Title:
Method and apparatus for leveling spreadable material
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present method and structure provides a device for leveling a spreadable material on a surface. The device includes an elongate screed having opposing positions connected to a first connecting member and a second connecting member on the opposing positions forming an assembly. The assembly is at least partially supported by a first skid and a second skid where the first and the second skids provide an offset of the screed from the surface.



Inventors:
Gresser, Mike J. (Prior Lake, MN, US)
Jerstad, Mark (Eagan, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/030594
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
01/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01C7/32; E01C19/15; E01C19/18; (IPC1-7): E01C7/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHWEGMAN LUNDBERG & WOESSNER, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A device for leveling a spreadable material on a surface, comprising: an elongate screed including opposing positions connected to a first connecting member and a second connecting member, the screed, first connecting member and second connecting member forming an assembly, wherein the assembly is at least partially supported by a first skid and a second skid, the first and the second skids providing an offset of the screed from the surface.

2. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the offset of the screed is independently adjustable from the surface by the first skid and the second skid.

3. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 2, wherein ends of the first and the second connecting members are adapted for attachment to a vehicle, the screed distal to the vehicle.

4. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the first and the second adjustable skids include threaded adjusters.

5. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the screed includes steel.

6. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the screed includes iron.

7. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the screed includes aluminum.

8. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, wherein the first and the second adjustable skids include threaded adjusters and wherein ends of the first and the second connecting members are adapted for attachment to a vehicle, the screed distal to the vehicle.

9. The device for leveling a spreadable material of claim 1, further comprising means for continuous adjustment of a height of the screed by one or more of the skids.

10. A method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface, comprising: connecting an elongate screed to a first connecting member at a first position and a second connecting member at a second position forming an assembly; at least partially supporting the assembly by connecting a first skid and a second skid to the screed, the first and the second skids offsetting the screed from the surface.

11. The method for leveling a spreadable material according to claim 10, wherein connecting the first and the second connecting members includes connecting ends of the first and the second connecting members to a vehicle, the screed distal to the vehicle.

12. A method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface, comprising: connecting an elongate screed to a first connecting member at a first position and a second connecting member at a second position forming an assembly; at least partially supporting the assembly by connecting a first skid and a second skid to the screed, the first and the second skids offsetting the screed from the surface; and adjusting the height of the screed by adjusting the height of the first and the second skids.

13. The method for leveling a spreadable material according to claim 12, wherein connecting the first and the second connecting members include connecting an end of the first and the second connecting members to a vehicle, the screed distal to the vehicle.

14. The method for leveling a spreadable material according to claim 12, wherein moving the vehicle connecting the first and the second connecting members includes moving the screed over the spreadable material.

15. A method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface, comprising: pouring the spreadable material on a surface; placing a screed assembly at a position about the surface where the spreadable material was poured; and moving the screed assembly along the surface to level the spreadable material using first and second connecting members connected to the screed, the screed at least partially supported by a first skid and a second skid.

16. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein moving the screed along the surface in at least one direction includes moving the screed by a vehicle, the screed distal to the vehicle.

17. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein moving the screed along the surface in at least one direction includes moving the screed by at least one manual operator, the screed distal to the at least one manual operator.

18. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein pouring the spreadable material on a surface includes pouring concrete on the surface.

19. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein pouring the spreadable material on a surface includes pouring cement on the surface.

20. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein the screed level is independently adjustable by varying heights of the first skid and the second skid.

21. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 20, wherein the screed level is automatically adjusted.

22. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 15, wherein the screed level is independently adjustable by varying height of the first skid.

23. The method for leveling a spreadable material of claim 22, wherein the screed level is automatically adjusted.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/534,256, filed on Jan. 5, 2004, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application relates generally to a method and apparatus used in construction, and more particularly to a method and apparatus for leveling a spreadable material.

BACKGROUND

When a large load of a spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement) is poured in a construction setting, it is important to level it with the least amount of tolerance possible. One problem with pouring cement, for example, is that the cement must be leveled and finished quickly. This ensures that the cement is properly finished before it dries and becomes difficult to work with.

Present techniques for leveling a spreadable material (e.g., cement, concrete) include having a number of workers to spread out or “pool” the poured material.

This must be done with a fair amount of care and accuracy to make the finisher's job easier.

One problem with the current method is that it can be difficult for the workers to manually pool the material accurately. Another problem is that the labor involved is substantial and the costs for performing the labor are tied to the workers performance.

What is needed in the art is a method and apparatus for leveling a spreadable material that is accurate, repeatable and low cost.

SUMMARY

The various embodiments described herein relate to method and apparatus for leveling a spreadable material. The teachings provided herein solve the earlier mentioned problems and other problems not stated herein.

In one aspect, the invention provides a device for leveling a spreadable material on a surface comprising an elongate screed connected to a first connecting member and a second connecting member on opposing positions of the screed forming an assembly. The assembly is at least partially supported by a first skid and a second skid where the first and the second skids provide an offset of the screed from the surface.

In another aspect, the invention provides a device for leveling a spreadable material on a surface comprising an elongate angular screed at one angular surface perpendicularly connected on one position of the screed to a first connecting member and perpendicularly connected on a second position of the screed to a second connecting member forming an assembly. The screed at a second angular surface is at least partially supported by a first adjustable skid and a second adjustable skid. The first and the second adjustable skids are perpendicularly connected on opposing positions of the screed providing an offset of the screed from the surface.

In another aspect, the invention provides a method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface. The method generally involves connecting an elongate screed to a first connecting member at a first position and a second connecting member at a second position forming an assembly. The assembly is at least partially supported by connecting a first skid and a second skid to the screed such that the first and the second skids offset the screed from the surface.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides a method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface. The method generally involves connecting an elongate screed to a first connecting member at a first position and a second connecting member at a second position forming an assembly. The assembly is at least partially supported by connecting a first skid and a second skid to the screed such that the first and the second skids offset the screed from the surface. The height of the screed is adjusted by adjusting the height of the first and the second skids.

In still yet another aspect, the invention provides a method for leveling a spreadable material on a surface. The method generally involves pouring the spreadable material on a surface and placing a screed assembly at a position about the surface where the spreadable material was poured. The screed assembly is moved along the surface in at least one direction where the spreadable material was poured.

This Summary is an overview of some of the teachings of the present application and not intended to be an exclusive or exhaustive treatment of the present subject matter. Further details about the present subject matter are found in the detailed description and appended claims. Other aspects of the invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description and viewing the drawings that form a part thereof, each of which are not to be taken in a limiting sense. The scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents. Various embodiments are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a screed assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of a screed assembly in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a partial perspective view of a screed, a skid and a connecting member in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4A illustrates a side view of a screed, a skid and a connecting member in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4B illustrates a side view of a screed, a skid and a connecting member in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the various embodiments. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the various embodiments may be practiced without some of these specific details. The following description and drawings provide examples for illustration, but are not intended in a limiting sense and are not intended to provide an exhaustive treatment of all possible implementations.

It should be noted that references to “an”, “one”, or “various” embodiments in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references contemplate more than one embodiment.

FIGS. 1 through 3 illustrate one embodiment of a leveling device 5 for leveling a spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement, asphalt, gravel, sand) on a surface 10. The leveling device 5 includes an elongate screed 15 connected to a first connecting member 20 and a second connecting member 25 on opposing positions of the screed 15 forming an assembly. In one embodiment, the assembly is at least partially supported by a first skid 35 and a second skid 40 which provide an offset of the screed 15 from a surface 10.

In one embodiment, the elongate screed 15 is angular (e.g., 900) where at a first angular surface 21, the screed 15 is perpendicularly connected at one position 50 to a first connecting member 20 and perpendicularly connected at a second position 55 to a second connecting member 25 forming the assembly. In one embodiment, the screed 15, the first connecting member 20, and the second connecting member 25 of the leveling device 5 is made of metal (e.g., steel, iron, aluminum). One advantage of utilizing lightweight materials such as aluminum is to allow ease of transport and operation of the leveling device 5.

The screed 15 at a second angular surface 22 is at least partially supported by the first and the second skids 35 and 40. In one embodiment, the skids 35 and 40 are perpendicularly connected on opposing positions 50 and 55 of the screed 15. The height of the screed 15 is adjustable from the surface 10 by the adjustment of the first and the second skids 35 and 40. In addition to perpendicularly connecting the skids 35 and 40 to the screed 15, the second angular surface 22 is in one embodiment, able to strike off and level excess spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement, asphalt, gravel, sand) on the surface 10 as the screed 15 is pushed, pulled or both.

In one embodiment, the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25 are distally connected to a first sleeve 80 and a second sleeve 81 on opposing positions 50 and 55 of the screed 15 and proximally connected to a third sleeve 82 and a fourth sleeve 83 on opposing positions 56 and 57 of a vehicle 85 (e.g., a powered shovel 90). In one embodiment, the distal end 87 of the sleeves 80 and 81 are connected to the opposing positions 50 and 55 of the screed 15 and an adjacent side 99 toward the proximal end 80 of the sleeves 82 and 83 are connected to the opposing positions 56 and 57 of the shovel 90. The distal end 87 of the sleeves 80 and 81 are connected to the opposing positions 50 and 55 of the screed 15 and the proximal end 86 of the sleeves 82 and 83 are connected to the opposing positions 56 and 57 of the shovel 90 by a variety of means (e.g., by welds, by a nut and bolt assembly, by a pin lock system). In one embodiment, the distal end 87 of the sleeves 80 and 81 are perpendicularly connected on opposing positions 50 and 55 of the first angular surface 21 of the screed 15 and the proximal end 86 of the sleeves 82 and 83 are adjacently connected on opposing positions 56 and 57 on the inside wall 91 of the shovel 90.

In another embodiment, the proximal end 86 of the sleeves 80 and 81 slide over the distal end 97 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25 and the distal end 87 of the sleeves 82 and 83 slide over the proximal end 95 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25. The proximal end 86 of the sleeves 80 and 81 each contain at least one hole 65 that corresponds with at least one hole 65 on the distal end 97 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25.

In one embodiment, the sleeves 82 and 83 each contain at least one hole 65 that corresponds with at least one hole 65 on the proximal end 95 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25.

In one embodiment, the interconnection of the proximal end 86 of the sleeves 80 and 81 to the distal end 97 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25 and the interconnection of the distal end 87 of the sleeves 82 and 83 to the proximal end 95 of the first and the second connecting members 20 and 25 is achieved by utilizing nuts 71, bolts 84 and washers 72. For example, a threaded bolt 84 supported by a washer 72 is slid through each of the mating holes 65 of the sleeves 80, 81, 82, and 83 and the connecting members 20 and 25. A threaded nut 71 supported by a washer 72 is fitted and subsequently turned over each protruding bolt 84 locking the sleeves 80, 81, 82, and 83 to the connecting members 20 and 25. In another example, a pin is slid through each of the mating holes 65 of the sleeves 80, 81, 82, and 83 and the connecting members 20 and 25 locking the sleeves 80, 81, 82, and 83 to each respective end of the connecting members 20 and 25. In one embodiment, the length of the connecting members 20 and 25 are adjusted by aligning one or more holes 65 of the sleeves 80, 81, 82, and 83 with one or more corresponding holes 65 of the connecting members 20 and 25 at each respective end. Other connections are possible without departing from the scope of the present application (e.g., by welds, by a nut and bolt assembly, by a pin lock system).

In yet another embodiment, the vehicle 85 powers the shovel 90 simultaneously pushing, pulling or both the first connecting member 20 attached to the one position 50 of the screed 15 and the second connecting member 25 attached to the second position 55 of the screed 15. The screed 15 distal to the shovel 90, is pushed, pulled or both about the spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement, asphalt, gravel, sand) leveling off the spreadable material about the surface 10. In one embodiment, the screed 15 is adjusted to level off the spreadable material to a thickness of at least 1 inch.

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate one embodiment of the adjustable skids 35 and 40. In one embodiment, the first and the second adjustable skids 35 and 40 include threaded adjusters 60. For example, the height of the screed 15 is raised or lowered by adjusting a threaded end 62 of the skids 35 and 40 through the hole 65 located on opposing positions 50 and 55 on the second angular surface 22 of the screed 15 and by locking each threaded end 62 of the skids 35 and 40 to a fixed position by a lock nut 71. In one embodiment, each hole 65 located at opposing positions 50 and 55 on the second angular surface 22 of the screed 15 is threaded to receive the threaded end 62 of the skids 35 and 40. For example, the height of the screed 15 is adjusted by turning the skids 35 and 40 (e.g., clockwise) through the threaded holes 65 of the screed 15. In yet another embodiment, a lock nut 71 is used to lock the skids 35 and 40 into position to prevent the skids 35 and 40 from turning under the load of moving about the spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement, asphalt, gravel, sand) over the surface 10. Other shapes are possible without departing from the scope of the present application. For example, the screed 15 in one embodiment includes an edge 77 with a rake-like configuration suited to spread the spreadable material on the surface 10.

In yet another embodiment, one of the adjustable skids 35 or 40 is adjusted to a different height from the other skid 35 or 40. For example, the skid 35 on one position 50 of the screed 15 is adjusted lower than the skid 40 on the second position 55 by passing the threaded end 62 of the skid 35 through the hole 65 located on the second angular surface 22 further than passing the threaded end 62 of the skid 40 through the hole 65 located on the second angular surface 22 of the screed 15. Each threaded end 62 of the skids 35 and 40 are locked into their respective positions by a lock nut 71. The different heights of the skids 35 and 40 allow the screed 15 to be set at an angle. The pushing, pulling or both of the spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement) by the screed 15 set at an angle allows an inclined movement of the spreadable material where an inclined finished surface is desired.

The skids 35 and 40 include a variety of shapes. For example, FIG. 4A illustrates one embodiment of the skids 35 and 40 with a flat planar surface 74 at a distal end 75. FIG. 4B illustrates another embodiment where the ends 73 of the planar surface 74 of the skids 35 and 40 are beveled. One advantage of the skids 35 and 40 having beveled ends 73 is, for example, to assist the planar surface 74 of the skids 35 and 40 to glide over the surface 10 (e.g., gravel) and prevent the planar surface 74 of the skids 35 and 40 from digging into the surface 10 as the leveling device 5 is pushed, pulled, or both about the spreadable material.

In yet another embodiment, the screed 15 is fitted with a laser device used with a horizontal laser beam to provide planar orientation as to whether the spreadable material (e.g., concrete, cement, asphalt, gravel, sand) on the surface 10 is level. A laser receiver is mounted, for example, on the top surface 23 of the second angular surface 22 of the screed 15. The laser receiver is mounted on the screed 15 by any suitable means (e.g., a mount bracket welded or bolted to the screed 15). The laser receiver is adapted to receive a laser beam from a laser source to indicate whether the laser receiver is higher or lower with respect to the laser beam. By looking at the laser receiver, the operator is able to determine whether the spreadable material on the surface 10 is at the appropriate level relative to the laser beam. An operator of the screed 15 is able to make adjustments to the height of the material by repeated motions over areas exceeding a desired height variation. In one embodiment, the screed 15 is equipped with means for automatically adjusting the force applied to the screed 15 for consistent leveling of material. In one embodiment, the screed 15 is equipped for means for varying the height of the screed 15 at one or more of the skids 74. In one variation of this embodiment, a laser alignment means is attached to the screed 15 to provide a closed loop feedback of position of one or more points on the screed 15. This embodiment allows for continuous adjustment of screed 15 height for rougher terrains and will provide a very smooth spread of the spreadable material. This embodiment also provides other features, including, but not limited to, leveling at different pitches to provide controllable sloping of the spreadable material.

This description has set forth numerous characteristics and advantages of various embodiments and details of structure and function of various embodiments, but is intended to be illustrative and not intended in an exclusive or exhaustive sense. Changes in detail, material and management of parts, order of process and design may occur without departing from the scope of the appended claims and their legal equivalents.