Title:
Excavator Landscape Rake
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A landscape rake attachment for an excavation machine. An exemplary attachment may have a grasping plate with a back surface sized to rest against a teeth edge of the machine bucket and a front surface to make contact with a machine thumb. An anti-slip plate may extend along a top edge of the grasping plate with a width greater than the depth of the grasping plate. A finger mounting plate may be coupled to a lower edge of the grasping plate and extend horizontally from each side of the lower edge. A plurality of fingers may be coupled to the finger mounting plate and extending downward from the finger mounting plate.



Inventors:
Mcneil, William Duane (Canterbury, NH, US)
Application Number:
12/137034
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/11/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/96
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BEACH, THOMAS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOURQUE & ASSOCIATES (MANCHESTER, NH, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. An attachment for an excavator with a machine bucket and an actuating thumb comprising: a grasping plate with a back surface sized to rest against a teeth edge of the machine bucket, and a front surface sized to make contact with the actuating thumb; an anti-slip plate extending along a top edge of the grasping plate with a width greater than a depth of the grasping plate; a finger mounting plate coupled to a lower edge of the grasping plate; and a plurality of fingers coupled to the finger mounting plate and extending downward from the finger mounting plate.

2. An attachment of claim 1, wherein the grasping plate is angled between about 15 and 75 degrees from a plane of the plurality of fingers and a plane of the grasping plate.

3. An attachment of claim 1, further comprising: an adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate wherein the adjustable mounting plate provides rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running lengthwise along a top edge of the finger plate.

4. An attachment of claim 3, wherein the adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate is spring ratcheted.

5. An attachment of claim 1, further comprising: an adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate wherein the adjustable mounting plate provides rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running longitudinally with the plurality of fingers.

6. An attachment of claim 5, wherein the adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate is spring ratcheted.

7. An attachment of claim 1, wherein the grasping plate has an undulating surface with groves running perpendicular to the direction on a plane of the plurality of the fingers.

8. An attachment of claim 1, wherein the anti-slip plate extends from a top edge of the grasping plate in a rearward direction perpendicular to the grasping plate.

9. An attachment of claim 1, wherein the finger mounting plate has a bottom portion extending downward and parallel with the plurality of fingers, and a top portion extending forward in a direction perpendicular to the plurality of fingers.

10. An attachment of claim 9, wherein a horizontal raising plate couples a side edge of the finger mounting plate, a side edge of the grasping plate, and a side edge of the anti-slip plate.

11. A method for using an attachment with an excavator having a machine bucket and an actuating thumb comprising the actions of: positioning a teeth edge of the machine bucket against a back surface of a grasping plate; positioning the actuating thumb onto a front surface of the grasping plate; pressing the grasping plate between the machine bucket and the actuating thumb; extending an arm of the excavator; and retracting the arm in a manner that causes a plurality of fingers extending from a finger mounting plate coupled to the grasping plate to scrape an excavation surface.

12. A method for using an attachment of claim 11, further comprising the actions of: releasing the actuating thumb from the front surface of the grasping plate; removing the teeth edge of the machine bucket from against the back surface of the grasping plate; and excavating soil with the machine bucket.

13. A method for using an attachment of claim 11, further comprising the actions of: adjusting an angle of rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running lengthwise along a top edge of the finger plate via an adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate.

14. A method for using an attachment of claim 13, wherein adjusting the angle of rotation involves utilizing a spring ratcheted system.

15. A method for using an attachment of claim 11, further comprising actions of: adjusting an angle of rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running longitudinally with the plurality of the fingers.

16. A method for using an attachment of claim 15, wherein adjusting the angle of rotation involves utilizing a spring ratcheted system.

17. A method for using an attachment of claim 11, wherein the grasping plate has an undulating surface with grooves running perpendicular to the direction of a plane of the plurality of the fingers and the action of pressing the grasping plate between the machine bucket and actuating thumb causes teeth on the actuating thumb to be positioned within the grooves.

18. A method for using an attachment of claim 11, wherein an anti-slip plate extends from a top edge of the grasping plate in a rearward direction perpendicular to the grasping plate.

19. A method for using an attachment of claim 12, further comprising actions of: allowing the attachment to rest in an upright position on a kickstand.

20. A method for attaching an attachment with an excavator having a machine bucket and actuating thumb consisting essentially of the actions of: positioning a teeth edge of the machine bucket against a back surface of a grasping plate; positioning the actuating thumb onto a front surface of the grasping plate; and pressing the grasping plate between the machine bucket and actuating thumb.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority from U.S. patent application, Ser. No. 60/934,181, filed Jun. 12, 2007, by William D. McNeil, incorporated by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to an attachment for excavation equipment and more particularly, relates to an attachment for excavation equipment utilizing a thumb.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Excavation equipment with a hydraulic forearm and a bucket are designed to scoop and transport soil. Some excavators incorporate a hydraulic thumb. The thumb is used to remove debris, for example, rocks, twigs, and roots. Some applications may require grading of the land in addition to removing soil and debris. To accomplish this task, other equipment may be required. This increases the overall cost of a project by requiring maintenance of the additional equipment and transporting additional equipment to each construction site.

To expand the use of an excavator, some designs have attempted to replace the bucket with a grading attachment. However, the process of attaching the grading attachment requires the operator to bolt the grading attachment to the bucket or, in some applications, removal of the bucket to attach the grading attachment. This often requires the operator to exit the machine or have additional labor on standby to position the grading attachment and to bolt or manually attach the grading equipment. This results in inefficient use of labor or equipment operator time. The excavator must select between wasting time by switching between excavating and grading attachments and wasting time by leaving a project half complete and returning to the project later.

SUMMARY

The present invention is a novel device, system, and method for an attachment for an excavator with a machine bucket and actuating thumb. The exemplary attachment may have a grasping plate with a back surface sized to rest against a teeth edge of the machine bucket and a front surface to make contact with a machine thumb. An anti-slip plate may extend along a top edge of the grasping plate with a width greater than the depth of the grasping plate. A finger mounting plate may be coupled to a lower edge of the grasping plate and extend horizontally from each side of the lower edge. A plurality of fingers may be coupled to the finger mounting plate and extending downward from the finger mounting plate.

Embodiments of the invention may have one or more of the following features. The first embodiment of the invention may be wherein the grasping plate may be angled from a plane of the plurality of figures. In another embodiment, an adjustable mounting bracket may couple the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate, allowing rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running lengthwise along a top edge of the finger plate. In another embodiment, an adjustable mounting bracket may couple the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate, allowing rotation of the finger mounting plate about an axis running longitudinally with the plurality of fingers and through a centered point of the finger mounting plate. In addition, the adjustable mounting bracket coupling the grasping plate to the finger mounting plate may be spring ratcheted. In another embodiment, the grasping plate may have a rippled surface with ripples running lengthwise and perpendicular to the direction on a plane of the plurality of the fingers. In yet another embodiment, a horizontal raising plate may couple each side edge of the finger mounting plate, each side edge of the grasping plate, and each side edge of the anti-slip plate.

Embodiments of the invention may have one or more of the following advantages. Embodiments of the invention may allow the operator to switch from excavating and removing debris to grading of a construction surface without exiting the excavation machine or the need for additional labor. Embodiments of the invention may allow for a cost effective attachment without additional modification or attachments to the machine bucket.

The present invention is not intended to be limited to a system or method that must satisfy one or more of any stated objects or features of the invention. It is also important to note that the present invention is not limited to the exemplary or primary embodiments described herein. Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, taken together with the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an exemplary attachment according to a first exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 1B is a side profile view of an exemplary attachment according to the first exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of an exemplary attachment according to the rotational exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2B is a side profile view of an exemplary attachment according to the rotational exemplary embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2C is a top plane view of an exemplary attachment according to the rotational exemplary embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, the attachment 10 may be used with excavation equipment (not shown). A machine forearm 100 with a machine bucket 109 and attached thumb 112 may be used to grab and use the attachment 10. The attachment 10 may have a grasping plate or block 115. The grasping plate 115 may have an anti-slip plate 118 running lengthwise along a top edge of the grasping plate 115. On each side of the grasping plate 115 and anti-slip plate 118 are horizontal raising plates 121. The grasping plate 115 is coupled along a bottom edge to a finger mounting plate 124. A plurality of fingers 127 extend from the finger mounting plate 124.

The grasping plate 115, the anti-slip plate 118, and the finger mounting plate may be made of steel plating. The plates may be fastened together by, for example but not limited to, welding, epoxy or fasteners. The plurality of fingers 127 may have a variety of shapes and sizes. The plurality of fingers 127 may include a variety of materials to assemble finger-mounting plates. These may be, but not limited to, rectangle, square, round, triangle, or plate stock, rebar, and I-beams. The number of fingers may be selected based on the length of the finger mounting plate and the intended grading use. The attachment is not limited to fingers but may include, for example, a grading or scraping blade. The fingers may be permanently attached or semi-permanently attached to allow for changing of fingers due to wear or damage. The plurality of fingers 127 may include addition of chambers or bends. These may be, but not limited to, rectangle, square, round, triangle, or plate stock, rebar, and I beams. The length and design of the fingers may be specifically designed for the intended use of the attachment.

In an exemplary design for a two-ton typical machine, the finger mounting plate 124 or rake length may be about, for example, 60 inches. The grasping plate 115 may be, for example, 2 inch by 6 inch rectangular stock. The finger mounting plate 124 may be 4″×4″ angle iron. Fingers 127 or teeth may be, for example, ¼″×1½″×0-12″. The size of the finger mounting plate 124, the grasping plate 115, and fingers 127 may depend on customer's needs and engineering calculations to withstand machine loads and reasonable overloads. Spacing and length of fingers may also vary from, for example, 0″-12″ depending on the customer's needs. Alternate teeth designs may include bent teeth designs, which may provide additional strength relative to straight teeth. In another design, triangle shaped teeth may be used. The attachment 10 components can be made out of any metal material that will sustain usual operating loads and reasonable overloads. Any metal used may or may not be heat-treated. Sizing of members of rake weld joints and amount of weld metal shall be sufficient to hold based on intended use.

In another exemplary embodiment, the grasping plate 115 may have an undulating or saw-tooth surface. The undulating surface of the grasping plate may mimic the toothed surface of the thumb 112. The two surfaces mate when pressed together providing for additional strength and resistance to slippage of the attachment 10 from the teeth of the machine bucket 109 and the thumb 112. In an additional embodiment, the attachment 10 may include a kickstand (not shown). The kickstand may allow the attachment 10 to remain in an upright position when not coupled to the machine bucket 109 and the thumb 112. The upright position allows the operator to couple the attachment without the assistance of the operator or others to position the attachment 10. The kickstand may be, for example, one or more legs extending from the rear of the finger mounting plate. The kickstand may be spring loaded to allow for deflection due to unintended contact thus preventing permanent damage.

Referring to FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C, a rotational exemplary embodiment of the attachment 20 may be used with excavation equipment (not shown). A machine forearm 100 with a machine bucket 109 and attached thumb 112 may be used to grab and use the attachment 10. The attachment 10 may have a grasping plate or block 115. The grasping plate 115 may have an anti-slip plate 118 running lengthwise along a top edge of the grasping plate 115. On each side of the grasping plate 115 and anti-slip plate 118 are horizontal raising plates 121, as previously described with regard to the first exemplary embodiment.

According to the rotational exemplary embodiment, the grasping plate 115 may be coupled to a finger mounting plate 124 via an adjustable hinge or an adjustable mounting plate 130. The adjustable mounting plate 130 allows the finger mounting plate 124 and plurality of fingers 124 to rotate the rake. This design allows the operator to change rake angles in relationship to the bucket 109. For example, when grading or raking embankments, the operator may wish to change the angle of the rake relative to the angle of the machine forearm 100.

According to one exemplary construction of adjustable mounting plate 124, a circular plate about 1″ thick with a 2′ diameter may have corresponding holes drilled out 133 at, for example, 0 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees, 135 degrees, 180 degrees, 225 degrees, 270 degrees, and 315 degrees. The finger mounting plate 124 may be selectively connected to the holes with bolts or pins 136.

In another exemplary construction of adjustable mounting plate 124, the adjustable plate may be spring ratcheted to allow rotation without an operator or additional assistance. For example, sequentially pressing on each side of the rake may cause the ratchet to release and rotate freely. When the operator then presses on one side of the rake it rotates freely and clicks until the desired angle is reached. Next the operator presses on the opposite side of the rake to lock the rake into the desired angle. When the operator desires to rotate the angle again, the operator presses sequentially on each side.

According to another exemplary construction, the grasping plate 115 may be coupled to a finger mounting plate 124 via adjustable hinges, allowing a change in pitch of the finger mounting plate 124 relative to the grasping plate 115. The angle of the finger may be changed between 0 and 180 degrees. The angle may be selected based on intended use or operator preference. The adjustable hinge may be set to a specific angle with a bolt or pin, similar to the previously described spring ratcheted system. The hinge may also use a similar system to allow an angle of the rotation to be changed by pushing, for example, sequentially in a backwards direction on the rake and in a forward direction on the rake to cause the ratchet to release and rotate freely. When the operator then press on the forward or backward direction on the rake, it rotates freely and clicks until the desired angle is reached. Next the operator presses in the opposite direction to lock the rake into the desired angle. When the operator desires to rotate the angle again, the operator again presses in a sequentially forward and then backward direction.

Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.