Title:
Soil tamper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for tamping soil comprising a rectangular plate having a flat bottom surface, beveled edges and a top surface having a sleeve extending upward therefrom. A set of support ribs extend between the sleeve and the top surface. A handle fits within the sleeve. Preferably, a pin passes through a bore in the handle and apertures in the sleeve to removably maintain the handle within the sleeve. The handle can be removably locked or attached into the sleeve. The plate optionally has a curved claw member extending from one edge of the plate.



Inventors:
Gelb, Michael S. (Cumming, GA, US)
Bernstein, Jason A. (Roswell, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/183832
Publication Date:
12/25/2003
Filing Date:
06/25/2002
Assignee:
GELB MICHAEL S.
BERNSTEIN JASON A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D3/02; E02D3/032; (IPC1-7): E01C19/30
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ADDIE, RAYMOND W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jason A. Bernstein (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device for tamping or compressing soil or other particulate matter, comprising: a) a top surface; b) a bottom surface; c) a first pair of opposing sides having upper and lower edges, at least a portion of said lower edge being rounded toward said bottom surface; d) a second pair of opposing sides, said second pair of opposing sides being narrower in width than said first pair of opposing sides; and, e) a sleeve extending upward from said top surface.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said second pair of opposing sides is at least one half the width of said first pair of opposing sides.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein said sleeve has a circular cross-section.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein said sleeve has a rectangular cross-section.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising an elongated handle associated with said sleeve.

6. The device of claim 5, further comprising a pin for removably connecting said handle and said sleeve, said handle having a bore defined therethrough proximate to one end and said sleeve having at least one aperture defined in said sleeve through which said pin can pass.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein said bottom surface is generally flat and rectangular.

8. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least one rib extending from said top surface to said sleeve

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said bottom surface has at least one protuberance extending outward therefrom.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein said bottom surface has a pattern formed therein for imparting a pattern to said soil or other particulate matter.

11. The device of claim 1, wherein said bottom surface is convex curved.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein said bottom surface is concave curved.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein said device has at least one chamber defined therein and further comprises at least one opening defined therein for accessing said at least one chamber.

14. The device of claim 11, further comprising at least one plug for removably sealing said at least one chamber.

15. A device for tamping or compressing soil or other particulate matter, comprising: a) a top surface; b) a bottom surface; c) a first pair of opposing sides having upper and lower edges, at least a portion of said lower edge being rounded toward said bottom surface; d) a second pair of opposing sides, said second pair of opposing sides being narrower in width than said first pair of opposing sides; e) a curved member extending outward from one of said second opposing sides, said curved member terminating in an edge; and, f) a sleeve extending upward from said top surface.

16. The device of claim 15, wherein said edge is straight.

17. The device of claim 15, wherein said edge has at least one tooth or tine formed therein.

18. The device of claim 13, wherein said edge is narrower in width than the width of said plate.

19. The device of claim 15, further comprising at least one rib extending from said top surface to said sleeve.

20. A device for tamping or compressing soil or other particulate matter, comprising: a) a plate comprising, i) a top surface, ii) a generally flat rectangular shaped surface bottom surface, iii) a first pair of opposing sides having upper and lower edges, at least a portion of said lower edge being rounded toward said bottom surface, iv) a second pair of opposing sides, said second pair of opposing sides being narrower in width than said first pair of opposing sides, v) a sleeve extending upward from said top surface, said sleeve comprising, a) a hollow segment having an inner wall and an outer wall, b) at least one slot or notch defined therein, and, b) a handle comprising, i) a post having an upper end and a lower end, ii) at least one pin protruding outward from said lower end of said handle, said pin sized to be received within said slot or notch in said sleeve.

21. The device of claim 20, wherein said handle further comprises a ring at least partially enclosing said lower end of said handle, said ring having at least one pin extending outward therefrom sized to be received within said slot or notch in said sleeve.

22. The device of claim 20, further comprising at least one fastener having a first end and a second end, said first end attached to said sleeve and a second end forming a hook or loop for removably engaging said pin.

23. The device of claim 22, wherein said at least one fastener is attached to said sleeve by a collar such that said at least one fastener can pivot within said collar.

24. The device of claim 20, further comprising at least one rib extending from said top surface to said sleeve; and,

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to implements for tamping or compressing soil or other particulate matter. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device for tamping or compressing soil that is used to fill in ditches created when installing irrigation systems, telephone or other cable and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Implements have been developed to tamp or compress soil that has been loosely deposited in a hole, ditch or trench after installation of an item, such as, but not limited to, irrigation systems, conduit for cable or other electronic, fiber optic or electrical, and the like. The ditch is often relatively narrow, often only a few inches wide, so as to minimize disruption to the grass or surrounding earth and cause minimal aesthetic and structural damage to grass, roots, and the like. Often the soil is returned to the ditch in layers and each layer is tamped down to evenly compress the dirt. Current tamping implements are generally large flat plates to which a handle is attached, usually perpendicular to the plate surface. The plate is usually made of metal to impart rigidity, desirable wear characteristics and weight. A heavy implement is normally desirable to provide the necessary compression force when dropped or forced onto the soil. Known implements are typically square and are used to tamp down large surface areas. The edges of the plate are usually square, rather than rounded because it is easier to manufacture. When used in connection with a narrow trench it is difficult to drop or force the plate down into a trench substantially narrower than the width of the plate. As a result, desirable compression occurs only when the mound of dirt is higher than the surrounding surface. If no layering is used because it cannot be compressed below surface level, improper soil compression can result, which, over a period of time can cause the surface level of the trench to lower, leaving a depression that is aesthetically undesirable and also a safety risk. It would be desirable to have a tamping implement that can be used effectively in narrow trenches that would permit the user to insert the implement down into the narrow trench to tamp down successive layers of dirt and result in better soil compression.

[0003] Current tamping implements also are of a generally fixed size and the handle is generally fixed to the head in a nonremovable manner. It would be desirable to have a tamping implement that has a detachable handle that could be used with tamping plates of different widths, depending on the width of the trench.

[0004] Current tamping implements are unable to conveniently smooth, dig or redistribute soil in or near the trench. It would be desirable to have a tamping implement that can be used to rake, dig or redistribute, as well as tamp the soil, without requiring a second implement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Generally described, the present invention provides in a first embodiment a tamping implement comprising a plate having a generally flat bottom surface, two opposing parallel sides having rounded edges and that are longer than two opposing parallel ends. On the top surface of the plate extends a hollow sleeve capable of receiving a handle. A plurality of bracing ribs extend from the sleeve and are attached or otherwise associated with the top surface of the plate for additional strength and stability. In one embodiment the handle is a long rigid handle and fits into the sleeve. In one embodiment the handle is held in the sleeve by a friction fit. In another embodiment the handle is removably held within the sleeve by a pin passing through two apertures on opposing sides of the sleeve and also passing through a bore in the handle. Other mechanisms for removable attachment are described. The handle can be removed from the sleeve and either stored or the handle can be fitted into another plate, such as one having a different width. Exchangeability is desirable where different width trenches may be dug and thus users would benefit from a tamping implement having a corresponding width tamping plate. A tamping plate too wide would not fit within the trench and one too narrow will not effectively tamp down all the soil without undue effort. Hence, a trench digger may want to have several different width plates to which a single handle can alternately be attached. This would obviate the need for several handles and can reduce storage space, particularly on landscapers' trailers or trucks. In an alternative embodiment a curved claw or trowel-like extension extends from one short side of the plate. The claw provides a means for raking, digging or redistributing soil in or near the trench.

[0006] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description of embodiments of the invention, when taken in conjunction with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] The invention is illustrated in the drawings in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the figures of which:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the first embodiment.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a side view of the first embodiment.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a top view of the first embodiment.

[0012] FIG. 5 is an end view of the first embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a variation on the third embodiment of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] In general, the present invention provides a tamping device for compressing soil or other particulate matter. FIGS. 1-6 show a first embodiment of a tamping device 10 of the present invention comprising a plate 12. The plate 12 is made of rigid material capable or withstanding repeated compressive force being applied thereto. The plate 12 is preferably made of metal, such as, but limited to steel, iron, aluminum or other metal or metal composite. Alternatively, the plate 12 can be made of plastic, wood, ceramic, composite, or mixtures of any of the foregoing. It is preferable that the device 10 have sufficient weight to enable a user to pound and compress the soil with a single stroke. It is also contemplated as being within the scope of the present invention for the plate 12 to be hollow and a bar or sheet of material can be inserted in an opening in the side of the plate. The hollow portion of the plate 12 could also be filled with a quantity of soil or other particulate or granular material or a fluid to provide sufficient weight. The hollow portion can comprise at least one chamber (not shown) and at least one opening for accessing the aperture. The invention may further comprise at least one plug or other means for removably or permanently sealing the opening. Thus, where light tamping is desired, or when the user cannot lift or use a heavy tamping implement less weight can be included in the chamber.

[0018] The plate 12 has a top surface 14, a bottom surface 16, opposing short sides 18 and 20 and opposing long sides 22 and 24. The plate 12 is preferably rectangular, although curved sides or other geometries or shapes of the plate 12 are contemplated as being within the scope of the present invention. While the dimensions are not critical, it is preferable for the length of the plate 12 to be at least twice that of the width. Each of the sides 18-24 has a top edge 26 and a bottom edge 28. The bottom edge 28 preferably is beveled toward the bottom surface 16. The bevel 30 is preferably curved, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, but can also be a straight angle bevel 30. The bottom surface 16 is preferably flat. It is also possible for the bottom surface 16 to have protuberances extending therefrom, such as, but not limited to, rounded or angled bumps, pins, ridges, cylinders, combinations thereof, or the like. It is also possible for a pattern to be formed in or on the bottom surface 16 for imparting a pattern to the soil upon tamping. In an alternative embodiment, the bottom surface 16 can be curved or rounded either concave or convex. The plate 12 can be made in various widths and lengths. The width may be determined by the width of the trench which is to be filled with soil and tamped with the device 10.

[0019] The top surface 14 can be generally flat. Extending upward from the top surface 14 is a sleeve 32. The sleeve 32 is a generally hollow structure having an outer wall 31 and an inner wall 33 and either is formed as a part of the top surface 14 or attached to the top surface 14, such as by welding, gluing, fasteners, locking mechanism, or the like. The sleeve preferably has a circular cross-section, but can alternatively have a rectangular, triangular or other regular or irregular cross-sectional shape. The sleeve 32 is sized to receive a post or handle 34 having an upper end 35 and a lower end 36. The lower end 36 of the handle 34 can pressure fit within the sleeve 32 or, alternatively, can be held in the sleeve by a pin 38 which passes through an optional aperture 40, 42 in opposing sides of the sleeve 32 and through a bore in the handle 34 end 36. The pin 38 can have a retention device 40 mounted on one end to prevent unintended removal of the pin 38. The retention device 40 can be a retaining ring, nut, wingnut, cotter pin, slide lock, pivot member, latch or other retention mechanism for preventing the pin from siding out of the sleeve 32 and the handle 34. The pin 38 can optionally be threaded at one end 42 and preferably has a head 44 with a widened diameter at the other end.

[0020] The device preferably, though not mandatorily, has at least one and preferably a plurality of support ribs 46 extending between the top surface 14 and outer wall of the sleeve 32. In a preferred embodiment there are four ribs 48, 50, 52 and 54, extending from each corner of the top surface 14 to the sleeve 32. The ribs 46 are preferably triangular shaped and are either formed as part of the device 10 or attached thereto, such as by welding (shown at weld points 56), gluing, or the like. The ribs may be solid, have holes therein or comprise a frame structure. The ribs 46 support the sleeve 32 and help spread the tamping force evenly over the bottom surface. The ribs 46 can be arranged in other orientations, such as, but not limited to having one edge located generally midways on each side 18, 20, 22, and 24.

[0021] In an alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, a curved member 60 extends from one short side 18 of the plate 12. The curved member 60 can be used, for example, to dig up, redistribute or smooth soil in the trench or extract stones, roots or the like. The curved member can have an edge 62 that is straight, angled, beveled, curved, pointed, rounded, or, alternatively, the edge 62 can have one or more teeth 64, one or more tines, or other adaptations for interacting with the soil. Preferably, the width of the teeth area is slightly narrower than the width of the plate 12.

[0022] In an alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 7, the handle 34 can have a metal (or other material) ring 70 mounted at least partially around and/or over the lower end of the handle 34. The ring 70 can have a locking mechanism 80, such as at least one, and preferably a plurality of tabs 82 protruding from the surface of the ring 70 which can interlock with a mating slot 84 associated with the plate 12. The slot 84 can be J-shaped so that the tab 82 can be inserted and removably locked into position within the sleeve 32. There are preferably two tabs 82 on opposite sides of the ring 70. The tabs 82 mate with two slots 84, one disposed in the wall in each side of the sleeve 32. The ring 70 can mate and lock with the plate 12 using any one of a number of locking mechanisms known to those of ordinary skill in the art, such as, but not limited to, pins and apertures, slides, spring biased tabs, beveled tabs mounted on a depressible strip of material, or the like. This embodiment can provided increased longevity to the handle 34 and suitable for use where the handle 34 is to be exchanged frequently between different plates 12. It is also possible, as shown in FIG. 8, for the handle 34 to not include the ring 70, but rather have at least one pin or tab 82 projecting outward from the handle 34 which can engage the slot 84. Although FIGS. 7 and 8 show the curved claw 62, the claw 62 is optional.

[0023] In a further variation of this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 9, the pins 82 can be held in position and the handle held in position by at least one, and preferably a pair of fasteners 86, such as, but not limited to, rings, loops, hooks or the like which are fastened at one end to the outer wall 31 of the sleeve 32, such as by, but not limited to, a pivot 88 and at the other end can loop over and hold the pin 82. The pin 82 can have a notch 90 formed therein for retaining the fastener 86. The pin 82 can be constructed to be angled slightly upward toward the upper end 35 of the handle 34 to aid in retaining the fastener 86.

[0024] An advantage of the present invention is that the narrower width of the plate 12 enables a user to fit the device 10 down in a narrow trench, such as a trench created during installation of an irrigation system, while still having sufficient weight to provide tamping force. The removable handle 34 enables a user to have plates 12 of different widths and attach the handle to whatever plate 12 is needed at the time, depending on the trench width or other factor. With the present invention several plates 12 of various widths can be stored compactly together with minimal space on truck or other transportation vehicle because each plate 12 does not require a separate handle 34. The beveled edges 30 fit inside the trench more effectively than straight edges. The beveled edge 30 helps the plate 12 guide itself into the trench when being thrust downward as opposed to a flat plate which can easily catch an edge.

[0025] Although only a few exemplary embodiments of this invention have been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the following claims. It should further be noted that any patents, applications or publications referred to herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety.