Title:
Bucket Glides
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ski shaped glide of hardened steel, two or more of which can be attached to the bottom of a bucket on a front-end loader when the bucket is used for plowing snow with the lift hydraulics in float position. The glide specifically referred to as a bucket-glide, significantly and effectively prevent the bucket cutting edge from digging into the road or ground surface when plowing, especially when the ground surface is soft or uneven. To accomplish this objective the bucket-glides are attached to the underside the bucket bottom typically with one in the middle and one near each outside edge with the glide's toes extending upward just beyond the bucket's cutting edge. The acute angle bend of the toes allow the bucket to be tilted downward to enable the bucket cutting edge to effectively engage the snow and enable the bucket to glide over and follow the terrain without having the cutting edge dig in and remove unwanted material. The invention allows the operator to adjust the bucket tilt angle to accommodate for most ground conditions. When plowing snow on soft, unfrozen ground a slight bucket tilt angle allows more of the bucket-glide's surface area to make ground contact and therefore provides more bucket support, preventing the cutting edge from digging in. As the operator increases the bucket tilt angle it progressively reduces the bucket-glide's surface area contact with the ground and support of the bucket resulting in more of the bucket's weight being transferred to the bucket's cutting edge. This reduced bucket support is useful because it allows the cutting edge to aggressively scrape hard surfaces like pavement or frozen ground while still maintaining ground clearance. Bucket glides are attached with a bolt or clamp.



Inventors:
Colclough, James Winslow (Hillsdale, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/160488
Publication Date:
12/28/2006
Filing Date:
06/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MCGOWAN, JAMIE LOUISE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James W. Colclough (Hillsdale, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bucket-glide that has the shape of a small ski for attaching to the bottom of a bucket on a front-end loader to be used for the plowing of snow extending beyond the cutting edge of said bucket and under said bucket to prevent said cutting edge from contacting the ground surface or pavement while plowing thus preventing it from disturbing or removing unwanted material, said bucket-glide comprising a single flat rectangular section of hardened steel forming a base, containing a curving upward bend at one end forming a toe wherein the beginning of said bend defines the separation of said base and said toe, wherein said base is drilled with holes and countersunk on the bottom of said base to accommodate the securing of said bucket-glide to said bucket with a single plow bolt, lock washer and nut.

2. The bucket-glide of claim 1 wherein said bend is an acute angle.

3. The bucket-glide of claim 1 wherein said steel is equal to or greater than ⅜ inches thick.

4. The bucket-glide of claim 1 wherein said holes are drilled at distances from the beginning of said bend along the centerline of said base at intervals that will align with those drilled in the bottom of said bucket according to the variations of industry standards.

5. A bucket-glide for attaching to the bottom of a bucket on a front-end loader that has the shape of a modified ski to be used for the plowing of snow extending beyond the cutting edge of said bucket and under said bucket to prevent said cutting edge from contacting the ground surface or pavement while plowing thus preventing it from disturbing or removing unwanted material, the said bucket-glide comprising a singular flat rectangular section of hardened steel forming a base wherein containing a curving upward bend at one end forming a toe, wherein the beginning of said bend defines the separation between said base and said toe, a hold down plate comprised of a flat rectangular section of said steel, the same width as said base and said toe, one end of which is welded to the back of said toe at a particular vertical distance away from the top of said base and extends rearward directly over and parallel to said base, a gusset comprised of a flat rectangular section of said steel is welded from the bottom of said hold down plate downward to the beginning of and along the full width of said toe along the said line of bend, the width of said gusset closely defining the parallel distance separating said base from said hold down plate, said hold down plate contains one hole that is drilled at a particular location and threaded to accept a single bolt which can then be turned firmly downward to contact the top of the bottom of said bucket creating the static friction force necessary to hold said bucket-glide to said bucket.

6. The bucket-glide of claim 5 wherein said steel is equal to or greater than ⅜ inches thick.

7. The bucket-glide of claim 5 wherein said bend is an acute angle.

8. The bucket glide of claim 5 wherein said hole is drilled on a centerline along the length of said hold down plate.

9. The bucket-glide of claim 5 wherein said hole is drilled at a distance away from said toe to allow said bolt to securely contact the bottom of said bucket accommodating for various industry bucket design standards.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the plowing of snow with a tractor or any other machine equipped with a front-end loader and bucket. More specifically the present invention relates to a ski shaped device called a “bucket-glide” that when two or more are attached to the bottom of the bucket the many problems encountered when plowing snow become greatly reduced.

BACKGROUND AND PRIOR ART

The use of devices that maintain ground clearance and provide support on snow removal equipment are well known. For example snowplows use wear shoes, snow blowers use skids and others even use rollers. More particularly, however, an example of a simple support/ground clearance device that can be attached to a bucket on a front-end loader for plowing snow appears to be absent from the prior art. Commonly, the plowing of snow with a bucket attached to a front-end loader on a tractor is tedious work and requires operator expertise. Typically, using a bucket to plow snow has not been efficient because the cutting edge of the bucket is difficult for the operator to see in relation to the ground surface. Because of this problem the bucket frequently digs in and removes pavement, dirt, grass and other unwanted material along with the snow. One common option available has been to remove the bucket from the front-end loader and replace it with an expensive snowplow type attachment. The present invention seeks to eliminate these problems. The present invention makes the plowing of snow with a bucket easy, efficient, and economical. At the same time the present invention allows the operator to retain the utility of his bucket for scooping and dumping the snow after plowing it.

The following United States patents have been issued that relate to the present invention:

    • 1) U.S. Pat. No. 5,127,175 issued to Atkinson, Jul. 7,1992, discloses a swivel design wear shoe that is mounted to the bottom of a snowplow. It will tilt and rotate on the swivel to maintain the wear surface of the shoe in facing relation to the road surface.
    • 2) U.S. Pat. No. 5,129,169 issued to Aubichon, Jul. 14, 1992, discloses an attachment to increase the efficiency of snow removal of vehicles equipped with a bucket. The attachment is secured by hooks and can be remove by pivotal movements of the bucket.
    • 3) U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,018 issued to O'Brien, Jan. 21, 2003, discloses rollers that can be attached to the bottom edge of a snow blower. The rollers maintain ground clearance and keep the blower from contacting the ground.

4) U.S. Pat. No. 6,574,890 issued to Bateman, Jr. Jun. 10, 2003, discloses a combination snowplow and bucket for plowing, scooping and removing snow. A wear plate can be affixed to the underside.

    • 5) U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,157 issued to Ferreira, Mar. 18, 1997, discloses a wear pad for use on large machines made of molded pieces of rubber or some other material that does not wear easily. The wear pads bolt to the bottom of a bucket attached to a front-end loader and are specifically designed to protect the road surface from damage from the bucket.
    • 6) U.S. Pat. No. 50,125,990 issued to De Clair et. al. May 7, 1991, discloses a protective pad assembly, comprised of elongated rubber, for a loader bucket that is attached to a backhoe. The pad assembly is designed to protect the cutting edge of the bucket from marring/scraping the surface while the backhoe is in use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

If the ground surface is not smooth, flat and hard, similar to new blacktop, efficient plowing of snow with a bucket on a front-end loader is very difficult and requires operator expertise. Without constant bucket angle and height adjustment even the best operator will experience the bucket either digging in or floating up over the snow like a toboggan leaving a packed layer of snow behind. Bucket-glides minimize the problems of the bucket's cutting edge catching on the ground or “floating” upwards over the snow, therefore greatly reducing the need for the operator to constantly adjust the height and angle of the bucket. Bucket-glides, specifically designed to be used with the lift hydraulics in float position, make the plowing of snow using a front-end loader efficient and easy even for the operator with limited experience. Most importantly they offer the owner, at a fraction of the cost of an expensive snowplow attachment, the ability to plow yet retain the utility of his bucket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a centerline profile of a bucket glide with holes drilled to accommodate a plow bolt.

FIG. 2 illustrates an angled top view of a bucket glide with holes drilled.

FIG. 3 illustrates the centerline profile of a bucket glide that is attached to the bottom of a bucket with one plow bolt.

FIG. 4 illustrates a view of three bucket glides each attached to the bottom of a bucket with a single plow bolt.

FIG. 5 illustrates an angled top view of a bucket glide that contains a hold down plate with one threaded hole and supporting gusset used as an optional attachment design.

FIG. 6 illustrates the centerline profile of a bucket glide attached to the bottom of a bucket using the optional attachment design. It shows how the gusset helps support the hold down plate and also how it acts as a stop for cutting edge. FIG. 6 also illustrates how this type of bucket glide can be attached to the bottom of a bucket using a single bolt with lock nut.

FIG. 7 is a view of three bucket glides each attached to the bottom of a bucket using the optional attachment design.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Bucket-glides are designed to greatly reduce and in some cases eliminate the problems encountered when plowing snow with a bucket 9 attached to a front-end loader with the lift hydraulics in float position. In the past the operator has had to constantly adjust the tilt angle of the bucket 9 to prevent the problem of the cutting edge 7 from digging in and removing unwanted material especially when the ground conditions under the snow were soft and/or uneven. If the bucket 9 had even the slightest downward tilt angle this problem was unavoidable because the exact location of the cutting edge 7 was difficult for the operator to see. When the operator would attempt to correct the “digging in” problem by reducing the tilt angle, the bucket 9 would then tend to “toboggan” upwards and over the snow, leaving behind and packing down what was to be removed. Bucket-glides make plowing with a bucket easy and efficient. They allow the operator to retain the utility of his bucket 9, and furthermore provide a much more economical choice for plowing snow with a front-end loader than an expensive snowplow attachment.

Bucket-glides are basically a small “ski” made of hardened steel similar to AR Plate 400 F, excluding bolts and nuts. They are designed to be attached to the bottom 8 of the bucket 9 on a front-end loader to be used for the plowing of snow with the lift hydraulics on the loader in float position. When two or three bucket-glides (see FIGS. 4 and 7) are attached to the bucket bottom 8 they allow the operator to tilt the bucket 9 downward slightly and prevent the cutting edge 7 from removing unwanted material when plowing. With the lift hydraulics in float position they allow the cutting edge 7 to glide over and follow the contour of the ground without digging in. This present invention allows the operator to determine the exact amount of support that the bucket 9 needs from the bucket-glide to keep the cutting edge 7 from digging in simply by adjusting the bucket 9 tilt angle. Support from the bucket-glide decreases as bucket 9 tilt angle increases. This occurs because the bucket-glide base 1 is bolted directly to bucket bottom 8 as shown by FIG. 3. The less the angle the more the base 1 will contact the ground. The more the ground contact the more the support and vice versa. For example, when plowing snow in soft ground conditions more bucket 9 support is needed to prevent the cutting edge 7 from ground contact, therefore the bucket 9 tilt needs to be slight. When conditions under the snow are hard and less support is needed the bucket 9 angle can be increased. This less support transfers more of the bucket 9 weight to the cutting edge 7, allowing the cutting edge 7 to aggressively remove ice and packed snow while still maintaining ground clearance. Once the correct tilt angle is determined and the lift hydraulics are put into float position the operator is free to plow forward experiencing few of the aforementioned problems.

Bucket-glides have two different attachment designs. FIGS. 1-4 illustrate the “bolt-on” design and FIGS. 5-7 illustrate the “clamp-on” design. Both types of bucket glides can easily be made by anyone skilled in the art of metal fabrication.

Referring now to FIG. 1 there is shown a centerline profile of a bucket-glide with a “bolt-on” design comprising a flat section of hardened steel containing a curving upward bend of an acute angle near one end. The line of bend 3 defines the separation between the flat section called the base 1 and the curving upward bend section called the toe 2. FIG. 1 also illustrates countersunk holes 4 that are drilled on the bucket-glide centerline to accommodate the shape of a plow bolt 5 (see FIG. 3) and located to allow the bucket-glide to fit various bucket 9 designs according to industry standards.

Referring now to FIG. 2, which is an angled top view of FIG. 1, there is shown the approximate location of the line of bend 3, the toe 2, and the base 1. FIG. 2 also illustrates a top view of the three holes drilled along the centerline of the bucket-glide.

Referring now to FIG. 3, which is an illustrated embodiment from FIG. 1, there is shown a centerline profile of a bucket-glide attached to the bottom 8 of a bucket 9 through one of its three holes 4 with a plow-bolt 5 including a lock-washer and nut. FIG. 3 also illustrates the correct orientation of the front of the cutting edge 7 being located along the line of bend 3. There is also illustrated an example of a tilt angle of the bucket bottom 8 in relation to the ground 6 and how the attached bucket-glide prevents the cutting edge 7 from digging into the ground 6.

Referring now to FIG. 4, which is an illustrated embodiment of three bucket-glides attached to the a bucket bottom 8 with a single plow bolt 5 (including lock washer and nut). Also shown is the orientation of the bucket-glide's base 1 and toe 2 in relation to the bucket's cutting edge 7.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown an angled top view of a bucket-glide of optional attachment “clamp-on” design comprising a flat section of hardened steel containing a curving upward bend of an acute angle near one end. The line of bend 12 defines the separation between the flat section called the base 10 and upward bend section called the toe 11. Also illustrated by FIG. 5 is a hold down plate 13 that is welded to the backside of the toe 11, extending rearward over and parallel to the base 10. Also shown is one threaded hole 18 drilled along the centerline of the hold down plate 13, which is to accommodate a single bolt 15 (see FIG. 6) to secure the bucket-glide to the bottom 17 of a bucket 9 (see FIG. 6). FIG. 5 also illustrates the location of a supporting gusset that is welded between the hold down plate 13 and the toe 11 along the line of bend 12. The height of the gusset determines the parallel distance between the base 10 and hold down plate 13 and is sufficient enough according to industry standard to allow the bucket bottom 17 (see FIG. 6) to slide between the base 10 and the hold down plate 13.

Referring now to FIG. 6, which is an illustrated embodiment of FIG. 5, there is shown a centerline profile of a bucket-glide clamped to the bottom 17 of a bucket 9 (see FIG. 7). FIG. 6 also illustrates how single bolt 15 with locking nut 16 are used to clamp the bucket-glide to the bottom 17 of the bucket. FIG. 6 additionally illustrates a profile of the gusset 14 welded at the line of bend 12 between the toe 11 and the hold down plate 13 and shows how the gusset 14 importantly acts as a stop for the front of the cutting edge 7.

Referring now to FIG. 7, which is an illustrated embodiment of three bucket-glides of “clamp-on” design attached to the bottom 17 of a bucket 9 using a single bolt 15 and accompanying locking nut 16. Also illustrated is how the bucket bottom 17 slides between the base 10 and the hold down plate 13 and how the gusset 14 acts as a stop for and limits the forward travel of the cutting edge 7.