Title:
Sweep releaf
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for use with a flexible trash bag which maintains the entrance of said bag in a fully open position which incorporates a “dust pan” like ramp to facilitate the filling of said bag and the methods of use and features included is herein disclosed. The device is inserted into the opening of said bag. The base ramp has two opposing legs attached which are angled slightly outward from vertical to provide a force pushing against the bags sides maintaining the opening. The legs and base flange employ a number of pegs that project into the material of the bag keeping the bag on the frame. The base ramp extends a sufficient length to allow for free standing stability. The base ramp has two enclosed foot “stirrups” attached to opposite ends of said ramp which when utilized, provide stability to the device. This method of operation frees both hands to operate the sweeping tool by pulling the debris between the legs into the opened bag.



Inventors:
Smith, Michael Raymond (Pearland, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/399660
Publication Date:
10/11/2007
Filing Date:
04/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B67/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060081736Support slide for cable management armApril, 2006Chen et al.
20060237602Conveyor flange adapterOctober, 2006Whitley et al.
20030071174Holding means for an aeration systemApril, 2003Jager et al.
20040188587Music standSeptember, 2004Michell
20060231718Multi-functional coffee tableOctober, 2006Calvanese
20030019980Handle for adapting plastic shopping bags as trash containersJanuary, 2003Licari
20100018102TREE MOUNTED APPARATUSJanuary, 2010Minges
20040169120Table mounted forearm edge restSeptember, 2004Brown
20050168933Damping device for hard disk driveAugust, 2005Lee
20030026639Sliding and self-adjusting apparatus for supporting computer operator wristsFebruary, 2003Armando Jr.
20070012706Securable insulating object holderJanuary, 2007Deadman



Primary Examiner:
RAMIREZ, RAMON O
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL RAYMOND SMITH (ROUND ROCK, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A device for holding open a bag which facilitates filling said bag with leaves, trimmings, household dirt, construction debris and the like comprising: (a) A flat “dust pan” shaped base adapted to support said device, said base approximately 16″ wide extending a sufficient length to allow for free standing stability; (b) Said base incorporates a flange on the back underside of the ramp which raises the ramp slightly allowing the debris to enter over the lip of the bag; (c) Said base flange has a number of pegs protruding towards the entrance of the base which protrude into the material of the bag for keeping said bag on said base flange; (b) Two foot stirrups attached at opposite ends of the ramp enclosed at the front to prevent contact with debris, allowing two feet to be inserted and apply foot pressure for added stability and gripping force when using the device; (c) Two legs attached to said base at opposite ends of the ramp behind said stirrups. Said legs are attached by insertion into two L shaped cavities matching the form of the legs, of sufficient depth to provide stability, with one leg of the L running front to back and the other leg of the L running perpendicular away from each other; (d) Said cavaties are incorporated into the base at slightly outward from vertical angles located just behind the stirrups. When snapped into place the legs apply an outward force to the inside lip of the bag causing the bag to remain open, creating a rectangular shape with three sides being the device and the forth side being the top lip of the bag itself. (e) The legs of said apparatus having a length equal to app. ¼ the total circumference of the bag to be used, various lengths used for various sized bags. The legs have a snap-locking design that allows the legs to be removed for ease of storage. The snap-lock feature is duplicated at both ends of each angled leg. Said feature allows each leg to fit either slot. (f) Said legs have a number of pegs protruding towards the entrance of the base which protrude into the material of the bag for keeping said bag on said base flange; (f) Said legs can be used as handles to pick up and relocate the device by (1) grasping each leg along with the lip of the bag, (2) applying a minimal outward force to keep the bag attached to the leg and base flanges, (3) pick up the device with bag attached and relocate. (g) Said legs are used to dump the accumulated debris from the front of the bag to the bottom of the bag by (1) grasping each leg along with the lip of the bag, (2) applying a minimal outward force to keep the bag attached to the leg and base flanges, (3) raising the device with bag attached causing the debris to fall to the bottom of the bag, and (4) relocate the device where needed. These steps are to be repeated as necessary until the bag is sufficiently filled whereupon the device is removed and the bag can be tied shut and disposed of.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 being made of injection molded plastic of a chemical formula that provides ridgidity combined with slight flexibility.

3. A method for using said apparatus for facilitating filling a trash bag with leaves, trimmings, household dirt, construction debris and the like by; (a) inserting said assembled apparatus into opening of said trash bag; (b) placing sides of said trash bag over said legs; (c) placing both feet into said stirrups; (d) sweeping said debris into bag over said ramp until opening is full; (e) grasping both legs and sides of bag simultaneously applying outward pressure to maintain the position of the bag on the apparatus; (f) raising said apparatus causing collected debris to fall into the bottom of said trash bag; (g) repeating steps (d) thru (f) until said trash bag is sufficiently full; (h) removing said apparatus from said trash bag and tying shut said trash bag.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the art of leaf and debris insertion into a trash bag. More specifically, but not by way of limitation, the invention relates to improvements in the apparatus for holding open a trash bag for collecting leaves, trimmings, household dirt, construction debris and the like and filling the bag by a single person. Employing both feet to secure the apparatus, not only is the operator in a comfortable upright position away from the dust, but both hands remain free to operate the rake or broom greatly reducing the effort required and improving the efficiency of filling the bag. In addition, the use of removable legs overcomes a manufacturing and shipping concern, as well as allows for easy storage when not in use.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the recent past, the use of plastic trash bags for collection, containment and disposal of debris has become increasingly popular. There have been various means designed for holding these bags in an open position while filling.

Rylander's U.S. Pat. No. 4,749,011 employs a sheet of material which is coiled to a smaller circumference and inserted into the bag, then expands holding the bag open in a circular shape. The device is set upright resembling a rigid trash can and manually filled from the top. This is no improvement over pre-existing rigid cans as filling requires stooping over repeatedly and debris can be dropped or blown away while trying to fill the bag. It can also be used as a scoop but there are no handles for ease of operation.

Taylor's U.S. Pat. No. 4,805,858 discloses a frame device adapted to hold a trash bag in an open position. The trash bag is held to the frame by a cord. The flame includes a stake to enable the frame to be anchored to the ground for stability. This device has several shortcomings. It appears to be not readily moveable, and requires driving and removing a stake into the ground, and requires attaching a strap which can be difficult to attach.

Beckham's U.S. Pat. No. 4,832,292 describes another method for holding a trash bag. The one piece injection molded apparatus has a permanent sized D-shaped configuration requiring an elastic strap to attach the bag. The large fixed size of the apparatus creates difficulties in shipping and storage. The necessity of an elastic strap appears difficult to employ and could become a hazard. The base has a footpad for support. The single foot pad does not provide adequate support for the base, and leaves the foot unprotected from contact with debris.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,011,103 Hayes, et al. describes a reusable bag and a collapsible frame that maintains the opening of a bag. The bag is attached by threading a rod through a hemmed fabric tunnel. The device has adjustable rods and feet. The design appears to be overly elaborate and difficult to employ. Emptying a reusable bag full of debris is undesirable.

The present invention provides a more stable frame member to which a bag can be easily attached, needs no attaching strap, has a “dustpan” type ramp to facilitate filling the bag, has no moving parts, allows for single person operation with both hands free to sweep debris, has covered stirrups to protect the feet from contact with debris, is shipped in a compact disassembled state, and is easily assembled.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved bag holding apparatus which is portable and easily operated with less effort and improved efficiency.

Accordingly, the above mentioned shortcomings are obviated by the present invention which provides a novel bag opener frame with improvements over the existing art.

The preferred embodiment would be as follows: The frame consists of a base that has a dust pan shaped ramp for ease of sweeping. Two foot stirrups are attached for firm support while sweeping debris into the bag with two hands. Two detachable legs hold the bag open. The apparatus when assembled with a bag attached will form three sides of a rectangle with the fourth being the bag itself.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a novel bag holding apparatus which is simple and effective.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a simple method of stability to the frame member.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide operation by a single operator.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide hands free operation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide protection to the feet while operating.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide means for attaching bags without straps, clips, bands, etc. but by a number of pegs placed along the edges of the legs and base which improve the grip of the frame

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a means for using various sized bags with the apparatus.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a means for compacting the apparatus for shipping and storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cover of the assembled apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a top right front perspective view of the assembled apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a bottom right rear perspective view showing a detail of the flange and pegs;

FIG. 4 is a top left rear perspective view showing the removable legs and a detail of a method of securing the leg with a non-permanent snap-lock

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the apparatus with a bag attached and an operator using the apparatus

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the apparatus being lifted to dump debris from ramp into bottom of the bag.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is an apparatus for facilitating filling a trash bag with leaves, trimmings, household dirt, construction debris and the like and filling the bag by a single person. The bag to be filled can be from a standard plastic 33 gallon construction clean up bag down to a standard plastic kitchen trash container bag.

Referring to FIG. 2, the apparatus 1 is to be composed of a type of extruded or molded plastic with substantial ridgidity yet slight flexibility. It is comprised of a base 2 with two opposing shrouded foot stirrups 3, and two opposing legs 5. The shroud feature on the front of the stirrups 3 protects the operator from contact with the debris

Referring to FIG. 4, the legs 5 are inserted into two corresponding cavities 6 in the base. As shown in FIG. 2, these cavities are set at an angle 4, so that the legs 5 stand plus or minus eight degrees off vertical 4. The angled cavities 6 have grooves 14 cut into the interior of the walls. The legs 5 have ridges 15 that mate with the grooves 14 when inserted into the cavities. The design allows the legs 5 to be stable when inserted yet remain removable with some force. The ridges are incorporated at both ends of the legs 5 allowing the legs 5 to fit either cavity 6.

Referring to FIG. 3, the base 2 has a small flange 7 attached to the bottom at the rear. This flange 7 provides a slight rise to the back of the base 2. Referring to the exploded detail there are pegs 8 attached to the flange 7 and the legs 5.

Referring to FIG. 5, the assembled apparatus 1 is inserted into a bag 12. Debris is collected at the site in a normal way and placed near the front of the apparatus 13a. The operator places his feet 11 in the shrouded stirrups 3 and places his weight on his toes. This action gives the apparatus stability while freeing both hands 10 for using the sweeping tool of choice 9.

Referring to FIG. 6, when a substantial amount of debris is collected at the mouth of the bag 13c, the operator steps out of the stirrups 3, grips each leg 5 along with the sides of the bag with each hand and lifts the apparatus 1 and bag 16 while maintaining a lateral force against the sides of the bag 5, causing the debris to fall into the bottom of the trash bag 13d. This process is repeated until the bag is sufficiently filled, whereupon the apparatus is removed from the bag and the filled bag is disposed of.

The two angle shaped legs 5 are manufactured separately and in various lengths corresponding to the circumference of the openings of various bags used, and shipped disassembled.

The invention is characterized by extreme simplicity, economy of manufacturing, durability, and ease of use. The novel incorporation of several major improvements renders the invention practical where much of the prior art has proven to be impractical.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.