Title:
BUCKET HOLDER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bucket holder is disclosed including a base plate (102) with apertures (104), a first frame structure (106) and a second frame structure (116) that are both adapted to receive standard-sized buckets (90). The bucket holder is intended to stabilize the buckets during mixing and similar activities. The first and second frame structures comprise upright supports (108) that attach at one end to the base plate, and a circular member (110) that attaches to the opposite end of the upright supports. The frame structures are joined with a transverse member (112), and a centrally located handle (120) is sized and positioned to locking engage the bucket pivotable handle (93). By placing buckets in both of the frame structures, the bucket being mixed is stabilized by the weight of the bucket holder and second bucket, and also by the edges of the base plate around the apertures engaging the ground.



Inventors:
Kuipers, Otto (Anchorage, AK, US)
Application Number:
11/739616
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/24/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G23/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMITH, ERIN W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A bucket holder adapted to hold two buckets having pivotable handles, the bucket holder comprising: a base plate; a first frame structure comprising a first upright support having a proximal end rigidly attached to the base plate and a distal end disposed away from the base plate, and a circular support rigidly attached to the distal end of the first upright support; a second frame structure comprising a second upright support having a proximal end rigidly attached to the base plate and a distal end disposed away from the base plate, and a circular support rigidly attached to the distal end of the second upright support; a transverse member connecting the circular support of the first frame structure to the circular support of the second frame structure; an elongate handle having a proximal end rigidly attached to the base plate, and a distal end extending through the transverse member, the distal end defining a handle portion such that the bucket holder is movable by lifting on the handle.

2. The bucket holder of claim 1, wherein the base plate further comprises a plurality of apertures.

3. The bucket holder of claim 1, wherein the first frame structure comprise a plurality of first upright supports, and wherein the circular support for the first frame structure is rigidly attached to all of the plurality of first upright supports.

4. The bucket holder of claim 3, wherein the first frame structure circular support comprises a plurality of circular arc potions, each circular arc portion being separated from other circular arc portions forming gaps therebetween.

5. The bucket holder of claim 4, wherein the plurality of circular arc portions of the circular support comprise two semicircular portions.

6. The bucket holder of claim 4, wherein the first frame structure is sized such that the circular arc portions exert a clamping force on the received bucket due to elastic bending of the upright first upright supports.

7. The bucket holder of claim 1, wherein the base, first and second upright supports, and circular supports are formed from a mild steel.

8. The bucket holder of claim 1, wherein the elongate handle of the bucket holder is sized and positioned to lockingly engage the pivotable handle of at least one of the two buckets.

9. The bucket holder of claim 8, wherein the elongate handle comprises a lower portion having a first end attached to the base plate and a second end that engages the transverse member, and forms a socket, and an upper portion that is adapted to be inserted into the socket.

10. The bucket holder of claim 9, further comprising means for locking the upper portion of the handle into the socket.

11. The bucket holder of claim 9, wherein the upper portion of the elongate handle is curved to include a horizontal portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/795,636, filed on Apr. 26, 2006, the disclosure of which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety, and priority from the filing date of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. § 119.

BACKGROUND

A variety of construction materials of very thick consistency are typically shipped, sold and/or used in relatively large buckets. A standard-sized bucket for such materials is a five gallon bucket, which is typically constructed of a polymeric material. The buckets typically have a wire handle or the like pivotably attached near the top edge, that can be used for carrying the bucket. Five gallon buckets of coating, patching, and/or adhering materials are very common on construction cites. Such construction materials frequently require extensive mixing, agitating and/or thinning prior to use. Examples of thick construction materials that may require in situ mixing include, tile grouts, heavy paints and other surface coating materials, cements and the like, drywall texturing, fireproofing materials, roof coatings and sound proofing and acoustic materials.

In situ mixing of construction materials is typically accomplished using an electric tool such as a drill fitted with a mixing attachment, which may be shaped like a paddle. Other power mixing tools may alternatively be used. A common problem with mixing high viscosity materials, however, is that the force exerted on the material by the mixing tool is transferred in part through the material to the bucket, which can cause the bucket to rotate. This reduces the ability of the mixing tool to mix the material, increases the work required by the operator, and increases the risk of waste and potentially hazardous conditions if the bucket tips over, is damaged by the mixing tool, or otherwise spills a portion of its contents. The bucket may also be moved or upset by forces from the mixing tool directly on the surface of the bucket during mixing, which can cause spillage, and hazardous or inconvenient messes in the work space.

In order to effectively mix the material, the user typically must attempt to hold the bucket in a stable and fixed fashion to prevent the problems mentioned above. For example, a worker may attempt to steady the bucket by simply holding the bucket between the worker's legs while mixing. This method, however, is awkward and potentially injurious to the user. Moreover, attempting to manually restrain the bucket during mixing can be ineffective, resulting in spillage or the like.

Recognizing the problems associated with such in situ mixing, a number of inventors have proposed various solutions. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 7,018,090, Moore discloses a device for holding a bucket that includes upper and lower rings that are interconnected with substantially planar vertical members oriented with an edge extending inwardly. The inward edge of the vertical members are intended to engage the bucket, and thereby limit rotational motion of the bucket during mixing. A disadvantage of the device disclosed by Moore is that it is approximately symmetric about the axis of rotation, and may therefore have a tendency to rotate during mixing. Also, the device has a particular orientation that is intended to limit rotational motion in one direction (clockwise in the disclosed embodiment), which may be inconvenient in some circumstances.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,779,915, Foster, Jr. discloses a five-gallon bucket holder platform having an elevated top surface with an aperture sized to receive and frictionally retain a bucket for mixing. A disadvantage of this device is its size and relative non-portability, as well as hazards associated with a user standing on the elevated platform.

SUMMARY

A bucket holder is disclosed that is particularly suitable for applications such as construction where more than one large buckets (e.g., five-gallon buckets) containing materials requiring mixing are available. The disclosed apparatus enables the user to stabilize the bucket during mixing by taking advantage of the availability of a second bucket to secure the first bucket. The bucket holder is intended to prevent the bucket from spinning, and to avoid potential tipping and spillage. The bucket holder includes a base plate supporting at least two frame structures that are sized to receive the buckets. The frame structures each include upright supports that extend upwardly from the base plate, and a circular support rigidly attached at the distal end of the upright supports. The circular support may be formed in multiple pieces. A transverse member connects the two frame structures, and a handle extends up from the transverse support. The handle is positioned to engage the conventional pivotable handle on the buckets, thereby locking the buckets against spinning.

In one embodiment the circular supports are made in multiple distinct parts separated by a gap, and the circular supports are positioned to provide a clamping force on the bucket placed in the associated frame structure resulting from elastic flexure of the upright supports.

In an embodiment of the invention the bucket holder is formed from a mild steel, and the base plate includes a plurality of apertures therethrough. The apertures provide additional leverage against movement during mixing, especially when the bucket holder is positioned on uneven ground.

In an embodiment of the invention, the handle includes a lower portion that extends between the base plate and the transverse member, the upper end defining a socket, and a removable upper portion that is adapted to be inserted into the socket.

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective environmental view of a bucket holder according to the present in invention, showing two buckets disposed in the bucket holder in phantom;

FIG. 2 is a perspective isolation view of the bucket holder shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the bucket holder shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a front view of the bucket holder shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Refer now to FIG. 1, which shows an environmental view of a bucket holder 100 made in accordance with the present invention. The bucket holder 100 retains two conventional five-gallon buckets 90, 90′, side by side, each of the buckets 90, 90′ having a pivotable handle 93. As discussed above, often in construction applications buckets 90, 90′ contain materials 91 that require mixing or the like prior to use. Typically a user will use a power mixing apparatus 92, for example a power drill 94 with a paddle or other mixing attachment 95. The end of the mixing attachment 95 is placed into the bucket 90 and rotated by the power drill 94 to agitate and mix the materials 91 therein.

Refer now also to FIG. 2 showing the bucket holder 100 in isolation, and to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, which show a plan view and a front view of the bucket holder 100, respectively.

The bucket holder 100 includes a generally rectangular base plate 102 that is sized to accommodate at least two conventional five-gallon buckets 90. The base plate 102 includes apertures 104 located to generally underlie portions of the buckets 90, but sized such that the base of the bucket will not extend through the associated aperture 104. The apertures reduce the weight and material requirements for the bucket holder 100, making the empty bucket holder 100 more easily transportable. In the disclosed embodiment the apertures 104 are rectangular for simplicity and for ease of manufacture, but other shapes may alternatively be used, including for example multiple smaller apertures, grid structures, thinned regions or the like. In addition to lowering the overall weight of the bucket holder 100, when the bucket holder 100 is placed on the ground the apertures 104 may engage portions of the underlying ground, thereby which will further resist movement of the bucket holder 100 when acted on by an external transverse force such as by the mixing apparatus 92.

A first frame structure 106 and a second frame structure 116 are rigidly attached to the base plate 102. The first and second frame structures 106, 116 each include a plurality of upright supports 108. The upright supports 108 have a proximal end 108A that is rigidly attached to the base plate 102, and a distal end 108B disposed away from the base plate 102. A two-piece support ring 110 is rigidly attached to the distal ends 108B of upright supports 108 for each of the frame structures 106 116. Although a two-piece support ring 110 is shown and currently preferred, it will be appreciated that more or fewer pieces may alternatively be used. The support ring 110 is sized to receive the five gallon bucket 90, such that the bucket 90 rests on the base plate. An advantage of the multiple-piece support ring 110, disposed at or near the top or distal ends 108B of the upright supports 108 is that the portions of the support ring 110 can move relative to each other by elastic bending of the upright supports 108. Therefore the support ring 110 can provide some clamping force on the bucket 90 and/or the tolerances in manufacturing the structure can be relaxed due to the flexibility of the design.

A transverse connecting member 112 is rigidly attached to each of the circular supports 110, preferably generally at a centered location. In the current embodiment the transverse connecting member 112 includes a center aperture 114. An elongate handle 120 extends from a proximal end 120A rigidly connected to the base plate 102 and through the connecting member center aperture 114. A curved portion 122 of the handle 120 extends above the first and second frame structures 106, 116.

In the disclosed embodiment, the handle includes a lower portion 124 that is rigidly attached to the base plate 102, and having a distal socket 126 that extends to the center aperture 114 of the transverse connecting member 112, where it is rigidly attached. A separable upper handle portion 128 is sized to fit into the socket 126, and may be locked thereto, for example with a bolt 127 extending through a wall of the socket 116. The removable handle makes the bucket holder 100 more easily transported, and allows a user to orient the upper handle portion 128 in any convenient orientation.

In a current construction, the various parts of the bucket holder 100 are made from a weldable material, such as steel. The upright supports 108 and handle 120 are welded to the base plate 102, the circular members 110 are welded to the distal end of the upright supports 108, and the transverse connecting member 112 is welded to the circular members 110, and to the socket 126 on the lower portion 124 of the handle 120. It will be appreciated that the circular members 110 are formed in two separate semi-circular portions, which provides some flexibility in the first and second frame structures 106, 116, and makes the construction of the bucket holder 100 simpler. Although it is not currently preferred, it is contemplated that the separate portions of the circular members 110 could be joined with a spring element (not shown) that are sized such that the circular member 110 applies a clamping force on a conventional five gallon bucket 90 when inserted therein.

Referring again to FIG. 1, when a bucket 90 is set into the one of first and second frame structures 106, 116, the bucket 90 is retained by the associated frame structure 106 or 116. The pivotable bucket handle 93 for the bucket 90 to be mixed is placed over the bucket holder handle 120, to prevent or limit the rotation of the bucket 90 during mixing. The bucket holder 100 stabilizes the bucket 90 for mixing and in particular prevents the bucket from spinning or tipping, as discussed in more detail below.

It can now be understood that an important aspect of the bucket holder 100 is that it is configured to hold two buckets simultaneously. In a typical application, such as a construction site or the like, many full or partially-filled five gallon buckets 90 are typically available. Many prior art bucket holders require that the user physically prevent the bucket holder (and therefore the bucket) from spinning or otherwise moving during the mixing operation. For example, some prior art bucket holders require the user stand on, or lean against, the bucket holder to prevent the bucket from moving. This can require the user to take an unnatural and/or uncomfortable stance while operating the power mixing apparatus 92, which can result in injury and/or unnecessary fatigue over the course of a work day.

The intended use of the bucket holder 100 will now be described with reference to FIG. 1. The bucket holder 100 is first transported to the desired location, typically without any bucket 90 retained thereon. The user then places a first bucket 90 to be mixed in the first frame structure 106, and a second bucket 90′ in the second frame structure 116. The second bucket 90′ provides a weight to prevent the bucket holder 100 from spinning or otherwise moving during mixing the material in the first bucket 90. The curved portion 122 of the handle 122 is sized and positioned such that the handle 93 of the first bucket 90 can be readily placed over the curved portion 122 of the handle 120 when the first bucket 90 is placed in the frame structure 106, to preclude rotation of the first bucket 90 during mixing. Of course, if the material 91 in the second bucket 90 is also needed, the user may conveniently mix the contents of the second bucket 90′ after mixing the contents of the first bucket 90. In general, it is contemplated that the bucket holder 100 would not be intended for use in transporting full buckets 90, but rather is intended to provide stability during mixing.

The holder 100 may conveniently be made from metal, such as steel, and includes a base plate 108, and a pair of spring-loaded split hoops or rings 102 that are disposed upwardly from the base plate 108, and attached thereto by a plurality of vertical rods 110. The split rings 102 are each joined at two locations with spring elements 114, such that the portions of the split rings 102 are movable away from each other to accommodate a bucket. It will also be appreciated that elastic deformation of the vertical rods 110 supporting the rings 102 may be used to produce a clamping force on the bucket 90 by urging the ring 102 portions towards each other. Other attachment mechanisms may alternatively be utilized, including for example, adjustable spring members and overlapping split rings, such that the holder may accommodate buckets of differing sizes. Also, other suitable materials may be used for construction of the holder 100, including for example, rigid plastics and the like.

By way of example, and not limitation, the current embodiment is formed primarily from mild steel, the base plate 102 is a 3/16-inch plate approximately 27 inches long and 12.25 inches wide, with two symmetrically-disposed apertures 104 that are approximately 10.5 inches long and 8 inches wide. The upright supports 108 are formed from ⅜-inch RB stock, and are approximately 8⅜-inch long. The support ring 110 is also formed from ⅜-inch RB. Currently preferred dimensions and materials are shown in the FIGURES as a guide to the currently preferred embodiment, and are not intended to be limiting to the invention. However, it will be apparent that the diameter of the rings 102 should be selected to be slightly less than the functional diameter of the bucket to be retained therein, such that the rings 102 will exert a clamping force on the retained bucket during use.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the handle structure may be changed without departing from the present invention. However, it is desirable that the handle be sized and positioned to readily engage the bucket handle when the bucket is retained by the frame structure 106.