What is an Excavator Skeleton Bucket?

What is an Excavator Skeleton Bucket?

The skeleton bucket is an excavator attachment with a slotted back designed to separately different sized aggregates, such as rocks, stones and tree roots from the dirt. On a jobsite, you might hear the skeleton bucket also referred to as a screening bucket, riddle bucket or shaker bucket. The name "shaker bucket" derives from the shaking action required to separate materials. The slotted back, or 'tines', allow fine materials like dirt and small aggregates to pass through, leaving larger items like bricks or sticks in the bucket. This process aids in the easy disposal, recycling or reuse of these materials, reducing the costs associated with expensive trash removal.

How To Use a Skeleton Bucket

To use a skeleton bucket, start by mounting your attachment to your excavator as you usually would. This step will vary between machines depending if you have a quick attach coupler fitted. Once securely attached, scoop a pile of dirt into the screening bucket as you would with a standard excavator bucket. Once the bucket is loaded with material, move the crowd control side-to-side in a fast motion to shake the bucket. This shaking action allows fine dirt and smaller aggregates to fall through the tines, leaving larger objects behind. After separating the materials, tip any remaining contents into a separate pile or into a truck for removal, reusing or recycling.

Will a Skeleton Bucket fit my Excavator?

Now you know how they work, you might want to know whether a skeleton bucket will fit your excavator. Skeleton buckets are manufactured for a wide range of excavator makes and models, from 0.5 ton (1,000 lbs) mini excavators, all the way up to 25 ton (50,000 lbs) excavators and above. Here at Rhinox, we manufacture skeleton buckets for 1,000 lbs to 60,000 lbs excavators. Rhinox screening buckets vary in widths from 24" to 60" depending on the size of your machine.

4 Stand-out Features of the Rhinox Skeleton Bucket You Should Know

Rhinox Skeleton Bucket Wear Protection

1. Heavy Duty Construction

The first, and one of the most important features of the Rhinox skeleton bucket, is the heavy duty construction. If you're looking to purchase a skeleton bucket then you're probably aware that they are usually used in rough or harsh conditions to dig through aggregates and separate out unwanted material like bricks and tree roots. This obviously means that the attachment needs to be able to withstand the harsh environment.

To ensure a robust structure, the Rhinox skeleton bucket has been designed with additional wear protection in the areas that take the most force and contact. These are the leading edge and the attachment side plates. The leading edge is 3x thicker than the standard width of a Rhinox bucket shell so that it's much more durable in harsh terrain - stopping it from wearing down as quickly! We also add wear plates to the side of the bucket to slow the speed of wear on the side plates.

To increase the strength even further, we manufacture our skeleton buckets with vertical tines as they're much stronger than the horizontal tines you may find on other skeleton buckets in the market. To strengthen these tines further, we have supported the vertical tines with horizontal tine braces to add additional strength and reduce the chance of the tines bending and twisting during use. The overall construction of Rhinox skeleton buckets are made to help prolong the life of your attachment to save you money!

2. Replaceable Bucket Teeth

Another stand out feature is the replaceable bolt-on teeth that are fitted to the edge of the Rhinox skeleton bucket. As mentioned above, the skeleton bucket is regularly used in harsh conditions that will cause the teeth to wear down over time. Once your teeth are worn, your skeleton bucket will be less effective at digging through the ground or through material as the serrated steel will have worn away to a dome shape, stopping it from being able to grip or penetrated material as effectively. The benefit of the Rhinox skeleton bucket teeth is that they're removable - so they can easily be removed and replaced with new ones once worn.

What teeth styles fit the Rhinox skeleton bucket size ranges?

Excavator Size (ton)
Tooth Style
0.5 to 4 ton (1,000 to 8,000 lbs) Kubota style
5 to 8 ton (10,000 to 16,000 lbs) JCB style
9 to 30 ton (18,000 to 60,000 lbs) CAT style

Top: Rhinox Skeleton Bucket with Bolt-in Pins and Lifting Hooks. Bottom: Rhinox skeleton bucket to suit Kubota quick attach

3. Removable Bucket Pins

It's inevitable that overtime your bucket pins will start to wear through use. This will happen on all skeleton buckets, regardless of manufacturer because of the vigorous movements. The best way to combat this is using removable dummy pins so that they can be easily removed and replaced when worn. If you don't replace your pins when worn, you can also cause the bucket links and tipping links on your excavator to wear, which is a bigger and more expensive job to replace. So, as well as manufacturing our skeleton buckets with removable dummy pins, we also supply the replacement pins for when you need to swap them out for a new set.

There are a selection of Rhinox skeleton buckets that are not manufactured with bolt in pins. These will be found on skeleton buckets manufactured to suit excavators with dedicated hangers for quick attach couplers, such as Bobcat x-change, Kubota quick attach and Deere wedgelock.

Rhinox Bucket Transportation Hooks

4. Bucket Transportation Hooks

The final stand-out feature of the Rhinox skeleton bucket is the bucket transportation hooks that are manufactured as part of the hangers. These only feature on standard 2 pin hangers and not dedicated hangers to suit Bobcat x-change, Kubota quick attach and Deere wedgelock. Transportation bucket hooks are the best way to quickly and easily move multiple buckets at once - no more unevenly stacking excavator buckets inside each other with the chance of falling. Not only do excavator bucket hooks make it easier to move multiple buckets around site or onto a trailer but they reduce the need for manual handling of heavy buckets, keeping operators and by standers safe from injury.

There are a few companies on the market that now manufacture their buckets with bucket hooks to help with site safety, but we have found that manufacturing our bucket hooks as part of the hanger is the safest way. We've seen hooks welded to the shell of the bucket but this has a risk of catching them on utilities, pipes or other objects in the ground while digging. This is why ours a made as part of the hanger so they are further from the digging area. We've also found that making them part of the hanger, rather than welding them separately makes them much stronger, so significantly less chance of the hooks snapping off or coming away while in use.

Shop our range of skeleton buckets for your 1,000 to 60,000 lbs excavator online today!

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