Title:
Concrete drilling system and related methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drilling system (10) for drilling holes into concrete includes a drilling tool (20) attached to a frame (22) that can be secured to a drilling surface (S) of any orientation and permits (1) manual, (2) manual-power-assisted, or (3) stand-mounted, hands-free operation of the drilling tool (20). The system (10) utilizes air pressure, vacuum, gas regulating system, or even magnetism, to secure the frame (22) of the drilling tool (20) to the surface (S) and to control the movement of a drill bit (34) with respect to the surface (S). A fluid delivery system (80) is used to facilitate certain actions of the drill bit (34) and to effectively remove debris resulting from drilling from the drilling site. Also disclosed are related methods of drilling holes into concrete that reduce noise, mess, and debris resulting from drilling.



Inventors:
Roach, Leon T. (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/254815
Publication Date:
06/19/2003
Filing Date:
09/25/2002
Assignee:
ROACH LEON T.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
175/122, 175/162, 175/203, 175/209, 175/213, 175/85
International Classes:
B23Q9/00; B23Q11/00; (IPC1-7): E21B7/00; E21B19/086
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WILLIAMS, JAMILA O
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
J. MARK HOLLAND AND ASSOCIATES (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. Apparatus for drilling holes, including: a motorized drilling device mounted on a first portion of a frame, said frame having a base portion securable to a drilling surface, said first portion and said base portion being slidably engaged with each other, and means acting between said first portion and said base portion to articulate said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface, said base portion including at least one compartment that confronts the drilling surface, and a vacuum selectably acting on said at least one compartment to provide said securement of said base portion to said drilling surface.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, in which said apparatus further includes a watertight drilling chamber positionable over the drilling surface, said chamber having at least one port to permit a drilling liquid to be pumped to and from a site of contact between a drill bit of said drilling device and said drilling surface.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, in which said chamber is formed in part by a watertight seal between said base portion and said drilling device, said seal permitting said articulation of said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means acting between said first portion and said base portion includes at least one pressure-actuated piston to control the relative position of a drill bit of said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

5. The apparatus of claim 2 including a fluid delivery system to deliver fluid to the contact site at which said bit contacts said drilling surface, wherein said fluid delivery system includes a fluid reservoir; a filter; and means for pumping said fluid from said reservoir to said watertight chamber and from said drilling site through said filter to said fluid reservoir.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 in which said bit has a hollow core to permit flow of said fluid through said bit to said contact site, said fluid thereby also flowing into said watertight drilling chamber between said base portion and said drilling device.

7. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said chamber is capable of temporarily retaining debris from drilling, in which said chamber includes a port connected to a suction device to remove said debris from said contact site.

8. The apparatus of claim 5 or claim 6 or claim 7 in which said fluid delivery system is completely carried on a portable stand.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 in which said portable stand includes a movable extension member secured thereto, said drilling device being affixed to said extension member, said extension member being selectively extendable and retractable to position said drilling device independently of said means acting between said first portion and said base portion to articulate said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 in which said movable extension member has a rotatable seat in which said drilling device is mounted, whereby said drilling device can be selectively rotated into a desired position in connection with said securement of said base portion to said drilling surface.

11. A drilling tool including: a motor for turning a drill bit; said drill bit being mounted in a frame, said frame having at least one piston to control the distance between said drill bit and a drilling surface, said frame further including a base with at least one sealing element to form an air tight chamber, said air tight chamber including a port attached to a vacuum source to secure said frame to said drilling surface and to position said drill bit at a selected site for drilling into said drilling surface.

12. The tool of claim 11 including: a compartment separated from said chamber and positioned about said drilling site, said compartment capable of retaining debris from drilling a hole.

13. The tool of claim 12 wherein said compartment is operably attached to a suction device to facilitate removal of said debris from said compartment.

14. A frame for a drill including: a base with a sealing chamber to secure said frame to a drilling surface; a mounting section in which the drill is fixed; a debris removal chamber for containing and facilitating removal of debris from an area being drilled; and at least one piston to move the drill with respect to the drilling surface.

15. The frame of claim 14 wherein said frame is operably attached to a portable station, said portable station further including a power regulation assembly and an air pressure control system to control the operation of said at least one piston.

16. The frame of claim 15 wherein said air pressure control system includes a vacuum device to reduce the air pressure within said sealing chamber when said base is positioned against the drilling surface.

17. The frame of claim 15 or claim 16 wherein said portable station includes a water delivery system to provide water to the area being drilled and to urge a slurry of water and debris away from the area being drilled.

18. The frame of claim 17 in which said water delivery system includes a water tank; at least one pump to force water from said water tank toward the area being drilled; and at least one other pump to urge the slurry from said debris removal chamber to a filter and then to said water tank.

19. A portable base for a drilling machine including: a power control system; an air pressure control system attached to the drilling machine; and a recirculating water flow control system to recirculate water from a water storage apparatus through a drill bit attached to the drilling machine.

20. The base of claim 19 further including a support member having an extendible arm to position the drilling machine against a drilling surface.

21. The base of claim 20 wherein said extendible arm includes a rotatable head to receive the drilling machine to permit rotation of the drilling machine with respect to the area being drilled.

22. An apparatus for drilling holes including: a portable stand having a power control unit to control operation of a drilling device, said drilling device having a motor; a motor mount to hold said motor; an adapter attached to said motor; a bit attached to said adapter; and a frame having a base to secure said frame to a drilling surface and having at least one piston connected to a pressure regulation system to control the action of said at least one piston wherein said at least one piston controls the relative distance between said bit and said drilling surface.

23. A method of drilling a hole, including the steps of: a) positioning a base of a frame of a drilling device against a surface to be drilled, said base including a vacuum chamber positionable against the surface so that said surface forms part of said chamber; b) activating a vacuum source operably connected to said vacuum chamber to secure said frame to said surface to be drilled; c) activating a drill bit in said drilling device; and d) advancing said drill bit toward said surface to be drilled by actuating at least one piston operating between a first part and a second part of said frame.

24. The method of claim 23 in which said surface to be drilled is made of concrete.

25. The method of claim 23 or claim 24 including the step of activating at least one pump to urge water from a water source to said drill bit.

26. The method of claim 25 including the steps of: a) collecting a mixture of water and debris around said drill bit as said drilling is occurring; and b) aspirating said mixture away from said drilling site and into a filter whereby said water can return to said water source after said mixture passes through said filter to remove said debris from said mixture.

27. Apparatus for drilling holes, including: a portable frame selectively positionable adjacent a surface to be drilled; a drill mounted in a first portion of said frame, said frame having a second portion securable to the surface to be drilled, and means acting between said first and second portions for controlled articulation of said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

28. Apparatus for drilling holes, including: a motorized drilling device mounted on a first portion of a frame, said frame having a base portion securable to a drilling surface, said first portion and said base portion being slidably engaged with each other, and means acting between said first portion and said base portion to articulate said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

29. A drill bit for drilling holes, including: a shank portion having a first end and a second end, said first end engageable with a drill motor, and said second end configured to contact a drilling surface; said shank portion having a hollow bore therethrough exiting at said second end, said exit providing an opening at said second end; said opening providing means for creating an unobstructed hole in said drilling surface.

30. The drill bit of claim 29, wherein said second end of said drill bit includes an axis about which the bit rotates during drilling, in which said opening in said second end of said drill bit does not include the center of said axis.

31. The drill bit of claim 29, wherein said opening in said second end of said drill bit extends from an edge of said second end and beyond the center of said second end.

32. The apparatus of claim 1, in which said apparatus further includes a drill bit having a first end and a second end, said first end engageable with a drill motor, and said second end configured to contact a drilling surface; said shank portion having a hollow bore therethrough exiting at said second end, said exit providing an opening at said second end; said opening providing means for creating an unobstructed hole in said drilling surface.

33. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said drilling device is affixed to a movable extension member secured to a portable stand, said extension member being extendable and retractable to position said drilling device independently of said means acting between said first portion and said base portion to articulate said drilling device with respect to the drilling surface.

Description:
[0001] This invention generally relates to drilling devices and related methods and apparatus, and specifically to a drilling device and method of drilling into concrete that reduces noise and improves convenience, ease of use, and safety to the user.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Frequently, it is desirable or even necessary for people to drill or bore holes into hardened concrete or other similarly hard materials. Among other things, such drilling can be useful or necessary to retrofit those surfaces, such as for installing components or securing structures to the concrete or other surface, or to bring such structures into compliance with changed safety or construction codes.

[0003] For example, people sometimes wish to install fences on property in areas that are cemented (e.g. pool areas). In order to install such structures, it is oftentimes necessary to bore or drill holes into the concrete so that necessary component(s) (such as fence posts) can be inserted and secured into the holes.

[0004] Especially in geographical regions prone to seismic activity, it is necessary, and sometimes required by law, to retrofit existing structures, such as buildings or bridges, with structural reinforcement devices to prevent or reduce damage to the structures that might otherwise occur from natural forces and the like. Not only do the structures themselves need to be redesigned or retrofitted, but all piping, conduit, equipment, and infrastructure need to be braced and/or supported. This work requires a tremendous amount of equipment such as anchor bolts, dowels, or other attachment devices to be drilled or otherwise secured into the existing concrete foundations, columns, beams, walls, floors, and ceilings.

[0005] Devices previously have been developed to drill holes into concrete and other similarly hard surfaces, and such devices typically achieve the intended goal of making a hole and/or inserting a reinforcement device into the concrete. As discussed elsewhere herein, however, those devices have several shortcomings that are addressed by the instant invention. Generally, these drilling devices can be grouped into two categories: percussive devices and non-percussive devices.

[0006] Percussive devices, sometimes referred to as roto-hammers or “hammer drills”, achieve their intended goal by essentially pounding a bit or similar device into concrete by repeated vertical movement of the bit against the concrete. As indicated by the name, some rotation of the bit can occur. In any case, the bit typically is rapidly pounded and rotated with sufficient force to chip away the concrete and eventually form a hole.

[0007] Although these devices may frequently be used, their noise and vibration typically make them either impractical or inconvenient for boring holes in buildings that have occupants. In many such situations, construction crews must drill the holes at odd hours (i.e. not during business hours) so as to minimize disturbing the occupants of the building. However, even this “off-hour” scheduling approach does not work well in buildings where occupants are present at all or most hours of the day and days of the week. This is especially true in hotels or hospitals or similar buildings that are typically occupied to some degree (such as by patrons, patients, medical staff, etc.) twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and where such occupants, patients and/or staff may be greatly disturbed or even injured (or precluded from doing “sensitive” work) by the noise and vibration of conventional drilling systems.

[0008] In this respect, roto-hammers typically create a substantial amount of debris and dust and consequently cause discomfort and inconvenience to people within the buildings. Perhaps more importantly, percussive-type drilling machines create a large amount of unwanted noise that not only disturbs the staff in the hospital, but also disturbs the patients who are trying to recover from their medical ailments. The noise and vibration caused by roto-hammers can be transmitted throughout the building due to the conductive properties of concrete and steel of the building, and creates a significant problem due to the desirability and even necessity of a peaceful and restful accommodation for ill patients.

[0009] In attempt to reduce the noise and vibration caused by roto-hammers, people have attempted to use rotary drilling machines. Due to heat generated at the tip of the drill bits resulting from the high speed at which the bit revolves and from the density of concrete, it is usually preferable to use drill bits with diamond matrix cutting surfaces, or other suitable abrasive matrices, that have a hollow core that permit coolant, usually water, to flow through the bit and out the tip in order to reduce the heat generated at the drilling site. These “wet” core drills are typically more dangerous and/or messy to operate and commonly result in increased error in the drilling of the holes because they tend to “walk” or skip on the surface being drilled until a sufficient depth is obtained to guide the remainder of the bit through the drilling process. The walking of the drill bits is especially a problem for relatively portable or hand-held prior art drilling devices, because none of those of which the inventor is aware easily and sufficiently secures the drill to the drilling surface. Because the drill is not secured, and the bit can move about (can stray from the intended hole location) if sufficient force is not maintained against the bit.

[0010] Although some other prior art devices (not hand-held) of which the inventor is aware utilize jackstand mounted drills with rack-and-pinion type operation, these devices are typically either secured to the drilling surface by either bolting or possibly by a vacuum plate foot Some such devices are manufactured by Milwaukee (e.g. Milwaukee 4136) or Hiiti (e.g. models such as DD80, DD100, or DD160). At least some of those models are manufactured to work as hand-held units or to be mounted on a jackstand.

[0011] Although these devices are typically cumbersome and unwieldy, and are not readily portable by a normal, single worker, some may be susceptible to having the drilling motor removed from the jackstand to potentially permit the manual orientation and manipulation of the drilling motor. Even in such situations, and probably especially in such situations, these devices continue to suffer from the drill bits walking, and the spreading or dripping of the slurry as discussed elsewhere herein.

[0012] In addition, these devices (especially the large, cumbersome variety) do not work well on surfaces other than floors (e.g. they do not work adequately on walls or ceilings) due to their lack of portability and maneuverability, among other things. In that regard, the invention disclosed herein can weigh as little as twenty pounds or less, and is readily used on any surface orientation (walls, ceilings, floors, etc.) and even in spaces where the floor is decorated by carpet or the like with minimal or no damage to that decoration.

[0013] Although “wet”-type of drilling reduces the amount of dust resulting from the drilling, the water and cement mixture, or slurry, still creates an undesirable and unwanted mess that needs to be controlled and/or cleaned up. This is especially true when the holes are to be drilled into vertical surfaces such as walls, or into the underside of ceilings or roofs. As is readily apparent, the “mess” and danger in such situations is multiplied because the resulting slurry of cement and water in these situations falls toward the floor or ladder where the operator is standing.

[0014] Some attempts have been made to overcome some of the shortcomings of prior art, such as by providing various devices that can be used in conjunction with conventional drills. For example, U.S Pat. No. 3,033,298 (to Johnson) discloses a sludge removal bonnet for core drills. Generally, the '298 patent discloses a bonnet used with conventional drilling devices. The bonnet is attached to a suction device via an opening to permit the bonnet to be secured to the drilling surface. Once the bonnet is secured to the drilling surface, a drill bit attached to a separate drill is positioned within a cylinder of the bonnet and is pressed against a drilling surface. The positioning and control of the drilling machine is either accomplished manually or by a separate machine that can hold and control the drill. As soon as drilling is commenced, a fluid suction pump connected to a fluid outlet tube is activated to remove the resulting slurry away from the drilling site. Among other things, because the bonnet does not create a sealed chamber around the drill bit, the device is limited in its operation on variously oriented surfaces. For example, the bonnet must be positioned in a specific orientation if it is to be used on a vertical wall because gravity, instead of the fluid suction pump, is the primary source for directing the slurry away from the drilling site. Moreover, the device cannot be effectively used on the undersides of ceiling or roof structures of a building without the slurry of cement and water spilling onto the user and floor.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 5,660,240 (to Harms et al.) similarly discloses a separate element to collect water and dust from wet core drilling. The device of the '240 patent is limited to only being used on floor surfaces where the slurry of cement and water can be controlled to a limited degree. In that regard, a vacuum pump can be connected to the collector to direct the slurry from the drilling site, but because the collector has a plurality of air vents, the collector can only be used on top of a flat, horizontal surface because if positioned at any other angle, gravity will cause the slurry to escape from the collector.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION

[0016] It is, therefore, an object of my invention to provide a drilling apparatus that overcomes the aforementioned shortcomings, and improves the efficiency and usability of an apparatus for drilling holes in concrete surfaces of a much broader range of orientations and locations. The preferred embodiment of my invention broadly includes a frame with a base to contact a surface to be drilled and to secure the frame to the surface, and at least one piston-like device operably attached to a drilling motor wherein the piston controls the advancement of the drilling motor with respect to the drilling surface. The movement of the piston can be accomplished by a variety of manners including the use of pressurized gas or liquid, electricity, magnets, etc The concepts can be adapted for a wide variety of drilling tools and systems, including without limitation ones that are hand-held or otherwise readily “portable”, manual-power-assisted systems, or stand-mounted/hands-free drilling tools.

[0017] As indicated above, many, if not most or all prior art systems require manual force to advance the drill as it bores a hole into concrete. In contrast, the preferred embodiment can provide a consistent pressure on the drill bit with respect to the drilling surface. Further in that regard, although the invention is generally described herein in connection with drilling holes in concrete, the invention can also be used to drill holes into almost any surface including by way of example, and not limitation, granite, marble, glass, or wood. The preferred embodiment of the invention provides a selectable, adjustable pressure that can be customized for the particular drilling surface, the size of the hole being drilled, etc., so that the appropriate and desired force is applied during the drilling process. Among other things, this can help prevent the drill bit from “walking” across the surface, while still creating the desired hole without damaging the drill bit. The preferred embodiment permits the operator to simply activate the power drive means by activating a switch or button, rather than having to manually apply and maintain the pressure of the drill bit to the drill surface.

[0018] In its preferred embodiment, my invention generally constitutes a drilling system with a gas pressure system to actuate various aspects of the system, a fluid supply system, with the entire system mounted on a portable rack or similar structure so as to be easily moved from site to site. The fluid supply system can be self-contained, providing recovery and/or recycling of the fluid for even greater “portability” of the system.

[0019] It is a further object of my invention to provide an apparatus for drilling holes that has a motor mounted on a first or upper portion of a frame, where that frame has a second or base portion that can be secured to a drilling surface by a vacuum device. The upper portion and the base portion preferably can slidably engage with each other and the base portion provides at least one compartment which confronts the drilling surface. The slidable movement of the upper portion and the base portion are preferably controlled by at least one pressure-actuated piston.

[0020] It is another object of my invention to provide the apparatus of the aforementioned character, in which the apparatus also includes a watertight drilling chamber positionable over the drilling surface, with at least one port in that chamber to permit a drilling liquid to be pumped to and from a drilling site. The chamber is formed in part by a watertight seal between the base portion and the drilling device and is capable of temporarily retaining debris from drilling. The apparatus can also include a fluid delivery system to deliver fluid to the drilling site, wherein the fluid delivery system includes some or all of the following components: a fluid reservoir; a filter; and pumps for pumping the fluid from the reservoir through a bit that has a hollow core to permit flow of the fluid through the bit to the watertight chamber and back from the drilling site through the filter to the fluid reservoir.

[0021] It is still another object of my invention to provide the apparatus of the aforementioned character in which the apparatus and fluid delivery system are completely carried on a portable stand. The portable stand includes a support beam with a movable extension member secured thereto, which is extendable and retractable to facilitate positioning the drilling device against a drilling surface. The extension member can also include a rotatable seat to mount the drilling device and to permit the drilling device to be selectively rotated into a desired angle or position with respect to the drilling surface.

[0022] The foregoing portable stand or rack, as well as the various extensions, retractions, and rotations permitted thereby, preferably are configured to provide multi-axis adjustment and positioning of the drill bit, and to be operated remotely. This allows the operator to remain on the floor or similar relatively “safe”, unstrained, position (instead of attempting, for example to operate the system while on a ladder, such as is typically required in conventional systems for drilling holes in ceilings, or any place not readily reachable by a user when standing on the floor). The operator can easily and remotely operate the robotic, multi-axis stand and system to precisely position the bit at a desired location and angle, and once the bit is in position, can remotely attach the system to the drilling surface and drill the hole (actuate the piston or other means to force the drill bit into the surface, etc.).

[0023] It is still a further object of my invention to provide a drilling tool having a motor for turning a shaft-mounted drill bit wherein the shaft preferably is capable of both rotary motion and linear motion (preferably axial motion generally along the axis of rotary motion), wherein the frame cooperates with at least one linear motion device to control the position of the drill bit with respect to a drilling surface, and has a base with at least one sealing element to form an air tight chamber with a port attached to a vacuum source to secure the frame to the drilling surface and to position the drill bit at a selected site for drilling into the drilling surface. The frame also can have a compartment separated from the chamber that is capable of retaining debris from drilling a hole, and can be connected to a suction device to facilitate removal of debris from the compartment. Preferably, the linear motion device acting with the frame is a pressure activated piston, but persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand that a wide range of such devices can be utilized to practice the invention.

[0024] It is yet another object of my invention to provide a frame for a drill in which the frame has a base with a sealing chamber to secure the frame to a drilling surface, and a debris removal chamber for containing and facilitating removal of debris from the area being drilled, and at least one piston to move the drill with respect to the drilling surface. The frame can be used separately, or can be operably attached to a portable station that has a power regulation assembly and an air pressure control system to control the operation of the piston and to reduce the air pressure (or draw a vacuum) within the sealing chamber when the base is positioned against the drilling surface.

[0025] It is still a further object of my invention to provide the frame of the aforementioned character wherein the portable station includes a water delivery system to provide water to the area being drilled and to urge a slurry of water and debris away from the area being drilled. The water delivery system can include a water tank; at least one pump to force water from the water tank toward the area being drilled; and at least one other pump to urge the slurry from the debris removal chamber to a filter and then the filtered water to the water tank. In that regard, prior art drilling systems of which the inventor is aware use fresh (not recycled) water to the drilling site, and purge (rather than recycle) waste-water from the drilling site. As discussed elsewhere herein, this typically causes a significant mess that must be cleaned after the operation is complete. This can be a significant problem, especially when working in an occupied structure (such as in a hospital, hotel, or the like, as mentioned above).

[0026] It is also another object of my invention to provide a portable base for a drilling machine in which the base can include a power control system; an air pressure control system attached to the drilling machine; and a recirculating water flow control system to recirculate water from a water storage apparatus through a drill bit attached to the drilling machine. The base can also include a support member with an extendible arm that may have a rotatable head to position the drilling machine against a drilling surface.

[0027] It is still another object of my invention to provide a method of drilling a hole, including the steps of: positioning a first part of a frame of a drilling device against a surface to be drilled (such as a concrete surface), in which the first part includes a vacuum chamber positionable against the surface so that the surface forms part of the chamber; activating a vacuum source operably connected to the vacuum chamber to secure the frame to the drilling surface; activating a drill bit in the drilling device; and advancing the drill bit toward the surface to be drilled by actuating at least one piston operating between the first part and a second part of the frame. Additional steps can also include activating at least one pump to urge water from a water source to the drill bit, collecting a mixture of water and debris around said drill bit as the drilling is occurring; and aspirating the mixture away from the drilling site and into a filter whereby the water can return to the water source after the mixture passes through the filter.

[0028] Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and the accompanying drawings, which are for the purpose of illustration only.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0029] FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the invention illustrating a drilling system as disclosed herein;

[0030] FIG. 2 is a rear view of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1;

[0031] FIG. 3 is an enlarged detailed view of a preferred embodiment of a drilling device of the invention, such as is generally located on the left side of FIG. 1;

[0032] FIG. 4 is a partially sectional view along the vertical axis through the drilling device in FIG. 3;

[0033] FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the preferred embodiment of the drilling device in FIGS. 3 and 4 prior to the placement of a drill bit against a drilling surface;

[0034] FIG. 6 is a sectional view along the vertical axis of the drilling device as illustrated in FIG. 4; but also illustrating the actions of the drilling device as drilling begins;

[0035] FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 6 but also illustrating the penetration of a drill bit into a drilling surface and illustrating the flow of water and air through the device as described herein;

[0036] FIG. 8 is a detailed view of a preferred embodiment of a drilling device similar to the device of FIG. 3, but having, among other things, the piston and rod arrangement reversed from that shown in FIG. 3;

[0037] FIG. 8a is a magnified sectional view of the flap illustrated in FIG. 8 in its “dormant” state;

[0038] FIG. 8b is similar to FIG. 8a except illustrating one of the many alternative embodiments of the invention, with a flap that is not actuated by an inflatable chamber;

[0039] FIG. 9 is similar to FIG. 5 except depicting the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 8 prior to the placement of a drill bit against a drilling surface;

[0040] FIG. 10 is a sectional view along a vertical line through the device of FIG. 8;

[0041] FIG. 11 is similar to FIG. 10 but further illustrating the penetration of a drill bit into a drilling surface;

[0042] FIG. 12 is an elevational view of a preferred embodiment of the invention further illustrating the mountability of the drilling device onto a vertically movable arm secured to a stand;

[0043] FIG. 13 is similar to FIG. 12 but illustrates preferred details of the drilling device and the movable arm;

[0044] FIG. 14 is a top view of the drilling device illustrated in FIG. 13;

[0045] FIG. 15 is similar to FIG. 14 but also illustrates a preferred range of rotating motion for the movable arm and drilling device;

[0046] FIG. 16 is similar to FIG. 3 but illustrates one of the many alternative embodiments of the preferred drilling device, including having cylinders 25′ that are not in contact with base 40′;

[0047] FIG. 17 is similar to FIG. 4 but illustrates the drilling device of FIG. 16.

[0048] FIG. 18 is similar to FIG. 5 but illustrates the drilling device of FIG. 16 prior to securing the device to a drilling surface;

[0049] FIG. 19 is similar to FIG. 6 but illustrates the device of FIG. 16 as the base is secured to a drilling surface and prior to the commencement of drilling;

[0050] FIG. 20 is similar to FIG. 7 but illustrates the base of the device of FIG. 16;

[0051] FIG. 21a is a sectional view of a conventional prior art drill bit used in wet-coring applications;

[0052] FIG. 21b illustrates the tip of the prior art drill bit of FIG. 21a;

[0053] FIGS. 22a and 23a are similar to FIG. 21a but illustrate some of the many drill bits of the invention;

[0054] FIGS. 22b and 23b are similar to FIG. 21b but depict the drill bit tips of the drill bits in FIGS. 22a and 23a, respectively;

[0055] FIG. 24 illustrates the preferred action of a wet coring drill bit such as depicted in FIGS. 21-23, as it drills into a surface such as concrete;

[0056] FIG. 25 illustrates a preferred pneumatic control valve for controlling the actuation of pneumatic cylinders as discussed herein;

[0057] FIG. 26 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a yoke or handle useful with certain embodiments of the invention;

[0058] FIG. 27 is a magnified, sectional view similar to FIG. 11, but illustrating a retaining cup 200 positioned about the drill bit;

[0059] FIG. 27a is a bottom view along line 27a-27a in FIG. 27;

[0060] FIG. 27a is an orthogonal view of a retaining cup 200 removed from the drilling device, and illustrating the provision of spacers 206; and

[0061] FIG. 28 is a sectional view of another embodiment of the invention including magnets to contribute to securing the device to a drilling surface.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0062] Referring to the drawings, and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, I show a preferred embodiment of a drilling system 10. As discussed in more detail below, the drilling system 10 preferably and generally includes drilling device 20 operably connected to a gas or air pressure source or system 70, a fluid delivery system 80, and a power supply and control unit 90 all mounted on a portable base or cart 100.

[0063] The preferred drilling device 20 broadly includes frame 22 operably attached to motor 54. For situations in which the drilling device is to be used for “wet” core drilling, device 20 also preferably includes attachment piece 50 to permit a fluid source to be connected thereto and provide fluid or similar coolant to a drill bit and still permit the drill bit to operate properly. As will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art, the preferred embodiment of attachment piece 50 permits fluid to flow through the attachment piece 50 and through the drill bit and out the tip of the drill bit to cool, lubricate, and help flush waste material from the site being drilled. Although water is typically the fluid used in such operations, other fluids can be used and still achieve the objects of the invention.

[0064] Gas or air pressure regulating system 70 preferably includes at least one compressor 72 and at least one vacuum or suction device 74 (see FIG. 2). Both compressor 72 and vacuum 74 are operably connected to drilling device 20 to facilitate the proper operation and control of the drilling device, as discussed in more detail below. Preferably, tubing, generally indicated for the purpose of this disclosure by reference number 62, is used to connect the compressor and vacuum to the drilling device 20. Among other things, tubing 62 can include air tight seals to the various connecting elements on the compressor, vacuum, and/or frame, and the tubing is preferably sufficiently flexible to permit the drilling device to be positioned and operated in any of a variety of positions or locations, including moving the drilling device 20 with respect to the pumps 72 and 74. Although air is preferred as the gas used in system 70, any of a wide range of gas or other actuating means could be used in alternative embodiments of the invention and still fulfill the intended purposes as described herein

[0065] To facilitate the ease of operation and usability of the invention, tubing 62 from the gas pressure system 70, as well as from other components of the invention, can be housed within a sleeve 60 to permit orderly handling of the wiring, tubing, and other connections between various elements and the drilling device 20. As persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, sleeve 60 helps prevent, among other things, tubing 62 from dangling loosely about the other portions of the apparatus, which would increase the likelihood that the various tubes could get tangled and cause problems or even damage during the operation of the system or otherwise.

[0066] As discussed in more detail below, drilling device 20 preferably uses at least one pneumatic cylinder, or other linear motion device, to control the positioning of the drill bit with respect to a drilling surface. To facilitate the operation of that pneumatic cylinder, drilling device 20, and gas regulatory system 70, among other things, compressor 72 preferably has a pressure gauge 76 and a pressure control valve, to monitor and control the pressure of the air emanating therefrom. By regulating the amount of air pressure within the air cylinders, it is possible to maintain a controlled, constant, or steady pressure on the drill bit as it is boring through the drilling surface. This is particularly useful when the surface is hard like concrete, as that controlled approach helps prevent the drill bit from being damaged (resulting from too much pressure exerted on the drill bit) while still advancing the drill bit through the material. In that regard, prior art drilling devices that are manually controlled do not adequately regulate the amount of pressure on the drill bit and consequently bits may become damaged; or, because the user does not apply sufficient pressure, the time it takes to drill a hole of the desired depth is unacceptably long.

[0067] Although vacuum device 74 does not necessarily need a gauge to monitor the pressure from its operation (because, as discussed below, the vacuum acts to reduce the air pressure between a base of frame 22 and thereby secure the frame to a drilling surface), a gauge can be provided without departing from the spirit of the invention. As can be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art, so long as sufficient negative, or sub-atmospheric, air pressure is maintained, the frame will be sufficiently secured to the surface.

[0068] In alternative embodiments, the invention can use other elements to connect the compressor and vacuum to the drilling device, and can use other devices to urge gas towards or away from the drilling device or to otherwise actuate the movement of the drill. For example, it would be possible to use non-flexible pipe with rotatable joints to achieve similar effects, or to use electric motors rather than compressed air as an actuating force. In addition, canisters of compressed gas could be used instead of the compressor 72 in certain applications of the invention.

[0069] As indicated above, drilling system 10 also preferably includes a fluid delivery system 80 to provide fluid to lubricate and cool the drill bit during drilling operations, and to help remove debris from the hole. Fluid delivery system 80 preferably functions as a closed loop to improve the portability of the drilling system 10, and includes reservoir 82 and at least one pumping device 83 to direct fluid from reservoir 82 to drilling device 20 and from drilling device 20 away from the drilling site. The preferred embodiment of the invention utilizes one pump 84, having two heads 84a and 84b, one of which urges water from reservoir 82, and utilizes a second pump 86 to force the water from the first pump head 84a towards the drilling device 20. The two pumps 84 and 86 are operably connected via a manifold 85. As persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the second pump 86 acts at a sufficiently high pressure to ensure the flow of water through the drilling device 20 as the drilling is occurring. In certain embodiments and applications, sufficient pressure may be achievable with a single pump, or additional pumps may be utilized.

[0070] The preferred embodiment of the invention also utilizes pump head 84b to remove water from the drilling site. Due to convenience and economical reasons, among other things, this second pump head can be perceived to act as an additional pump but is preferably coexistent with the first pump head 84a. In that regard, pump 84 preferably is a dual head peristaltic pump, but, as indicated above, alternative embodiments of the invention could utilize separate pumps to accomplish the same goals. The preferred dual head peristaltic pump 84 permits, among other things, the nearly simultaneous urging of water from the reservoir towards the drilling device as well as urging the resulting slurry (such as cement debris and water) away from the drilling device. This is accomplished by the opposite orientation of the tubing within each of the heads of the pump. As will be appreciated, since both pump heads revolve in the same direction and at the same speed, orienting the tubing in an opposite manner (e.g. with their inflow ends oppositely oriented) within those heads will result in the directing the flow of fluid oppositely yet equally. However, if it were desirable to provide different inflow and outflow rates of fluid with respect to the drilling device, tubing with different inner diameters or valves could be provided that would result in increased or decreased flow rates.

[0071] Some aspects of the invention can be practiced by utilizing alternative embodiments that may not include the water reservoir or even the first pump 84. In that regard, alternative embodiments of the invention can include a coupling device to attach a water supply, such as a conventional garden hose, to manifold 85 or even directly to water swivel 50 to provide sufficient coolant to the drill bit as drilling occurs.

[0072] Similarly, the invention can be practiced without a pump to direct the water from the drilling site; however, using that pump, such as pump head 84b, greatly improves the cleanliness of the drilling area by preventing the slurry from spreading around the drilling site. In addition, pump head 84b enables greatly improved use of the invention on walls or ceilings where the resulting slurry of debris and water would otherwise spill over the user and work area.

[0073] An additional aspect of the invention is to provide a generally self-contained water system for drilling. In the preferred embodiment, this is accomplished by urging the slurry of water and cement from the drilling site toward filter 88 wherein the cement debris is trapped and the filtered water is permitted to reenter reservoir or tank 82. Filter 88 can be of any suitable type, such as a bag filter, gravel filter, or the like, that sufficiently filters the water but that does not get clogged with solid material too quickly. Thus, the entire preferred fluid system 80 is self contained, and it is possible for a user to drill at a site and leave the site with only minimal debris and liquid remaining. As indicated above, this also greatly enhances the portability of the system and its use in areas in which a source of water (such as a hose bib) is not otherwise readily available.

[0074] The entire drilling system 10 preferably is powered by a power unit assembly 90. In a preferred embodiment, the power unit assembly 90 utilizes conventional means to connect the power cords of the various components of the invention to a single source of external power, such as by a cord 92 that can be plugged into a standard electrical wall outlet supplying conventional AC power. As will be readily understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art, this can be accomplished by plugging the power cords for each element of the drilling system 10 into a conventional power outlet or strip having a plurality of outlets, and a single power cord extending therefrom to be eventually connected to a wall outlet or similar source of power (wall outlets may be readily accessible, for example, during retrofit activities). Alternatively, a more complicated, independent circuit and power assembly (not shown) can be provided, including circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and even a generator, to provide electric power to the system 10. Furthermore, the entire power assembly could be operated by way of a battery or other types of devices that can generate sufficient power or electricity to operate the various components of the invention.

[0075] More detail of a preferred embodiment of the drilling device 20 is illustrated in FIGS. 3-11. Those Figures show, among other things, that the preferred embodiment of the invention can accommodate a variety of drilling motors. As illustrated in FIG. 3 and as stated above, the preferred drilling device 20 generally includes a frame 22 operably attached to a motor 54 As persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate, any suitable motor can be used to achieve the objects of the invention. The preferred embodiment uses an angle grinder motor 56 that, among other things, preferably generates sufficient power and speed for the drill bit to effectively bore through concrete or other similarly hard material. By way of example but not by way of limitation, an angle grinder that can generate greater than 4,000 rotations per minute has proved suitable for use in the invention.

[0076] The preferred embodiment of the drilling device 20 also includes an attachment piece 50, such as a conventional water swivel 52, positioned between motor 50 and upper portion 26 of frame 22. As indicated above, water swivel 52 preferably permits fluid to flow from an external source to the hollow interior of a drill shaft and bit. In the preferred embodiment, a coupling 58 is attached to a water port of water swivel 52, which facilitates attachment of tubing 62 that extends through sleeve 60 and is attached at its other end to pump 84. This assembly of coupling 58 and tubing 62 facilitates fluid flow from pumps 83 to water swivel 52. Although in the preferred embodiment water swivel 52 is positioned between motor 50 and frame 22, the precise location and configuration of water swivel 52 is not critical for practicing the invention. As discussed below, the coupling 58 can comprise a three-way solenoid to provide a “bleed” to atmosphere, to help release any vacuum lock or seal that may form between the assembly and the drilled surface. to facilitate evacuation of waste slurry or other fluids from the drilling chamber, and to otherwise control the flow of water or other fluid to the drill bit.

[0077] As depicted in FIGS. 3, 4, 8, and 10, the preferred embodiment of frame 22 has an upper or first portion 26 and a lower or second portion 24. In the preferred embodiment, actuating means such as conventional piston assemblies or other linear motion devices act between portions 24 and 26 as described herein. Upper portion 26 of the preferred frame can include a pair of piston rods 27 attached to an upper plate 21, which rods 27 slidably move within and with respect to cylinders 25. Cylinders 25 can be secured at their upper ends (when normally viewed as in FIGS. 3 and 4) to an intermediate plate or handle 23 and attached at their lower ends (when similarly viewed) to a base or foot 40.

[0078] The preferred embodiment of FIGS. 8-11 reverses the piston/rod arrangement, however, to facilitate, among other things, the accommodation of an even greater variety of different motor assemblies. The preferred frame in FIGS. 8-11 does not require an upper plate 21, but can include piston rods 27 attached at their lower ends to the base 40 to be slidable within cylinders 25 that are secured at their lower ends to a yoke or handle 23 (see FIGS. 8-11). Any suitable method, including, by way of example, threaded engagement, bolting, or welding, can be utilized to attach the piston rods or cylinders to the various plates.

[0079] Although the preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated as utilizing a pair of pistons, alternative embodiments of the invention can incorporate a frame having only one piston assembly 27/25, or even having three or more piston assemblies 27/25 and still accomplish the intended goals of the invention. Similarly, the piston assemblies 27/25 can be located at a variety of positions about the frame, or as indicated above, about the plates, so long as sufficient structural support is provided by and to the frame (via the piston assemblies and/or by other structural members) and for the desired movement of the drill bit with respect to the surface to be drilled. In that regard, the preferred placement of piston rods 27, and corresponding cylinders 25, is at opposite sides of plates 21 and/or 23 As discussed in more detail elsewhere herein, some of the many alternatives of the invention include not attaching cylinders 25 to base 40 but instead otherwise sealing their ends at an intermediate position between plate 23 and base 40. Other alternative embodiments (not shown) can include other means of actuating the drill with respect to the drilling surface, such as by provision of a gear motor, magnets, or other motors instead of actuation by the piston/cylinder assemblies 27/25.

[0080] Piston rods 27 are preferably conventionally attached to pistons 29 (described below) and conventionally configured to reciprocate within cylinders 25. A chamber 17 between piston 27 and cylinder 25 is made air tight by including sealing elements generally indicated at 18 (FIG. 4) within the intermediate plate 23 of frame 22. Sealing elements 18 are preferably formed from a pliable yet resilient material, such as rubber, neoprene, or the like, which provides a gas tight seal between piston rod 27 and intermediate plate 23, yet still permits the reciprocating movement of piston rods 27 within cylinders 25.

[0081] In addition, the preferred piston rods 27 each have a conventional head 29 that has an outer diameter approximately equal to the inner diameter of the cylinder 25. A second chamber 19 separated from chamber 17 is created by the head 29 and the lower portion of cylinders 25. As persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, and as clearly illustrated in FIG. 4, the pneumatic cylinders 25 include at least one port such as port 28 or port 28A to permit gas to flow to and from chambers 17 and 19 of cylinders 25. Ports 28 and 28A are operably connected to the gas regulatory system 70 via tubing 62. Due to the separation of the two chambers and the positioning of the ports 28 and 28A, the reciprocated position and movement of the pistons 27 can be readily controlled by altering the gas pressure within the chambers. If more precise control of the piston movement and position is desired, a separate pump (not shown) and a non-compressible fluid can be used to actuate the piston or pistons. Among the many other alternative embodiments of the invention, the actuation of the piston or pistons can be controlled entirely by fluid, gas (air or otherwise), electric motors, magnets, or other similar expedient to provide the desired selected, regulated pressure at a predetermined value, varying depending on the surface to be drilled and/or the size of the drill bit. Controls in the system preferably permit selection of the desired pressure and movement.

[0082] As persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily understand, the positioning of ports 28 and 28A with respect to the piston and cylinder, and the direction of gas flow through ports 28 and 28A can be practiced in numerous ways without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, in the preferred embodiment, at least one port 28 is positioned within cylinder 25 above piston 29 (when normally viewed as in FIG. 4) and at least one port 28A is positioned within cylinder 25 below piston 29. To urge the piston, and its operably connected entire drill bit assembly, towards drilling surface S, air is preferably forced into the upper port 28. To urge the piston away from the drilling surface, air is forced into the lower port 28A. However, it is also within the scope of the invention to actuate the movement of pistons 27 by removing air from chamber 19 through the lower port 28A to urge the piston towards the drilling surface, and correspondingly, removing air from chamber 17 through upper port 28 to draw the piston and drill bit away from the drilling surface. Furthermore, it also conceivable to provide only a single port within a cylinder, in which the air can be forced into and out of, to direct the movement of the pistons within the cylinders.

[0083] In addition to the pneumatic cylinders 25, the frame 22 also preferably includes a centrally located cylinder or cylindrical housing 30 to house a drill bit 34 (see FIG. 4). In a preferred embodiment of the invention, cylindrical housing 30 is attached at one end to intermediate plate 23 and at its other end to base 40. It is preferably positioned around a hole 16 within plate 23 and around a hole 43 in base 40. As discussed below, holes 16 and 43 permit rotary shaft 32 and drill bit 34 to move with respect to the lower portion 24 of frame 22. Housing 30 is configured to provide a chamber or compartment 31 to collect and retain the slurry of cement and/or water resulting from the drilling process.

[0084] In the embodiment of the invention depicted in FIGS. 8-11, the cylindrical housing 30A is provided as a compressible cylinder attached to handle 23 and base 40. In that regard, flexible housing 30A is positioned around a collar 154 extending upwardly from base 40 and around the outer walls 53 of water swivel 52 protruding below handle 23 (see FIGS. 10 and 11). As persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, although any suitable device can secure the housing 30A to the collar 154 and outer walls 53, the preferred embodiment utilizes conventional clamps 150 that can fit around the fixtures 154, and 53 and sufficiently hold the housing 30A thereon. FIGS. 8 and 10 show the housing 30A in its preferred extended position, while FIGS. 9 and 11 show the housing 30A in its preferred compressed position.

[0085] To provide the ability to urge and direct the resulting slurry away from the drilling device, an opening 39 is preferably provided within the wall of housing 30. In the preferred embodiment, opening 39 is configured to receive an adapter attached to tubing that cooperates with a pump as described above to remove the slurry from the drilling site. Although the precise location and configuration of opening 39 is not critical to practice the invention, opening 39 is preferably positioned close to base 40 to permit the generally complete removal of the drilling slurry, at least in applications in which the base 40 is relatively “down” (rather than “up”, as when the invention is used to drill into the underside of ceilings, etc.). As illustrated in FIGS. 8, 10 and 11, an additional opening 39A can be provided in housing 30A near the yoke or handle 23 to provide for efficient elimination of slurry from the housing 30A when in situations where the base 40 is not positioned relatively “down”. For example, if the invention is being used on the underside of the ceiling (so that the base 40 is relatively “up” as compared to the rest of the assembly), most or all of the slurry of concrete and water resulting from drilling will fall past the first opening 39 (situated near base 40), and become retained within housing 30A near handle 23. By providing an additional port 39A in housing 30A near handle 23, the slurry can be effectively removed from housing 30A despite the particular position of the invention.

[0086] As persons of ordinary skill in the art will further appreciate, the precise position of opening 39 and/or 39A with respect to the base 40 or handle 23, respectively, can be anywhere along the length or around the circumference of the housing 30A. The selection of that position may affect the quantity of cement and water remaining in the housing 30A after the drilling has stopped, depending on the particular orientation of the drilling. In alternative embodiments (not shown), vacuum drain openings in addition to openings 39 and 39A may be provided to help ensure proper and more complete drainage from housing 30A Vacuum drain openings 39 and 39A can also be configured to directly attach to tubing connected to a pumping device (without requiring a separate or additional adapter). Similarly, for embodiments that utilize a plurality of vacuum openings (such as ports or openings 39 and 39A) in housing 30A, a valve assembly 160 can provide selective control of slurry removal as between the ports. In that regard, any conventional valve (preferably a three-way valve) can be used that permits manual or automatic adjustment between the various ports. As discussed below, housing 30 or 30A is preferably configured to provide a sealed chamber to retain debris and water that collects or is generated during the drilling operation. This vacuum drainage and water handling capability is especially helpful for drilling “upside down” (into ceilings) or at odd angles, in which the water might otherwise fall back onto the equipment and/or the user.

[0087] As can be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art, to maintain the preferable and desirable water retention capabilities of chamber 31, sealing elements 38 (FIG. 4) are preferably positioned between housing element 30 and rotary shaft 32. For embodiments such as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11, however, the scaling elements 38A are instead preferably positioned between drill bit adapter 32A and wall 53 of water swivel 52. In addition, at least one bearing 36 (FIG. 4) is provided between housing 30 and rotary shaft 32 to permit the necessary rotation of shaft 32 for the drilling action and decrease the effects of friction resulting from the rotation of the rotary shaft as drilling occurs. Similarly, bearing 36A in the embodiment of the invention of FIGS. 10 and 11 is positioned between the drill bit adapter 32A and wall 53 of water swivel 52. Although any suitable bearing can be used to achieve the objects of the invention, the preferred embodiment of the invention utilizes lithium grease lubricated, ceramic bearings. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, bearings 36 or 36A are spaced more distally than sealing elements 38 or 38A with respect to drilling surface S to maximize the life and longevity of the bearings. Relatedly, sealing elements 18 are also situated between rotary shaft 32 and the wall of hole 16.

[0088] As indicated above, rotary shaft 32 is configured to receive a drill bit 34. The preferred embodiment of the invention is intended to be usable for wet core drilling through concrete, and therefore, a preferred drill bit includes a hollow interior 35 to permit coolant to flow therethrough (as discussed above). However, persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the many alternative embodiments of the invention include using drill bits without hollow cores if cooling and lubrication are not required.

[0089] Some embodiments of drill bits 34 useful in the invention are illustrated in FIGS. 21A, B-23A, B. With respect to FIGS. 21A, and 21B, a conventional wet-coring drill bit is illustrated. The drill bit includes a centrally located hollow bore 35 extending through the shank of the bit to the tip 37. As clearly depicted in FIG. 21B, the hollow bore 35 extends to the tip and provides a hole located about the center of the drill bit tip.

[0090] Although drill bits of the type shown in FIG. 21 can be used to practice the invention, the centered hole 35 can result in an undrilled circular column of concrete at that location. In other words, the drill bit 21 removes an “O” shaped pattern and leaves the center of the “O” undrilled, rather than scraping or drilling across a complete circular cross-section. This can be problematical for holes that do not completely penetrate the thickness of the concrete If the hole does penetrate the entire thickness of the concrete, the undrilled center “post” is severed from the other concrete and thereby removed, but even then, the center core of concrete can be a problem. For example, prior to completing the hole through the concrete or other material, that core can stop or block water flow through the drill bit which may or may not be detected immediately, and consequently can result in overheating or damage to the bit or other components. In addition, the “core” can simply build up sufficiently to stop the advancement of the bit through the surface.

[0091] However, FIGS. 22A, B and 23A, B depict preferred wet-core drill bits. As can be appreciated from those Figures, the hollow bore 35 extends through the center of the shank of the bit, but instead of creating a centrally located opening at the tip 37, the opening is provided either as an “off-center” opening 33B (see FIG. 23B) or can even be provided as a “slot” 33A (see FIG. 22B) that preferably extends from an area on the perimeter of the tip past the center of the tip. In addition to the foregoing embodiments, further embodiments (not shown) of the drill bits can include, by way of example and not by way of limitation, tip openings of various shapes and sizes without departing from the spirit of the invention. In that regard, the preferred drill bits provide for a drilling surface that bores a complete hole into a drilling surface (rather than leaving a “center post” as described above). As persons of ordinary skill in the art can appreciate, by utilizing conventional wet-core drill bits (such as the one illustrated in FIG. 21A and B), the center of drill bit tip essentially experiences little, if any, rotational forces from the drill bit, and therefore, some fragments or “spurs” of the drilling surface may remain.

[0092] By utilizing a drill bit such as illustrated in FIGS. 22A, B and 23A, B, virtually the entire area of the drilling surface that is contacted by the drill bit tip experiences rotational forces from the bit and thus, no fragments remain, and essentially a thoroughly bored hole is created without the need of additional equipment to clean the hole (such as can be required to remove the “center post” that results from conventional hollow bits). Preferably the bore in the bit slightly misses the center of the tip (the center remains just slightly undrilled, but preferably not enough to allow a “core” to form. Preferably, the bore is configured at the drill bit tip to prevent the formation of a “center post or spur” described above, yet still permit cooling fluid to flow to all surfaces (including the very center of rotation of the bit) confronting the drill bit tip.

[0093] To secure drilling device 20 to drilling surface S, a preferred embodiment of base 40 includes an outer depending sidewall 42 and an inner depending sidewall 44. Base 40 is preferably circularly shaped, and therefore sidewalls 42 and 44 are preferably cylindrically shaped and follow the perimetric contours of base 40. However, alternative embodiments of the invention can include a base of any shape such as triangular, rectangular, or square, depending on, among other things, the location in which the drilling device is to be used. Sidewalls 42 and 44 also preferably have gaskets 46 and 46A (FIG. 4) on their bottom surfaces. Similar to the sealing elements discussed above, gaskets 46 and 46A are preferably formed of a resilient material that permits airtight and watertight seals between the gaskets. In the preferred embodiment, gaskets 46 and 46A are made of neoprene, but a wide range of other suitable materials could be used.

[0094] To further facilitate the attachment of the base 40 to the drilling surface (especially if the drilling surface is not entirely smooth), an additional sealing element 170 can be provided on the base 40 (see FIGS. 8-11). In that regard, sealing element 170 preferably, and generally, comprises an annulus of somewhat flexible, yet sturdy material. In that regard, the preferred embodiment of the sealing element 170 may be viewed as a “flap” (see FIGS. 8, 8a, 8b and 9) or alternatively as an inflatable chamber 173 (see FIGS. 10 and 11) attached to base 40.

[0095] In its “dormant” state, due to among other things, the resilient properties of the annular flap, the edge that will contact the drilling surface (as described below) is held away from the drilling surface (e.g. see FIG. 8a). To force the flap into its “active” state, whereby it can facilitate the securing of the base to the drilling surface, the edge of the flap is essentially forced toward the surface either manually or automatically. In one embodiment, a gas is used to fill chamber 173 and thereby cause the flap to be forced to contact drilling surface S. In alternative embodiments, such as illustrated in FIG. 8b, the flap can be fabricated without a chamber 173 and to facilitate its use can be positioned in its “active state” where the feathered flap can always be in contact with the drilling surface if the device is placed thereon.

[0096] In embodiments such as shown in FIGS. 10-11, the sealing element 170 includes a chamber 173 between the two edges 172 and 174 of the element 170. This chamber 173 is effectively coupled to a port 48A (see especially FIGS. 10 and 11) that can be attached to a compressor that will permit a substance (such as gas or liquid, as explained below) to fill the chamber and actively force the flap to snap into position such that an edge of the flap contacts the drilling surface. FIG. 11 illustrates the flap 170 forced into contact with the drilling surface. When the drilling has ceased, or when the seal is no longer required, the “forcing” or actuating substance can be removed from the chamber, and due to its resilient properties, the flap 170 will return to its “dormant” position (as illustrated in FIG. 10). Any suitable substance can be used to actively force the flap out of its dormant position, however, gas, such as air, is preferable due to the ability of the air to also be passively evacuated from the chamber 173.

[0097] In embodiments having the sealing element 170 in the form of a tubular structure that has a fillable chamber that expands sufficiently to provide a surface to contact the drilling surface with, when the pressure is released from the chamber, the chamber in effect, “deflates” and the sealing element returns to its original shape.

[0098] The base 40 preferably includes such additional sealing elements 170 and 170A on outer sidewalls 42 and inner sidewalls 44, respectively (see FIGS. 10 and 11).

[0099] Base 40 preferably also includes at least one vacuum port 48 to allow a vacuum device to be operably attached thereto and to create a vacuum in the chamber 47 formed between gasket 46 on outer sidewall 42 and gasket 46A on inner sidewall 44. As will be readily understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art, connecting a vacuum to port 48 permits the user to reduce the air pressure within compartment 47 to a sufficient degree to secure drilling device 20 to drilling surface S. This securement preferably enables a user to operate the drilling device without having to hold the assembly 10 against the surface, and also provides a more accurate way of drilling a hole because the secured attachment to the surface (and the assembled frame and bearings 36 and other members discussed above) help prevent the drill bit from “walking” about the surface.

[0100] Other embodiments of the base 40 can include alone or in combination a magnetic device 220 (see FIG. 28) to facilitate the securement of the drilling device to structures that are composed of metal, or include metal layers or the like, such as metal decks or steel plates. In that regard, in metal decks or similar structures sometimes have irregular surfaces. Due to changing surface configurations, the structure may not permit a sufficient vacuum to be established between the drilling device and the drilling surface, and therefore, the magnetic elements can provide or contribute to the securing of the drilling device to the structure. The magnets can be earth magnets or electromagnets, and can be provided in spaced locations about the perimeter of the device or form a complete ring at the perimeter If electromagnets, the drilling assembly can be “released” from the metal decking by turning off the electricity. If earth magnets are used, a cam or lever mechanism (not shown) would preferably be provided near the magnets, positioned to permit the assembly to be released from the metal surface.

[0101] In addition, as indicated above, for embodiments of the invention that utilize the sealing element 170 as described above, additional ports 48A can be provided to effectively inflate and deflate the sealing elements as described above. The ports 48A can either be coupled to port 48 or can exist independently and thereby be separately controlled.

[0102] Similar to the variety of shapes the base 40 can embody, the handle or intermediate plate or yoke 23 can be fabricated in numerous shapes. One embodiment of the handle 23 is illustrated in FIG. 26. Although the specific shape is not crucial to practice the invention, it is readily apparent from FIG. 26 that the handle 23 is configure to include a grasping portion such as hand grip 13, a hole 16 with a clamp 150 to secure the water swivel 52 to the handle 23, at least one hole 15 to accommodate the pneumatic cylinders; a vacuum switch 192 to actuate the sealing actions of the foot 40; a pneumatic valve switch 182 to control the actuation of the pneumatic cylinders; and The embodiments of FIGS. 8-9 and 10-11 can be readily fabricated to be sufficiently small and light for ready manual manipulation and positioning by the user, rather than using a more complex lifting device or structure such as that illustrated in FIGS. 12-15.

[0103] In addition, as illustrated in FIGS. 27, 27a, and 27b, an additional retaining cup 200 can be provided to collect some or most of the “waste” slurry in a well 202 instead of permitting the slurry to run directly into the entire chamber within housing 30 or 30A. In that regard, a port or valve stem 204 can be provided within cup 200 to aspirate collected slurry from the well 202. As will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art, the retaining cup 200 can be fabricated from a number of materials, but preferably is fabricated from a somewhat resilient yet stiff material, so as to hold its position (such as via a friction fit at its outer edge) and maintain its position adjacent the drill bit while still permitting the unhindered or compromised rotation and movement of the drill bit into and out of the drilled surface. In that regard, a variety of sizes and shapes of such retaining cups can be provided and selectively used to accommodate varying sized drill bits.

[0104] Furthermore, in the embodiment of FIG. 27b, the valve stem 204 is preferably integrally formed with cup 200 and can be coupled to a suitably sized tubing member attached to a vacuum source. In addition, the stem 204 can be any suitable length in order to provide proper access and ready connection of the vacuum source to the stem.

[0105] In the embodiment of FIG. 27b, the cup 200 also includes a plurality of spacers or feet 206 positioned on the edge to contact the drilling surface. Among other things, the feet 206 can improve the functional performance of the system to remove debris from well 202 by allowing fluid flow from the rest of the chamber (any fluid that is not immediately caught by the cup 200) back into cup 200, and to help ensure that the seal that may form between the cup 200 and the drilled surface (upon application of the vacuum) is not too difficult to break when the hole is completed.

[0106] On a related point, the preferred invention includes a three-way valve (such as, for example, valve or coupling 58 in FIG. 3) on the upstream side of the drill bit, which can be switched to atmospheric pressure after the hole is completed, to release any suction “lock” between the cup 200 and the drilled surface. In the preferred operation of the system, the hole is completed, water or other fluid is pumped through the drill bit for a few moments more to further flush debris from the hole, and the drilling chamber is then exposed to atmospheric pressure (via the aforementioned three-way valve or otherwise) to facilitate removal of the assembly from the drilled surface.

[0107] By providing the various components of the invention mounted on a portable base or cart 100, the ease of use and flexibility of the system is greatly enhanced. Although the system provides certain benefits even without such unitized portability, the cart 100 or similar movability permits a user to readily locate the system near the drilling site or sites, quickly position the unit and drill the desired holes or holes (as described herein), and easily remove the system from the drilling location upon completion. Especially for embodiments in which the fluid “wet” drilling system is self-contained and is used in drilling the hole or holes, setup and cleanup is greatly simplified.

[0108] In addition to the foregoing, the combination of using a grinding action (instead of pounding) in combination with a sealed drilling chamber greatly reduces the noise and disturbance resulting from such drilling.

[0109] Some of the preferred methods of operation of the drilling system 10 are illustrated in FIGS. 5-7 and 10-11. Initially, the preferred drilling device 20 can be set such that piston rods 27 are partially or fully inserted into cylinders 25. This “retracts” cylinders 25 in an upward direction (as viewed, for example, in FIGS. 5 and 9), resulting in the protrusion of drill bit 34 and facilitating a relatively precise and accurate placement of the bit 34 on the drilling target or mark M on drilling surface S. As indicated above, although FIG. 5 illustrates surface S as being below the system 10, surface S can be any surface that requires drilling, including flooring, walls, ceilings or roof structures. In addition, for drilling into surfaces (not shown) that are concave, convex, or otherwise than flat, base 40 can be provided with a correspondingly-shaped bottom surface to permit drilling therein while providing some of the benefits of the invention.

[0110] Once bit 34 is aligned with and positioned on mark M (generally with the bit 34 actually in contact with the mark M), the compressor system 70 preferably is activated to actuate the piston assemblies 25/29/27 and thereby move or extend the lower portion 24 of frame 22 towards drilling surface S. Once base 40 is properly situated against surface S so that the sealing gaskets 46 and 46A abut the drilling surface, the vacuum is activated to reduce air pressure in the chamber 47 between outer sidewall 42 and inner sidewall 44. The vacuum created may compress sealing gaskets 46 to some degree due to the resilient nature of the gaskets. Preferably, a sufficiently strong vacuum is created within chamber 47 to sufficiently secure drilling device 20 to surface S. For certain applications (such as horizontal or upside down drilling), the vacuum may need to be somewhat stronger than for downward drilling.

[0111] After sealing base 40 to surface S, the fluid delivery system 80 is preferably actuated to establish a desired flow of fluid through drill bit 34 and out port 39 (for wet-drilling applications). Once fluid is properly flowing, the motor 54 is powered on, rotating the shaft 32 and the drill bit 34, which is therefore spinning at the surface S on the mark M. To advance the drill bit 34 into the surface S, air from the compressor 70 is preferably provided into ports 28 of the cylinders 25. As described above, the air pressure of the compressor is preferably regulated and controlled to apply the desired force on the pistons (and thereby onto the upper portion 26 of the frame 22 which is connected to those pistons) and eventually onto the drill bit 34 as it presses against the surface S. Among other things, proper application and control of this piston force facilitates the advancement of the bit 34 into the surface as fast as possible without damaging the bit. In many applications, the force preferably is applied to maintain a relatively even and steady advancement of the drill bit 34 into the concrete or other material.

[0112] To facilitate that operation and control of the piston-like assemblies, a pneumatic control valve 180 (see FIG. 25) can be used. The valve 180 is preferably a four-way valve actuated by a conventional switch 182. As persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand, the valve 180 provides communication via tubing 62 to the ports 28 and 28A of the piston assemblies 25/27 as discussed above.

[0113] After the hole has been drilled to the desired depth, conventional controls and/or switches on the air pressure system (not shown) are used to reverse the air flow (so that air flows into port 28A) and consequently reverse the piston movement, so that the piston assemblies retract the drill bit 34 from the hole. As discussed above, the precise actions of the switch and pistons can vary depending on, among other things, the particular number of ports provided within the cylinders as well as the method of delivery of removal of air from those cylinders. After the bit 34 is retracted from the drilled hole, the motor 54 can be shut off and the fluid delivery system 80 shut down. Subsequently, the vacuum sealing the base to the surface is preferably released, such as by bleeding off the vacuum (via a bleed valve, not shown) or by turning off the suction device maintaining the vacuum below the base.

[0114] As will be readily appreciated from the foregoing description, the preferred method and apparatus thereby create a hole with minimal mess and noise, even within concrete or similar hard surfaces. The hole is preferably of the appropriate diameter and depth to receive an anchor bolt, dowel, or the like to brace or secure structures to the surface S, or to otherwise permit some desired action regarding that surface. In that regard, it is also within the scope of the invention to provide means necessary for inserting and fixing the anchor bolts or related devices into the drilled holes in the drilling surface. For example, the drilling system 10 can be readily modified to insert the anchor bolt into the hole, immediately following completion of the hole-drilling. For holes drilled overhead, for example, the drilling unit 20 can be lowered after the hole is drilled, an anchor positioned in a jig, and the unit 20 raised back up to the location of the hole so that the system 10 can then insert the anchor into the just-drilled hole. In alternative embodiments, the anchors or bolts can be automatically fed into the insertion position, thereby possibly reducing the need to lower the unit 20 between those steps.

[0115] Referring to FIGS. 12-15, portable base 100 is illustrated as including a vertical support member 110 such as an I-beam or other strong member, with drilling device 20 secured thereon. As will be appreciated by persons of ordinary skill in the art, vertical support member 110 permits the drilling device to be used in places that might otherwise be inaccessible to the user of the drilling device 20. For example, it is sometimes required that the drilling be performed in a ceiling structure well above the ground; occasionally this structure can even be above lighting and ceiling panels which provide limited work areas for the users to work. To accomplish drilling in such hard to reach areas, prior art systems typically required the user to stand on a ladder or other raised platform. Among other things, this presented a great risk of danger to the worker because prior art drilling devices are cumbersome and unwieldy and can easily unbalance the user.

[0116] The relative vertical position (along the arrow B of FIG. 12) of the drilling unit 20 is controlled by a winch (not shown) or similar means, by changing the relative positioning of an arm 120. Arm 120 itself preferably is horizontally extensible, such as illustrated by comparing FIG. 15's extended position to FIG. 14's retracted position, showing movement along line C of FIG. 14. The preferred winch and extension along line C is preferably accomplished electrically or hydraulically, but in alternative embodiments can be operated manually.

[0117] The end of arm 120 preferably includes a rotatable head 130 having a saddle or seat 132 into which the drilling device 20 can be mounted or otherwise fixed (either permanently or temporarily). The head 130 permits the rotation of drilling device 20 through a wide range of angles, to facilitate drilling of virtually any surface including floors, ceilings, and walls

[0118] Indeed, as illustrated in FIGS. 12-15, the drilling device 20 can be rotated and extended in numerous positions to facilitate the placement of the drilling device against almost any drilling surface (and the subsequent drilling of a hole into such surface). In that regard, FIGS. 12-15 show that the drilling device can be rotated and translated into a wide variety of positions, to enable drilling into (for example) a floor, a vertical wall, or a ceiling. FIG. 12 shows vertical movement along line B, as well as rotational movement via head 130. FIG. 13 shows a further extendability of the device 20 via a hydraulic piston assembly 134, along line D. As further shown in FIG. 13, that piston assembly 134 can translate the saddle 132 toward or away from the head 130. FIG. 14 depicts movement of the device 20 along the line C (again, preferably by hydraulic actuation, not shown), effectively increasing the distance reachable by the drilling device. Finally, FIG. 15 shows that the entire arm 120 can preferably be rotated laterally with respect to the support beam 110, through as much as 180 degrees.

[0119] As mentioned above, several aspects of the invention can be practiced in a wide range of alternative embodiments. Some of these alternative embodiments are illustrated in FIGS. 16-20. For example, FIGS. 16-18 illustrate an alternative drilling device 20′ having cylinders 25′ that are in contact with base 40′. Instead, cylinders 25′ are effectively sealed or closed at their lower ends at an intermediate location between intermediate plate 23′ and base 40′. As persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, in the illustrated embodiment, much if not all of the structural support for the drilling device 20′ (including support between the first and second frame portions) will be provided by drill shaft housing member 30′ as it secures the remainder of the drilling device to base 40

[0120] In addition, FIGS. 17 and 19-20 illustrate alternative configurations for depending sidewalls 42′ and 44′ of base 40′ and gaskets 46′. As illustrated, gaskets 46′ can be provided along the interior surfaces of sidewalls 42′ and 44′ and still provide the intended sealing functionality discussed above. As will be readily apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art, the alternative embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 19-20 require that the gaskets 46′ extend beyond the bottom most edge of sidewalls 42′ and 44′ to still provide compressibility and sealing of the gaskets.

[0121] As discussed above, it is preferable to position the opening 39 close to the base 40 of the drilling device 20 to permit nearly complete removal of drilling debris and slurry Therefore, among the many alternative embodiments of the invention are ones that include an opening 39′ in gasket 46′ located at the interior of sidewall 44′ (see FIG. 20). Persons of ordinary skill in the art will readily understand that the opening 39′ can be sufficiently angled to confront drilling surface S. However, in certain embodiments this opening 39′ may require a reinforcement structure, such as a tubular lining element, to keep the passageway open if the gasket 46′ compresses too much when the device is secured to the drilling surface.

[0122] Thus, by my invention, I provide a drill that is “connected” to the base or first portion of a supporting jig or frame. In other words, the invention provides a drilling jig for mounting a coring drill motor in movable relationship to the surface to be drilled. The movable relationship includes a control member to articulate the drill motor assembly with respect to the surface, with the articulation including effectively inserting and withdrawing the drill bit into and from the surface, thereby forming the hole.

[0123] Moreover, the invention provides a complete watertight seal around the drill shaft. Among other things, this appears to be helpful for sound/water control, and permits the unit to be readily mounted on a wall or ceiling in any rotational orientation, and to substantially suck off all of the sludge generated by a wet-drilling process. The preferred embodiment accomplishes this through the use of two separate sealing rings, which permits, among other things, relatively “immediate” release of the vacuum holding the base to the drilling surface upon release/shut down of the vacuum pump. As explained above, one of the many benefits of the invention is the relatively controlled extension of the bit through the base portion prior to affixing the base to the surface. In other words, a user can the put bit “on the mark” and lower the base to the surface, then seal it there to precisely locate the bit where the hole is desired.

[0124] The apparatus and methods of my invention have been described with some particularity, but the specific designs, constructions and steps disclosed are not to be taken as delimiting of the invention. Obvious modifications will make themselves apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, all of which will not depart from the essence of the invention and all such changes and modifications are intended to be encompassed within the appended claims.