Title:
Skid-loader bucket accessory
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A digging attachment for a skid steer loader which comprises a bucket, a shaft mounted cutter reel and a drive means. The drive means is operatively connected to the bucket and the powered cutter reel. The powered cutter reel includes a plurality of digging members which may be rotated about the shaft of the cutter reel when the drive means is activated so as to dig into soil and draw the soil into the bucket.



Inventors:
Keagle, Ronald T. (Spring Park, MN, US)
Application Number:
09/756966
Publication Date:
12/06/2001
Filing Date:
01/08/2001
Assignee:
KEAGLE RONALD T.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
37/448, 37/189
International Classes:
E02F3/40; (IPC1-7): E02F3/24; E02F9/28
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070107272SNOW PUSHER FOR ICE AND SNOW REMOVALMay, 2007Weagley et al.
20070214686Versatile powered linear drive utility machineSeptember, 2007Shai
20020078605Backhoe Hook Mounting AssemblyJune, 2002Oliason
20090143896Payload system with center of gravity compensationJune, 2009Janardhan et al.
20090151204ATTACHMENT FOR EXCAVATORJune, 2009Thomas
20030070330Tooth retainer with rotary camlockApril, 2003Olds et al.
20030140526Universal trailer for a longwall roof support for longwall underground miningJuly, 2003Thomas
20060230649Actuator device, particularly for an orange-peel bucketOctober, 2006Gusella
20090188136TOOL FOR PUSHING SNOWJuly, 2009Westman
20030182824Elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge and plow flapOctober, 2003Coffin et al.
20070107274Ground engaging tool retention systemMay, 2007Livesay et al.



Primary Examiner:
PETRAVICK, MEREDITH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VIDAS, ARRETT & STEINKRAUS, P.A. (Eden Prairie, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A combination digging attachment and bucket for a skid steer loader said bucket comprising: a floor, a back wall, a first side wall and a second side wall, the first side wall and the second side wall extending horizontally, said floor having a cutting edge, the first side wall and the second side wall each having a bearing support; Said digging attachment comprising: a shaft mounted cutter reel, the cutter real having: a rotatable shaft, the rotatable shaft having a first end and a second end, the first end of the shaft rotatably engaged to the bearing support of the first side wall, the second end of the shaft rotatably engaged to the bearing support of the second side wall, the shaft being mounted forward of the cutting edge of the floor, and a plurality of digging members, the plurality of digging members disposed about the surface of the shaft and projecting outwardly therefrom; and a drive motor, the drive motor engaged to the bucket, the drive motor operatively engaged to the cutter reel, whereby when the drive motor is activated, the rotatable shaft and digging members are rotated at a predetermined rate of rotation.

2. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein rotation of the rotatable shaft also rotates the plurality of digging members, urging the digging members into soil and drawing the soil into the bucket.

3. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the drive motor is a hydraulic motor.

4. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the hydraulic motor is in fluid communication with a hydraulic system of a skid steer loader.

5. The digging attachment of claim 3 further comprising a chain drive, the chain drive operatively connecting the hydraulic motor to the rotatable shaft of the cutter reel.

6. The digging attachment of claim 5 wherein the chain drive is operatively positioned proximate to the first side wall.

7. The digging attachment of claim 5 wherein the chain drive further comprises: a drive sprocket, the drive sprocket being rotatably engaged to the hydraulic motor; a chain sprocket, the chain sprocket being rotatably engaged to the rotatable shaft; a drive chain, the drive chain in continuous engagement with the drive sprocket and the chain sprocket.

8. The digging attachment of claim 7 wherein the chain drive further comprises at least one support sprocket, the at least one support sprocket being positioned between the chain sprocket and the drive sprocket.

9. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the bucket further comprises a frame, the frame supporting the floor, the back wall, the first side wall and the second side wall,

10. The digging attachment of claim 9 wherein the shaft of the cutter real is removably retained by the frame.

11. The digging attachment of claim 9 wherein at least two piercing points are mounted on the frame, the piercing points extending in a substantially horizontal manner outward from the frame, the piercing points constructed and arranged to uplift soil ahead of the cutter reel.

12. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein each of the side walls further comprise a horizontally extending piercing point.

13. The digging attachment of claim 12 wherein each of the piercing points are chisel shaped.

14. The digging attachment of claim 13 wherein the piercing points are constructed and arranged to penetrate, uplift, and direct soil into the bucket.

15. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the drive motor is positioned interior to said bucket, adjacent to the first side wall.

16. The digging attachment of claim 15 wherein the drive motor is further positioned adjacent to the back wall.

17. The digging attachment of claim 16 wherein the drive motor is further positioned adjacent to the floor.

18. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the drive motor is enclosed within a housing.

19. The digging attachment of claim 17 wherein the drive motor is enclosed within a housing, the housing having three sides, the housing being engaged to a portion of the floor, first side wall and back wall adjacent to the drive motor.

20. The digging attachment of claim 18 wherein the bucket further comprises at least one cleat, the at least one cleat being securably mounted to the bucket, the housing being engaged to the at least one cleat, thereby securing the housing thereagainst.

21. The digging attachment of claim 18 wherein the housing is mounted against the back wall, the back wall further comprising an opening.

22. The digging attachment of claim 21 wherein the drive motor is hydraulic, the hydraulic motor having at least one hydraulic hose, the at least one hydraulic hose constructed and arranged to be fluidly engaged to a auxiliary hydraulic system of said skid steer loader.

23. The digging attachment of claim 22 wherein the at least one hydraulic hose extends from the hydraulic motor through the opening.

24. The digging attachment of claim 23 wherein the at least one hydraulic hose has a quick connector end.

25. The digging attachment of claim 23 further comprising a hose guard, the hose guard being engaged to a portion of the bucket, the hose guard and the portion of the bucket defining a passage which enclosed a portion of the at least one hydraulic hose which passes therethrough.

26. The digging attachment of claim 9 further comprising a bonnet, the bonnet defining an enclosure, the enclosure sized to fit onto the frame of the bucket, the enclosure having at least one opening.

27. The digging attachment of claim 25 wherein the bonnet further comprises a bonnet back wall, the bonnet back wall having a view port.

28. The digging attachment of claim 27 wherein the view port comprises a grate.

29. The digging attachment of claim 9 wherein the bonnet is constructed from at least one of the following materials: steel, steel alloys, aluminum, aluminum alloys, plastic, and any combination thereof.

30. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the cutter real may be activated to rotate in a clockwise direction, a counter-clockwise direction, and any combinations thereof.

31. The digging attachment of claim 1 wherein the predetermined rate of rotation may be varied.

32. A method of displacing soil utilizing the digging attachment of claim 1 comprising the following steps: connecting the digging attachment to a bucket of a front-end loader; moving the front-end loader to a predetermined location, the predetermined location comprising a predetermined quantity of soil; activating the cutter real so that the cutter real is rotated in a clockwise direction; and advancing the digging attachment into the predetermined quantity of soil, the plurality of digging members being rotated by the drive motor such that the plurality of digging members provide a digging action which excavate the predetermined quantity of soil thereby breaking up the predetermined quantity of soil resulting in broken up soil, the broken up soil being thrown into the bucket as a result of the digging action, thereby providing a predetermined quantity of accumulated soil within the bucket.

33. The method of claim 32 further comprising the step of reversing the direction of rotation of the cutter assembly thereby causing the predetermined quantity of accumulated soil to be drawn out of the bucket.

34. A kit for retrofitting a bucket of a skid steer loader, the kit comprising: a shaft mounted cutter reel, the cutter real having: a rotatable shaft, the rotatable shaft having a first end and a second end, the first end of the shaft rotatably engaged to a bearing support of a first side wall, the second end of the shaft rotatably engaged to a bearing support of a second side wall, the shaft being mounted forward of the cutting edge of a floor of the bucket, and a plurality of digging members, the plurality of digging members disposed about the surface of the shaft and projecting outwardly therefrom; and a drive motor, the drive motor engaged to the bucket, the drive motor operatively engaged to the cutter reel, whereby when the drive motor is activated, the rotatable shaft and digging members are rotated at a predetermined rate of rotation.

35. The kit of claim 34 wherein the first side wall is engaged to a first wall of the bucket, and the second side wall being engaged to a second wall of the bucket, each of the sidewalls having an outwardly extending piercing point, each of the piercing points extending outwardly away from the bucket and being substantially parallel with the floor of the bucket.

36. The kit of claim 35 wherein each of the piercing points being substantially chisel shaped.

37. The kit of claim 33 further comprising a drive train, the drive train being supportively engaged to the first wall of the bucket, the drive train being operatively engaged to the drive motor and the rotatable shaft.

38. The kit of claim 37 further comprising a protective cover, the protective cover configured to engage the first wall of the bucket thereby covering the drive train.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. provisional application No. 60/175,629, filed Jan. 12, 2000, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

[0002] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. Field of the Invention

[0004] This invention relates to a hydraulically operated attachment for a front-end loader. The invention is designed specifically for attachment to smaller construction vehicles such as skid steer loaders. The present invention is directed to a concept for a new soil excavation implement and bucket attached to the skid steers and similar size tractors that will enable the skid steers to be used to excavate in virgin soils or similarly compacted earth while avoiding the problems described above. The overall function of this inventive excavation implement and bucket is to perform small earth moving work which is comprised of cutting, transporting, dumping and grading materials. It is not intended for loading trucks.

[0005] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0006] Skid steer loaders are relatively small hydraulic wheel loaders with a lifting boom that can be easily fitted with a variety of attachments by means of a lock-on mechanism commonly known as a quick-tach. In addition to the lifting action of the boom there is a dumping pivot action on the boom end. When equipped with a bucket the skid steer loader may be used for digging, pulverizing material, transporting material, and grading.

[0007] In addition to a variety of types of buckets, there are many other attachments which may be affixed to the lifting boom such as trenchers, augers, brooms, rototillers, vibratory rollers, cold planers, jack hammers, back hoes, etc. Attachments such as rototillers and augers, are powered by hydraulic motors in addition to the boom lift and dump actions These motors are generally driven by oil pumped from the skid steer loader hydraulic system through quick disconnect hose connections.

[0008] There has been rapid development of accessory power attachments for a skid steer machine. The skid steer machines as known generally have a surplus of hydraulic power for use with any desired type of accessory. As equipped with digging buckets, and operating like a conventional wheel loader, skid steers consume only a small fraction of their available horsepower. The majority of the total horsepower is available for the powered attachments. So as with basic tractors, skid steers are power dense, relative to their size.

[0009] Therefore, skid steers are basically a multi-function powered unit, capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. However, the performance of the skid loader is typically reduced during work such as in the digging of established soil. In these instances the skid loaders have more than enough horsepower for this task, however, they simply don't have sufficient traction to excavate established soil. A skid loader used for digging established soil may experience difficulties such as the spinning of tires which dig pockets and pile up mounds. As the loader runs over these obstructions, it is bounced and pitched which further hampers traction as well as interfering with the ability to control the cutting process of the bucket. There are many small scale excavating jobs which allow access to nothing larger than a skid steer, yet the digging capability of the skid steer is not sufficient for the task. Often, in these cases, back hoes are used for the digging and the skid steer loader is used to transport and grade the excavated-material.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] This invention provides for a unique skid steer bucket which is equipped with a powered cutter reel, set crosswise, and positioned ahead of the bucket floor cutting edge. The reel cutter may have many rectangular knives which strike the ground flatwise, like paddles. The reel turns in a climb cutting rotation to the ground. In other words, the top of the reel moves forward so that the bottom is cutting soil and throwing the soil back into the bucket from the bottom side of the reel. There may be some cases where it would be preferable to reverse the reel rotation so that it throws the soil over the top, and consequently, higher into the bucket.

[0011] The cutting reel may be mounted in a pair of shock resistant sealed bearings positioned on each side of the bucket. At one end of the reel shaft is located a roller chain sprocket with a roller chain or other connection means running to the rear of the bucket just outside of the bucket end wall. At the rear of the bucket, the chain connects to a drive sprocket of a hydraulic motor.

[0012] In at least one embodiment of the invention the hydraulic motor is enclosed in a protective housing positioned within the confines of the bucket. The hydraulic motor may be powered from the tractor auxiliary or high flow hydraulic system through the use of quick disconnect hose couplings. The operator control for the reel drive motor allows the cutter reel to be engaged forwardly, stopped, or reversed. If necessary, a speed control may be added to the motor.

[0013] The basic bucket floor cutting edge follows directly behind the cutting reel, at approximately the same elevation as the cut path of the cutting reel. However the bucket cutting edge does not cut virgin earth, it merely serves as an apron to receive the earth that is kicked off of the reel. The actual floor of the cut pass may be made exclusively by the knives of the spinning cutter reel. The cutting reel generally does not cut the end zones located outside of the bucket which are occupied by the bearings and especially the chain and sprocket. So the structure that supports and protects the bearings and sprocket must plow through the ground without the aid of the cutting reel.

[0014] A piercing point is positioned forwardly to each of the bearing support structures where the piercing points function as plows to reduce the force required to penetrate the undisturbed soil. These points may have a wide variety of characteristics. In at least one embodiment of the invention the points may be chisel shaped, set flat to the ground, and may be a few inches wide so that they cut and lift the soil just ahead of the bearing support structures. The chisels cut the form of the comers where the cut pass sides meet the cut pass floor. In addition to the bottom cutting chisels, the piercing points may be fitted with side cutting knives. Together, the side knife and bottom chisel of each piercing point shears each corner of the cut pass, forcing the material upward and inward, making it accessible to the cutter reel.

[0015] The two corner piercing points pierce and lift the undisturbed soil just ahead of the cutter reel end bearings. The reaction to the lifting action tends to suck the bucket deeper into the ground. This downward pull of the bucket is countered by the climbing rotation of the reel cutter which tends to lift the bucket upward. As these two forces work against each other, they combine into a third resultant force direction that tends to pull the bucket forward, adding to the piercing force of the points. In this way, the cutter reel not only breaks the soil encountered as the tractor pushes it forward, but adds to the push of the tractor by pulling itself forward, into the soil.

[0016] Usually the size of a skid steer bucket is limited by the tractor's ability to force it to cut, and the potential instability of lifting a loaded bucket for placement of aggregate within a truck. The use of the cutter reel on a bucket provides for a cutting force from an independent powered cutter as opposed to forward penetration of a bucket cutting edge, and because a bucket equipped with a cutter reel is not intended to be lifted high for loading trucks, its capacity can be relatively higher, thus maximizing its transport function. Therefore, this new bucket may have a capacity of one cubic yard or more when used on mid to large size skid steer loaders.

[0017] Compared to typical skid steer buckets, this new bucket cutter reel combination permits use of a taller and shorter bucket from front to back. The cutter reel preferably throws soil high enough to fill a taller bucket. The throwing of soil preferably places the center of mass of the load as close as possible to the tractor to reduce forward tipping forces which may result from the cantilevered load weight on the tractor.

[0018] In operation, this bucket cutter reel combination is advanced into the cut with the cutter reel under full power. The cuter reel throws the soil up, into the bucket, pulverizing it in the process. If the cutter reel encounters a rock that is too large to pass between the cutter reel center shaft and the bucket cutting edge, the cutter reel will simply stall actuating an operation circuit into bypass. An operator may then toggle the cuter reel to reverse, thereby unjamming the clog. If the obstruction is too large, the operator must work around it.

[0019] Once the bucket is full, it may be elevated a sufficient distance to clear the ground, whereupon the cutter reel may be disengaged. The bucket may be moved to the dumping location and tipped to the dump position to disperse transported material. Material may either be dumped in one pile or dumped while moving in order to spread it over a desired area. During the dump cycle, the soil maybe further pulverized by running the cutter reel, allowing the soil to pass through the cutter reel as it falls out of the bucket. This second pass of material through the rotating cutter facilitates production of a uniform rate of dumping which aids the grading and finishing process.

[0020] As previously explained, the purpose of the cutter reel is to reduce the tractive effort needed to fill the bucket, however, a second benefit is the inevitable soil pulverization. Soil pulverization facilitates a bucket being filled without voids for efficient transportation, and the pulverized soil is easier to spread and grade. During the grading process, the bucket may be set in the cutting position (with the bucket floor flat to the ground), with the cutter running in reverse. The cutter may then kick the soil ahead for further pulverization while having the effect of dozing the soil forward as a means of transport and/or spreading. This technique may be used for light cutting in virgin earth whereby the soil is cut and kicked forward by the cutting reel, forming a heap which is being constantly reground as it is pushed forward. This process is called dynamic dozing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] A detailed description of the invention is hereafter described with specific reference being made to the drawings in which:

[0022] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention;

[0023] FIG. 2 is a close-up partially cut-away perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

[0024] FIG. 3 is a reverse partially cut-away perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;

[0025] FIG. 4 is a top down view of an embodiment of the invention;

[0026] FIG. 5 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention depicted in its operational environment; and

[0027] FIG. 6 is an alternative perspective view of an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0028] The present invention, as may be seen in FIG. 1 is referred to as a self loading bucket or dog bucket and is indicated generally at 10. Dog bucket 10 further comprises a bucket 12 of a skid loader such as a Bobcat® or a tractor.

[0029] The bucket 12 includes a frame 14 comprising a floor 16, a back wall 18, and a pair of side walls 20 and 22. The bucket 12 may be composed of a variety of materials but is typically steel or an alloy thereof. The side walls 20 and 22 include shock resistant sealed bearing supports 24 for rotatably mounting the shaft 26 of a cutter real 28. Alternatively, the side walls 20, 22, may each include an aperture adapted to receive the shaft 26 where the shock resistant sealed bearing supports 24 are positioned adjacent to and exterior of the side walls 20, 22. In another alternative embodiment, one set of shock resistant bearing supports 24 may be positioned forwardly of the leading edge of each of the respective side walls 20, 22. Side wall 20 includes a drive mechanism 70 which includes a roller chain sprocket 30 provided at one end of the cutter reel 28, a drive sprocket 32, and one or more support sprockets 72. The drive mechanism 70 may be integral with and/or releasably secured to the exterior of the side wall 20. In the embodiment shown the drive mechanism 70 is chain driven by drive chain 54. Alternatively, the drive chain 54 may be replaced with a belt drive and/or other drive mechanism to impart rotation to the cutter reel 28 during use of the self-loading bucket 10. The drive sprocket 32 is in mechanical communication with a hydraulic motor 34 (shown in FIG. 2) and is generally positioned at the back and to the interior of the bucket 12. Alternatively, the hydraulic motor 34 may be positioned to the rear of the bucket 12 and affixed to the exterior of the back wall 14. In this embodiment, the drive sprocket 32 is preferably positioned proximate to the side wall 20 and rearwardly to the back wall 18. The hydraulic motor 34 is preferably powered by the tractor auxiliary hydraulic flow system (not shown). The bucket floor 16 extends to the front 36 of bucket 12 to form a cutting edge 38. The cutting edge 38 may serve as an apron to receive soil thrown into the bucket 12 from the cutter real 28.

[0030] The powered cutter reel 28 is positioned forwardly to the cutting edge 38 of the bucket floor 16. The cutter reel 28 has a shaft 26 and a plurality of digging members 40 which function like paddles for removal of soil. The digging members 40 may include a variety of shapes and sizes as well as arrangements. In the embodiment shown the digging members 40 may be characterized as a plurality of rectangular knives. The cutter reel 28 may be rotated in a clockwise manner such that the paddles 40 cut downward into the soil and throw soil backwards into the bucket 12. The direction of the cutter real 28 may be reversed for the purpose of dislodging blockages or dispersing soil from within the bucket 12 onto the ground or for other purposes as may be desired.

[0031] The cutter real 28 and the components thereof are typically constructed from metal such as steel or an alloy thereof, however, other materials may also be utilized such as, titanium, iron, etc.

[0032] The cutter real 28 is adapted for operation via a drive such as the hydraulic motor 34, as may best be seen in FIG. 2. The hydraulic motor 34 is preferably in fluid communication with the auxiliary hydraulic system of the skid loader (not shown) by way of hydraulic feed lines 42 which may be equipped with quick connect/disconnect ends 44, such as may be seen in FIG. 3.

[0033] As may be seen in FIG. 2 the hydraulic motor 34 may be positioned within the bucket 12. However, in order to protect the motor 34 from dirt and debris which would other wise fill the bucket 12 during use, the hydraulic motor 34 is preferably contained in a protective housing or motor house 46, such as may be seen in FIG. 1.

[0034] In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the motor house 46 is located in a back corner of the bucket 12, against the floor 16, the back wall 18 and side wall 20, as such, the motor house 46 may be a three sided structure which completely covers the motor 34 and may be welded and/or bolted to the adjacent bucket surfaces 16, 18 and 20. Alternatively, one or more cleats 48, such as may be seen in FIG. 2, may be pre-welded into the bucket 12. The housing 46 may then also be bolted and/or welded to the cleat 48 as shown.

[0035] As indicated above, the hydraulic motor 34 may be hydraulically powered by hydraulic feed lines 42 which lead from the hydraulic motor 34 to the hydraulic fluid pumping system of the skid steer loader. As may be seen in FIG. 3, the hydraulic lines 42 extend from the hydraulic motor through an opening 50 in the back wall 18 of the bucket 12. The hydraulic lines 42 may extend several feet from the motor. In order to protect the hydraulic lines 42 from potential damage the lines 42 may be enclosed in-part by a hose duct or guard 52. The hose duct 52 encloses the lines 42 as they pass out of the opening 50 and extend along the back wall 18 of the bucket 12. The hose duct 52 may be constructed from any type of suitable protective material, including but not limited to, steel, particularly light gauge steel. The hose duct 52 may be bolted and/or welded to the bucket 12.

[0036] The hydraulic motor 34, shown in FIG. 2, is engaged to the drive sprocket 32 which is depicted in FIGS. 1 and 3. The hydraulic motor 34, may be engaged to the drive sprocket 32 by a shaft 80 which preferably passes through the side wall 20 proximate to the hydraulic motor 34. Alternatively, the hydraulic motor 34 may be positioned rearwardly to the back wall 18. If the hydraulic motor 34 is positioned rearwardly to the back wall 18 then the drive sprocket 32 is also required to be positioned rearwardly to the back wall 18. In the embodiment shown, the drive sprocket 32 is operatively engaged to the roller chain sprocket 30 by a drive chain 54. While the embodiment of the cutter real 28 is chain driven via a hydraulic motor 34, in alternative embodiments the cutter real 28 may be directly hydraulically driven, belt driven, or shaft driven as may be desired.

[0037] Turning back to FIG. 1, it may be seen that each of the side walls 20 and 22 may also include a piercing point 56. Each piercing point 56 may be integral to the bucket frame 14 or may be welded and/or bolted thereon. The piercing points 56 extend horizontally from the front 36 of the bucket 12. The piercing points 56 may include a chisel shaped edge 58 which is designed to cut and lift the soil ahead of bearing supports 24. In addition, side cutting knives/plows 60, as may best be seen in FIG. 4, also force soil upwardly and inwardly away from the bearing supports 24. Alternatively, a standard bucket 12 may be utilized for retrofitting to include the frame 14 and cutter reel 28. In this embodiment, the frame 14 includes forwardly located piercing points 56 where one piercing point 56 is preferably positioned to each side wall 20, 22 forwardly of, and proximate to, the cutting edge 38.

[0038] In FIG. 4, a cover or bonnet 62 may be seen mounted to the frame 14. The bonnet may be welded and/or bolted, or otherwise fastened to the bucket frame 14. The bonnet 62 is a light weight enclosure that is placed on the bucket 12 to provide greater soil containment ability. Because the bonnet 62 is not subjected to active soil digging or pushing pressures, the bonnet may be made of a variety of materials such as steel, but may also be made of lighter weight materials such as aluminum or even plastic. In general, as may be seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, the bonnet 62 includes a pair of upwardly and inwardly extending angled sides 82 and upwardly and forwardly extending back wall 64 and a horizontally extending roof 84 as engaged to the back wall 64 and angled sides 82. In general, the bonnet 62 may be in the shape of a standard non-modified production bucket for a skid or front end loader. It should be noted that other shapes may be utilized for the bonnet 62 at the discretion of an individual. In general, the bonnet 62 may be secured to the top of the frame 14 and back wall 18 through the use of bolts and nuts and/or welding. Alternatively, any desired type of permanent and/or releasable mechanical fastener may be utilized to secure the bonnet 62 to the frame 14 and the back wall 18 at the discretion of an individual. The back wall 64 of the bonnet 62 may include a window or grate 66 to allow the tractor or skid loader operator the ability to see into the bucket 12 and visually monitor the load and the cutting action of the cutter real 28. Alternatively, where the bonnet 62 is constructed of plastic, the plastic may be clear to provide a clear line of sight from the operator into the bucket 12.

[0039] In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the bonnet 62 my extend forward to act as a guard for the cutter real 28. Alternatively, a separate guard assembly may be attached to the frame 14 to partially cover the cutter real 28 thereby preventing accidental contact with the cutter blades 40 from above.

[0040] Turning to FIG. 5, the dog bucket 10 is depicted in operation. During operation, the action of the dog bucket 10 causes the bucket 12 to be sucked into the ground. This action is countered by the climbing forces resulting from the rotation of the reel 28 which in combination pull the bucket 12 forwardly through the soil 68. The piercing points 56 and side cutting knives/plows 60 also move soil 68 inwardly along the drive mechanism 70 and bearings 24 into the interior of the bucket 12. The rotating action of the cutter reel 28 and knives/paddles 40 function to break apart established soil for movement into the bucket 12. The bucket floor 16 cutting edge 38 is therefore provided with the ability to have an enhanced depth for removal of soil.

[0041] In an alternative embodiment as may be depicted in FIG. 6, the frame 14 may be mechanically secured to a standard bucket 12 of a skid or front end loader. The frame 14 in this embodiment is generally formed of a first cutter reel support 90 and a second cutter reel support 92. The first and second cutter reel supports 90, 92 may be respectively secured to the side walls 20, 22 by the use of bolts and/or welding or any other secure mechanical fasteners. The first cutter reel support 90 preferably includes the features of the roller chain sprocket 30, drive sprockets 32, drive mechanisms 70, and support sprockets 72 as earlier described.

[0042] The first and second cutter reel supports 90, 92 preferably each include the bearing supports 24 for support of the shaft 26 and cutter reel 28 as earlier described. In addition, each of the first and second cutter reel supports 90, 92 each preferably include a piercing point 56, chisel shaped edge 58, and knife plows 60 as earlier described.

[0043] In this embodiment, a standard skid or front end loader bucket 12 is modified or retrofitted to include the first and second cutter reel supports 90, 92 and cutter reel 28.

[0044] The first side wall 20 is therefore required to receive at least one aperture to accommodate the shaft 80 of the hydraulic motor 34 as engaged to the drive sprocket 32. A second aperture may also be required for receipt of the bearing supports 24 and shaft 26 as connected to the roller chain sprocket 30 and cutter reel 28. Alternatively, the first cutter reel support 90 may be secured to the side wall 20 by welding and/or bolts and nuts where the first cutter reel support 90 includes the bearing supports 24 positioned within an aperture for support of the shaft 26 as connected to the roller chain sprocket 30 and cutter reel 28 which are preferably positioned forwardly of the leading edge of the side walls 20, 22. It should be noted that the second cutter reel support 92 is preferably attached in an identical location relative to the side wall 22. The side wall 22 may therefore be required to include an aperture to receive bearing supports 24 and shaft 26 of the cutter reel 28.

[0045] The hydraulic motor 34 in this embodiment is preferably positioned interior to the bucket 12 proximate to the side wall 20 and back wall 18 as earlier described.

[0046] The other features as identified herein may also be preferably included for retrofit of a standard skid or front end loader bucket 12 to accommodate the attachment of the cutter reel 28 excavation accessory as illustrated and disclosed herein.

[0047] In addition to being directed to the embodiments described above and claimed below, the present invention is further directed to embodiments having different combinations of the features described above and claimed below. As such, the invention is also directed to other embodiments having any other possible combination of the dependent features claimed below.

[0048] The above examples and disclosure are intended to be illustrative and not exhaustive. These examples and description will suggest many variations and alternatives to one of ordinary skill in this art. All these alternatives and variations are intended to be included within the scope of the attached claims. Those familiar with the art may recognize other equivalents to the specific embodiments described herein which equivalents are also intended to be encompassed by the claims attached hereto.