Title:
Land plane
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A land plane to smooth and level any irregularities in the surface of an agricultural field. The land plane includes a main frame; a first wing frame attached to the first side of the main frame adjacent the front end thereof, a second wing frame attached to the second side of the main frame adjacent the rear end thereof; a V-shaped scrapper blade having an apex adjacent the front end of the main frame; a first transverse scrapper blade extending diagonally from the first wing frame across the main frame to the second wing frame and having a gap adjacent the second side of the main frame; and a second transverse scrapper blade means extending diagonally from the first wing frame across the main frame to the second wing frame, parallel to and spaced rearwardly from the first transverse scrapper blade.



Inventors:
Taylor, Edward L. (McCrory, AR, US)
Taylor, Johnny W. (McCrory, AR, US)
Application Number:
10/772659
Publication Date:
08/11/2005
Filing Date:
02/05/2004
Assignee:
TAYLOR EDWARD L.
TAYLOR JOHNNY W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/76; (IPC1-7): E02F3/76
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BATSON, VICTOR D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSSELL H. WALKER (MEMPHIS, TN, US)
Claims:
1. A land plane comprising: (a) a main frame including a front end, a rear end, a first side, and a second sides; (b) a first wing frame attached to said first side of said main frame adjacent said front end of said main frame; (c) a second wing frame attached to said second side of said main frame adjacent said rear end of said main frame; (d) a V-shaped scrapper blade means having an apex and mounted beneath said main frame with said apex adjacent said front end of said main frame substantially centered between said first and second sides of said main frame; (e) a first transverse scrapper blade means mounted beneath said main frame, said first wing frame, and said second wing frame; said first transverse scrapper blade means extending diagonally from said first wing frame across said main frame to said second wing frame; said first transverse scrapper blade means having a gap adjacent said second side of said main frame; and (f) a second transverse scrapper blade means mounted beneath said main frame, said first wing frame, and said second wing frame; said second transverse scrapper blade means being parallel to and spaced rearwardly from said first transverse scrapper blade means, and extending diagonally from said first wing frame across said main frame to said second wing frame.

2. The land plane of claim 1 in which said first transverse scrapper blade means includes a first scrapper blade mounted beneath said first wing frame, a main scrapper blade mounted beneath said main frame, and a second scrapper blade mounted beneath said second wing frame with said gap of said first transverse scrapper blade means formed between said main and second scrapper blades; and in which said second transverse scrapper blade means includes a first scrapper blade mounted beneath said first wing frame, a main scrapper blade mounted beneath said main frame, and a second scrapper blade mounted beneath said second wing frame.

3. The land plane of claim 2 in which said first wing frame is pivotally attached to said first side of said main frame for movement between a raised position and a deployed position; in which said second wing frame is pivotally attached to said second side of said main frame for movement between a raised position and a deployed position.

4. A land plane for being pulled by a tow vehicle over a field to smooth and level any irregularities in the surface of the field; said land plane comprising: (a) a main frame including a front end, a rear end, a first side, and a second side; (b) a first wing frame pivotally attached to said first side of said main frame adjacent said front end of said main frame; (c) hydraulic means for causing said first wing frame to pivot between a raised position and a deployed position; (d) a second wing frame pivotally attached to said second side of said main frame adjacent said rear end of said main frame; (e) hydraulic means for causing said second wing frame to pivot between a raised position and a deployed position; (f) a V-shaped scrapper blade means having an apex and mounted to and beneath said main frame with said apex adjacent said front end of said main frame substantially centered between said first and second sides of said main frame; (g) a first transverse scrapper blade means mounted to and beneath said main frame, said first wing frame, and said second wing frame; said first transverse scrapper blade means extending diagonally from said first wing frame across said main frame to said second wing frame; said first transverse scrapper blade means having a gap adjacent said second side of said main frame; said first transverse scrapper blade means includes a first scrapper blade mounted to and beneath said first wing frame, a main scrapper blade mounted to and beneath said main frame, and a second scrapper blade mounted to and beneath said second wing frame with said gap of said first transverse scrapper blade means formed between said main and second scrapper blades; (h) a second transverse scrapper blade means mounted to and beneath said main frame, said first wing frame, and said second wing frame; said second transverse scrapper blade means being parallel to and spaced rearwardly from first transverse scrapper blade means, and extending diagonally from said first wing frame across said main frame to said second wing frame; said second transverse scrapper blade means including a first scrapper blade mounted to and beneath said first wing frame, a main scrapper blade mounted to and beneath said main frame, and a second scrapper blade mounted to and beneath aid second wing frame; (i) a hitch attached to the top of said front end of said main frame for allowing said land plane to be hitched to the tow vehicle; and (j) a hydraulic cylinder between said hitch said the top of said front end of said main frame.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates, in general, to agricultural implements, and in particular, to agricultural implements for smoothing any surface irregularities in a field.

2. Background Art

Prior to planting an agricultural crop such as rice, cotton or soybeans, it is desirable to insure that the field is substantially level and free of surface irregularities and the like. If a field has surface irregularities when a crop is planted, crop production can be affected due to inability to control water flow, standing water, excessive runoff, and the like. Since surface irregularities are typically caused by prior tilling, aeration, and harvesting procedures, it has become routine step for many farmers to level a field each time a crop is to be planted.

Various agricultural implements have been designed for being pulled by agricultural tractors over cultivated fields in an attempt to level and remove surface irregularities from the fields. A preliminary patentability search in Class 172, Subclasses 799.5, 684.5, 673 and 675, produced the following patents, which appear to be relevant to the present invention:

Elsey, U.S. Pat. No. 1,166,197; Noffsinger et al., U.S. Pat. No. 1,845,324; Berry, U.S. Pat. No. 4,568,219; Miller, U.S. Pat. No. 4,614,240; Berry, U.S. Pat. No. 4,700,786; Springfield, U.S. Pat. No. 4,898,247; Dunn et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,165; Kerpash Sr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,546; Almer, U.S. Pat. No. 6,119,792; and Martin, U.S. Pat. No. 1,476,263.

To be transported over a typical state or county road or highway, land planes are typically limited in width to approximately sixteen feet (4.9 meters). However, in order to economically and properly level a field, a land plane must be sized to cover a substantially large area in single pass over the field, and to provide sufficient drag when pulled over the field, etc. One solution is to use foldable wings so that the land plane can be folded up for transport over a road or highway, and unfolded for being pulled across a field to level the surface thereof. Dunn et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,165, discloses such a folding land plane. The Dunn et al. folding land plane has a length that is over 2.5 times the deployed, in-use position width thereof. While the relatively long length of the Dunn et al. folding land plane provide the unit with sufficient drag and earth moving capability, the length also makes it more difficult to maneuver the land plane in the field during a land planing operation.

Nothing in the known prior art, either singly or in combination, discloses or suggests the present invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The land plane of the present invention is used to smooth and level any irregularities in the surface of an agricultural field. The land plane of the present invention includes a main frame, a first wing frame attached to the first side of the main frame adjacent the front end thereof, a second wing frame attached to the second side of the main frame adjacent the rear end thereof, a V-shaped scrapper blade having an apex adjacent the front end of the main frame, a first transverse scrapper blade extending diagonally from the first wing frame across the main frame to the second wing frame and having a gap adjacent the second side of the main frame, and a second transverse scrapper blade means extending diagonally from the first wing frame across the main frame to the second wing frame, parallel to and spaced rearwardly from the first transverse scrapper blade. The preferred embodiment of the present invention can be described as an off-set wing land plane having a main frame approximately 40 feet (12.2 meters) long, 16 feet (4.9 meters) wide, with an overall width of 34 feet (10.4 meters) when the wings are folded down to deployed, in-use positions. The right wing is located toward the front of the main frame, and the left wing is located toward the rear of the main frame so that a pair of parallel blade means can extend diagonally across the land plane at a 1-to-1 or 45° rearward angle.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a land plane having a cylinder on the front hitch to level the land plane in the field and to transport the land plane down the road.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an off-set wing land plane that has a relatively short main frame to provide good maneuverability and allow a greater width to be covered in the field.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an off-set wing land plane that has a V-shaped front blade to act as a stabilizer for two following parallel blades.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an off-set wing land plane that pulls from the top of the main frame, rather than from the bottom (ground level) thereof.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an off-set wing land plane that is easier to transport and can cover approximately twice as many field acres as existing land planes in the same length or period of time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a somewhat diagrammatic top plan view of the land plane of the present invention, with the wings thereof shown in a lowered, deployed position

FIG. 2 is a top plan view similar to FIG. 1, but with the wings of the land plane of the present invention shown in a raised, transport position.

FIG. 3 is a right side elevational view of the front end of the land plane of FIG. 1 on a somewhat larger scale with portions broken away or omitted for clarity.

FIG. 4 is a right side elevational view of the rear end of the land plane of FIG. 1 on a somewhat larger scale with portions broken away or omitted for clarity.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the land plane of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1-4 and identified by the numeral 11. The phrase “land plane” is used herein to refer to an agricultural apparatus for movement over a field or the like to smooth and level any irregularities in the surface S of the field, sometimes also referred to as a “land smoother,” etc. The land plane 11 of the present invention is especially designed to be pulled by a tow vehicle V, e.g., a typical agricultural tractor, over the surface S of the agricultural field to smooth and level any irregularities in the surfaceS of the field.

The land plane 11 comprises, in general, a main frame 13, a first wing frame 15 attached to one side (e.g., the right side) of the main frame 13, and a second wing frame 17 attached to the other side (e.g., the left side) of the main frame 13. The first and second wing frames 15, 17 are preferably pivotally attached to the main frame 13 so that the land plane 11 can be pivoted between a deployed, in-use position (see, in general, FIG. 1) for being moved over an agricultural field to smooth and level any irregularities in the field, and a folded, transport position (see, in general, FIG. 2) for being moved over a road or the like to or away from the agricultural field, etc. The first and second wing frames 15, 17 are preferably off-set from one another and arranged diagonally across from one another at approximately a 45° angle (1-to-1 slope) with the first wing frame 15 located generally adjacent the front of the main frame 13 and with the second wing frame 17 located generally adjacent the rear of the main frame 13. The preferred embodiment of the land plane 11 has an overall width of approximately 34 feet (10.4 meters) in the deployed, in-use position, and just over approximately 16 feet (4.9 meters) in the folded, transport position, with an overall length of approximately 38 feet (11.6 meters), as opposed to common prior art land planes which typically have an overall width of 16 to 20 feet (4.9 to 6.1 meters), and an overall length of 50 to 80 feet (15.2 to 24.4 meters). The differences in length and width make the land plane 11 of the present invention easier to transport over roads and maneuver in fields than such prior art land planes, while being capable of covering approximately twice as many field acres than such prior art land planes in the same period of time.

The main frame 13 preferably consists of an open framework constructed out of 4 by 8 inches (10.16 by 20.32 centimeters) metal tubing cut and welded to have a front end 19, a rear end 21, a first side 23, and a second side 25. When viewed from the top as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the main frame 13 may have the basic shape of an open rectangle with a generally V-shaped front end 19. Various braces 27 may be provided to reinforce and strengthen the main frame 13, etc. A hitch 29 is preferably provided at the front end 19 of the main frame 13 to allow attachment of the land plane 11 to the tow vehicle V. The hitch 29 may include an elongated tow bar 31 having a vertical aperture 33 or other hitch structure at the front end thereof for being attached to coacting hitch structure of the tow vehicle V, an intermediate bar or member 35, a first pivot rod 37 for pivotally attaching the tow bar 31 to the intermediate bar 35, and a second pivot rod 39 for pivotally attaching the tow bar 31 to the front end 19 of the main frame 13. A hydraulic cylinder 41 or the like is preferably mounted between the main frame 13 and the intermediate bar 35 (see FIGS. 1-3) for pivoting the intermediate bar 35 about the pivot rod 39 so that the land plane 11 can be leveled in the field, etc., as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. The hitch 29 is located generally at the top of the land plane 11 so that when towed by the tow vehicle V, the land plane 11 is pulled from the top thereof, rather than the bottom.

Ground engaging lower frame members or runners 43 may be mounted to portions of the main frame 13 (e.g., beneath the rear first side 23 and front second side 25 perimeter or border of the main frame 13) via braces 45 (see, in general, FIG. 4) to support the main frame 13 above the surface S of the field. Support wheels 47 are preferably attached to the main frame 13 to coact with the runners 43 in supporting the main frame 13 above the surface S of the field. Hydraulic cylinders 49 (shown diagrammatically in FIGS. 1 and 2) or the like are preferably associated with the support wheels 47 to allow vertical adjustment of the support wheels 47 so that the support wheels 47 can be extended to fully support the main frame 13, and the entire land plane 11, when the land plane 11 is pulled over roads or the like.

Each wing frame 15, 17 also preferably consists of an open framework constructed out of 4 by 8 inches (10.16 by 20.32 centimeters) metal tubing or the like, cut and welded to have the basic shape of an open, skewed rectangle when viewed from the top as shown in FIG. 1. Each wing frame 15, 17 is preferably pivotally attached to the respective side 23, 25 of the main frame 13 via a hinge/hydraulic cylinder means 51 to allow the operator of the land plane 11 to move the wing frames 15, 17 between the deployed, in-use position and the folded, transport position as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. The hinge/hydraulic cylinder means 51 are shown diagrammatically in the drawings and could take several specific forms now apparent to those skilled in the art, such as the hydraulic folding system 92 and master linkage 100 structure disclosed in Dunn et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,165, issued May 25, 1993, incorporated herein by reference.

Ground engaging lower frame members or runners 53 may be mounted to portions of each wing frame 15, 17 (e.g., beneath the outer and rear perimeter or border of each wing frame 15, 17) via braces 55 (see, in general, FIGS. 2 and 3) to support the wing frames 15, 17 above the surface S of the field. Support wheels 57 are preferably attached to each wing frame 15, 17 to coact with the runners 53 in supporting the wing frames 15, 17 above the surface S of the field.

The land plane 11 includes a V-shaped scrapper blade means 59 having an apex 61. The V-shaped scrapper blade means 59 is mounted to and beneath the main frame 13 with the apex 61 adjacent the front end 19 of the main frame 13 substantially centered between the first and second sides 23, 25 of the main frame 13 (see FIGS. 1 and 2), via braces 63 or the like. The V-shaped scrapper blade means 59 may be formed by a first straight scrapper blade 65 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13 with the inner end thereof located at the apex 61 and with the outer end thereof extending rearwardly and outwardly from the apex 61 towards the first side 23 of the main frame 13, and a second straight scrapper blade 67 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13 with the inner end thereof located at the apex 61 and with the outer end thereof extending rearwardly and outwardly from the apex 61 towards the second side 25 of the main frame 13. Thus, the apex 61 may be formed by the overlapping or butted inner ends of the scrapper blades 65, 67.

The land plane 11 includes a first transverse scrapper blade means 69 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13, the first wing frame 15, and the second wing frame 17 via brackets 70 or the like. The first transverse scrapper blade means 69 extends diagonally from the first wing frame 15 across the main frame 13 to the second wing frame 17. A critical feature of the present invention is that the first transverse scrapper blade means 69 has a gap 71 adjacent the second side 25 of the main frame 13 (see FIG. 1). The first transverse scrapper blade means 69 preferably includes a first scrapper blade 73 mounted to and beneath the first wing frame 15, a main scrapper blade 75 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13, and a second scrapper blade 77 mounted to and beneath the second wing frame 17 with the gap 71 of the first transverse scrapper blade means 69 formed between the main and second scrapper blades 75, 77. The first and second scrapper blades 73, 75 are designed so that when the wing frames 15, 17 are moved between the deployed, in-use position and the folded, transport position, the first and second scrapper blades 73, 77 will move with the respective wing frame 15, 17. The adjacent ends of the first and main scrapper blades 73, 75 are designed so that they will overlap or abut one another when the first wing frame 15 is in the deployed, in-use position as shown in FIG. 1.

The land plane 11 includes a second transverse scrapper blade means 79 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13, the first wing frame 15, and the second wing frame 17 via braces 81 or the like. The second transverse scrapper blade 79 is positioned parallel to and spaced rearwardly from the first transverse scrapper blade means 69, and extending diagonally from the first wing frame 15, across the main frame 13 to the second wing frame 17. The second transverse scrapper blade means 79 preferably includes a first scrapper blade 83 mounted to and beneath the first wing frame 15, a main scrapper blade 85 mounted to and beneath the main frame 13, and a second scrapper blade 87 mounted to and beneath the second wing frame 17. The first and second scrapper blades 83, 87 are designed so that when the wing frames 15, 17 are moved between the deployed, in-use position and the folded, transport position, the first and second scrapper blades 83, 87 will move with the respective wing frame 15, 17. The adjacent ends of the first and main scrapper blades 83, 85 and the main and second scraper blades 85, 87 are designed so that they will overlap or abut one another when the wing frames 15, 17 are in the deployed, in-use position as shown in FIG. 1.

The land plane 11 may be constructed in various manners and out of various materials as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, for example, as hereinabove mentioned, the main frame 13 and wing frames 15, 17 may consist of open frameworks constructed out of metal tubing or the like, cut, welded and reinforced as desired. The various scrapper blades are preferably off-the-shelf type agricultural blades and may be joined to the respective frames 13, 15, 17 in a manner that allows independent adjustment for height and tension, if desired, in any typical manner now apparent to those skilled in the art.

The operation of the land plane 11 is as follows: First, the land plane 11 is joined to the tow vehicle V via the hitch 29. Because the hitch 29 is part of the upper portion of the main frame 13, the land plane 11 will be pulled by the tow vehicle V from the upper portion of the main frame 13 rather than the bottom or ground level as required by prior art land planes. The various hydraulic components of the land plane 11 can be connected to the hydraulic system of the tow vehicle V to allow the driver of the tow vehicle V to easily operate and control the land plane 11. The wing frames 15, 17 can be raised to the folded, transport position for being pulled over roads, highways, etc., to the agricultural field to be planed. Once at the agricultural field to be planed, the wing frames 15, 17 are lowered to the deployed, in-use position, and the land plane 11 is then pulled over the surface S of the field. The layout and position of the various blade means 59, 69, 79 are critical to the present invention and provides important benefits. First, the forward, V-shaped scrapper blade means 59 acts as a stabilizer for the two, parallel transverse scrapper blade means 69, 79. Also, the specific layout of the blade means 59, 69, 79 causes dirt to flow substantially as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 1. That is, the V-shaped scrapper blade means 59 will both act as a stabilizer and cause dirt to flow outward and rearward to the first transverse scrapper blade means 69 in the direction of arrows 89 in FIG. 1. The first transverse scrapper blade means 69 will cause dirt to flow generally rearward and toward the left or second side of the land plane 11 as indicated by arrows 91 in FIG. 1, but with a portion of the dirt flowing through the gap 71 in the first transverse scrapper blade means 69 as indicated by arrows 93 in FIG. 1. The second transverse scrapper blade means 79 will also cause dirt to flow generally rearward and toward the left or second side of the land plane 11 as indicated by arrows 95 in FIG. 1.

Although the present invention has been described and illustrated with respect to a preferred embodiment and a preferred use therefor, it is not to be so limited since modifications and changes can be made therein which are within the full intended scope of the invention.