Title:
Blade assembly, claw assembly, and gradient adjustment system for implements
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An implement is disclosed having a unique blade assembly, a unique claw assembly, and a unique gradient system for raising, lowering, leveling, and changing the gradient of an implement. The blade angle and blade pitch can be independently adjusted on the blade assembly. The blade assembly and claw assembly use chains to provide force to the lower portions of the blade and prongs, respectively, to maintain the position of the lower portions of the blade and prongs, respectively, when there is forward motion of the implement. The gradient system enables independent height adjustment of each side, right and left, of the implement. When the gradient system is incorporated into the same implement as the blade assembly, the combination makes the gradient of the blade adjustable as well.



Inventors:
Moe, Ralph Palmer (Seabrook, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/451760
Publication Date:
01/03/2008
Filing Date:
06/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/76
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20130168114ELECTRIC WEEDERJuly, 2013Yamaoka et al.
20080000654Quick hitchJanuary, 2008Schwitzer
20140360742HAND-HELD HOESDecember, 2014Finney
20030230419Garden tool for grubbingDecember, 2003Eubanks
20060118313Surface-contouring implementJune, 2006Nicholas
20060102363Sod handlerMay, 2006Tvetene et al.
20150053444HITCH ASSEMBLY FOR AN AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT USING HARDENED PINSFebruary, 2015Kovach et al.
20050194160Tine for a soil cultivating implementSeptember, 2005Thian et al.



Primary Examiner:
TROUTMAN, MATTHEW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John William Sparks (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An implement for grading soil and soil components, the implement comprising: a frame, said frame having a drawing end and a rear end, said frame having a topside and an underside, a single pair of wheels rotatable about an axis extending transversely of said frame with respect to the direction of displacement of the implement, said frame having one or more longitudinal members and one or more cross members joining said longitudinal members, a means for mounting said wheels onto said frame, a swiveling means attached to said frame, wherein said swiveling means has a vertical axis of rotation, said swiveling means has a topside and an underside, a blade having a upper portion and lower portion, a means for pivotably attaching the upper portion of said blade to the underside of said swiveling means, wherein the upper portion of said blade is suspended horizontally underneath said frame, wherein said blade has a vertical axis of rotation and said blade pivots on a horizontal axis, a first chain attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point right of the center of said blade, said first chain attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade, a second chain attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point left of the center of said blade, and said second chain attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade.

2. The implement of claim 1, further comprising: said first chain is revocably attached to said blade, and said second chain is revocably attached to said blade.

3. The implement of claim 2, further comprising: said first chain is detached from said blade, said second chain is detached from said blade, a third chain is revocably attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point right of the center of said blade, said third chain is revocably and loosely attached to said frame at a point above the point of attachment of said third chain to said blade, a fourth chain is revocably attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point left of center of said blade, said fourth chain is revocably and loosely attached to said frame at a point above the point of attachment of said fourth chain to said blade, said first chain is revocably attached to said third chain near the point of attachment of said third chain to said blade, and said second chain is revocably attached to said fourth chain near the point of attachment of said fourth chain to said blade, whereby this different arrangement of said chains increases the distance between the bottom edge of the lower portion of said blade and the points of attachment of said first chain and said second chain near said blade.

4. The implement of claim 1, further comprising: said first chain is revocably attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade, and said second chain is revocably attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade.

5. The implement of claim 1, further comprising: one or more prongs having a top end and a lower digging end, a means for pivotably attaching said prongs to said frame, wherein said prongs pivot on a horizontal axis, wherein the lower digging end of said prongs can pivot into a position lower than said frame, one or more prong chains attached near the digging end of said prongs, wherein said prong chains are attached to said frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

6. The implement of claim 5, further comprising: a cross member attached to a plurality of said prongs at points near the lower digging end of said prongs.

7. An implement having a vertical and gradient adjustment system, the implement comprising: a frame, said frame having a drawing end and a rear end, said frame having a right side and a left side, a first wheel rotatable about an axis extending transversely of said frame with respect to the direction of displacement of the implement, a second wheel rotatable about an axis extending transversely of said frame with respect to the direction of displacement of the implement, said frame having at least two parallel longitudinal members and one or more cross members joining said longitudinal members, a first pivoting arm having a pivoting portion and an end portion, a means for pivotably attaching the pivoting portion of said first pivoting arm to the right side of said frame, wherein said first pivoting arm pivots along a vertical path, a means for rotatably attaching said first wheel to said first pivoting arm, wherein said first wheel is attached near the end portion of said first pivoting arm, a first power jack means having a first end and a second end, wherein one end of said first power jack means is a displacement end and the other end of said first power jack means is a stationary end, wherein the first end of said first power jack means is pivotably attached to said frame at a point away from the attachment point of the pivoting portion of said first pivoting arm and the second end of said first power jack means is pivotably attached to said first pivoting arm at a point away from the pivoting portion of said first pivoting arm, a second pivoting arm having a pivot portion and an end portion, a means for pivotably attaching the pivoting portion of said second pivoting arm to the left side of said frame, wherein said second pivoting arm pivots along a vertical path, a means for rotatably attaching said second wheel to said second pivoting arm, wherein said second wheel is attached near the end portion of said second pivoting arm, and a second power jack means having a first end and a second end, wherein one end of said second power jack means is a displacement end and the other end of said second power jack means is a stationary end, wherein the first end of said second power jack means is pivotably attached to said frame at a point away from the attachment point of the pivoting portion of said second pivoting arm and the second end of said second power jack means is pivotably attached to said second pivoting arm at a point away from the pivoting portion of said second pivoting arm, wherein the height of each side, right or left, of said frame is independently adjustable from the other side of said frame, whereby substantial differences in gradient from the left side to the right side can be attained and can be maintained while the implement is being used in a working situation.

8. The implement of claim 7, further comprising: a swiveling means attached to said frame, wherein said swiveling means has a vertical axis of rotation, said swiveling means has a topside and an underside, a blade having a upper portion and lower portion, a means for pivotably attaching the upper portion of said blade to the underside of said swiveling means, wherein the upper portion of said blade is suspended horizontally underneath said frame, wherein said blade has a vertical axis of rotation and said blade pivots on a horizontal axis, a first chain attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point right of the center of said blade, said first chain attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade, a second chain attached to the lower portion of said blade at a point left of the center of said blade, and said second chain attached to said frame at a point closer to the drawing end of said frame than said blade.

9. The implement of claim 8, further comprising: one or more prongs having a top end and a lower digging end, a means for pivotably attaching said prongs to said frame, wherein said prongs pivot on a horizontal axis, wherein the lower digging end of said prongs can pivot into a position lower than said frame, one or more prong chains attached near the digging end of said prongs, wherein said prong chains are attached to said frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

10. The implement of claim 7, further comprising: one or more prongs having a top end and a lower digging end, a means for pivotably attaching said prongs to said frame, wherein said prongs pivot on a horizontal axis, wherein the lower digging end of said prongs can pivot into a position lower than said frame, one or more prong chains attached near the digging end of said prongs, wherein said prong chains are attached to said frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

11. The implement of claim 7, further comprising: a torsion chain attached to said first pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said first pivoting arm, and said torsion chain is attached to said second pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said second pivoting arm, whereby the torsion chain functions as a safety feature to prevent excessive implement torsion when one side of said frame is elevated relative to the other side of said frame.

12. The implement of claim 11, further comprising: said torsion chain is revocably attached to one of the pivoting arms.

13. The implement of claim 7, further comprising: a first spring attached to said first pivoting arm at a point away from the pivoting portion of said first pivoting arm, said first spring is attached to said means for rotatably attaching said first wheel, a second spring attached to said second pivoting arm at a point away from the pivoting portion of said first pivoting arm, and said second spring is attached to said means for rotatably attaching said second wheel.

14. The implement of claim 13, further comprising: a torsion chain attached to said first pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said first pivoting arm, and said torsion chain is attached to said second pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said second pivoting arm, whereby the torsion chain functions as a safety feature to prevent excessive implement torsion when one side of said frame is elevated relative to the other side of said frame.

15. The implement of claim 14, further comprising: said torsion chain is revocably attached to one of the pivoting arms.

16. The implement of claim 7, further comprising: a first set of leaf springs attached to said first pivoting arm, a second set of leaf springs attached to said second pivoting arm, an axle, said first set of leaf springs is attached near one end of said axle and said second set of leaf springs is attached near the opposing end of said axle, said first wheel is rotatably attached to the right side of said axle, and said second wheel is rotatably attached to the left side of said axle.

17. The implement of claim 16, further comprising: a torsion chain attached to said first pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said first pivoting arm, and said torsion chain is attached to said second pivoting arm, wherein said torsion chain is attached near an end portion of said second pivoting arm, whereby the torsion chain functions as a safety feature to prevent excessive implement torsion when one side of said frame is elevated relative to the other side of said frame.

18. The implement of claim 17, further comprising: said torsion chain is revocably attached to one of the pivoting arms.

19. An implement having a claw assembly, the implement comprising: a frame, said frame having a drawing end and a rear end, a single pair of wheels rotatable about an axis extending transversely of said frame with respect to the direction of displacement of the implement, said frame having one or more longitudinal members and one or more cross members joining said longitudinal members, a means for mounting said wheels onto said frame, one or more prongs having a top end and a lower digging end, a means for pivotably attaching said prongs to said frame, wherein said prongs pivot on a horizontal axis, wherein the lower digging end of said prongs can pivot into a position lower than said frame, one or more prong chains attached near the lower digging end of said prongs, wherein said prong chains are attached to said frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

20. The implement of claim 19, further comprising: a cross member attached to a plurality of said prongs at points near the lower digging end of said prongs.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The embodiments of this invention relates to grading; road and soil maintenance; and a gradient adjustment system for raising, lowering, leveling, and changing the gradient of implements.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Graders are implements used to move dirt, sand, soil, and rock. While other implements can move soil components, graders spread the soil components smoothly leaving a contoured appearance to the landscape. This contoured appearance is both desirable and required by certain endeavors.

Graders are used by road maintenance personnel, construction personnel, some farmers, large landscapers, and anyone desiring to move soil components and leave the premises in a relatively smooth condition once the task is finished. Each different consumer may have very different needs to be met by a grader.

Many different implements can be used to loosen hardened soil so it can be processed. Most of these involve the use of claws, forks, plows, prongs, or points. Most of this equipment is expensive and heavy.

For properly working the soil into the desired condition, a system for raising, lowering, and adjusting the inclination or gradient of the implement is desirable. The inclination of the implement affects how the soil is processed and the gradient that the soil has once it is processed. Many implements work better and process the soil better when the operator can make adjustments to the gradient of the implement.

There are also different systems for raising, lowering, leveling, and adjusting the inclination of implements. Many of these systems use turn screws or spacers in conjunction with hydraulic cylinders or power jacks to attain small changes in gradient. The applicant designed his implement for attaining large differences in gradient.

While there may be many different graders, road maintenance, and soil maintenance implements available, the inventor could not find an implement to meet his needs. What was needed was an implement that was capable of performing road maintenance and soil grading that was lightweight, easily transported on roads, easily transformed from a working position to a transportable position, and vice versa, durable for doing difficult work, simple in design and operation, easy to use, inexpensive, safe, could be operated by one person, could easily break up hardened soil, could be pulled by a pickup truck, 4WD truck, sport utility vehicle, or tractor, and having a strong multipositional blade.

The implement, disclosed herein, has several desirable capabilities that other implements do not have. The disclosed implement has several adjustments that can be made to improve performance of the implement. A well adjusted implement enables a skilled operator to perform tasks quicker and better. When an implement has the desired features quickly available for use, the operator can significantly shorten the time needed to perform tasks.

The versatile implement built by the inventor, and disclosed herein, does a good job of meeting these needs. What is unexpected is how much work this lightweight implement can do. The chains positioned low on the working features provide great strength, while the pivot or rotational features receive much less force. It is the pivot or rotational features along with the vertical and gradient adjustment system that makes this implement so versatile for grading and working the soil.

SUMMARY

The invention has several unique features. The implement has a blade assembly, a vertical and gradient adjustment system, and a claw assembly. Each of these features are unique.

The implement is lightweight; transportable on roads and highways; easily operated; simple in design; easily transformed from a working position to a transportable trailer with some stowed away features, and vice versa; the blade assembly has many different possible working positions; the blade is stowable; the claw assembly can loosen hardened soil and bring some buried obstacles to the surface; the depth of the prongs can be adjusted; the prongs are stowable; the gradient of the implement can be changed; the torsion chain is a unique safety feature associated with the vertical and gradient adjustment system; and an axle and spring combination for strength, flexibility, and relatively safe gradient adjustment.

The blade assembly is suspended from the frame by a swiveling means, rotating on a vertical axis; a means for pivotably attaching connects the underside of the swiveling means to the upper portion of a blade; a first blade chain connects a more forward part of the implement to the lower, right portion of the blade; and a second blade chain connects a more forward part of the implement to the lower, left portion of the blade. The length of the blade chains determines the blade angle and blade pitch. When the gradient adjustment system is incorporated into the same implement as the blade assembly, the height of each side, left and right, of the vertical and gradient adjustment system can be changed to change the gradient on the grading edge of the blade.

The claw assembly has one or more prongs that pivot on a support member that is transversely oriented with respect to implement movement, the support member can be attached to the frame or it can be part of the frame, and a chain for each prong connects the lower portion of the prong to a more forward part of the frame.

The gradient adjustment system has two separate and independently adjustable sides, right and left. With the exception of an optional torsion chain and an axle, the components on the right side of the gradient system are duplicated in a mirrored configuration on the left side of the gradient system, and vice versa.

The right side of the gradient system has a pivoting arm having a pivot portion and an end portion. The pivot portion has an axis feature. The axis feature occupies a transversely oriented aperture in the frame. The pivoting arm pivots on the axis feature along a vertical rotational path. A wheel is rotatably attached near the end portion of the pivoting arm. The wheel rotates on a transverse axis to the direction of displacement of the implement.

The right side of the gradient system has a power jack means pivotably attached on one end to the frame at a point away from the axis feature. The opposing end of the power jack means is pivotably attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm. The power jack means lengthens or shortens to change the angle of the pivoting arm in relation to the frame. This change in angle raises or lowers the right side of the frame.

The left side of the gradient system has a pivoting arm having a pivot portion and an end portion. The pivot portion has an axis feature. The axis feature occupies a transversely oriented aperture in the frame. The pivoting arm pivots on the axis feature along a vertical rotational path. A wheel is rotatably attached near the end portion of the pivoting arm. The wheel rotates on a transverse axis to the direction of displacement of the implement.

The left side of the gradient system has a power jack means pivotably attached on one end to the frame at a point away from the axis feature. The opposing end of the power jack means is pivotably attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm. The power jack means lengthens or shortens to change the angle of the pivoting arm in relation to the frame. This change in angle raises or lowers the left side of the frame.

The gradient system has an optional torsion chain. The torsion chain is attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm on the right side. The torsion chain is also attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm on the left side of the implement. The properly adjusted torsion chain is a safety feature that imposes a limit on the twisting of the implement when one side of the implement is higher than the other side of the implement.

The gradient system may have a transversely oriented axle that is attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm on the right side and is attached to the end portion of the pivoting arm on the left side. The gradient system may have springs connecting the pivoting arms, right and left, to the axle. The gradient system built by the applicant can achieve many inches of vertical difference from one side to the other side on a frame that is about five feet wide and the implement can still function under these conditions. This amount of gradient is unattainable on many other gradient systems while the system is engaged in a working situation.

The chains connected near the soil engaging features of the blade and claw assemblies make the assemblies more durable than a person might normally expect. The many possible blade positions are unusual when compared to conventional graders. When the gradient adjustment system is incorporated into the same implement as the blade assembly, a change in the vertical and gradient adjustment system changes the gradient on the cutting edge of the blade. The torsion chain is a unique feature of the gradient adjustment system.

The shield on the front end of the implement is optional. The shield is desirable to keep rocks, roots, and other potential projectiles from being thrown forward into the pulling vehicle by the blade when it is working. A barrel and a cradle for the barrel are optional. The barrel, when filled with water adds several hundred pounds to the implement. This extra weight helps drive the blade and prongs deeper into the soil.

Shear pins, shear bolts, and shear links associated with the various chains and their points of attachment are optional. These shearing devices can be used to limit the force being applied to the working features of the implement. These devices can be used to avoid costly repairs and increase safety.

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 shows an overall view of the implement, including the barrel and shield options,

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of the blade assembly,

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the vertical and gradient adjustment system,

FIG. 4 shows a closeup view of the axle and spring region of an embodiment of the vertical and gradient adjustment system,

FIG. 5 shows a view of an embodiment of the claw assembly, and

FIG. 6 shows debris chains attached to the blade assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In accordance with some embodiments described herein, a soil maintenance implement is disclosed having a blade assembly, an optional claw assembly, and a vertical and gradient adjustment system (“gradient system” or “gradient adjustment system”). The blade assembly is unique. The vertical and gradient adjustment system is unique. The claw assembly is unique.

The invention does not require all the advantageous features and all of the advantages to be incorporated into every embodiment of the invention. The gradient system can be used with other implements unrelated to graders or soil maintenance.

For purposes of description, the “front” refers to the front of the implement. The “back” or “rear” refers to the back of the implement. “Forward” or “frontward” refers to a position toward the front of the implement. “Backwards” or “rearward” refers to a position toward the back of the implement. “Right” refers to the right side of the implement when the observer is facing in the same direction as the front of the implement is oriented. “Left” refers to the left side of the implement when the observer is facing in the same direction as the front of the implement is oriented. “Transverse” refers to crosswise of forward. In most instances “transverse” also means crosswise of forward and horizontal. “Frame” refers to any frame of an implement or supporting structure. A “member,” “support member,” or “support bar” is any supporting member whether a part of the frame or a supporting member attached to the frame.

A prong is a point, finger, plow, ripper, fork, braced fork, tine, or claw. A prong has an upper portion and a lower digging end. A braced fork is a fork having a plurality of tines and a cross member joining two or more tines. A claw fork has two or more separated and parallel prongs, a sleeve attached to the prongs at a position on the prongs away from the lower end of the prongs, and a cross member attached near the lower end of the prongs. A prong chain is a chain that attaches to a prong.

A tongue is longitudinal member that usually attaches a frame or structure to a pulling vehicle. The tongue is usually at the front end of the implement. The gradient is the slope, inclination, or gradient. A shearing device could be a shear pin, spring loaded release, shear bolt, or a weaker chain link. A power jacks means can be screw types jacks, pneumatic cylinders, hydraulic cylinders, mechanical jacks, scissor jacks, and lever operated jacks. A latching means can be a clip, hook, slot for receiving links, vice, bolt, shackle, pin, or prong. A swiveling means can be a swivel, a bearing, or an axle. A means for pivotably attaching can be a hinge, a swivel, a bar inside a sleeve, a strong flexible fabric, a nylon band, a strap, a bearing, an axle, or a cable. A means for mounting can be a bearing, hub and bearing, an axle, or a swivel. A means for rotatably attaching can be a bearing, a bar inside a sleeve, an axle, hub and bearing, or a swivel.

The blade angle is the angle of the upper portion of the blade relative to the front of the implement when viewed from the top of the implement. When the blade is positioned over level soil, the blade pitch is the angle that the lower portion of the blade has relative to the surface of the soil when viewed from the longitudinal end of the blade. When the blade angle is 90 degrees, the gradient of the blade (“blade gradient” is the slope of the cutting edge of the blade when viewed from the rear of the implement.

The gradient of the implement is the slope of the frame when viewed from the rear of the implement. When the frame of the implement and the blade are made to be parallel with each other, the gradient of the implement and the gradient of the blade are nearly synonymous. The gradient of the implement and the gradient of the blade are adjusted by the same gradient adjustment system. In this description, the gradient of the implement and the gradient of the blade will be treated as synonymous, even though they may not be if frame of the implement and the blade are not made to be parallel with each other.

Point B1 is a point of attachment on the lower portion of the blade that is to the right of center of the blade. Point B2 is a point of attachment on the lower portion of the blade that is to the left of center of the blade. Point F1 is a point of attachment on the frame that is above and in close proximity to Point B1. Point F2 is a point of attachment on the frame that is above and in close proximity to Point B2. The applicant used ⅜ inch shackles to attach the blade chains to the blade.

Point T1 is a point of attachment on the implement that is more forward than Point B1. A desirable place for Point T1 is near the front or middle of the tongue of the implement, which is the location of the latching mechanism. Point T2 is a point of attachment on the implement that is more forward than Point B2. A desirable place for Point T2 is near the front or middle of the tongue of the implement, which is the location of the latching mechanism. The latching mechanism provides the attachment points, Point T1 and Point T2. Many different latching means can be devised for holding the blade chains in place.

Applicant intends to encompass within the language any structure presently existing or developed in the future that performs the same function. In describing the components of the gradient system, the components on the right side of the implement will most likely be present in a mirrored configuration on the left side of the implement, and vice versa, unless otherwise described.

The blade assembly has a swiveling means, a means for pivotably attaching, a blade having an upper portion and lower portion, a right side blade chain (“right blade chain”), and a left side blade chain (“left blade chain”). The swiveling means occupies a vertically oriented aperture in the frame. The swiveling means rotates on a vertical axis. The means for pivotably attaching is attached to the underside of the swiveling means. The means for pivotably attaching pivots on a horizontal axis. The means for pivotably attaching is attached to the upper portion of the blade.

The right blade chain is attached to the lower portion of the blade at a point right of center of the blade. The right blade chain is also attached to a portion of the implement that is more forward than the blade. The left blade chain is attached to the lower portion of the blade at a point left of center of the blade. The left blade chain is also attached to a portion of the implement that is more forward than the blade.

The blade is suspended from the underside of the frame. The swiveling means enables the blade to rotate 360 degrees on a vertical axis provided no other components impede the rotation. The swiveling means enables the blade to rotate on a horizontal axis. The blade is capable of swiveling vertically and pivoting horizontally simultaneously provided other portions of the implement do not obstruct the motion of the blade. The interaction of the swiveling means and the means for pivotably attaching enables the blade to be placed in a great variety of physical orientations.

When the swiveling means and the means for pivotably attaching are adjacent to each other, the blade, pivoting on a horizontal axis, can pivot about 180 degrees from a frontward up horizontal position through a conventional working position to a frontward down horizontal position. In this situation, further horizontal rotation by the blade is obstructed by the frame.

The blade has a trip feature. Tripping is when the blade moves from a normal working position to an abnormal position for working. Since the blade chains are attached to a more forward position of the implement and the blade chains hold the blade in position during forward motion, the blade will pivot forward when the implement motion is reversed, thus attaining a tripped state.

The trip feature generally permits the operator to back up the implement with the blade down without damaging the blade. This is a handy feature and a potential safety feature. The trip feature allows the operator to back out of an obstacle, instead of having to adjust or raise the blade to separate the blade from an obstacle.

With the blade chains positioned forward of the blade, the operator can reset the trip feature by pulling the implement forward and the blade is restored to the working position, without any adjustments to the implement. After reversing to separate the blade from an obstacle, the operator can choose to engage the same obstacle again by pulling forward into the obstacle. After reversing to separate the blade from an obstacle, the operator can turn the pulling vehicle a different direction so that the blade can engage the obstacle at a different angle or from a different direction.

The blade assembly can be changed by making a few adjustments. The blade angle and blade pitch are adjusted by changing the length of the blade chains. This can be accomplished by placing different chain links of the blade chains in a latching mechanism. The latching mechanism is positioned forward of the blade, usually on the tongue of the implement, and the latching mechanism holds the blade chains securely. The latching mechanism can provide the attachment points, Point T1 and Point T2.

The tensile strength of the blade chains and the strength of the latching mechanism can limit the force that can be applied to the scraping edge of the blade. If one blade chain or the latching mechanism breaks or becomes unattached while the blade is engaged in soil, the blade angle and blade pitch change to relieve some or all of the force being applied to the blade.

When in a working position, shortening both blade chains equally moves the lower cutting edge of the blade forward, thus changing the blade pitch. When in a working position, lengthening both blade chains moves the cutting edge backward, thus changing the blade pitch. Shortening or lengthening both blade chains equally in the same adjustment changes the blade pitch.

Shortening the left blade chain, while correspondingly lengthening the right blade chain, changes the blade angle so that the left side of the blade moves forward and the right side of the blade moves backward. Shortening the right blade chain while correspondingly lengthening the left blade chain by the same distance, changes the blade angle so that the right side of the blade moves forward and the left side of the blade moves backward. By adjusting the length of the blade chains, the blade angle can be changed to move the soil to either side of the implement. If the blade angle is set at 90 degrees, the blade pushes the soil forward, instead of to the side.

When in a working position, the blade chains provide force to hold the lower portion of the blade in position, while the blade swiveling means and the blade means for pivotably attaching experience much less force when there is forward motion of the implement. The blade chains make the blade assembly strong and durable. This force is evident by the quantity of soil the blade can move and how the blade can throw large rocks many yards. The applicant made the blade chain from an approximately 1300 lbs. working load chain.

By changing the blade pitch so it is nearly a 90 degree angle, the blade does a good job of removing ground foliage and surface debris while moving some surface soil. By changing the blade pitch so the cutting edge of the blade is forward of the upper portion of the blade, the blade moves much soil and can cut some subsoil roots.

The blade and this implement are not designed for operating in difficult terrain, such as embedded large rocks, large roots, and bedrock. The blade and this implement are designed to move large quantities of soil, small rocks, and small roots. The applicant used ⅜ inch metal to make the blade.

This blade and this implement should not be used in a working position without using a shield or some safety measures, as the blade can throw large rocks and heavy objects at the pulling vehicle. The shield shown in the drawings is an optional, but effective safety feature. The shield can be rotated backwards so that it lies flat on the tongue of the implement during transport.

The blade can be stowed when not in use by pivoting the lower portion of the blade up and swiveling the blade to the side so the blade can be chained to the underside of the frame. The blade can be brought into a working position from the stowed position by unchaining the blade from the frame, swiveling the blade toward the front, and pivoting the lower portion of the blade down.

The optional debris chains are additional chains that can be attached to the blade. The right debris chain attaches to the blade at Point B1. The right debris chain also attaches to the frame at Point F1. The left debris chain attaches to the blade at Point B2. The left debris chain also attaches to the frame at Point F2. When attached, the debris chains should be loosely attached, not tightly attached.

An alternate way to attach the optional debris chains is to have a large hook on one end of the debris chains. The right debris chain is attached to Point B1 and the large hook on the opposing end of the right debris chain is hooked on the edge of the upper portion of the blade. The left debris chain is attached to Point B2 and the large hook on the opposing end of the left debris chain is hooked on the edge of the upper portion of the blade. When attached, the debris chains should be loosely attached, not tightly attached. The applicable blade chains can then attach to the debris chains in the same manner as before.

When the debris chains are attached to the blade and frame, the blade chains attach to the debris chains, instead of attaching to the blade directly. The right blade chain attaches to the right debris chain. The left blade chain attaches to the left debris chain. The blade chains are properly attached to the debris chains when the blade chains attach to the debris chains at a point several inches away from the attachment point of the debris chains to the blade. The debris chains alter the point of attachment of the blade chains at the end nearest the blade.

This altered attachment raises the blade chains away from the ground and still allows the blade chains to hold the blade in place during forward movement. With the blade chains away from the ground, the ground cover and debris has less of a tendency to accumulate near the blade chains so the ground cover and debris flow better to the side of the blade. When the debris chains are not used, the blade chains can obstruct the flow of ground cover and debris around the blade so the material accumulates in front of the blade instead of flowing to the side.

The operator can adjust the attachment point of the blade chains to the debris chains for the particular operating conditions. The amount of ground cover and debris and how the material flows to the side will determine where is the best attachment point for the situation. With more ground cover and debris, the distance between the attachment point and the blade may need to be increased. At some point, however, the increase in distance may cease to have a material flow benefit.

With less material, the distance between the attachment point and the blade can be decreased. If there is not much material or the material is flowing to the side of the blade adequately, it may be better to not use the debris chains at all. The decision of whether to use debris chains or not belongs to the operator. The debris chains alter the attachment point so that the blade chains are less of an obstacle to the flow of material to the side of the blade.

A barrel is an optional feature. By filling the barrel with water, several hundred pounds of weight can be added to the frame. This added weight increases the depth of soil penetration by the blade and prongs when the gradient system is lowered.

The barrel has a cradle or holder to keep the barrel from moving during use. The barrel should be secured to the cradle. The implement also has an optional holder for a spare tire for the implement.

The claw assembly has a means for pivotably attaching that pivots on a transversely disposed support member, one or more prongs are attached to the means for pivotably attaching at a position on the prongs away from the lower portion of the prongs, and a chain for each prong connects the lower portion of the prong to said frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

The support member is transversely disposed on the implement. The support member can be attached to the frame or it can be part of the frame. The means for pivotably attaching pivots on a transverse axis. The prongs have an upper portion and a lower digging portion. The prongs are suspended from the underside of the frame.

A claw fork has two or more separated and parallel prongs, a means for pivotably attaching is attached to the prongs at a position on the prongs away from the lower end of the prongs, and a cross member attached near the lower end of the prongs. The means for pivotably attaching can be a sleeve that pivots on a transversely disposed support member inside the sleeve.

The claw fork can replace some of the components of the claw assembly. For purposes of describing use, the prongs and claw fork may be used interchangeably, even though they are different.

The claw fork or prongs loosen compacted or hardened soil. When the prongs are in the desired working position, the claw chains provide force to hold the lower part of the prongs in position, while the means for pivotably attaching experiences much less force. The claw chains make the claw assembly strong and durable. This force is evident by how the prongs can dislodge some embedded objects, such as roots and rocks.

The claw assembly can break up hardened soil and dislodge some embedded rocks. The chain or the attachment site for the chain can be manufactured to break under certain tensions so that the prongs may raise the implement over the obstacle and pass by potentially dangerous obstacles. With the claw assembly lowered into the working position, the implement can usually be backed up without damaging the prongs.

The prongs can be stowed when not in use by pivoting the lower portion of the prongs forward and up and chaining the prongs to the frame. The prongs can be brought into a working position from the stowed position by unchaining the prongs from the frame, by pivoting the prongs downward and back, and reattaching the claw chain to the frame when the prongs are in the desired position.

Like the blade assembly, the claw assembly has a trip feature. When the prongs encounter a large obstacle, the operator can reverse direction to pull the prongs away from the obstacle. In reverse, the prongs trips to pull out of the soil by pivoting the lower portion of the prongs forward. The claw chains generally do not interfere with the prongs when the claw assembly is tripping.

The trip feature allows the operator to back out of an obstacle, instead of having to adjust or raise the prongs to separate the claw fork from the obstacle. With the claw chains attached forward of the prongs, the operator can reset the prongs by pulling the implement forward a short distance and the prongs are restored to the working position without any adjustments to the implement. After reversing to separate the prongs from the obstacle, the operator can choose to engage the same obstacle again by pulling forward into the obstacle. By backing the implement, the operator may choose to engage the obstacle at a different location or in a different direction.

The length of the claw chains, the weight of the implement, and the height of the gradient system determine the penetration of the prongs provided the ground is not to hard to penetrate. The operator can adjust all three of these factors. The claw assembly is a much desired feature to be incorporated into a grader implement.

This implement can be made lightweight and strong. A lightweight implement using strong chains and the added weight of a barrel of water make this lightweight implement perform well for many tasks. When the task is completed, the barrel can be drained and the once heavy implement is lightweight again for transport on roads and highways.

It may be desirable to incorporate a shearing device into the chains or attachment points of the chains of the claw or blade assemblies. A shearing device could protect some of the features from damage should this implement encounter a large obstacle during use. If a shearing device is used, replacement shearing devices should be kept with the implement or designated pulling vehicle.

The gradient system is a system for raising, lowering, leveling, and adjusting the gradient of the implement. The gradient system has a set of components on each side, left and right, of the implement, an optional axle disposed transversely, and an optional torsion chain disposed transversely. The gradient system components on each side of the implement are pivoting arms, left and right, power jack means, left and right, wheels, left and right, optional springs, left and right, and optional frame guard extensions, left and right.

The right pivoting arm has a pivoting portion and an end portion. The pivot portion of the right pivoting arm is pivotably attached to the right side of a frame. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, the right pivoting arm is pivotably attached to one end of a first power jack means. The right pivoting arm pivots along a vertical path.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, the right side of the frame is pivotably attached to the opposing end of the first power jack means. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, a right wheel is rotationally attached to the pivoting arm. The right wheel rotates on a transverse axis.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, the right springs, if present, are attached to the right pivoting arm between the right pivoting arm and the attachment of the right wheel. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, a transversely disposed axle, if present, is attached to the right wheel. If the right springs are present and the axle is present, the axle is attached to the right springs and to the right wheel, wherein the axle is between the attachment of the right springs and the attachment of the right wheel.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the right pivoting arm to the frame, the right frame guard extension, if present, is attached to the frame near the right pivoting arm, wherein the right frame guard extension almost abuts the right pivoting arm along the entire path of the right pivoting arm while allowing the right pivoting arm to move unimpeded.

The left pivoting arm has a pivoting portion and an end portion. The pivot portion of the left pivoting arm is pivotably attached to the left side of the frame. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, the left pivoting arm is pivotably attached to one end of a second power jack means. The left pivoting arm pivots along a vertical path.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, the left side of the frame is pivotably attached to the opposing end of the second power jack means. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, a left wheel is rotationally attached to the pivoting arm. The left wheel rotates on a transverse axis.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, the left springs, if present, are attached to the left pivoting arm between the left pivoting arm and the attachment of the left wheel. At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, the axle, if present, is attached to the left wheel. If the left springs are present and the axle is present, the axle is attached to the left springs and to the left wheel, wherein the axle is between the attachment of the left springs and the attachment of the left wheel.

At a distance away from the attachment of the pivoting portion of the left pivoting arm to the frame, the left frame guard extension, if present, is attached to the frame near the left pivoting arm, wherein the left frame guard extension almost abuts the left pivoting arm along the entire path of the left pivoting arm while allowing the left pivoting arm to move unimpeded. The torsion chain, if present, is attached to the end portion of the right pivoting arm and to the end portion of the left pivoting arm.

The gradient is adjusted by independently shortening or lengthening one or both power jacks. The applicant used mechanical jacks on his implement. The gradient system uses a triangle configuration of elements on each side of the implement to change the height of each side independently. A particular longitudinal length of frame is one of the elements. The power jack means (“power jack”) is another element. The pivoting arm (also called “movable legs” or “movable leg”), pivoting along a vertical path, is the last element of the triangle.

The distance on the frame between the pivotable attachments is one length of the triangle configuration. The distance on the pivoting arm between the pivotable attachments is another length of the triangle configuration. The distance between the pivotable attachment on the stationary end of the power jack means and pivotable attachment on the displacement end of the power jack means is the last length of the triangle configuration. The frame is relatively stationary compared to the other elements.

When the power jacks means are lengthened, the angle between the pivoting arms and the frame changes and the entire frame elevates. When the power jacks means are shortened, the angle between the pivoting arms and the frame changes and the entire frame lowers. When the power jack means on one side is lengthened, the frame on that side rises. When the power jack means on one side is shortened, the frame on that side lowers.

When both sides of the implement are the same height, the frame is undistorted. When the sides of the implement have different heights, there is a twisting force being applied to the implement. It is desirable to have a feature in the implement that will nondestructively bend or absorb the differences, between the two sides of the implement. The applicant used leaf springs and an axle to alleviate some of the twisting force.

As an operator is adjusting the gradient system to raise one side of the implement higher than the other side or lower one side of the implement lower than the other side, the operator may notice that the structure of the gradient system will offer increased resistance to the distortion being applied, even without the torsion chain being attached.

The lowering of the frame lowers the blade and prongs to enable engagement or deeper penetration of the soil. The raising of the frame raises the blade and prongs to allow disengagement or less penetration of the soil. The frame is raised during transport and lowered during use.

The gradient system enables the transverse slope of the implement to be modified. The gradient system can be incorporated into other applications and implements. The gradient system is a desirable feature to be incorporated into a grading implement. When the gradient system is incorporated into an implement having the disclosed blade assembly, it enables the operator to adjust the gradient of the blade for the particular application.

The gradient system is easy to modify. The height of each side can be independently adjusted for the particular application. When modifying the gradient, the operator will most likely want to readjust the length of the torsion chain. During normal operations having little or no twisting force on the implement, the torsion chain is properly adjusted when there is about a three inch downward deflection of the middle of the torsion chain for every 52 inches of torsion chain length. Before and after adjusting the gradient, the operator should examine the tension being applied to the torsion chain.

When the length of the torsion chain between the two pivoting arms is properly adjusted, the torsion chain will tighten to relieve some of the twisting force that can occur occasionally. The torsion chain, when properly adjusted, can prevent one side of the gradient system from being overextended relative to the other side. The applicant used an approximately 730 lbs. working load chain for the torsion chain.

The optional frame guard extensions are guards that are attached to the frame. The frame guard extensions almost abut the pivoting arms, but are not attached to the pivoting arms. The frame guard extensions prevent the pivoting arms from bending laterally into the frame during rigorous use or accidental incidents.

The torsion chain can be an impediment to the gradient adjustment. When the two sides of the implement have different heights, a twisting force is created. The torsion chain is an optional safety feature for limiting the amount of twisting force being applied to the frame and implement.

The optional torsion chain that complements the vertical and gradient adjustment system, is an adjustable safety feature that keeps the implement from twisting past a point designated by the operator's adjustment of the torsion chain. Should the implement be operated in areas of deep ravines and holes, the torsion chain may keep one side of the implement from falling to far into the ravine or hole.

As more twist is being applied to the frame and implement, the torsion chain will tighten. When the torsion chain tightens, the operator should consider the prudence of whether to apply that amount of twist to the frame and whether to lengthen the torsion chain. The torsion chain is especially desirable for limiting the twist on the frame when one side of the implement falls or rolls into a hole or crevice or one side encounters a extreme height displacement during operation.

While the torsion chain can limit the twisting force and the excessive application of slope to the frame, some twisting force will be applied to one or more parts of the implement. The springs are a likely site for alleviating some of twisting force. If a part on one side, left or right, were to break during transport or use, a properly adjusted torsion chain may prevent consequential damage to the implement or to the road.

Because an axle is a strong structural feature for implements, the applicant likes the leaf spring and axle combination in the gradient system. While other types of springs and wheel supporting structures, like an independent suspension design, may be used and may be workable, the applicant prefers the axle and leaf spring combination to other competing combinations for the gradient system.

A preferred embodiment of the invention is an axle attached to the pivoting arms by leaf springs. In the preferred embodiment, the leaf springs are the only attachment between the axle and pivoting arms. A preferred embodiment of the invention is depicted in the drawings, as this is substantially similar to the implement the applicant built for his own personal use.

In FIG. 1, the implement is built like a light trailer. The implement has a long tongue, not labeled, to attach a frame 50 of the implement to a pulling vehicle, a shield 65, a blade assembly 100, not labeled, a claw assembly 300, not labeled, a barrel 75, and a vertical and gradient adjustment system 200, not labeled.

The description of FIG. 1 is presented to describe those elements that can be easily viewed in FIG. 1. The gradient system 200 and claw assembly 300 are partially hidden and are difficult to see in FIG. 1. These features will be described in more detail with other figures.

The frame 50 consists of two longitudinal support members, two cross members attached to the longitudinal support members, and two vertical members (“upright members”), with each vertical member being attached to one longitudinal support member.

The shield 65 is a large planar structure that is attached to the middle of the tongue of the implement. The shield 65 is shown in the upright (working) position in FIG. 1. On the tongue and just behind the shield is a latching mechanism 147, partially hidden and not labeled in FIG. 1, but is labeled in FIG. 2. The latching mechanism receives the blade chains (145A right and 145B left, collectively 145) from the blade 110.

The latching mechanism 147 is attached to the tongue of the implement at a position forward of the blade 110. The latching mechanism has a latching means on each side, left and right, of the tongue. The latching means is a slot in the latching mechanism 147 for receiving the chain links of the blade chains 145. The latching mechanism holds the blade chains at a particular length.

The frame 50 has a vertical hole, not labeled, extending through the frame. A swiveling rotational sleeve 120 has an upper swiveling portion and a lower sleeve portion. The upper swiveling portion, rotating on a nearly vertical axis, of the swiveling rotational sleeve occupies the vertical hole in the frame. The lower sleeve portion has a horizontally oriented aperture through the entire length of the sleeve. The lower sleeve portion rotates on a nearly horizontal path. The lower sleeve portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve is suspended from the underside of the frame. The swiveling rotational sleeve 120 rotates around a vertical axis.

Inside the sleeve portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve 120 is a rotational bar 140. The rotational bar 140 extends out both ends of the swiveling rotational sleeve 120. The opposing ends of the rotational bar 140 are attached to a blade 110. The blade 110 and rotational bar 140 pivot on a horizontal axis in relation to the swiveling portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve 120, which rotates on a vertical axis.

The blade 110 is held into the different physical orientations by blade chains 145.

The blade chain 145A attaches to the lower portion of the blade at a point right of center of the blade. The blade chain 145B attaches to the lower portion of the blade at a point left of center of the blade. The opposing ends of the blade chains 145A and 145B are received by the latching mechanism 147, partially hidden and not labeled.

In FIG. 2, the blade assembly is depicted. The frame 50 has a vertical hole, not labeled, extending through the frame. A swiveling rotational sleeve 120 has an upper swiveling portion and a lower sleeve portion. The lower sleeve portion is transversely oriented compared to the upper swiveling portion. The upper swiveling portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve occupies the vertical hole in the frame. The lower sleeve portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve is horizontally oriented and suspended from the underside of the frame. The sleeve portion has an aperture through the entire length of the sleeve portion. The swiveling rotational sleeve 120 rotates around a 360 degree vertical axis.

A rotational bar 140 occupies the aperture of the sleeve portion of the swiveling rotational sleeve 120. The rotational bar 140 extends out both ends of the aperture of the swiveling rotational sleeve 120. The opposing ends of the rotational bar 140 are attached to a blade 110. The swiveling rotational sleeve 120 rotates on a vertical axis, while the blade 110 and rotational bar 140 pivots on a horizontal axis.

The blade 110 is held into the different physical orientations by blade chains 145. The blade chain 145A attaches to the lower portion of the blade 110 at a point right of center of the blade. The blade chain 145B attaches to the lower portion of the blade 110 at a point left of center of the blade. The other ends of the blade chains 145A and 145B are received by the latching mechanism 147, partially hidden and not labeled.

Also present in FIG. 2 is the barrel 75 and the cradle 95 for the barrel. The cradle has two longitudinally disposed members attached to the frame. These longitudinally disposed members are separated by a distance a little shorter than the diameter of the barrel being used. The cradle has two or more cross members that are attached to the longitudinally disposed members.

In FIG. 3, the rear end of the implement is depicted. This view shows the gradient system 200, not labeled. The gradient system 200 has two pivoting arms (210A and 210B, collectively 210), two power jack means (220A and 220B, collectively 220), two rotational pins (255A, not visible, and 255B, collectively 255), two jack swivels (225A, not visible, and 225B, collectively 225), two leaf springs, partially hidden and not labeled, axle 250, two wheels (260A and 260B, collectively 260), and a torsion chain 230.

The frame 50 has two transverse apertures, not labeled, one aperture in a right side longitudinal member of the frame and the other aperture in a left side longitudinal member of the frame. The pivoting arms 210 have a transversely oriented axis feature 270 on each pivoting arm. The axis features are labeled 270A and 270B. The axis feature 270A of the pivoting arm 210A occupies the transverse aperture on the right side of the frame.

The axis feature 270B of the pivoting arm 210B occupies this transverse aperture on the left side of the frame. The axis features 270 have a transversely oriented aperture, not labeled, through the axis feature. When the claw assembly 300, not shown, is attached to the implement, the axis bar 320, not shown, occupies the axis features 270 of the pivoting arms 210. The pivoting arms pivot on a transverse axis and have a nearly vertical path of pivoting.

The leaf springs 240 are longitudinally attached to the underside of the pivoting arms 210 near the end portion of the pivoting arms at both ends of the leaf spring. The middle portion of the leaf springs is attached to a transversely disposed axle 250.

The axle has wheels 260 on both ends of the axle. The wheels 260 have a transverse axis of rotation. On the lower ends of the power jack means 220 are rotational pins 255 that pivotably attach the power jack means to the pivoting arms 210. The power jack means 220 are vertically oriented. The upper end of the power jack means are pivotably attached to an upright member, not labeled, of the frame by jack swivels 225.

The frame guard extensions 265 are downward extensions from the upright members of the frame 50. The frame guard extensions 265 are attached to the frame 50, but not to the pivoting arms 210. The frame guard extensions 265 almost abut the pivoting arms 210 along the opertational orientations of the pivoting arms. The optional torsion chain 230 connects the end portion of the pivoting arm 210A to the end portion of the pivoting arm 210B. The torsion chain is a desirable safety feature.

In FIG. 4, the lower rear portion of the right side of the gradient system 200, not labeled, is illustrated. The frame 50 has a transverse aperture, not labeled, in a right side longitudinal member of the frame. The axis feature 270A of the pivoting arm 210A occupies this transverse aperture in the frame. The axis feature 270A has an aperture, not labeled, through it.

The pivoting arm 210A is pivotably attached to the frame 50 via the axis feature 270A occupying the aperture in the frame. The pivoting arm pivots on a transverse axis along a nearly vertical path. The leaf spring 240A is longitudinally attached near the rear end portion of the pivoting arm 210A at both ends of the leaf spring. The middle portion of the leaf spring is attached to a transversely disposed axle 250.

The axle has wheels (260A, shown and labeled, and 260B, not shown) on both ends of the axle. Above the axle on the pivoting arm 210A is a rotational pin 255A that pivotably attaches the pivoting arm to the lower end of the power jack means 220A.

The power jack means 220A is vertically oriented. The upper end, not shown, of the power jack means is pivotably attached to an upright member of the frame, partially shown and not labeled. The frame guard extension 265A is a downward extension from the upright member of the frame.

The frame guard extension 265A is attached to the frame, but not to the pivoting arms 210. The frame guard extension 265A almost abuts the pivoting arm 210A along the operational orientations of the pivoting arms. Most of the previously described components in relation to FIG. 4, looking at the right side of the implement, are duplicated in a mirrored configuration on the left side of the implement.

The optional torsion chain 230 connects the end portion of the pivoting arm 210A to the end portion of the pivoting arm 210B. The torsion chain is a desirable safety feature.

In FIG. 5, the claw assembly 300, not labeled, is illustrated. In this embodiment, the claw assembly has a claw fork 310, an axis bar 320, and claw chains (330A and 330B). The claw fork 310 consists of two prongs, not labeled, a rotational sleeve, not labeled, and a cross bar, not labeled, joining the two prongs.

The claw fork 310 pivots on a transverse axis. The two prongs, not labeled, are the parallel members that have a vertical rotational path. The rotational sleeve of the claw fork is disposed transverse to the implement between two longitudinal members of the frame. The rotational sleeve of the claw fork is the sleeve that surrounds the middle portion of the axis bar 320. The cross bar of the claw fork is the transverse member that joins the two prongs together near the lower digging ends of the prongs.

The axis bar 320 is a support member that is disposed transverse to the implement. The axis bar occupies two apertures, not labeled, in the longitudinal members of the frame. One end of the axis bar 320 occupies an aperture in a right side longitudinal member of the frame and the opposing end of the axis bar occupies an aperture in a left side longitudinal member of the frame. When the optional claw assembly 300 is attached to the implement, the axis bar 320 occupies the axis feature 270A of the pivoting arm 210A and the axis bar 320 also occupies the axis feature 270B on the pivoting arm 210B.

The prong chains 330 attach near the ground engaging ends of the claw fork 310 with prong chain 330A attaching to the prong on the right side of the claw fork and prong chain 330B attaching to the prong on the left side of the claw fork. The prong chain 330A attaches to the frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs. The prong chain 330B attaches to the frame at a more forward part of said frame in relation to said prongs.

The rotational sleeve of the claw fork 310 pivots on the axis bar 320. The rotational sleeve enables the claw fork 310 to pivot upward into a non-working position or pivot downward into a working position. The claw fork 310 is supported the axis bar 320. In FIG. 5, the cradle 95 can be viewed without the barrel obstructing the view of the cradle.

In FIG. 6, the debris chains (157A and 157B, collectively 157) are illustrated with the blade assembly 100, not labeled. The debris chains 157 attach to the blade 110 and to the frame 50. The debris chain 157A attaches to Point B1 on the blade. The debris chain 157A also attaches to Point F1 on the frame. The blade chain 145A attaches to the debris chain 157A between where the debris chain attaches to Point B1 and to Point F1. The blade chain 145A also attaches to the Point T1. In this illustration, the Point T1 is on the latching mechanism 147.

The debris chain 157B attaches to Point B2 on the blade 110. The debris chain 157B also attaches to Point F2 on the frame 50. The blade chain 145B attaches to the debris chain 157B between where the debris chain attaches to Point B2 and to Point F2. The blade chain 145B also attaches to the Point T2. In this illustration, the Point T2 is on the latching mechanism 147. The barrel 75 and the cradle 95 can also be seen in FIG. 6.

If the blade assembly was made with the swiveling means and the means for pivotably attaching further apart, the blade would have greater horizontal rotation than 180 degrees, but the blade assembly may lose some structural stability. It is preferable that the swiveling means and the means for pivotably attaching be adjacent or very close to each other, as this design is more structurally stable.

It is preferable that the gradient system be used with the blade assembly since the independent height adjustment of the gradient system enables the blade to have a gradient, thus making the blade assembly more functional. It is also preferable that the claw assembly be used with the blade assembly because the soil loosening effect of the prongs enables the blade to be used in soil that is difficult to penetrate.

The blade assembly, in conjunction with the vertical and gradient adjustment system, is unusual in that the operator can independently adjust blade angle, blade pitch, and the gradient of the blade on the same implement.

While the invention has been described with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art may appreciate numerous modifications and variations therefrom. It is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.