Title:
Post anchor with drive pin and ground displacement wedge
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A post anchor includes a ground engaging portion in the form of fins and a post receiving portion in the form of a tubular member. A side wall of the post receiving portion has a bottom portion that is inwardly tapered and fastened between and to adjacent ones of the fins at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge that also structurally reinforces the fins. A drive pin is attached to at least one of the fins in a position where a top of the drive pin is generally flush with a top edge of the fin to which the drive pin is attached.



Inventors:
Hill, Ian A. (Frisco, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/593396
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
11/06/2006
Assignee:
Oz-Post International LLP (Dallas, TX, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D5/54
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WOOD, KIMBERLY T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY GARDERE (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A post anchor, comprising: a ground engaging portion comprising at least one fin; a post receiving portion mounted to the ground engaging portion and sized and shaped to receive a post; and a drive pin attached to the fin and positioned in alignment with a top edge of the fin.

2. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the drive pin is a solid round bar mounted to the fin.

3. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the drive pin is a hollow round tube mounted to the fin.

4. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the drive pin is a plate extending between two adjacent fins across a corner between the adjacent fins.

5. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the post receiving portion further includes at least one aperture in a surface thereof for receiving mounting hardware to secure the post in position within the post receiving portion.

6. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the post receiving portion further includes at least one aperture in a surface thereof through which an adhesive is injected to secure the post in position within the post receiving portion.

7. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the drive pin is mounted to two adjacent fins at a corner between those adjacent fins.

8. The post anchor of claim 1 wherein the post receiving portion includes a wall, wherein a bottom portion of the wall is inwardly tapered and fastened between and to adjacent ones of the fins at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge.

9. A post anchor, comprising: a ground engaging portion comprising at least one fin; and a post receiving portion mounted to the ground engaging portion and sized and shaped to receive a post, the post receiving portion including a side wall, a bottom portion of the side wall being inwardly tapered and fastened to the fin at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge.

10. The post anchor of claim 9 further comprising a drive pin attached to the fin.

11. The post anchor of claim 9 wherein a top of the drive pin is positioned in alignment with a top edge of the fins.

12. The post anchor of claim 10 wherein the drive pin is a solid round bar mounted to the fin.

13. The post anchor of claim 10 wherein the drive pin is a hollow round tube mounted to the fin.

14. The post anchor of claim 10 wherein the drive pin is a plate extending between two adjacent fins across a corner formed by those two adjacent fins.

15. A post anchor, comprising: a ground engaging portion comprising a fin; a post receiving portion comprising a tubular member having a wall with a bottom portion being inwardly tapered and fastened to the fin at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge; and a drive pin attached to the fin in a position where a top of the drive pin is generally flush with a top edge of the fin to which the drive pin is attached.

16. The post anchor of claim 15 further comprising another fin wherein the drive pin is mounted in a corner formed between two adjacent fins.

17. The post anchor of claim 15 wherein the tubular member has a square cross-sectional shape.

18. The post anchor of claim 15 wherein the drive pin is a solid round bar mounted to the fin.

19. The post anchor of claim 15 wherein the drive pin is a hollow round tube mounted to the fin.

20. The post anchor of claim 15 further comprising another fin wherein the drive pin is a plate extending between two adjacent fins across a corner formed between the fins.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to an improved post anchor and in particular to a post anchor having an improved method and system of driving the anchor into the ground.

2. Description of Related Art

Posts, such as sign posts, fence posts etc, are typically held in the ground by digging a hole, placing the post in the hole and filling the hole with concrete or firmly compacted soil. This process is effective but time consuming. Furthermore, any impact or heavy wind load on the post can result in post damage which can only be corrected by complete removal of the post and repositioning of a new post following the same procedure.

The problem has been addressed in the prior art by providing post anchors which are decoupled from the post. In the prior art, a number of examples exist of a post anchor which is independently driven into the ground at a location in which a post is to be positioned. The post is then associated with the post anchor by some form of attachment mechanism. Typically, the post anchor is a finned assembly made from pressed mild steel (see, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,461,084 and 6,560,935, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference).

A number of methods are available for driving the post anchor into the ground prior to installation of the post. One way is to use a sledge hammer to pound the post anchor until the anchor is embedded into the ground. Another way is to use a jack-hammer to pound the post anchor into the ground. In either case, a tremendous amount of force is applied to a top of the post anchor during the anchor driving process. This force, especially in connection with the use of a jack-hammer, has been known to cause damage to the post anchor during installation. For example, the applied force in some instances can cause a crumpling or bending of the post receiving portion of the anchor or the fins of the ground penetrating portion of the anchor. In many instances, the damage to the post anchor caused by installation forces is inconsequential. In other instances, however, the damage incurred during installation can be quite significant, and can rise to a level such that the post anchor fails, cannot receive a post or cannot be reliably used. In such a situation, the damaged post anchor must be pulled from the ground and replaced. A need accordingly exists for protecting post anchors against damaging installation forces.

It is also noted that when driving prior art post anchors into the ground, especially in low installation or ground flush installation, the post receiving portion at the top of the post anchor can fill to some degree with ground material. This can be quite annoying to the installer who must, after the post anchor has be set in the ground, reach into the post receiving portion to remove the ground material before the post can be installed. A need accordingly exists for minimizing or eliminating ground material contamination of the post receiving portion of a post anchor during installation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one form, although it need not be the only or indeed the broadest form, an embodiment is a post anchor comprising a ground engaging portion comprising two or more fin members, and a post receiving portion comprising of solid or formed and welded cylindrical or square steel that is dimensioned to be larger in size to receive a post to be associated with said post anchor. A solid or hollow drive pin or plate is attached to and located between adjacent fins and is positioned for attachment in alignment with the top edge of the fins. Furthermore, bottom portions of the side walls of the post receiving portion are tapered in and secured to the fins to form a wedge-like structure that not only reinforces the fins but also functions to displace ground away from a center of the post anchor during installation.

In an embodiment, a post anchor comprises a ground engaging portion comprising at least one fin, a post receiving portion mounted to the ground engaging portion and sized and shaped to receive a post, and a drive pin attached to the fin and positioned in alignment with a top edge of the fin. The drive pin may be attached at a corner between two adjacent fins.

In an embodiment, a ground engaging portion comprises at least one fin, and a post receiving portion mounted to the ground engaging portion and sized and shaped to receive a post, the post receiving portion including a side wall, a bottom portion of the side wall being inwardly tapered and fastened to the fin at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge.

In yet another embodiment, a ground engaging portion comprises a fin, a post receiving portion comprising a tubular member having a wall with a bottom portion being inwardly tapered and fastened to the fin at an angle to form a ground displacement wedge, and a drive pin attached to the fin in a position where a top of the drive pin is generally flush with a top edge of the fin to which the drive pin is attached.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the method and apparatus of the present invention may be acquired by reference to the following Detailed Description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a post anchor in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the post anchor of FIG. 1 with the post removed and with a portion of the post receiving portion cut-away to reveal interior features and designs;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the post receiving portion with a portion of the post receiving portion cut-away to reveal interior features and designs;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the post anchor in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 4 taken along lines 5-5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the Drawings, like reference numerals refer to like or similar parts.

With reference to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a post anchor in 10 accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The post anchor 10 comprises a ground engaging portion 12 and a post receiving portion 14. FIG. 1 illustrates that the post receiving portion 14 has received a post 16. The post 16 may be a sign post, fence post or other similar upstanding member which one desires to be secured in and or to the ground. Although the post receiving portion 14 is illustrated as having a generally square cross-section, it will be understood that it may instead have any suitable cross-section complementary to receiving the post 16. In other words, the cross-section of the post receiving portion 14 should have a size and shape which is about the same as (generally slightly larger than) the size and shape of the cross-section of the post 16 which is to be received therein. Examples of other suitable cross-section shapes for the post receiving portion 14 include rectangular and circular.

As discussed above, the post receiving portion 14 is generally larger, at least at or about a top 18 of the post receiving portion 14, than the post 16 which is to be received. The post 16 is inserted into the slightly larger opening 30 in the post receiving portion 14 at the top 18 and pushed down into the opening 30 in the post receiving portion 14 until the received post 16 is seated at a base 20 of the post receiving portion 14 (or otherwise when further downward advancement of the post 16 is stopped).

The ground engaging portion 12 includes a plurality of fins 24. The fins taper at a lower portion 26 thereof to form a point 28 which aids insertion of the ground engaging portion 12 into the ground. Although a finned structure is preferred, it will be appreciated that a solid structure, or indeed a variety of other structures, will be suitable.

Reference is now made to FIG. 2 wherein there is shown a perspective view of the post anchor 10 of FIG. 1 with the post 16 removed and with a portion of the post receiving portion 14 cut-away to reveal interior features and designs. FIG. 2 illustrates the base 20 of the opening 30 in the post receiving portion 14. The side walls of the post receiving portion 14 taper inwardly below the base 20 as generally shown at reference 22 (see, also, FIGS. 4 and 5). A top edge 44 of the fins 24 forms the base 20 of the opening 30. The tapered portion 22 of the sidewalls form a trapezoidal shape extending below the top edge 44 with edges that are secured by welding to the fins 24. The inward tapering of the portion 22 of the side walls forms a wedge-like structure that advantageously pushes (or displaces) ground out away from the center of the post anchor during installation. Additionally, the portion 22 in being secured to the fins 24 just below the top edge 44 of the fins 24 provides a structural support to help minimize damage to the fins 24 caused by operation of the driving tool during installation of the post anchor into the ground. More specifically, the portion 22 helps to ensure that the fins 24, at or near the top edge 44 are not severely crumpled, displaced or bent through the pounding action of the driving tool during installation of the post anchor 10 into the ground.

An aperture 34 is provided on one or more side walls of the post receiving portion 14. This aperture 34 in one implementation forms a blot/glue port. Through the blot/glue port an installer may inject an adhesive material into the opening 30 of the post receiving portion 14. Preferably, the adhesive is injected through the blot/glue port after the post 16 has been inserted into the opening. In such a case, the injected adhesive will spread to fill the space between the outer surface of the post 16 and the inner surface of the post receiving portion 14. The adhesive, when dried or cured, functions to further assure retention of the post 16 within the post receiving portion 14.

It will be recognized that the aperture 34 may alternatively, or additionally, be used to allow for the insertion of a screw (or bolt) there-through, with any such screw/bolt engaging a received post 16 so as to further assure retention of the post 16 within the post receiving portion 14.

Reference is now made to FIG. 3 wherein there is shown a perspective view of the post receiving portion 14 with a portion of the post receiving portion cut-away to reveal interior features and designs. A drive pin 40 made of solid round steel bar stock is mounted to the ground engaging portion 12 in a corner 34 formed between two adjacent fins 24. A top surface 42 of the drive pin 40 is located flush with the top edge 44 of the fins 24. The drive pin 40 is welded in the corner 34 location preferably near the center of the fin cross section (see, FIG. 4), with the weld being formed between the pin and each of the adjacent fins. It will be understood that in other implementations, the drive pin 40 need only be attached to a single one of the fins at the top edge 44. The drive pin can be made of several profiles and sizes but its mounting location is most preferably flush with the top edge 44 of the fins 24. The drive pin 40 functions to distribute the energy used to drive the post anchor 10 into the ground over a larger area of the fins 24 so as to help minimize damage to the fins 24 caused by operation of the driving tool when installing the post anchor into the ground. More specifically, the drive pin 40 helps to ensure that the fins 24 at or near the top edge 44 are not severely crumpled, displaced or bent through the pounding action of the driving tool during installation of the post anchor 10 into the ground. The attachment of the drive pin 40 further secures the welding seam in the corner 34 between the fins 24 at or near the top edge 44. Although solid round bar stock is preferred, in another implementation the drive pin 40 can have a hollow tubular shape 40′ (shown in phantom in FIG. 4). In yet another implementation, the drive pin can instead comprise a plate-like structure drive pin 40″ welded to and extending diagonally between two adjacent pins (see, phantom illustration in FIG. 4). Again, a top edge of the drive pins 40′ and 40″ would be located most preferably flush with the top edge 44 of the fins 24. In most instances, only a single drive pin 40/40′/40″ is required. However, in extreme circumstances there may be an advantage to placing two or more drive pins in the ground engaging portion 12.

The above description has been made in terms of a four fin 24 ground engaging portion 12. The invention is not limited to this situation. In fact, the ground engaging portion 12 may be a single fin or spike with the drive pin attached to that single fin. The tapered bottom portion 22 of the wall for the post receiving portion 14 may still be included with the single fin to effectuate ground displacement. The four fin 24 arrangement, however, is the most suitable in many applications.

Although preferred embodiments of the method and apparatus of the present invention have been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.