Title:
Multipurpose loader-bucket mounted implement apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A quick-release multipurpose implement for pivotal attachment to a loader bucket of the type having a load receiving volume defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart sides. The implement comprises a pivot frame sized to fit over the receiving volume formed by a loader bucket. The pivot frame includes two opposing pivot arm supports that extend from the pivot frame for pivotally supporting the pivot frame in a plurality of positions relative to the loader bucket. A receiving base is provided and designed to be mounted and fixed to each side of the loader bucket for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support. At least one axially adjustable means is employed to extend from the receiving base to the pivot frame for pivotally moving the frame from a first open position so that the bucket volume can be loaded, to a second closed position to cover the receiving volume of the bucket.



Inventors:
Doster Jr., Phillips W. (Olalla, WA, US)
Winge, Gerald F. (Pt. Orchard, WA, US)
Application Number:
12/378866
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
02/20/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
37/445, 37/195
International Classes:
E02F3/42; E02F1/00; E02F3/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060185200Rear end small revolving type hydraulic shovelAugust, 2006Sugiyama et al.
20070068050Hand truck-mountable snowplowMarch, 2007Flanagan
20070234597Snowplow attachment system and methodOctober, 2007Schpok
20070084087ICE RESURFACING MACHINEApril, 2007Quinn
20090307939V-Plow Cutting Edge InterfaceDecember, 2009Gamble II
20090056174Soil slicing spade bit and machine using sameMarch, 2009Congdon
20090217555MULTIPLE PURPOSE ATTACHMENT FOR A FRONT LOADERSeptember, 2009Leonard
20090007463Upper frame for excavatorJanuary, 2009Lee
20040261301High rotation linkage assemblyDecember, 2004Vering et al.
20030041483Dredging and scouringMarch, 2003Redding
20020194754Movable cutting edgeDecember, 2002Brown



Primary Examiner:
MCGOWAN, JAMIE LOUISE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES (SHELTON, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multipurpose quick-release implement for attachment to a loader bucket of the type having a load receiving volume defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart sides, the implement comprising: a pivot frame sized to fit over the receiving volume formed by a loader bucket; two opposing pivot arm supports extending from the pivot frame for pivotally supporting the pivot frame in a plurality of positions relative to the loader bucket; a receiving base mounted and fixed to each side of the loader bucket for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support to pivotally couple the pivot frame to a loader bucket along a pivot axis extending between the two opposing receiving bases; at least one axially adjustable means extending from a receiving base, to the pivot frame for pivotally moving the frame from a first open position so that the bucket volume can be loaded, to a second closed position to cover the receiving volume of the bucket; and wherein at least one pivot arm support is arranged for coaxial movement along the pivot axis.

2. An implement as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one pivot arm support comprises a retractable pin biased for axial movement, the pin being movable from a first extended position, extending from the pivot frame, for engagement with a receiving base, to a second retracted position, within a portion of the pivot frame, where the pin is disengaged from the receiving base so that the pivot frame can be removed from the receiving base.

3. An implement as recited in claim 2 wherein each receiving base comprises a bucket reinforcement plate fixed to the loader bucket, and a upper receiving base removably fixed to the bucket reinforcement plate.

4. An implement as recited in claim 1 wherein each receiving base comprises a bucket reinforcement plate fixed to the loader bucket, and a upper receiving base removably fixed to the bucket reinforcement plate.

5. A method for making multipurpose quick-release implement for attachment to a loader bucket of the type having a load receiving volume defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart sides, the method comprising the steps: constructing a pivot frame sized to fit over the receiving volume formed by a loader bucket; attach two opposing pivot arm supports to the pivot frame, to extend from the pivot frame for pivotally supporting the pivot frame in a plurality of positions relative to the loader bucket; mount a receiving base to each side of the loader bucket for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support to pivotally couple the pivot frame to a loader bucket along a pivot axis extending between the two opposing receiving bases; connect at least one hydraulically operated cylinder to extend from a receiving base, to the pivot frame for pivotally moving the frame from a first open position so that the bucket volume can be loaded, to a second closed position to cover the receiving volume of the bucket; and arrange at least one pivot arm support for coaxial movement along the pivot axis.

6. A method for making an implement as recited in claim 1 wherein at least one pivot arm support comprises a retractable pin biased for axial movement, the pin being movable from a first extended position, extending from the pivot frame, for engagement with a receiving base, to a second retracted position, within a portion of the pivot frame, where the pin is disengaged from the receiving base so that the pivot frame can be removed from the receiving base.

7. A method for making an implement as recited in claim 6, wherein each receiving base is formed to comprise a bucket reinforcement plate fixed to the loader bucket, and a upper receiving base removably fixed to the bucket reinforcement plate.

8. A method for making an implement as recited in claim 5, wherein each receiving base is formed to comprise a bucket reinforcement plate fixed to the loader bucket, and a upper receiving base removably fixed to the bucket reinforcement plate.

9. A multipurpose quick-release implement for attachment to a loader bucket of the type having a load receiving volume defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart sides, the implement comprising: a pivot frame sized to fit over the receiving volume formed by a loader bucket; two opposing pivot arm supports extending from the pivot frame for pivotally supporting the pivot frame in a plurality of positions relative to the loader bucket; a receiving base mounted and fixed to each side of the loader bucket for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support to pivotally couple the pivot frame to a loader bucket along a pivot axis extending between the two opposing receiving bases; at least one axially adjustable means extending from a receiving base, to the pivot frame for pivotally moving the frame from a first open position so that the bucket volume can be loaded, to a second closed position to cover the receiving volume of the bucket; and wherein at least one pivot arm support comprises a retractable pin biased for axial movement, the pin being movable from a first extended position, extending from the pivot frame, for engagement with a receiving base, to a second retracted position, within a portion of the pivot frame, where the pin is disengaged from the receiving base so that the pivot frame can be removed from the receiving base.

10. An implement as recited in claim 9 wherein each receiving base comprises a bucket reinforcement plate fixed to the loader bucket, and a upper receiving base removably fixed to the bucket reinforcement plate.

11. An implement as recited in claim 19 wherein the axially adjustable means comprises a hydraulically operated cylinder.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61066686 filed Feb. 22, 2008.

BACKGROUND

This invention relates generally to tractors and loader equipment of the type having front-end loader buckets, and more particularly to quick-release implements designed to be pivotally secured to a loader bucket.

Implements designed for use with loader buckets have been provided for some time. Typically, such implements are permanently secured to the loader machinery, or secured in such a way as to make their removal or use with common equipment difficult. In addition such earlier designs of implements are generally provided to accomplish only one specific task.

For example, in 1959, U.S. Pat. No. 3,003,260 issued disclosing a bucket device defined by a screen movable by hydraulic actuators that extend from the bucket to the screen. This arrangement of hydraulics makes removal of the screen cumbersome and difficult.

In 1997, U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,348 issued disclosing a rock and material loading apparatus that incorporated a screen device that pivoted along the lower edge of the bucket. This arrangement required skillful bucket manipulation for its operation.

In addition, in 2002 U.S. Pat. No. 6,357,993 issued disclosing a hydraulically powered loader implement arranged for attachment to a skid-steer loader. The implement was arranged with a special mount system directed only to skid-steer loaders thus precluding its use with common front end loader type equipment.

Accordingly, a need remains for a multipurpose implement that can perform a number of tasks such as griping, raking, separation of rock from fines, land clearing etc. Beyond this, a need remains for such an implement that can be quickly disengaged and released from common front end loader equipment so that an operator can use the loader equipment in its original arrangement, or likewise the operator can transfer the implement to a different piece of equipment.

SUMMARY

One object of the invention is to enable a loader operator to grip and lift objects with the loader bucket.

A second object is to process soil loaded into a loader bucket to separate rocks from the fines.

Another object is to enable a loader operator to manipulate a loader bucket to rake the top layer of soil to remove brush debris from the soil.

Yet another object is to enable an operator to quickly remove the implement for placement on another machine.

A further object is to reduce the time required to clear land.

Still another object is to improve the efficiency with which a loader operator can perform a number of different tasks.

The invention is a quick-release multipurpose implement for pivotal attachment to a loader bucket of the type having a load receiving volume that is defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart sides. More specifically, the implement comprises a pivot frame sized to fit over the receiving volume formed by a loader bucket. The pivot frame includes two opposing pivot arm supports that extend from the pivot frame for pivotally supporting the pivot frame in a plurality of predetermined positions relative to the loader bucket.

In order to secure the pivot frame to the loader bucket, a receiving base is provided and designed to be mounted and fixed to each side of the loader bucket for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support. In this way, the pivot frame is pivotally coupled to a loader bucket along a pivot axis extending between the two opposing receiving bases.

In addition, at least one axially adjustable means is employed to extend from the receiving base to the pivot frame for pivotally moving the frame from a first open position so that the bucket volume can be loaded, to a second closed position to cover the receiving volume of the bucket. As will be noted is the following specification, the present invention employs a hydraulic cylinder to perform the function of an axially adjustable means to pivotally move the pivot frame.

The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description, wherein only the preferred embodiment of the invention is shown and described, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated of carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modifications in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a multipurpose implement mounted over the loader-bucket of a tractor with the multipurpose implement disposed in the open position.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a multipurpose implement mounted over the loader-bucket of a tractor with the multipurpose implement disposed in the closed position.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a multipurpose implement released and detached from the opposing receiving bases.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a multipurpose implement.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a multipurpose implement with a pair of hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic supply lines exploded from the implement.

FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of a multipurpose implement showing the pivotal connection between a receiving base and a pivot arm support that extends from a side of the pivot frame so that the pivot arm support is in the extended position to engaged the receiving base.

FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of a multipurpose implement showing the pivotal connection between a receiving base and a pivot arm support that extends from a side of the pivot frame wherein the pivot arm support is in the retracted position to release and disengage with the receiving base.

FIG. 8 is a rear partial perspective view showing the back side of pivot arm support engaged with a receiving base.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention is a quick-release multipurpose implement 20 for pivotal attachment to a loader bucket 22 of the type having a load receiving volume 24 that is defined in part by opposing upright spaced apart bucket sides 26. This type of loader bucket 22 is typically employed on loader equipment 21 such as tractors and backhoes.

More specifically, the implement 20 comprises a pivot frame 28 sized to fit over the receiving volume 24 formed by a loader bucket 22. The pivot frame 28 includes two opposing pivot arm supports 30 that extend from the pivot frame 28 for pivotally supporting the pivot frame 28 in a plurality of positions relative to the loader bucket 22. It should be understood that the implement 20 is substantially symmetrical in design wherein the components provided on one side of the implement 20 are substantially the mirror image of the components of the opposing side. Accordingly, the following description of components applies generally to one of the opposing sides.

In order to secure the pivot frame 28 to the loader bucket 22, a receiving base 34 is provided and designed to be mounted and fixed to each bucket side 26 of the loader bucket 22 for pivotally receiving a pivot arm support 30. In this way, the pivot frame 28 is pivotally coupled to a loader bucket 22 along a pivot axis 36 extending between the two opposing receiving bases 34.

In addition, at least one axially adjustable means 38 is employed to extend from the receiving base 34 to the pivot frame 28 for pivotally moving the pivot frame 28 from a first open position, as illustrated in FIG. 1, so that the bucket receiving volume 24 can be loaded, to a second closed position, as illustrated in FIG. 2, to cover the receiving volume 24 of the loader bucket 22. As will be noted in the following specification, the present invention employs hydraulic cylinder 40 to perform the function of an axially adjustable means 38 to pivotally move the pivot frame 28.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, at least one pivot arm support 30 comprises a slidable pin 44 that is movable from a first extended position, as illustrated in FIG. 6, extending from the pivot frame, for engagement with a receiving base 34, to a second spring biased retracted position, as illustrated in FIG. 7, disposed within a portion of the pivot frame 28, where the slidable pin 44 disengages with the receiving base 34 so that the pivot frame 28 can be easily removed from the receiving base 34.

Considering now in more detail the structure of the components from which implement 20 is assembled, the implement 20 can be readily welded or bolt mounted to a loader bucket 22, and is hydraulically controlled by the existing hydraulic system (not illustrated) of the loader equipment 21. For this purpose, the pivot frame 28 comprises a carriage tube 46 for receiving a slidable pin 44. The slidable pin 44 is approximately 12 inches long, 1.5 inch diameter solid steel rod. The slidable pins 44 and compression springs 48 fit into the carriage tube 46 and rest against a spring retention dowels 52. The spring retention dowels 52 are welded so as to leave the slidable pin 44 approximately three inches out from the ends of the carriage tube 46. This allows the ends of the slidable pin 44 to be inserted through a bore 54, (provided through receiving base 34) and spacer 25, and be held in place by the galvanized washer 58 which is fixed to the carriage tube 46. This construction forms the pivot point(s) for the pivot frame 28, and allows the pivot frame 28 to be removed from the loader equipment 21 by pressing the slidable pins 44 inward through bore 54 provided in the receiving base 34.

Spacer 25 is made from a short section of the carriage tube 46 and is welded to the upper portion of the receiving base 34 and has a galvanized washer 58 welded to the spacer 25. Additionally, a clevis guard 60 is provided and constructed from a piece of angle iron that is welded to the inside of the receiving base 34 and has a hanger support 62 welded to the opposing end of the clevis guard 60. The structure created by the receiving base 34, clevis guard 60 and hanger support 62 form the upper receiver 64 for attachment of each hydraulic cylinder 40 to a receiving base 34.

Turning now to FIG. 4, the primary components of a pivot frame 28 are illustrated. Side-ribs 66 and the interior ribs 68 are spaced evenly across and welded to the carriage tube 46. A rake 70 is welded to the tips of the side-ribs 66 and similarly to interior ribs 68. In addition, side screen braces 72 are bent to have the same curve as the ribs, and are welded to the side-ribs 66. Similarly, an expanded metal screen 74 is welded to the top of the rake 70, the side screen braces 72 and the interior ribs 68. Also, a screen top cross brace 76 is welded to the top of the metal screen 74, the side ribs 66 and the interior ribs 68.

Further, a perpendicular stiffener 78 is welded to the inside of each side rib 66 and crosses the span between them over the metal screen 74. Likewise, a flex brace 80 is welded at the top inside edge between the two receiving bases 34 and on top of the clevis guard 60. The hanger support 62, receiving base 34, bucket reinforcement plate 82, side ribs 66, interior ribs 68, and rake 70 are all parts laser cut from plate steel with assistance of CAD files.

It should be noted that in some installations, the receiving base 34 is constructed in two parts, i.e., an upper receiving base 84, and a bucket reinforcement plate 82. In this way, the upper receiving base 84 can be bolted to the bucket reinforcement plate 82.

Directing attention to FIGS. 5 through 7, a pair of commercially available hydraulic cylinders 40 are attached by an upper hydraulic ram support 88 disposed through the top of the hydraulic cylinder 40, through the upper receiver 64 formed on the upper portion of the receiving base 34 which includes the clevis guard 60 and hanger support 62. Accordingly, hydraulic ram support 88 is an elongate rod that extends parallel to pivot axis 36. It should be noted that other arrangements could be followed, for example, the hydraulic ram support 88 could be embodied be a pair of short rods (not illustrated). In addition, the hydraulic cylinders 40 connect at the bottom with one inch diameter mounting pins 90 connecting through a portion of the side ribs 66.

To operate the hydraulic cylinders 40, a tractor's hydraulic system feed and return lines 92 connect to the top of the high pressure “T” connectors 94. Four equal length hydraulic lines 96 connect between the hydraulic cylinders 40 and the high pressure “T” connectors 94. Retention clips 98 are used to lock the ends of the upper hydraulic ram support 88 and galvanized washer 58 to the receiving base 34, and to lock the mounting pins 90 onto the side ribs 66 through the cylinder 40. The six retention clips 98 allow the cylinders to be removed and replaced if necessary.

When retro-fitted to loader equipment, the implement 20 can be used like a grapple to grip, rip, and the screen allows an operator to sift, strain, rake and spread material on a construction site. Accordingly, it allows the average homeowner an affordable tool for use in storm clean-up, property development or maintenance.

A loader bucket mounted implement 20 having dual hydraulic cylinder powered grapple that has an integrated screen and rake can perform multiple tasks. The screen 74 and rake 70 combine with the unique side ribs 66 to encase material within the loader bucket 22 allowing fine material to be sifted through the screen retaining larger debris in the bucket. Containing material such as gravel or beauty bark in the above described way, an operator can use the invention to slowly and evenly release the load to the ground while moving the loader bucket 22 forward or backward.

The rake 70 portion of the pivot frame 28 is used to clear vegetation and break up the soil to prepare a site and bring to level. This is performed by opening the pivot frame 28 all of the way, rotating the loader bucket 22 forward and lowering the rake 70 into ground contact. Raking with the implement 20 is best performed while backing up. The implement 20 can grip fallen trees or other storm debris and lift the same using the lifting capacity of the loader equipment 21. Removal of nuisance plants such as scotch broom and blackberry can be performed by first closing the pivot frame 28 onto the object/plant, rotating the loader bucket 22 backward and lifting up with the front loader from the plant's root-ball. While the implement 20 is still in the closed position, FIG. 1, rotate the loader bucket 22 all of the way forward and allow the soil to return to the ground while the weed clumps and large rocks remain in the bucket to be dumped separately.

Having illustrated and described the principles of my invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, it should be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. I claim all modifications coming within the spirit and scope of the accompanying claims.