on its opposite ends; ski means mounted on the frame adjacent its front end and depending therefrom; a seat for a driver mounted on the frame intermediate the front and rear ends; steering means comprising a T-bar operatively connected to the ski means and engageable by the feet of the driver for steering the ski means and the ice buggy; an ice buggy drive shaft mounted for rotation on the frame forwardly of the seat; belt and pulley drive means mounted on the frame for operatively connecting the ice buggy drive shaft to the axle; a gasoline engine; an ice auger; and means for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice auger or for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice buggy drive shaft; whereby, the gasoline engine is operable in a first mode when it is connected to the ice buggy drive shaft for rotating the axle and wheels for propelling the ice buggy over the frozen body of water; and whereby, the gasoline engine is operable in a second mode when it is connected to the ice auger for drilling holes in the frozen body of water.

9. An ice buggy according to claim 8, wherein the means for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice auger or for detachably connecting the gasoline engine to the ice buggy drive shaft is a pin or stud.

10. An ice buggy according to claim 9, wherein the pin or stud is selectively engageable in a motor shaft of the gasoline engine and a drive shaft of the auger, or is selectively engageable in a boss on the ice buggy drive shaft.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U. S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/780,254, filed on Mar. 8, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to vehicles for movement over frozen bodies of water and to augers for use by ice fishermen for boring holes through the ice.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the past, holes have been formed in the ice for ice fishing by the use of ice chisels or hand augers, a task which was tiring and tedious, especially with ice sometimes as thick as 1 to 2 feet.

More recently, in response to the fast growing popularity of ice fishing as a winter sport, a wide variety of power augers has become available for use by ice fishermen for drilling holes in the ice to set up fishing equipment such as ice tilts and the like.

Snowmobiles are well known for use as a means for motorized transportation over snow and ice.

It is also known to drive an auger by using the power generated by a tractor or snow mobile engine, or by an electric power source such as a battery, as disclosed in the following prior art U.S. patents:

Nos.3,602,321
3,662,844
3,705,632
3,732,751
3,828,861
5,330,014

However, vehicles such as tractors and snowmobiles are expensive and are not readily available to the average ice fisherman. In addition, the means for connecting augers thereto is complicated and requires special tools and equipment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a primary object of the invention to provide a small, inexpensive, lightweight, wheeled vehicle in the nature of a buggy for movement over frozen bodies of water such as ponds and lakes, with the vehicle being powered by a gasoline engine which is also used to power an ice auger.

Modern power augers are formed in two parts, with a gasoline engine on top having handles for holding the device during drilling operations and an ice auger on the bottom for penetrating the ice, with the parts being detachably joined together by such as a screw or pin which extends through the motor shaft of the engine and through the shaft of the auger.

With the invention hereof, the gasoline engine is separated from the ice auger and detachably connected to the drive shaft of the buggy for powering the vehicle, thus providing the ice fisherman with very desirable mobility on large ponds and lakes.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an ice buggy which is very affordable since it can be sold without a gasoline engine, in view of the fact that most modern ice fishermen already own a power auger.

The ice buggy hereof includes: a frame for supporting a pair of spaced wheels mounted on a rear axle; a forward ski; a seat for the operator, a foot-operated “T” bar for steering the ski; a drive shaft operatively connected to the rear axle; and a gasoline engine detachably connected to the drive shaft for rotating the rear axle and the wheels to propel the ice buggy.

The wheels of the ice buggy are preferably of large diameter, such as 20 inch bicycle wheels, in order to provide ample clearance between the buggy frame and the ice.

In use, the gasoline engine and ice auger are separated from each other and the gasoline engine is placed on the drive shaft of the buggy. The operator sits on the seat and starts the engine to rotate the drive shaft causing the rear wheels to move the buggy over the ice while the operator steers the buggy by moving the ski through manipulation of the foot operated “T” bar.

When the desired destination on the ice is reached, movement of the buggy is stopped and the engine is turned off. The engine is then removed from the buggy drive shaft and reattached to the ice auger to convert the unit back to a power auger which can be used to drill holes in the ice.

In a modified form of the invention, a hand brake is provided for stopping movement of the ice buggy; steering assist means is provided for aiding in steering the ice buggy; and a seat support is provided with a convenience shelf for transporting articles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, top perspective view of an ice buggy embodying a first form of the invention with a gasoline engine attached to the ice buggy drive shaft;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 1 with the gasoline engine removed from the ice buggy drive shaft;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a power auger incorporating a gasoline engine of the type shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, exploded, fragmentary, front perspective view of the ice auger, gasoline engine and its motor shaft, and connecting pin of the power auger of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, top perspective view of the drive shaft of the ice buggy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary, front perspective view showing the motor shaft of the gasoline engine of FIGS. 1 and 4 partially engaged with the ice buggy drive shaft of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary, front perspective view of the belt and pulley drive means of the ice buggy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, top perspective view of the rear axle and rear pulley of the drive means of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged, fragmentary, top perspective view of the front ski and steering T-bar of the ice buggy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a top perspective view of an ice buggy embodying a second form of the invention with a gasoline engine attached to the buggy drive shaft and the ice buggy incorporating a modified frame, steering assist means and brake means;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 10 further incorporating an exhaust tube leading from the gasoline engine;

FIG. 12 is a top perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 10 with the gasoline engine removed from the ice buggy drive shaft and the seat shown in a collapsed position;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 10 showing the seat mounting means;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged, fragmentary, bottom perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 10 showing the brake means;

FIG. 15 is an enlarged, fragmentary, rear perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 10; and

FIG. 16 is an enlarged, fragmentary, bottom perspective view of the ice buggy of FIG. 12, with the gasoline engine removed and the seat shown in a collapsed position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIGS. 1-9, an ice buggy embodying a first form of the invention is generally indicated by 10 and includes a frame 12 which supports the following: ski means 14; spaced rear wheels 16 and 18 mounted on an axle 20; a seat 22; a steering T-bar 24; an ice buggy drive shaft generally indicated by 26 which is powered by a gasoline engine 100; and belt and pulley drive means generally indicated by 28 for operatively connecting drive shaft 26 to axle 20.

Gasoline engine 100 is otherwise and alternatively part of a power auger, generally indicated by 101, of the type shown in FIG. 3, used to drive an ice auger 102 and is provided with handles 104 for grasping the unit during use.

As best seen in FIG. 4, gasoline engine 100 and ice auger 102 are detachably interconnected by a stud or bolt 106 which extends through provided openings in a motor shaft 108 of gasoline engine 100 and through a main shaft 110 of ice auger 102.

Frame 12 of ice buggy 10 is preferably fabricated from metal or a similar strong, rigid material, is triangular in plan and includes a transverse rear rail 30 and side rails 32 and 34 each connected at one end by corner plates 36 to an end of rear rail 30. Rear rail 30 and side rails 32 and are preferably of square, hollow cross section, with side rails 32 and 34 extending angularly inwardly from rear rail 30 to meet at their forward ends where they are connected together by an apex plate 38 which also forms a support for ski means 14 and steering T-bar 24 in manner to be described.

Frame 12 is reinforced by a trio of spaced, central rails 40 which extend transversely between and are fixed at their opposite ends to side rails 32 and 34 and is further reinforced by spaced, support rails 42 which extend longitudinally between and are fixed at their opposite ends to rear rail 30 and to the rearmost central rail 40.

Seat 22 is positioned forwardly of frame rear rail 30 and is supported upwardly of support rails 42 by pairs of upright rails 44 which are disposed at each side of the seat and are connected at their lower ends to support rails 42.

Rear wheels 16 and 18 are fixed to the opposite ends of axle 20 which is positioned immediately forwardly of frame rear rail 30 and rearwardly of seat 22,with wheel 16 being disposed immediately outwardly of side rail 32 and wheel 18 being disposed immediately outwardly of side rail 34.

Rear wheels 16 and 18 are preferably of large diameter, such as 20 inch bicycle wheels, in order to provide ample clearance between frame 12 and the ice therebelow. Chains 19 are provided on each wheel 16 and 18 for improved traction.

Axle 20 is journaled centrally of its length in a first pair of spaced pillow block bearings 46 fixed to support rails 42 and is journaled adjacent its ends in a second pair of spaced pillow block bearings 48, each fixed to a corner plate 36.

Ice buggy drive shaft 26 is vertically-disposed approximately centrally of frame 12 forwardly of seat 22 and is journaled at its lower end in a flange bearing 49, best seen in FIG. 7, fixed to a mounting plate 50 which extends longitudinally between and is adjustably secured to a pair of central rails 40 by spaced pairs of bolts 52 which extend upwardly from the central rails and through spaced pairs of slots 54 in plate 50, with the bolts having nuts 56 threaded thereon.

The position of drive shaft 26 relative to frame 12 may be changed by loosening nuts 56, sliding mounting plate 50 longitudinally relative to bolts 52 and securing the mounting plate in desired position by tightening nuts 56, for purposes to appear.

Belt and pulley drive means 28 includes a horizontally oriented drive pulley 58 secured to drive shaft 26 immediately above flange bearing 49, a vertically oriented follower pulley 60 fixed to axle 20 between the first pair of pillow block bearings 46 and a belt 62 entrained around pulleys 60 and 62. Tension on belt 62 may be adjusted by sliding mounting plate 50 longitudinally forwardly or rearwardly.

As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 5, drive shaft 26 has a circular, upstanding boss 64 fixed to its upper free end and coaxial therewith. Boss 64 has a central bore 66 therein which is provided with a vertically extending, semi-circular slot 68 in its wall.

This construction permits the easy assembly of gasoline engine 100 onto drive shaft 26 of the ice buggy.

Following separation of engine 100 from auger 102 of power auger 101 by removal of stud 106, the stud is reinserted in motor shaft 108 so as to extend transversely outwardly therefrom. Gasoline engine 100 is then grasped by handles 104 and, as shown in FIG. 6, motor shaft 108 is inserted into central bore 66 of boss 64 and slid downwardly so that stud 106 is engaged in slot 68, with downward movement being stopped upon engagement of engine 100 with the upper face of boss 64.

Thus, when gasoline engine 100 is started, motor shaft 108 is rotated causing stud 106 to bear on slot 68 of boss 64 thereby setting up concomitant rotation of ice buggy drive shaft 26, belt and pulley drive means 28 and axle 20 to rotate wheels 16 and 18 to propel the ice buggy.

With an operator seated in seat 22, and grasping handles 104 of gasoline engine 100, steering of the ice buggy is accomplished by foot pressure exerted on T-bar 24 which is operatively connected to the upper end of a shaft 70 which extends vertically through and is mounted for rotation relative to apex plate 38 of frame 12 and is connected at its lower end to ski means 14.

When the desired destination is reached on the ice, gasoline engine 100 is turned off and its motor shaft 108 is removed from engagement in bore 66 of boss 64 of ice buggy drive shaft 26 by grasping the handles 104 of the engine and lifting upwardly.

Stud 106 may then be used to reattach gasoline engine 100 to ice auger 102, at which time power auger 101 may be used to bore holes in the ice by activating the gasoline engine and grasping handles 104 for guiding the auger during drilling operations.

Referring now to FIGS. 10-16, a modified ice buggy generally indicated by 200 includes: brake means 211; a modified frame 212; steering assist means 224; a modified seat support means 240; and a gasoline engine exhaust means 250.

Ice buggy 200 is otherwise substantially similar to ice buggy 10 of FIGS. 1-9.

Frame 212, which is preferably fabricated from metal or a similar strong, rigid material, is similar to frame 12 of ice buggy 10 and is triangular in plan and includes a transverse rear rail 230 of lesser length than the length of rear rail 30 of frame 12, and side rails 232 and 234 each connected at one end by corner plates 236 to one end of rear rail 230 rail.

Side rails 232 and 234 extend angularly inwardly from rear rail 230 to meet at their forward ends where they are connected by an apex plate 238 which also forms a support for ski means 14 and steering T-bar 24 in manner as previously described with reference to ice buggy 10.

The shorter length of rear rail 230 of frame 212 permits axle 20, which extends between rear wheels 16 and 18, to be supported by only one pair of spaced pillow block bearings 248 fixed to each corner plate 236, as opposed to the two pair of pillow block bearings 46 and 48 of ice buggy 10.

As best seen in FIG. 14, brake means 211 is pivotably connected to frame 212 immediately below seat 22 and includes a handle 213 fixed to a free end 215a of an L-shaped pivot rod 215 having an opposite end which defines a cross arm 215b which extends transversely between and is mounted for rotative movement relative to brackets 217 fixed to the lower surface of each frame side rail 232 and 234.

A brake arm 219 extends rearwardly from pivot rod 215 and is fixed at one of its ends centrally of cross arm 215b and has an upwardly curved outer free end 221. A stud 223 is provided on brake arm 219 intermediate its length and extends outwardly and downwardly therefrom.

The brake means 211 is operated by grasping handle 213 and pulling it upwardly, causing brake arm 219 to be rotated downwardly to bring stud 223 of brake arm 219 into engagement with the ice to bring the moving ice buggy to a stop.

The central rail 40, longitudinal support rails 42 and upright rails 44 of ice buggy 10 are replaced in ice buggy 200 by seat support means, generally indicated by 240, fabricated from sheet metal or similar strong material, which is fixed to the upper horizontal surface of frame 212.

Seat support means 240, which is best seen in FIG. 13, includes a pair of spaced, upright side walls 242 and 244 which are fixed at their lower ends to side rails 232 and 234 respectively and are spanned at their upper ends by a flat upper wall 246 to which seat 22 is mounted.

A portion of upper wall 246 extends rearwardly from seat 22 to provide a shelf 246a for supporting such as a carrying case or miscellaneous articles, not shown.

Steering assist means 224 comprises a pair of spaced straps 226 which are fixed at their upper ends to handles 104 of gasoline engine 100 and are fixed at their opposite lower ends to T-bar 24. Thus, the steering T-bar can be moved not only by foot pressure exerted by the operator on the T-bar, but by hand pressure exerted by the operator on the handles 104, thereby changing the direction of ski means 14.

To ensure that exhaust fumes from gasoline engine 100 do not reach the operator, exhaust means, generally indicated by 250, is provided and comprises a flexible tube 250a, best seen in FIGS. 11 and 13, which is detachably secured at its upper end to an exhaust port 251 of the gasoline engine and extends downwardly to a semi-circular spring fastener 253 fixed to the forward edge of drive shaft mounting plate 50 which has a complemental semi-circular notch 253a therein for receiving and holding the lower end of the exhaust tube.

Thus, exhaust fumes are directed downwardly by the exhaust tube toward the ice and away from the operator.

As with ice buggy 10, buggy drive shaft 26 is vertically disposed approximately centrally of frame 212 forwardly of seat 22 and is journaled at its lower end in flange bearing 49 which is fixed to mounting plate 50, which is mounted for longitudinal adjustment relative to side rails 232 and 234 of frame 212.

Belt and pulley drive means 28 of ice buggy 10 is incorporated in its entirety in ice buggy 100 with horizontally oriented drive pulley 58 being secured to drive shaft 26; with vertically oriented follower pulley 60 being fixed to axle 20; and with belt 62 being entrained around pulleys 60 and 62. Tension on belt 62 may be adjusted by sliding mounting plate 50 longitudinally forwardly or rearwardly relative to frame side rails 232 and 234.

Also, gasoline engine 100, power auger 101 and ice auger 102 remain unchanged, with the gasoline engine and ice auger being detachably interconnected by stud 106 which extends through provided openings in motor shaft 108 of gasoline engine 100 and through main shaft 110 of the ice auger.

In addition, the means for connecting gasoline engine 100 to drive shaft 26 remains the same. Following separation of engine 100 from power auger 101, stud 106 is reinserted in motor shaft 108 and the motor shaft is inserted into central bore 66 of boss 64 and slid downwardly so that stud 106 is engaged in slot 68, with downward movement being stopped upon engagement of engine 100 with the upper face of boss 64.

Thus, when gasoline engine 100 is started, motor shaft 108 is rotated causing stud 106 to bear on slot 68 of boss 64 thereby setting up concomitant rotation of ice buggy drive shaft 26 to drive belt and pulley drive means 28 to rotate axle 20 and wheels 16 and 18 to propel ice buggy 200.

For the fisherman who already owns a power auger, the ice buggy of the invention, in either of its embodiments, provides a very affordable and inexpensive form of transportation over snow and ice since it can be sold without a gasoline engine.