Title:
Engine mounting frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An engine and frame assembly that supports the engine in one or more orientations for specific tasks. For example, it can orient the engine in a first orientation for operation and orient the engine in a second orientation for maintenance. The frame can be coupled to the engine via receipt of a cantilevered projection within a recess of the engine housing. The frame can also connect one or more rotary driven devices to the engine to allow the engine to be used in a wide variety of applications. The frame can provide an adapter for coupling the engine to the rotary driven device. The adapter allowing axial tolerance between the engine and device while transmitting torque to the device.



Inventors:
Wesolowski, Gregory G. (Pewaukee, WI, US)
Gartzke, Chad J. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/084920
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
03/21/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MEYER, JACOB B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
(Briggs) (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An engine and frame assembly comprising: an engine having a reservoir adapted to contain lubricant and having a dipstick adapted to measure the level of the lubricant within the reservoir, the engine having an operating orientation and a maintenance orientation that is different from the operating orientation, the dipstick operable to measure a recommended level of lubricant within the reservoir when the engine is in the maintenance orientation; and a frame coupled to the engine and adapted to support the engine on a support surface in the operating orientation and in the maintenance orientation.

2. The engine and frame assembly of claim 1, wherein the frame further comprises: a base for holding the engine in the operating orientation; and a support coupled to the base at an angle with respect to the base, the support and base define a support plane for holding the engine in the maintenance orientation.

3. The engine and frame assembly of claim 2, wherein the support includes a handle.

4. The engine and frame assembly of claim 3, wherein an end of the handle partially defines the support plane.

5. The engine and frame assembly of claim 2, wherein the base comprises a plate coupled to the engine, an edge portion of the plate partially defining the support plane.

6. The engine and frame assembly of claim 5, wherein the support includes a handle having an end partially defining the support plane.

7. The engine and frame assembly of claim 2, wherein the base and the support are integrally formed.

8. The engine and frame assembly of claim 2, wherein the support is oriented at an angle of about ninety degrees relative to the base.

9. The engine and frame assembly of claim 8, wherein the operating orientation is about ninety degrees different than the maintenance orientation.

10. The engine and frame assembly of claim 1, wherein the operating orientation is about ninety degrees different than the maintenance orientation.

11. An engine and frame assembly comprising: an engine; a housing coupled to the engine and having an aperture; and a frame having a cantilevered projection received within the aperture for engaging and at least partially securing the engine to the frame to support the engine in a specific orientation relative to a support surface during operation of the engine.

12. The engine and frame assembly of claim 11, wherein the aperture is a first aperture, and wherein the engine and frame assembly further comprises a fastener engaging and at least partially securing a second aperture of the housing to the frame.

13. The engine and frame assembly of claim 12, wherein the frame further comprises: a base; and a support coupled to the base at an angle with respect to the base; wherein the cantilevered projection extends from the base and the fastener extends through the support.

14. The engine and frame assembly of claim 13, wherein the cantilevered projection has a first portion that extends upward with respect to the base and a second portion connected to the first portion that extends substantially parallel to the base.

15. The engine and frame assembly of claim 14, further comprising a vibration attenuation device coupled to the second portion of the cantilevered projection.

16. The engine and frame assembly of claim 13, wherein the base and the first and second portions of the cantilevered projection define an opening for receiving a portion of the housing defining the first aperture.

17. An engine and frame assembly comprising: an engine having a rotatable drive shaft; a frame coupled to the engine and adapted to support the engine in a specific orientation on a support surface during operation of the engine; an adapter coupled to the frame and adapted to be coupled to a rotatably driven device; and a driven shaft supported by the adapter and axially aligned with the drive shaft, the driven shaft having a first end engaging the drive shaft and a second end adapted to engage and drive the rotatably driven device, the engagement between the drive shaft and the first end of the driven shaft transferring torque from the drive shaft to the driven shaft while allowing relative axial movement between the drive shaft and the driven shaft, wherein the engine has a housing portion that supports a bearing, the bearing supports a portion of the driven shaft.

18. The engine and frame assembly of claim 17, wherein the adapter includes a bearing surface for supporting a portion of the driven shaft.

19. The engine and frame assembly of claim 17, wherein the housing portion is coupled to the frame.

20. The engine and frame assembly of claim 17, wherein the frame further comprises: a base; and a support coupled to the base at an angle with respect to the base; wherein the driven shaft extends through the support in a direction that is substantially parallel to the base.

21. The engine and frame assembly of claim 20, wherein the adapter includes a circular flange extending through an aperture in the support.

22. The engine and frame assembly of claim 17, further comprising a male-female engagement between the drive shaft and the driven shaft.

23. The engine and frame assembly of claim 22, wherein the first end of the driven shaft comprises a male member adapted to be received in a rotatably driving engagement with a female member on the drive shaft.

24. The engine and frame assembly of claim 22, wherein the first end of the driven shaft has a generally polygonal radial cross-section.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Four-stroke engines that are operable in multiple orientations are currently being produced. These engines are used in multiple applications due to their low emissions, low cost, and overall versatility.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention is directed toward an engine and frame assembly. The frame supports the engine in one or more orientations for specific tasks. For example, it can orient the engine in a first orientation for operation, and orient the engine in a second orientation for maintenance. The frame can also connect one or more rotary driven devices to the engine to allow the engine to be used in a wide variety of applications. The frame can provide an adapter for coupling the engine to the rotary driven device. The adapter allows relative axial movement between the engine and device while transmitting torque to the device.

One embodiment of the invention relates to an engine and frame assembly including an engine having a reservoir adapted to contain lubricant and a dipstick adapted to measure the level of the lubricant within the reservoir. The engine has an operating orientation and a maintenance orientation that is different from the operating orientation. The dipstick is operable to measure a recommended level of lubricant within the reservoir when the engine is in the maintenance orientation. A frame is coupled to the engine and adapted to support the engine on a support surface in the operating orientation and in the maintenance orientation.

Another embodiment relates to an engine and frame assembly including an engine having a rotatable drive shaft. A frame is coupled to the engine and adapted to support the engine in a specific orientation on a support surface during operation of the engine. An adapter is coupled to the frame and adapted to be coupled to a rotary driven device. A driven shaft is supported by the adapter and axially aligned with the drive shaft. The driven shaft includes a first end engaging the drive shaft and a second end adapted to engage and drive a rotatably driven device. The engagement between the drive shaft and the first end of the driven shaft transfers torque from the drive shaft to the driven shaft while allowing relative axial movement between the drive shaft and the driven shaft. The engine has a housing portion supporting a bearing that supports a portion of the driven shaft. In some embodiments, a collar extends from the drive shaft to engage the driven shaft.

Yet another embodiment relates to an engine and frame assembly including an engine and a housing coupled to the engine. The housing has at least one aperture. A frame includes a cantilevered projection that is received within the aperture for engaging and at least partially securing the engine to the frame to support the engine in a specific orientation relative to a support surface during operation of the engine.

These and other aspects of the present invention, together with the organization and operation thereof, will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals indicate like parts:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a frame and engine assembly embodying aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the frame and engine assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the frame and engine assembly of FIG. 1 with a pump removed from the front of the assembly.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are rear views of the frame and engine assembly of FIG. 1, showing the assembly in two different orientations.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the engine and frame assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-section view of the engine and frame assembly of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a rear view of the frame shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 8 is a cross-section view taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a top view of the frame shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a partial cross-section view of a portion of the frame shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is a partial top view of a portion of the frame shown in FIG. 9

FIG. 12 is an assembly view of the frame shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 13 is an exploded perspective view of a frame and engine assembly according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 14 is a partial cross-section view of the engine and frame assembly of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a cross-section view taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 14.

Before the embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangements of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as a limitation of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A frame 10 supporting an engine 14 and a rotary device 18 powered by the engine 14 is illustrated in FIG. 1. Although the illustrated rotary device 18 is a pump, other rotary powered devices can be used in combination with the engine 14 and the frame 10. For example, a blower, compressor, and the like can be powered and supported by the illustrated engine 14 and frame assembly 10. The illustrated pump has an inlet 22 and an outlet 26 for moving a fluid.

Different types of engines 14 can be used in combination with the illustrated frame 10. For example, a two-stroke engine or a four-stroke engine can be used. In some embodiments, it is preferable to use a lightweight, low-cost, mass-produced engine to create a small low-cost pump (or other device).

The illustrated engine 14 is a four-stroke, single cylinder engine. An exemplary embodiment of the engine 14 is disclosed in United States Patent No.6,810,849, which is hereby incorporated by reference. Although the detailed construction of the engine 14 is not illustrated in the present disclosure, the engine 14 has a piston that moves within the cylinder and drives a connecting rod. As shown in FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 6, the connecting rod is coupled to a crankshaft or drive shaft 30 located within a crank chamber 34 of the engine housing 38. The connecting rod causes the crankshaft 30 to rotate as the piston reciprocates within the cylinder. As described in greater detail below, the crankshaft 30 has an end 42 that ultimately provides power to a rotary device 18.

As illustrated in FIG. 4A and 4B, the engine 14 also has a reservoir 46 containing a lubricant, such as oil. The oil reservoir 46 is partially defined by a wall 50 of the crank chamber 34 and an outer wall 52 of the engine 14. As illustrated, the oil reservoir 46 is substantially curved or U-shaped to follow the general shape of the common wall 50 of the crank chamber 34. A plurality of apertures 54 extend though the common wall 50 to allow fluid communication between the oil reservoir 46 and the crank chamber 34. The apertures 54 are positioned to properly lubricate the moving elements within the crank chamber 34 during operation of the engine 14 regardless of the orientation of the engine 14. However, the engine 14 orientation shown in FIGS. 1 and 4A, is an optimal orientation for the illustrated embodiment. The apertures 54 also prevent excessive amounts of lubricant from accumulating within the crank chamber 34.

Proper lubrication of the crank chamber 34 is dependent upon the proper amount of oil or other lubricant being within the oil reservoir 46. Accordingly, the engine 14 is provided with an oil dipstick 58 to measure the level of the oil within the oil reservoir 46. The oil dipstick 58 extends through the engine wall 52 and into the oil reservoir 46. The oil dipstick 58 is fastened to the engine wall 52 to prevent the oil dipstick 58 from unintentionally disconnecting from the engine 14. Due in part to the particular configuration of the illustrated oil reservoir 46 relative to the crank chamber 34, the oil dipstick 58 extends into the oil reservoir 46 in a generally horizontal orientation while the engine 14 is in the operating orientation shown in FIG. 4A. Accordingly, the dipstick 58 is entirely submerged within the oil while the engine 14 is in the operating orientation.

Removal of the dipstick 58 with the engine 14 shut off in the operating orientation would provide an inaccurate oil level reading due to the dipstick being totally submerged in this orientation. Removal of the dipstick 58 when the engine 14 is operating in the operating orientation would provide inaccurate measurements because during operation the oil is randomly dispersed throughout the engine. Additionally, if the engine is operating or not, the oil would be able to escape the oil reservoir 46 due to gravity if the dipstick 58 were removed with the engine 14 in this orientation. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 4B, the engine 14 must be placed on its side in order to place the dipstick 58 in a vertical orientation (relative to a surface of the oil) and to properly check the oil level. As shown, with the engine 14 placed on its side, the oil only partially covers the dipstick 58.

The frame 10 is designed to properly orient the engine 14 in both the operating position and the oil checking or maintenance position as illustrated in FIGS. 4A and 4B respectively. As illustrated, the frame 10 is tilted by about ninety degrees to support the engine 14 upon a support surface 60 in the two illustrated orientations. The frame 10 has a base 62 and a support 66 coupled to the base 62, as illustrated in FIGS. 7-11, to orient the engine 14 relative to the support surface 60. The base 62 defines a first support plane for supporting the engine 14 on the support surface 60 in the operating orientation. The base 62 and the support 66 define a second support plane for supporting the engine 14 on the support surface 60 in the oil checking orientation.

The base 62 and support 66 can be configured and constructed in a variety of different ways. For example, they can be constructed from a variety of plates, rods, beams, or other structural members. The illustrated base 62 is generally plate-like. Specifically, it is constructed from stamped sheet metal. At least three support feet 70 are coupled to the base 62. The support feet 70 are constructed to absorb vibration. For example the support feet 70 can be made from rubber or other elastomeric materials and the like. When the frame 10 is positioned on the support feet 70, the base 62 defines a first support plane to orient the engine 14 in the operational orientation.

The engine 14 can be coupled to the base 62 in several different ways. For example, a variety of different fasteners or fastening techniques can be used. However, the illustrated embodiment utilizes a cantilevered projection 74 extending from the base 62 to engage and support the engine 14. As shown in FIG. 8-11, the cantilevered projection 74 has a first portion 78 that extends upward from the base 62 and a second portion 82 that extends substantially parallel to the base 62. This configuration defines an open rectangular configuration for receiving a portion of the housing 38 surrounding an aperture 86. The open rectangular configuration can extend in substantially any direction. However, the open portion of the open rectangular configuration extends away from the support 66 in the illustrated embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 5, the aperture 86 in the engine housing 38 receives the cantilevered projection 74 to support the engine 14 on the base 62. More specifically, two apertures 86 are each individually received on one of two different cantilevered projections 74 to support the engine 14 on the base 62. Although the illustrated apertures 86 in the engine housing 38 are defined by totally enclosed periphery, the apertures 86 on the engine housing 38 can also have an open rectangular configuration or the like that can be received and supported by the cantilevered projection 74. The engaging portions of the frame 10 and engine 14 can be at least partially covered with a vibration and/or noise attenuating material, such as the rubber boots 90 as shown in FIG. 5.

The illustrated support 66 is also constructed from sheet metal. More specifically, it is constructed from the same piece of sheet metal as the base 62, as shown in FIG. 12. Once the combined base 62 and support 66 are formed in the sheet metal, the sheet metal is bent to properly configure the frame 10. As indicated above, the support 62 can be formed from other materials and can be constructed differently. For example, it can be formed separate from the base 62 and joined to the base 62.

As illustrated, the support 66 extends from the base 62 at an angle with respect to the base 62. Although it can extend from the base in a variety of different angles, the illustrated support 66 extends at about a ninety-degree angle with respect to the base 62.

Two legs 94 extend from the support 66 as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The legs 94 extend away from the base plate 62 to increase the overall length of the base 62. The legs 94 are designed to contact the support surface 60 to partially support the engine 14 relative the support surface 60. As shown in FIG. 5, the contact points partially define the first support plane to position the engine 14 in the operating orientation. One of the support feet 70 is coupled to the each of the legs 94.

One or more portions of the support 66 can be used to orient and/or support the engine 14 in the oil changing orientation. Specifically, a portion of the support 66 and a portion of the base 62 define a second support plane for the oil changing orientation. In the oil changing orientation, the frame 10 rests on a side portion of one of the legs 94 extending from the support 66. As shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, this portion of the leg 94 in combination with a portion of the base 62 at least partially define the second support plane. A handle 98 coupled to the support 66 also defines the second support plane.

As shown in FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 7-9, a rod is coupled to the support to form the handle 98. The rod can be solid or hollow. Furthermore, other members can be used as a handle 98, such as plates, beams, and other structural members. The handle 98 can be used to grasp the engine and frame assembly 12 for transporting the assembly 12. The handle 98 also supports the engine and frame assembly 12 in the oil checking orientation as shown in FIG. 4B. As illustrated, the handle 98 contacts the support surface 60 in the oil checking orientation. This contact point partially defines the second support plane. As illustrated, a portion of the base 62 also partially defines the second support plane as well. Specifically, an edge portion of the base 62 rests on the support surface 60 to support the engine 14 in the oil checking orientation.

The support 66 can be coupled to a portion of the engine 14 to support the engine 14 in the various orientations. As illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, 5, and 6, a portion of the engine 14 can be coupled to the support 66 via one or more fasteners 102. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-12, a portion of the engine housing 38 surrounding the crankshaft 30 is coupled to the support 66. This portion of the housing 38 has a circular area that abuts the support 66 and is fastened to the support 66 via a several fasteners 102 extending through the support 66 and into the engine housing 38.

As best shown in FIG. 6, an adapter 110 is also coupled to the support portion 66 of the frame 10. The adapter 110 is positioned on the frame 10 opposite the engine housing 38. The adapter 110 has a flange 111 that extends through an aperture in the frame 10 and further extends partially into the engine housing 38. The adapter 110 is coupled to the support portion 66 of the frame 10 via one or more fasteners 114 (FIG. 3). The adapter also has a recessed area 112 for receiving portions of the fasteners 102 that couple the engine housing 38 to the frame 10.

The adapter 110 supports a portion of a rotatable shaft 106 that extends from the engine housing 38 and through the frame 10. The adapter 110 provides a bearing surface for this shaft 106. In some embodiments, one or more bearings are positioned within recesses of the adapter to support the shaft 106 and provide the bearing surface. The adapter 110 aligns the shaft 106 with the crankshaft 30 of the engine 14 so the shaft 106 can be driven by the crankshaft 30. A portion of the rotatable shaft 106 is also supported by a bearing 113 located within the engine housing 38.

The shaft 106 extends between the engine 14 and the rotary device 18 to drive the rotary device 18. Specifically, a portion of the rotatable shaft 106 extends through the adapter 110 to drive the rotary device 18. The adapter 110 also connects the rotary device 18 to the frame 10. The adapter 110 has a flange 115 for receiving and supporting the rotary device 18. The flange 111 can also properly align the rotary device 18 with the shaft 106. Additionally, with reference to FIGS. 3 and 6, fasteners (not shown) can extend through apertures 117 between the adapter 110 and the rotary device 18 to secure the rotary device 18 to the adapter 110 and the frame 10. The fasteners can be recessed within the adapter if necessary to prevent interference with the frame 10 or rotary device 18.

With reference to FIG. 6, the shaft 106 supported by the adapter 110 is driven by the engine 14 to drive the rotary device 18. Power is transferred from the engine 14 to the shaft 106 via crankshaft 30. The crankshaft 30 has a collar 121 adapted to engage and drive the shaft 106. The collar 121 is connected to an end of the crankshaft 30. The collar 121 can be connected to the crankshaft 30 in several different ways. For example, the collar 121 can be connected to the crankshaft 30 with a splined engagement, a keyed engagement, a threaded engagement, a press fit, and the like. In some embodiments, the collar 121 is integrally formed with the crankshaft 30.

The shaft 106 has an end 118 that forms a mating engagement with the collar 121 of the crankshaft 30 to receive power from the engine 14. The engagement between the collar 121 and the crankshaft 30 is designed to transmit torque or rotational forces about the radial axis of the shafts 30, 106 while allowing the shafts 30, 106 to move relative to each other in the axial direction. The engagement comprises a male-female engagement 122 between the shaft 106 and the collar 121 of the crankshaft 30. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the collar 121 of the crankshaft 30 receives the end 118 of the driven shaft 106 within a recess 126 of the collar 121. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 6, the end 118 of the driven shaft 106 is four sided, while the recess 126 of the crank shaft collar 121 has a similar four sided internal shape to receive the end 118 of the driven shaft 106. Accordingly, the end 118 of the driven shaft 106 can be axially received within the end of the crankshaft 30 and yet rotate with the crankshaft 30.

The engine 14 can be connected to the frame 10 in many different ways. For example, the engine 14 illustrated in FIGS. 13-15 can be connected to the frame 10 by clamping a portion of the engine housing onto an extension of the frame 10. The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 13-15 is similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-12, except as described below, and like reference numbers are used to identify like components.

The engine housing 138 includes first and second clamps 140, 142. The clamps 140, 142 include facing cylindrical surfaces 141 that define a substantially tubular clamping surface. The first and second clamps 140, 142 each include through holes on opposite sides of the cylindrical surface to receive fasteners 144. Tightening of the fasteners 144 draws the first and second clamps 140, 142 closer together.

The frame 10 includes a tubular flange 146 that extends from the support 66. The flange 146 can be cut from a metal tube and welded to the support 66 of the frame 10. The flange 146 can also be formed by other processes such as drawing or stamping the flange 146 directly from the support 66.

The method of connecting the engine housing 138 and the frame 10 is best illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15. First, the engine housing 138 is positioned over the flange 146 such that the exterior surface of the flange 146 is in contact with the cylindrical surfaces 141. The fasteners 144 are then tightened to secure the first and second clamps 140, 142 to the flange 146. In other embodiments, the engine housing 138 can be cylindrically shaped about the flange 146, and a pipe clamp can be used to tighten the engine housing around the flange 146.

The adapter 110 is also coupled to the support portion 66 of the frame 10. The adapter 110 is positioned on the frame 10 opposite the engine housing 138. The adapter 110 has a circular projection 148 that extends into the flange 148. The adapter 110 is coupled to the support portion 66 of the frame 10 via one or more fasteners. The adapter 110 has a flange 115 for receiving and supporting a rotary device. The circular projection 148 can also properly align the rotary device with the shaft 106. Additionally, fasteners (not shown) can extend through apertures 117 between the adapter 110 and the rotary device to secure the rotary device to the adapter 110 and the frame 10. The fasteners can be recessed within the adapter if necessary to prevent interference with the frame 10 or rotary device.

The embodiments described above and illustrated in the figures are presented by way of example only and are not intended as a limitation upon the concepts and principles of the present invention. As such, it will be appreciated by one having ordinary skill in the art that various changes in the elements and their configuration and arrangement are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, various alternatives to the certain features and elements of the present invention are described with reference to specific embodiments of the present invention. With the exception of features, elements, and manners of operation that are mutually exclusive of or are inconsistent with each embodiment described above, it should be noted that the alternative features, elements, and manners of operation described with reference to one particular embodiment are applicable to the other embodiments.

Various features of the invention are set forth in the following claims.