BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to an attachment for a skid steer loader, and particularly to a grabbing mechanism for a skid steer loader.
In fields such as construction, agriculture, and landscaping, it is often necessary to clear an area of rocks, trees, and brush. When clearing an area, it may be possible to use a tractor, front-end loader, or similar large machine to assist with the heavy lifting required to remove trees and rocks. However, tractors and the like are very destructive to the area being cleared, and may leave deep tracks and other disruptions to the ground being cleared. As such, more time and effort must be spent smoothing the area after the use of large machines, which results in increased cost.
Furthermore, the area in which the work must be done is often so small as to prevent a large tractor from being utilized during clearing. Clearing the area by hand is very labor intensive, and sometimes impossible. For this reason, skid steer loaders are a convenient alternative to large tractors or machines. Skid steer loaders are small enough to maneuver into restricted areas, yet provide the strength required for moving small trees and rocks. Because they are much smaller than a tractor, skid steer loaders often create much less destruction to the soil in the area they are used to clear. Thus, skid steer loaders are a convenient alternative to larger tractors or machines which may have a much greater disruptive impact on the area to cleared.
Skid steer loaders are often equipped with a bucket attachment. While the bucket attachment is capable of scooping, pushing, and transporting dirt and other material, it is not ideally suited for tree and stump removal, rock removal, or similar tasks. For instance, when using the bucket attachment to remove a tree or tree stump, a significant amount of soil disruption is caused. Specifically, the tree or stump must be removed by digging it out, or by pushing or pulling it out of the ground. When this occurs, a large hole is left behind, often as deep as two feet. As a result, the hole must be filled, which requires extra time, effort, and cost to refill the holes and smooth them over.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, there is a need in the art for an attachment to a skid steer loader which is capable of grasping trees and removing them with less disruption to the environment.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is a grabbing attachment for a skid steer loader. The grabber attachment comprises three prongs which can be powered closed or powered open. The prongs can be closed about logs or small trees, allowing the skid steer loader to lift the logs or remove the trees with minimal disruption to the surrounding soil. A scraper blade is included on the grabber attachment to allow the attachment to clear dead fall and brush. In addition, the blade allows the grabber attachment to push the soil around the roots of live trees to loosen the tree a bit so that it can be removed more easily and with a smaller clump of dirt coming out with the roots as the tree is removed. Side shields are included on the attachment to protect the tractor.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a skid steer loader and the grabber attachment used to remove a log.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the grabber attachment.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the grabber attachment.
FIG. 4A is a top plan view of the grappber attachment in an open position.
FIG. 4B is a top plan view of the grabber attachment in a closed position.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the rear of the grabber attachment.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a skid steer loader 10 having a grabber attachment 12. The skid steer load 10 comprises a frame 14 located on four wheels 16. The frame 14 comprises an operator cab 18 inside which are located a series of operator controls which allow an operator to steer and maneuver the skid steer loader 10. Arms 20 are also connected to the frame 14. The grabber attachment 12 is located on a front side of the arms 20. The arms can be raised or lowered using vehicle controls in the cab 18, and the grabber attachment 12 can likewise be maneuvered using a variety of operator controls located in the cab 18.
The grabber attachment 12 is particularly suited for clearing both live trees as well as dead fallen trees. The grabber attachment 12 can close about a tree so that the tree can be removed from the ground and moved to either a pile or container for disposal. Similarly, the grabber attachment 12 can be closed about a dead tree or log, and thus allow the operator to move the log so that it can be stacked neatly for transport or burning. The grabber attachment 12 is designed to be attached to the skid steer loader so that while the tree or log is grasped by the grabber attachment 12, the grabber attachment 12 can be positioned so that the operator's view from the cab 18 remains relatively unobstructed. In this manner, the operator can more effectively maneuver the skid steer loader 10 as well as position the tree or log 22 carried by the grabber attachment 12.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the grabber attachment 12 of the present invention. Visible in FIG. 2 is aback plate 30, side guards 32, and bottom blade 34. Near the top of the back plate 30 are two reinforcing bars 36 which meet near the middle of the grabber 12 at center pin 38. Also connected to the back plate 30 are two hydraulic cylinders 40, 42. Connected to the center pin 38 are a tine 44 and a double tine 46. The tine 44 contains a single prong, while the double tine 46 contains two prongs. The tines 44, 46 are arranged vertically.
The first hydraulic cylinder 40 is connected to tine 44 and the second hydraulic cylinder 42 is connected to double tine 46. The second hydraulic cylinder 42 connects to a bracket 48 on a vertical bar 50 located between the double tines 46. Similarly, the hydraulic cylinder 40 connects to the single tine 44 at a bracket 48 located on the tine 44. The other end of the hydraulic cylinders 40, 42 connect to the back plate 30 at another bracket 48.
Each hydraulic cylinder has two hydraulic connections 52. Hydraulic hoses 54 are routed from the hydraulic cylinders 40, 42 across the top reinforcing bars 36 of the grabber 12. The hydraulic hoses 54 are secured at various parts on the grabber 12 and arms 20, and eventually connect to the hydraulic system on the skid steer loader 10. The hydraulic connections are made in a manner well known in the art.
In operation, the grabber 12 is opened or closed using hydraulic pressure supplied to the hydraulic cylinders 40, 42 by the hoses 54. By applying hydraulic pressure at the cylinder 40, 42, the tines 44, 46 can be powered closed, or powered open. Thus, the tines 44, 46 can be used to close about a log or tree, or the tines 44, 46 can further be used to push things to the side or move otherwise heavy objects. The ability to power the tines 44, 46 both open and closed increases the flexibility of the grabber attachment 12.
In addition, the bottom blade 34 allows the grabber attachment 12 to push a small amount of material. The side guards 32 protect the rest of the loader 10 and in particular the tires 16 from debris as the grabber 12 is used to clear an area.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the grabber attachment 12. In FIG. 3, the blade 34 is more clearly visible. The blade 34 is slightly angled to increase the ability of the blade 34 to push material located close to the ground. In addition, a bottom brace 60 is shown supporting the center pin 38. The bottom brace 60 is attached to the back plate 30 and provides strength support for the tines 44, 46 as they close about debris and other material.
FIGS. 4A and 4B are top views illustrating the operation of the tines 44, 46 of the grabber attachment 12. Shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B are the back plate 30, the bottom blade 34, the reinforcing bars 36, and the center pin 38. In addition, the right tine 44 and double tine 46 are visible, as well as the hydraulic cylinders 40, 42. For simplicity, the hydraulic connections 52 and hoses 54 are not shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B.
As can be seen by comparing FIGS. 4A and 4B, the tines 44, 46 can be moved so that they pivot about a vertical axis at center pin 38. When fully opened, the tines 44, 46 may have a distance from the tip 62 of the single tine 44 to the tip 62 of the double tine 36 of about 18 inches to as large as about 22 inches. As shown in FIG. 4B, when closed, the tips 62 of the tines 44, 46 overlap slightly.
The center pin 38 is preferably made out of a solid shaft of steel. In addition, the tines 44, 46 are preferably formed of a solid metal, approximately two inches by two inches square. The tips 62 are preferably tapered or otherwise shaped in such a manner to allow the tines 44, 46 to more easily pick up a round material such as a tree log. By allowing the tines 44, 46 to overlap, it is possible to close the grabber 12 around a variety of trees having diameters as small as three to four inches to as large as 18 inches. The back plate 30, as well as the bottom blade 34 and side guards 32 are preferably formed of 8 inch steel. The bottom blade 34 may further comprise a five inch cutting edge made of harden steel.
FIG. 5 is a rear view of the grabber attachment 12 illustrating the side which attaches to the skid steer loader. Located on the rear of the grabber 12 is an upper attachment flange 70 and two lower attachment brackets 72. On each attachment bracket 72 are located two attachment holes 76. The grabber attachment 12 can thus be quickly and easily attached to the skid steer loader by positioning the front portion of the skid steer loader 10 underneath the upper flange 70 and positioning a wedge through the holes 76. This method of quickly attaching to the skid steer loader is well known in the art. In addition, other methods of attaching to a skid steer loader to allow for maximum flexibility and allow the grabber 12 to fit on the majority of different brands of skid steer loaders is likewise possible.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.