Title:
Apparatus and method for center post stop debris removal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insertable clean out sleeve for use with a matching receiving cylinder or an existing receiving cylinder. The clean out sleeve is sized to fit within the receiving cylinder and to be easily placed within the receiving cylinder and easily removed from the receiving cylinder. Debris which would otherwise fall into the receiving cylinder, ultimately clogging it, will fall within the clean out sleeve. The clean out sleeve may be removed from the receiving cylinder and emptied of debris and reinserted into the receiving cylinder. This means that a vertical center rod used as part of the closure and/or locking system on an existing gate for a fence will be easily used without concern that debris may clog the receiving cylinder.



Inventors:
Worth, Willie Randall (Rocky Point, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/107949
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MACARTHUR, VICTOR L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL E. MAUNEY (SOUTHPORT, NC, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An insertable clean out sleeve for use with an existing receiving cylinder and vertical center rod of an existing gate on a fence comprising: (a) an insertable clean out sleeve of a particular size and shape to fit within an existing receiving cylinder on an existing fencing system; (b) means for removable inserting said insertable clean out sleeve inside a receiving cylinder.

2. An insertable clean out sleeve for use with an existing receiving cylinder and vertical center rod of an existing gate on a fence of claim 1 wherein said insertable clean out sleeve is generally longitudinally shaped with said longitudinal dimension of sufficient size to allow a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system to securely mount inside of said insertable clean out sleeve.

3. An insertable clean out sleeve for use with an existing receiving cylinder and vertical center rod of an existing gate on a fence of claim 2 further comprising within said insertable clean out sleeve means for draining liquid from said insertable clean out sleeve, said means for draining designed to retain solid material within said insertable clean out sleeve.

4. An insertable clean out sleeve for use with an existing receiving cylinder and vertical center rod of an existing gate on a fence of claim 3 wherein said longitudinal dimension is at least large enough that a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system, when mounted inside of said insertable clean out sleeve, aligns for locking of a gate in an existing fencing system.

5. An insertable clean out sleeve for use with an existing receiving cylinder and vertical center rod of an existing gate on a fence of claim 4 wherein said insertable clean out sleeve is of a generally cylindrical shape, said cylinder open at one end and closed at a second end whereby said insertable clean out sleeve will contain solid debris therein when said open end of said insertable clean out sleeve is positioned above said closed end of said insertable clean out sleeve.

6. An insertable clean out sleeve and matching receiving cylinder for use with an existing vertical center rod of an existing fencing system comprising: (a) a receiving cylinder sized for receipt therein of an insertable clean out sleeve; (b) said insertable clean out sleeve of a particular size and shape for insertion into said receiving cylinder; (d) means for removable inserting said insertable clean out sleeve within said receiving cylinder.

7. An insertable clean out sleeve and matching receiving cylinder for use with an existing vertical center rod of an existing fencing system of claim 6 wherein said insertable clean out sleeve is generally longitudinally shaped with said longitudinal dimension of a sufficient size to allow a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system to securely mount inside said insertable clean out sleeve.

8. An insertable clean out sleeve and matching receiving cylinder for use with an existing vertical center rod of an existing fencing system of claim 7 wherein said insertable clean out sleeve has means of draining liquid from said insertable clean out sleeve, said means for draining designed to retain solid material within said insertable clean out sleeve while allowing liquid to drain from said insertable clean out sleeve.

9. An insertable clean out sleeve and matching receiving cylinder for use with an existing vertical center rod of an existing fencing system of claim 8 wherein said longitudinal dimension is at least large enough that a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system, when mounted inside of said insertable clean out sleeve, aligns for locking of a gate in this existing fencing system.

10. An insertable clean out sleeve and matching receiving cylinder for use with an existing vertical center rod of an existing fencing system of claim 9 wherein means for removable inserting includes threads on insertable cleanout sleeve and matching threads on said receiving cylinder whereby said insertable clean out sleeve threadably inserts into said receiving cylinder.

11. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence comprising: (a) providing a clean out sleeve of a particular size and shape to fit within a receiving cylinder to catch debris that otherwise would fall into a receiving cylinder; (b) placing said clean out sleeve within a receiving cylinder to catch debris before debris clogs a recieving cylinder; (c) providing means for emptying debris from said clean out sleeve.

12. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence of claim 11 wherein said step of providing a clean out sleeve further comprises providing a clean out sleeve of a general longitudinal shape with said longitudinal dimension of sufficient size to allow a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system to securely mount inside of said clean out sleeve.

13. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence of claim 12 further comprising providing means for draining liquid from said clean out sleeve whereby said means for draining is designed to retain solid material within said clean out sleeve.

14. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence of claim 13 further comprises providing a clean out sleeve with said longitudinal dimension that is at least large enough that a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system, when mounted inside said clean out sleeve, aligns for locking of a gate in an existing fencing system.

15. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence of claim 14 further comprising providing an clean out sleeve of a generally cylindrical shape, said cylinder opened at one end and closed at a second end whereby said clean out sleeve of a generally cylindrical shape will contain solid debris therein when said open end of said clean out sleeve is positioned above said closed end of said clean out sleeve.

16. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder on a fence of claim 11 further comprising providing a receiving cylinder of a particular size and shape to match said clean out sleeve whereby said receiving cylinder provided as part of this method will replace an existing receiving cylinder.

17. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder of a fence of claim 12. Said step of providing a clean out sleeve and said step of providing a receiving cylinder further comprises providing said clean out sleeve and said receiving cylinder are of a general longitudinal shape with said longitudinal dimension of a sufficient size to allow a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system to securely mount inside of said clean out sleeve when said clean out sleeve is in position inside of said receiving cylinder.

18. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder of claim 17 which further comprises providing means for draining liquid from said clean out sleeve whereby said means for draining is designed to retain solid material within said clean out sleeve.

19. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder of a fence of claim 18 further comprising providing a clean out sleeve and a receiving cylinder with a longitudinal dimension that is at least large enough that a vertical center rod of an existing fencing system, when mounted inside of said clean out sleeve, aligns for locking of a gate in an existing fencing system.

20. A method to prevent debris from clogging a receiving cylinder of a fence of claim 19 further comprising providing threads on said clean out sleeve and matching threads on said clean out sleeve whereby said step of placing said clean out sleeve further includes threading said clean out sleeve into said receiving cylinder.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an apparatus and method for keeping debris from a receiving cylinder used in fencing as an anchor for a vertical center rod for a fence gate.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed toward solving a problem common in fencing, particularly chain link fencing. A variety of expedients are used to provide gates in fences. These gates are usually hinged for rotatable movement about a fence post. Commonly the fence posts are fixed into the ground. If the gate is a one-way gate, not unlike a door in a home, the gate will rotate closed and attach in some convenient fashion to a second fence post, which forms a terminal end of another section of the fence. However, on occasion there may be two gates that swing open. The reason for two gates may be that the opening needs to be large enough so that it would be inconvenient or difficult to mount a single gate of sufficient size. For chain link fencing, a common expedient for two gates, which both swing open to create an opening in the fence, is to attach a vertical center rod mounted for rotatable movement and vertical movement, to a gate post at the end of one gate. In order to close the two gates and attach them to each other, this vertical center rod may have movable u-clip attachments, which enclose a vertical gate post on the adjoining gate. Once these u-clip attachments are in place around an opposing gate post of a second gate, this vertical center rod then vertically slides into a buried receiving cylinder. As this vertical center rod enters the receiving cylinder placed in the ground, it reaches a resting position at the bottom of the receiving cylinder. Usually a locking piece, often mounted on the vertical center rod, slides into place as the vertical center rod also slides into the ground, thus securing the vertical center rod from any further rotational movement. The vertical center rod may be locked into place, thereby locking both gates closed. However, the receiving cylinder that is permanently sunk into the ground may become fouled with debris. This could be gravel, sticks, twigs, rocks, or similar debris present in the area where the fence gates are mounted. Over time debris may fill the receiving cylinder to the point that the vertical center rod can no longer drop into place, making it difficult to lock the gates. To secure the vertical center rod into place in the receiving cylinder, requires the tedious task of trying to clean the debris out of the inaccessible buried receiving cylinder.

There is no known background art designed to address the problem recognized and solved by the current invention. There is background art, which addresses the problem of unwanted debris entering a pipe or cylinder. An obvious example of this is the sink drain stopper found in most kitchen sinks, which can completely stop fluid from entering the drain pipes, or allows the fluid to enter the drain pipes in a controlled fashion, while simultaneously straining food particles or other debris, thus keeping the debris from entering the sink drain pipe.

A variety of expedients have been proposed to skim ice from a hole used for fishing. An example is the McClure, U.S. Pat. No. 6,694,662. This consists of a removable cylinder to be inserted into an ice hole. At the bottom of the cylinder is a pivoting filtering assembly. The filter pivots against the wall of the device. The device is inserted into the hole, the filtering assembly is pivoted into place, and the device is removed from the hole, which simultaneously removes ice particles from the hole while also containing them within the cylinder for easy disposal. A similar device is seen in Miranowski, U.S. Pat. No. 6,618,978. Again, a cylinder is seen with a pivoting, filtering assembly at the bottom of the cylinder controlled by a handle at the top of the cylinder. The cylinder is placed inside of the ice hole. The filtering assembly at the bottom of the cylinder pivots into place, the cylinder is removed from the hole capturing any ice debris inside of the hole, while retaining the ice chips within the cylinder for disposal. Hendricks et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,072,538, discloses a skimmer for removal of debris suspended in a clogged bore. One obvious use of this is for ice fishing. Here, the skimmer is placed into the hole with the strainer assembly pivoted closed. Once the device is placed into the ice hole, the filtering assembly pivots open and the skimmer is pulled from the hole removing debris from the bore.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Despite this prior work, there is nothing that addresses the problem recognized and solved by this invention. The invention could be used as an attachment to an existing buried receiving cylinder or can be used in combination with a matching receiving cylinder for use as an anchoring point for a vertical center fence rod. It consists of a removable sleeve fitted inside the receiving cylinder for use with a vertical center rod of a fence gate. The receiving cylinder must be sized sufficiently to hold the sleeve, that fits inside the cylinder and holds the vertical center rod, which will now fit inside the sleeve placed inside the receiving cylinder. The sleeve extends deep enough into the receiving cylinder so that a vertical center rod may be correctly positioned inside the sleeve. The bottom of the sleeve has drain holes, which allow water or other liquids that may enter the sleeve, to drain from the bottom of the sleeve into the receiving cylinder and into the ground in which the receiving cylinder is placed. The sleeve is made of a durable non-corrosive material. In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve will have a flange or lip extending around one end of the sleeve. This flange will serve to mount the sleeve inside of the receiving cylinder. It serves a simultaneous purpose of stopping the sleeve from going too far into the cylinder, while also provides a convenient gripping point for a user to remove the sleeve from the receiving cylinder when necessary. This flange may be bent along an outer circumference to form a cap over the receiving cylinder. This prevents debris from getting between the sleeve and the receiving cylinder. This would be undesirable because it could cause a frictional binding effect between the sleeve and the receiving cylinder, making it more difficult to remove the sleeve from the receiving cylinder.

Under most circumstances, the sleeve will be placed in the receiving cylinder and there will be no need to use it immediately. As debris accumulates within the sleeve inside the receiving cylinder, it may make it more difficult to insert the vertical center rod within the sleeve. When debris have accumulated to that point, the sleeve is simply removed from the receiving cylinder, the debris are emptied from the sleeve, and the sleeve replaced inside the receiving cylinder.

The receiving cylinder can be several inches deep and is of a size that make it impossible to use one's fingers to clear it. On occasion, it may be necessary to dig the receiving cylinder out of the ground in order to remove debris that have accumulated inside the receiving cylinder. This can be a special problem if the receiving cylinder has been mounted into cement for more secure mounting in the ground. Therefore, this sleeve greatly simplifies the onerous job of removing debris from a buried receiving cylinder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows two chain link fence gates of standard construction.

FIGS. 1A and 1B shows details of the mechanisms of the gates shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 shows a detail of the vertical center rod and the receiving cylinder of a chain link fence.

FIG. 3 shows a simplified version of the current invention.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the current invention.

FIG. 4A shows in cut-a-way an alternate embodiment of the current invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a chain link gate (100) and a chain link gate (200) closed and attached to each other by the vertical center rod (300). The vertical center rod (300) is attached to the gate (100) by straps (320) for rotatable movement as shown by the semicircular arrows at the top of the vertical center rod (300). These straps (320) allow the vertical center rod (300) to rotate within the strap (320). Attached to the vertical center rod (300) are u-clips (340), seen in detail in FIG. 1A. The u-clips (340) have an opening sized to receive the gate post (210) on the gate (200). As gate (100) is opened in the direction shown by the arrow at the top of FIG. 1, the vertical center rod (300) rotates on the straps (320) allowing the u-clips (340) to rotate matching the rotation of the vertical center rod (300), which allows the gate (100) to be opened and also allows the gate (200) to be opened in the direction shown by the arrow. For some gates the u-clips (340) may be mounted to lift in the vertical plane for securing the gate (200). However, in order to lock the two fence posts together or to secure them so that the gates will not open, the vertical center rod (300) is also mounted for vertical movement in the directions shown by the vertical arrow. Here, in FIG. 1, the vertical center rod (300) is shown partially inserted into the receiving cylinder (500) in the ground. As long as the vertical center rod (300) is within the receiving cylinder (500), the gate (100) cannot open. To open the gate (100), the vertical center rod (300) must be lifted high enough so that the vertical center rod (300) is no longer contained within the receiving cylinder (500). A locking mechanism (400) is shown in FIG. 1B. The gate post (110) on gate (100) has a clip (410). The clip (410) is fixedly mounted to the gate post (110). The clip (410) has a bore(420) there between aligned on two opposite faces of the clip (410). The bore (420) has a matching bore (421) on a flange (425), which is fixedly mounted on the vertical center rod (300). When the flange (425) is aligned with the clip (410), and the vertical center rod (300) is fully inserted into the receiving cylinder (500), the bore (421) aligns with the bore (420). A lock (not shown) may be inserted through the bore (420) on the clip (410) and through the bore (421) on the flange (425) and secured into place. Once the bores have a lock there between and the lock is locked, then the vertical center rod (300) can no longer move in the vertical direction because it's motion is restrained by the lock inside the bore (421). Likewise, the flange (425) is inside the clip (420), which also restricts any rotational movement of the vertical center rod (300). This simultaneously locks the gate (100) into place and the gate (200) into place as long as the gate post (210) is secured within the u-clip (340) on the vertical center rod (300). Thus, it can be seen that the vertical position of the vertical center rod (300) inside the receiving cylinder (500) is critical, both for securely fixing the gate (100) into place, using the u-clips (340) to affix the gate (200) to the gate (100), and locking the gates using the clip (410) and the flange (425).

It may be readily appreciated, as is shown in FIG. 2, if the receiving cylinder (500) buried in the ground (510) becomes fouled with debris, here shown as rocks or gravel (600) in the bottom of the receiving cylinder (500), the vertical center rod (300) may not extend far enough into the receiving cylinder (500) because of the debris (600). If the vertical center rod (300) is part of the locking mechanism (400), then the flange (425) cannot match up with the clip (410) in order to align the bores (420) and (421) for locking and security. Indeed, if the receiving cylinder (500) fills up entirely with debris, the gates (100) and (200) cannot even be closed securely because the vertical center rod (300) cannot be placed within the receiving cylinder (500). It is been found in practice that the receiving cylinder (500) will accumulate debris of various kinds. This can be leaves, loose rocks, blown dirt, refuse, and trash, or anything else which can be knocked into the receiving cylinder (500) by wind, by the action of opening and closing the gate, by traffic through the opening in the gate, or other actions by outside agencies. For some fences, especially fences that have only a single gate, the vertical center rod (300) may be simplified into a short solid rod, which does not have the flange (425) mounted on it as part of the locking mechanism (400). For these types of gates, the vertical center rod (300) is simply mounted for vertical movement into the receiving cylinder (500). For those smaller gates, the u-clip (340) may be mounted not for rotational movement but for vertical movement along an arc of 90 degrees. Under these circumstances, the gate could be closed and locked without the vertical center rod (300) inserted into the receiving cylinder (500). Here the vertical center rod (300) is used primarily to securely close the gate. But, even under these circumstances, it is necessary the receiving cylinder (500) be sufficiently deep so that the vertical center rod (300) will readily fit into the receiving cylinder (500) to securely close the gate on which the vertical center rod (300) is mounted. The function of the insertable protective sleeve (700), shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, will be the same whether the vertical center rod (300) functions as shown in FIG. 1 as part of the locking mechanism or as used to close the gate as is described above.

FIG. 3 shows a simplified version of the insertable clean out sleeve invention (700). It is sized and shaped similar to the receiving cylinder (500). However, the diameter of the insertable clean out sleeve (700) will be slightly smaller than that of the receiving cylinder (500). The receiving cylinder (500) may vary in size, depending on the size of the vertical center rod (300), shown in FIG. 1, as is used for different sized fences. Particular dimensions of the receiving cylinder (500) and the insertable clean out sleeve (700) are not important except that the insertable clean out sleeve (700) must readily fit within the receiving cylinder (500) and must have an internal diameter sufficiently large to allow the vertical center rod (300) to fit within the insertable clean out sleeve (700) when it is mounted within the receiving cylinder (500). At the bottom of the receiving cylinder (500), there will be a number of small holes (730), shown by the series of dots at the bottom of the insertable clean out sleeve (700) in FIG. 1. These small holes(730) will be large enough to allow water or other liquids to readily drain from the sleeve (700), but will be small enough to retain any significantly sized debris within the insertable clean out sleeve (700). The holes (730) would need to be small enough to retain construction sand, grit, and the like, which are frequently found in or near jobs where construction traffic may be required. Chain link fence and gates are commonly used in enclosures for construction materials, construction vehicles, and the like. At one end of the insertable clean out sleeve (700), opposite from the drainage holes (730), is a flange (720). This secures the insertable clean out sleeve (700) within the receiving cylinder (500). It is necessary the flange (720) be large enough that it will stop the insertable clean out sleeve (700) from falling into the receiving cylinder (500), making the insertable clean out sleeve (700) difficult to remove from the receiving cylinder (500). The flange (720) may be flat or it may have a downwardly curving edge to form a cap over the receiving cylinder (500). A downwardly curving edge will make it more difficult for debris to slip within the receiving cylinder (500) in the space between the insertable clean out sleeve (700) and the cylinder(500).

FIG. 4 shows a potential commercial embodiment of an insertable clean out sleeve (700) and a matching receiving cylinder (500). The insertable clean out sleeve (700) may be sold as an individual piece sized to fit standard receiving cylinders (500) for standard fence sizes. However, if the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is sold with a matching receiving cylinder (500), it is believed it would add little to the overall cost of the device, while also providing a higher degree of functionality for the insertable clean out sleeve (700) than would be the case if it is sold as an add-on accessory for a preexisting receiving cylinder (500). In FIG. 4, the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is shown partially inserted within a matching receiving cylinder (500). The receiving cylinder (500) could be sized so that the insertable clean out sleeve (700) would closely match the receiving cylinder (500), while still leaving a sufficiently large internal diameter for the insertable clean-out sleeve (700) to readily receive a vertical center rod (300) for a particular style or size of fence. Here, the insertable clean out sleeve (700) has a curved cap flange (721), which is designed to clip over the matching receiving cylinder (500) to securely fit the insertable clean out sleeve (700) over the outside edge of the matching receiving cylinder (500) using the matching cap flange (721). For a receiving cylinder (500), cap flange (721) helps assure that, when the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is in place, debris cannot get between the insertable clean out sleeve (700) and the receiving cylinder (500). Also shown on the matching cap flange (721) is a foldable handle (750). This foldable handle (750) rotates, as shown by the arrow in FIG. 4, so that it will lie flush against the matching cap flange (721) when not in use. This will mean that a vertical center rod (300) can easily be inserted within the insertable clean out sleeve (700). However, when it is necessary to remove the insertable clean out sleeve (700) to empty it of debris that may have accumulated therein, the foldable handle (750) can be readily gripped to remove the insertable clean out sleeve (700) from the receiving cylinder (500). Drainage holes (730) are shown at the bottom of the insertable clean out sleeve (700). They will appropriately sized and placed to make sure that liquid entering the insertable clean out sleeve (700) will readily drain into the receiving cylinder (500). The receiving cylinder(500) will either have matching holes in it or it may simply be open at each end of the receiving cylinder (500) to readily allow liquid to drain into the surrounding ground (510) where the receiving cylinder (500) will ordinarily be placed. The selling of the insertable clean out sleeve (700) with a matching receiving cylinder (500) allows tolerances and materials to be matched. However, it will be readily appreciated that the insertable clean out sleeve (700) need only be made of any durable rigid material, preferably non-corrosive, that appropriately matches in size a receiving cylinder (500). Typically, it would be expected that both the receiving cylinder (500) and the insertable clean out sleeve (700) would be made of a galvanized metal or PVC material. If an operator of a fence notices there is difficulty in placing the vertical center rod (300) into the insertable clean out sleeve (700) because of debris that have accumulated inside of the insertable clean out sleeve (700), he need only use the foldable handle (750) to remove the insertable clean out sleeve (700) from the receiving cylinder (500) and shake the insertable clean out sleeve (700) to remove debris that have accumulated inside it. If mud has solidified inside of the insertable clean out sleeve (700), water could be readily used to wash the mud from the inside of the insertable clean out sleeve (700). Remaining water would readily drain from the holes (730) before the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is replaced inside of the receiving cylinder (500).

FIG. 4A shows in cut-a-way an alternative of the insertable clean out sleeve (700), as was shown in FIG. 4. Here, the insertable clean out sleeve (700) has threads (760) mounted immediately below the matching cap flange (721). Matching threads (560) are within the receiving cylinder (500). Here, the insertable clean out sleeve (700) mounts into the receiving cylinder (500) by use of the threads (760) and the matching threads (560), so that the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is screwed into place inside the receiving cylinder (500) using the threads (760) and (560). Oftentimes, a double gate using a vertical center rod (300) is found in fences for industrial applications where large or heavy trucks, tractors, or other vehicles use the opening created in the fence by the gate using the vertical center rod (300). Consequently, it is necessary to securely mount the insertable clean out sleeve (700) into the receiving cylinder (500) since, on occasion, the tires of a heavy vehicle may pass directly over the receiving cylinder (500). For that reason, the matching cap flange (721) will be better able to withstand the forces exerted by the tread of a passing heavy vehicle, while the threads (760) will assure the insertable clean out sleeve (700) is securely mounted within the receiving cylinder (500). Ordinarily, under these circumstances, both the receiving cylinder (500) and the insertable clean out sleeve (700) will be made of a strong, durable material, galvanized metal, or the like, and the metal will be of sufficient size and gauge to withstand expected forces generated by the passing of heavy vehicles. This invention greatly simplifies an onerous problem that reoccurs for users of fences, particularly chain link fences with gates that utilize a vertical center rod for closure and/or locking. It will be readily appreciated by one of skill in the art, that the above described embodiments are for illustration and not for limitation, and that variations in the above description are known for one of skill in the art. The only limitations are the claims which follow.