Title:
Guide disc attachment for snow blower housing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A Guide Disc Attachment for Snow Blower Housing affixed in tandem to the exterior sides of a snow blower housing. Each disc is fabricated of rigid material, conformed to cut through ice and snow to an underlying hard surface and rotates on an axis parallel to the hard surface. Each disc attachment is adjustable, vertically, to regulate the distance between the underlying hard surface and the generally horizontal cutting edge of the snow blower housing. The invention allows the cutting edge to gather otherwise impacted snow and also provides lateral stability when the snow blower is moving forward.



Inventors:
Luhtanen, James L. (Traverse City, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/704785
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
02/09/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/09
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RISIC, ABIGAIL ANNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Douglas S. Bishop (Traverse City, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. In a snow blower machine having a forward housing/bin attachment, having an open front area with a lower edge, and two substantially vertical sides, for gathering snow, a guide disc attachment comprising: a rigid planar sheet member having a first surface, second surface, perimeter edge, and a defined thickness; and said planar member vertically adjustably affixed to a substantially vertical side of the forward housing bin and adjustably extendable to a defined distance vertically below the cutting edge of the housing/bin with said planar member being substantially at right angles to the cutting edge.

2. The invention of claim 1, wherein a pair of said guide disc attachments is provided, mounted in parallel, one on each substantially vertical side of the housing bin.

3. The invention of claim 1, wherein the rigid planar sheet member is circular, and the guide disc attachment further comprising: an axle housing member and an axle member insertable therein; said rigid planar member having a centered aperture; said axle member insertable through the centered aperture into the axle housing, with the rigid planar member rotatable around said axle member; and said axle housing affixed to a substantially vertical side of the housing/bin.

4. The invention of claim 3, wherein the invention further comprises a mounting plate having a first outward side and a second inward side; the axle housing affixed and extending horizontally from the first outer side, and said second inner side contacting and adjustably affixed to a vertical side of the housing/bin.

5. The invention of claim 3, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar sheet member, across its perimeter edge, does not exceed 0.25 inches/6.35 mm.

6. The invention of claim 3, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar member decreases from the centered aperture, to its perimeter edge.

7. The invention of claim 3, wherein the rigid planar member has a tapered perimeter edge.

8. The invention of claim 3, wherein the rigid planar member has a perimeter edge, substantially at right angles to the first and second surfaces of the planar sheet member.

9. The invention of claim 3, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar sheet member across its perimeter edge is 0.197 inches/5 mm.

10. In a snow blower machine having a forward housing/bin attachment having an open front area with a lower edge and two substantially vertical sides for gathering snow, guide disc attachments comprising: a pair of rigid planar sheet members, each having a first surface and a second surface and a circular perimeter edge, with a defined thickness; each circular rigid planar member defining a centered aperture thereon; an axle housing member and an axle member insertable therein, associated with each circular rigid planar sheet member; each axle member insertable through the centered aperture of the disc member with which it is associated, into an axle housing with the associated rigid planar member rotatable around said axle member; a pair of mounting plates, each having a first outward side and a second inward side, each axle housing affixed and extending horizontally from the first outer side of each of the mounting plate members, with the second inner side of each mounting plate member contacting an adjustably affixed to opposing sides of the housing/bin.

11. The invention of claim 10, wherein, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar sheet member, across its perimeter edge, does not exceed 0.25 inches/6.35 mm.

12. The invention of claim 10, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar member decreases from the centered aperture, to its perimeter edge.

13. The invention of claim 10, wherein the rigid planar member has a tapered perimeter edge.

14. The invention of claim 10, wherein the rigid planar member has a perimeter edge, substantially at right angles to the first and second surfaces of the planar sheet member.

15. The invention of claim 10, wherein the thickness of the rigid planar sheet member across its perimeter edge is 0.197 inches/5 mm.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With regard to snow blowers which have a snow throwing mechanism, or auger, within a housing, which housing contacts the snow to be removed, and has a generally horizontal front or cutting edge, the concept of utilizing skid or ski plates underneath or adjacent to the sides of the housing, or wheels on the sides of the housing, to allow the housing to pass over the surface being cleared, and to adjust the height of the front or cutting edge of the housing above the surface underlying the snow to be removed, is known. Examples of prior art pertinent to this discussion include U.S. Pat. No. 4,255,879, to Greider, for a Snow Blower Deadman Control, which shows a wheel attachment (the concept of utilizing a wheel attachment to cut through the snow, or ice, to bring the snow blower assembly closer to the underlying hard surface, however, is not disclosed nor taught by the '879 patent); U.S. Pat. No. 3,913,247, to Ruhl, for an Auger and Blade Therefor Useable to Move Materials Such as Snow and the Like, likewise fails to disclose the novel aspect of the supporting “disc” members; U.S. Pat. No. 3,349,506, to G. H. Rubin, for a Disc Snow Blower, specifically recites “ground engaging wheels.” Again, the wheels are not specifically defined and are not a feature of any claim, or of the invention. The idea of utilizing the “ground engaging wheels” to “cut through” snow and ice, is not specifically taught nor described; U.S. Pat. No. 3,239,954, to M. L. Brier, for a Self-Cleaning Wheel for a Self-Propelled Snow Blower, provides a small supporting wheel member “on each side.” Again, nothing is disclosed relative to said wheels being in defined width, composition, or “disc” shape with any cited feature or application to cut through impacted snow and/or ice; U.S. Patent Application Publication No. U.S. 2004/0194353 A1, of Hoerle et al, for a Snow Removal Machine with System for Applying a Surface Treatment Material, again discloses a wheel, but does not disclose nor teach the function of utilizing any particular type or construction of wheel attachment to cut through snow and/or ice.

In snow blowing operations, frequently, on hard surfaces, before the snow blowing operation, there may be all, or an area, of the surface to be cleared which has a build up of impacted snow. Standard snow blowers, including those referenced above as prior art, operate with “skids,” or side-mounted, standard wheels which, in normal application, will ride on top of, and not cut through, such impacted snow or ice. Because the “skids” and/or wheels dictate a specified height above the bottom of the skid, or of the wheel, where the “bin” or housing of the snow blower will scrape and gather snow to be blown, when these skids, or standard wheels, impact an area of impacted snow or ice, they tend to rise above it, leaving a greater horizontal area of snow beneath the housing, which is not removed. As stated, these designs, commonly used by modern day manufacturers of snow blowers, tend to ride up on top of the snow and may even themselves impact the snow, exacerbating the “ride up” tendency by their very operation. The lower edge of the bin, or housing, is sometimes called a “cutting plate” of the snow blower. The problem with impacted snow and ice is compounded as the winter season continues, and the snow and/or ice pack becomes thicker.

An additional problem, not addressed by current snow blowers, or any of the prior art, is that, when operating the snow blower, with a horizontal auger, the snow blower may have a tendency to pull sideways into deeper areas of snow. This is particularly prevalent with a skid shoe support design for the bin or housing, and is also present in standard wheel attachments which ride on top of the snow, because they have little lateral stabilizing ability.

Accordingly, a need exists, in snow blower applications, for supporting guides (for attachment to a snow blower bin or housing) in a rigid narrow shape, to cut through impacted snow, and/or ice, to the underlying hard surface, to reduce snow and ice build-up to a minimal level. A further need exists for such rigid narrow guides for the snow blower bin or housing, mounted in line with the direction of forward motion of the snow blower, to stabilize the motion and resist a tendency to pull or drift to either side, particularly in areas where the snow being removed is uneven.

An invention which addresses these needs, allowing snow to be removed to minimum amounts, and, by stabilizing the front of the snow blower, reducing side pull at the edge of drift or hard packed snow, may further result in a reduction of potential fatigue to the operator

In addition, the present invention is directed toward providing maximum snow blower operation and thrown snow distance, by reducing the amount of power of the snow blower which must be directed toward propelling the machine.

The instant invention is directed toward providing guide disc attachments to a snow blower bin or housing which are vertical, rigid and narrow, to cut through impacted snow and ice, and, when they come in contact with the underlying hard surface, to hold the cutting edge of the snow blower above the hard surface at a predetermined height.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been designed to overcome the shortcomings in the prior art noted above. The invention primarily consists of a pair of rigid, narrow discs, mounted in tandem, one on each side, on a snow blower bin and housing. Each disc is mounted on, and rotates about, an axle perpendicular to the side of the housing, and in parallel with the cutting edge of the snow blower. The rigid, narrow features of the disc permit it to cut or break through impacted snow and ice, and to reach and contact the hard surface lying beneath the snow or ice which is being removed. The rotating feature of the disc mounted on an axle allows the disc to rotate, as the snow blower is moved forward, and minimizes friction resistence normally attendant in a non-rotating skid. It is possible to utilize only the rigid narrow feature of the disc, without rotation, as a support on each side of the snow blower bin or housing to provide that the cutting feature as well as sideways stability, but optimum economy of the invention is obtained when the discs rotate to minimize friction resistence to the forward movement of the snow blower.

Each disc is mounted in a manner which allows vertical adjustment of the disc assembly, while maintaining alignment in parallel with the forward direction of the snow blower. In practice, the adjustment feature can be provided by alternative mounting holes, by vertical slots in a mounting bracket holding the disc and axle assembly, through which a bolt is inserted, with the device being vertically adjustable when the bolt is loosened, and held in place when the bolt is tightened, or by other equivalent methods. The mounting brackets, on each side of the bin or housing, are adjusted correspondingly, to provide that the forward lower cutting edge of the snow blower housing rides at a substantially even distance above the hard surface to be cleared, across its horizontal width. It is an object of the instant invention to provide mounted guide attachments for a snow blower, which will cut through impacted ice and snow, to the surface to be cleared, while maintaining the cutting edge of the snow blower, and, hence, the level of snow to be cleared, at a constant level.

Other objects, advantages, and novel features of this invention will be set forth and will become apparent in the detailed description which follows with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a snow blower, with a forward snow gathering bin and auger housing, showing a rotatable disc of the present invention mounted thereon.

FIG. 2 is a rear view of a snow cutter disc assembly of the present invention, showing the backside of the mounting bracket, for attachment to the snow blower bin, the axle housing, and the rotatable disc.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the disc attachment of the present invention, showing the disc, axle, and, transparently showing the mounting bracket and axle housing.

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of the rotatable disc of the present invention, adjustably mounted on one side of a snow blower bin, and demonstrating the disc cutting through impacted snow and ice.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of side of a snow blower bin and housing, with the device adjustably mounted thereon, showing the forward cutting edge of the bin at a predetermined height above the underlying hard surface, and the rotatable disc of the present invention cutting through impacted snow and ice.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the rotatable disc attachment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention Guide Disc Attachment for Snow Blower Housing, broadly considered, is a guide and weight support attachment 20 for a snow blower machine 10 having a forward snow gathering bin and auger housing assembly 11, housing a snow moving auger 12 located forward on the machine 10. The forward housing bin attachment 11 has a pair of substantially vertical sides 13, for gathering snow, each having a bottom edge 13a, and a forward cutting edge 14 extending horizontally between the bottom edges 13a of the two substantially vertical sides 13. When the snow blower machine 10 is moved forward, the lower cutting edge 14 provides a scraping function as shown in FIG. 5, and the height of cutting edge 14 above the surface to be cleared 15 defines how much, if any, snow 16, again as shown in FIG. 5, will remain on the surface after the machine has traveled over it. The instant invention 20 includes a rigid, planar disc member 21 which is constructed out of rigid material, which may be steel, other metal, or rigid composite, or similar material with a first, or outer, surface 22 and a second, or inner, surface 23. Disc member 21 has a perimeter edge 24, which defines its shape, which is circular, as shown in FIGS. 1-6, in the embodiment herein described. In practice, however, the rigid planar sheet member 21, if rotation was not desired, or deemed necessary, could be of other shapes, having an upper edge 25 and a lower edge 26, which lower edge could be substantially horizontal, or radial.

Attachment 20, in practice, and in the embodiment shown, is utilized in tandem, with one attachment 20 being affixed to one substantially vertical side 13 of the housing bin assembly 11, and the other being attached in parallel to the opposing side 13 of said housing bin assembly 11. Each attachment 20 is affixed to the bin assembly 11, in a manner which provides that the lower edge 26 of the planar member 21 extends below the cutting edge 14 of the bin assembly 11, and bottom edge 13a of the bin assembly, as shown in FIG. 5. The rigid sheet member 21, in the embodiment shown, is a circular wheel, as shown in FIGS. 1-6, of which surfaces 22 and 23 define a centered aperture 30. Also provided in assembly 20 are an axle 31, a horizontally mounted axle housing 32 and mounting plate assembly 33. The axle member 31 is inserted through centered aperture 30, and horizontal axle housing 32, and affixed to mounting plate assembly 33. In the embodiment shown, the axle member 31 is affixed to mounting plate 33 in a male-female relationship, by a threaded male member 23 threadedly inserted into a correspondingly threaded female aperture 35. In the exploded view of FIG. 6, a washer 36 may be provided between the outer cap 37 of axle member 31, and rigid planar disc member 21. Mounting plate 33 is then affixed to a vertical side 13 of housing/bin assembly 11. In the embodiment shown, the method of affixation is by providing one or more apertures 38, with a bolt 39 and nut 40 assembly being provided for each aperture 38. In the embodiment shown, apertures 38 are vertically oblong with an aperture height A substantially greater than the diameter B of bolt 39, to allow the mounting plate assembly 33 to be moved vertically to adjust the desired position of assembly 20 and, hence, the position of cutting edge 14 above the surface to cleared 15. When assembly 20 is in the desired position, each nut 40 is tightened to hold mounting assembly 33 in the desired position.

Rigid disc member 21, around its perimeter 24, has a width C, designed to be a minimal width available while maintaining structural integrity of disc member 21, to maximize cutting ability of the perimeter edge 24 through compacted snow 16 or ice. Width C may vary depending upon the material composition of rigid disc member 21, but is generally of a diameter of 0.25 inches/6.35 mm, or less. In the preferred embodiment, the thickness of the rigid disc member 21, also called a rigid planar sheet member, across its perimeter edge 24 (width C) is 0.197 inches/5 mm. In practice, rigid disc member 21 has its perimeter edge 24, at right angles to sides 22 and 23. Although the thickness of rigid disc member 21 may decrease from the centered aperture 30, to its perimeter edge 24, perimeter edge 24 may also be tapered and, in such instance, may provide an even smaller and sharper edge to cut through compacted snow 16 and ice. FIG. 4 shows the invention assembly 20, affixed to a vertical side 13 in housing 11, with rigid disc member 21 cutting through snow 16 and ice as shown by the trailing track 50.

As previously stated, adjustment of the invention assembly 20, vertically, will vary the distance of the cutting edge 14 and the surface to be cleared 15.

While one embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described in detail, it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the disclosed embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention.