Hoe attachment
Kind Code:

A digging attachment is for a front-end loader of the type having an hydraulically-operated frame for supporting and manipulating a bucket, scoop, or other tool located at the front of the loader. The attachment includes a mainframe assembly constructed to be removably fastened to the frame of the front-end loader, and a digging-attachment assembly that includes a bucket and is constructed to be coupled to the mainframe assembly. A powered cylinder interposes the mainframe assembly and the attachment assembly, and is operable to move the bucket from a closed position to an open position.

Larsen, Tim N. (Veneta, OR, US)
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International Classes:
E02F3/40; (IPC1-7): E02F3/96
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Primary Examiner:
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I claim:

1. A digging attachment for a front-end loader of the type having an hydraulically-operated frame for supporting and manipulating a bucket, scoop, or other tool located at the front of the loader, comprising: a mainframe assembly constructed to be removably fastened to the frame of the front-end loader; a digging-attachment assembly including a bucket, the attachment assembly constructed to be coupled to the mainframe assembly; and a powered cylinder interposing the mainframe assembly and the attachment assembly, and being operable to move the bucket from a closed position to an open position.



[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/234,524, filed on Sep. 21, 2000 and entitled “Hoe Attachment”.


[0002] The present invention concerns attachments to so called front-end loaders of the type having an hydraulically-operated frame for supporting and manipulating a bucket, scoop, or other tool at the front of the vehicle.


[0003] Small front-end loaders are made by various manufacturers and are often referred to as skid-steer loaders. The skid-steer loader is a vehicle with four independent wheels, which allow it to pivot in place. These vehicles are known for a wide range of uses such as grading, filling, leveling, digging and other similar tasks, particularly in confined areas wherein larger earth-working vehicles cannot maneuver. One well-known skid-steer loader (loader) is marketed under the trademark BOBCAT by Melroe Company, Division of Clark Equipment company, Fargo, N. Dak.

[0004] The BOBCAT loader is equipped with a mounting plate to facilitate rapid interchange of work attachments. The present invention can be designed to utilize the mounting system of the BOBCAT loader, but can also be attached to other loaders. Vehicles with loaders are equipped with hydraulic actuator units for lifting and tilting, thus allowing for upward/downward movement, as well as for/aft tilt of a work-tool attachment. These vehicles are available with auxiliary hydraulics, and those hydraulics are preferably utilized with the present invention. All hydraulics of such a vehicle can be operated while driving the vehicle when the present invention is attached to it.

[0005] Prior art loader attachments include a backhoe-type attachment, which requires considerable time for installation. This attachment is stabilized by the use of legs, which require the loader to remain stationary while the attachment is in use. Also, the operator must operate the tool from a seat on the attachment itself, rather than from the operator's seat within the loader. The backhoe-type attachment is heavy and large, making it difficult to transport from one jobsite to another. Also, the backhoe-type attachment does not have the power to easily backfill and compact. Other prior art has included wide bucket-type attachments, which are not suited for narrow digging of trenches or ditches; and device(s) such as the POWER SCOOP, from Howell Engineering, Conyers, Ga., which has no moving parts and thus is limited to movement in conjunction with the raising/lowering of the loader's frame and the forward/backward tilt of the loader's attachment mounting plate.


[0006] The present invention meets the need for a better and less-expensive attachment for particular digging jobs, specifically digging/excavating depths of about 36 inches or less, including jobs in confined areas. The present invention takes the form of a hoe attachment comprised of a mainframe assembly, a digging-attachment (or bucket) assembly, and a powered cylinder (such as an hydraulic cylinder), all connected by hinge pins. The hoe attachment of the present invention may also be thought of as a digging attachment.

[0007] To aid in understanding the following description, photographs and drawings of the below-described invention are also provided.

[0008] The mainframe assembly is comprised of: (1) a mounting apparatus that allows for rapid installation to a loader, without modifying the loader; (2) a connecting unit made of vertical plates attached to opposite sides of the hydraulic cylinder; (3) a central support member made of a high-strength low-alloy formed plate with one end affixed to the mounting apparatus and projecting to a point so that the other end, which is closed, is affixed between the midpoints of the two vertical pieces which constitute the connecting unit; and (4) one each, upper and lower horizontal gussets affixed, one above and one below, the central support member with the wider end of the gusset extending from the mounting apparatus.

[0009] The digging-attachment (or bucket) assembly is comprised of a scoop-type bucket, usually between about six to twenty inches in width, with the bucket defining an opening or cavity for excavating and receiving materials. When attached to the attachment assembly, the opening of the bucket faces in a direction opposite the direction in which the front of the loader faces. The bucket assembly also includes (1) a connecting unit made of two high- strength low-alloy plates, affixed to and extending from, the rear of the bucket, parallel to one another, and in planes parallel to planes that pass through the bucket sides; and (2) two gussets, each formed of high-strength low-alloy formed plate, one affixed at the back of the inside of the bucket and the other affixed to the outside of the back of the bucket, within the connecting unit.

[0010] The powered cylinder is preferably an hydraulic cylinder that is attached by two hinge pins, one at either end, the upper end hinged to the connecting unit of the mainframe assembly and the lower hinged to the connecting unit of the attachment assembly. The cylinder's hoses connect to the loader's auxiliary hydraulics, and movement of the cylinder causes the bucket to pivot up/ahead and down/back. This movement is made possible by a third hinge pin through the connecting units of the bucket and mainframe assemblies.

[0011] Some advantages of the present invention are that the operator controls the invention while seated in the loader. In other words, the loader can be driven while the invention is in use thus the loader and the invention can work in unity to increase efficiency and enable the operator to complete a job more quickly than if the operator used a conventional backhoe attachment. Using the loader and the present invention in unison the operator can rapidly excavate a trench to a constant depth, rapidly backfill and compact the dig area, quickly empty bucket contents at a height sufficient for loading a standard 12 yard dump-truck, and maneuver in areas of minimum clearance. Additionally, not only is the invention quick and easy to install, it is easy to operate, so that anyone who can operate a loader can also operate a version of the invention. Strength is incorporated into the design of the invention by use of a high-strength low-alloy formed plate with reinforcing gussets at stress points and replaceable bushings at high-wear points.