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Publication numberUS20090214341 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/060,265
Publication dateAug 27, 2009
Filing dateApr 1, 2008
Priority dateFeb 25, 2008
Publication number060265, 12060265, US 2009/0214341 A1, US 2009/214341 A1, US 20090214341 A1, US 20090214341A1, US 2009214341 A1, US 2009214341A1, US-A1-20090214341, US-A1-2009214341, US2009/0214341A1, US2009/214341A1, US20090214341 A1, US20090214341A1, US2009214341 A1, US2009214341A1
InventorsTrevor Craig
Original AssigneeTrevor Craig
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotatable axial fan
US 20090214341 A1
Abstract
The present disclosure provides a novel apparatus for the movement of air. Specifically, the apparatus is an axial fan assembly which is rotatable about a horizontal axis to orient the axial fan in a vertical position, a horizontal position, or positions in between. The axial fan can be adjusted and selectively fixed in a particular orientation. The height of the axial fan is also adjustable. The vertical support member comprises a telescoping mechanism whereby the length of the vertical support member is adjustable and can be selectively fixed at a particular length.
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Claims(24)
1. An apparatus for the movement of air, comprising:
a base;
a vertical support member connected to the base;
a horizontal axle assembly connected to the vertical support member;
a fan support member connected to the horizontal axle assembly; and
an axial fan connected to the fan support member.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the vertical support member comprises a telescoping mechanism.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the telescoping mechanism comprises a locking mechanism for selectively fixing the length of the vertical support member.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a detent and a detent receiver.
5. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a first section that is slidably coupled to a second section, wherein the first section comprises a constricting collar.
6. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a first section that is slidably coupled to a second section, wherein the second section comprises an expanding collar.
7. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a first section that is slidably coupled to a second section, wherein the first section and second section comprise a plurality of holes, and the apparatus further comprises a pin that fixes the first section relative to the second section when the pin is inserted into two of the plurality of holes.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fan support member is connected to the ends of the axial fan.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an oscillator connected to the axial fan, wherein the oscillator varies the direction of the airflow generated by the axial fan.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a handle fixed to the horizontal axle assembly.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a handle fixed to vertical support member.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a ballast.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the vertical support member has a hollow cross section.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising an electrical cord contained within the hollow cross section of the vertical support member.
15. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a control panel for programming operating commands selected from a group consisting of: power on, power off, standby, increase fan speed, decrease fan speed, begin oscillation, stop oscillation, function at low fan speed, function at medium fan speed, function at high fan speed, set duration of fan operation, set duration of fan standby, increase duration of fan operation, decrease duration of fan operation, increase duration of fan standby, decrease duration of fan standby, increase oscillation speed, decrease oscillation speed, and set time of day.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:
a receiver that receives operating commands; and
a remote control that transmits operating commands to the receiver.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the operating commands are selected from a group consisting of: power on, power off, standby, increase fan speed, decrease fan speed, begin oscillation, stop oscillation, function at low fan speed, function at medium fan speed, function at high fan speed, set duration of fan operation, set duration of fan standby, increase duration of fan operation, decrease duration of fan operation, increase duration of fan standby, decrease duration of fan standby, increase oscillation speed, decrease oscillation speed, and set time of day.
18. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the operating commands are transmitted via optical signals or radio signals.
19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the horizontal axle assembly comprises a locking mechanism to selectively fix the position of the fan support member.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism selectively fixes the fan support member at an angle, as measured from the vertical support member, from 0 and 90 degrees.
21. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly comprises a detent and a detent receiver to selectively fix the position of the fan support member.
22. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly comprises an axle that is rotationally coupled to a sleeve, wherein the sleeve comprises a constricting collar.
23. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly comprises an axle that is rotationally coupled to a sleeve, wherein the axle comprises an expanding collar.
24. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly comprises an axle that is rotationally coupled to a sleeve, wherein the axle and sleeve comprise a plurality of holes, and the apparatus further comprises a pin that fixes the axle relative to the sleeve when the pin is inserted into two of the plurality of holes.
Description
PRIORITY

This patent application claims priority to provisional patent application no. 61/031,104, entitled “Rotatable Tower Fan”, filed by Trevor Craig on Feb. 25, 2008.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for the movement of air.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hot nights make sleeping difficult. The movement of air around a person can make them more comfortable. Various types of motorized fans are known for their cooling properties and have been used in bedrooms to make sleeping more comfortable. Motorized fans can also add comfort in otherwise hot and stuffy environments. Several types of fans exist, including box fans, circular fans, tower fans and ceiling fans.

Box fans can be placed in windows. The fan's cooling effect is maximized only if a person's bed is situated near the window. These fans can also be placed on the floor, but the maximum cooling effect is not achieved unless the bed is very low to the floor. Box fans can also be placed on a desk or table near the bed, but not every bedroom has a desk or table near the bed such that the maximum cooling effect cannot be achieved. Even if a table or desk is near the bed, it may not be at the same height as the bed and the airflow may not be focused on a person sleeping in a bed. Additionally it may be awkward, cumbersome, or even dangerous to place a relatively large box fan on a small table or desk.

Circular fans are also available to provide air movement; however, they have the same difficulties as a box fan in that they must be located near a bed to achieve the maximum cooling effect while a person is sleeping. And locating a circular fan near a bed may not always be possible. Circular fans with a pedestal may overcome these limitations by allowing easy placement anywhere in a room and adjustment such that the fan is at the same height as a bed. A drawback to a circular fan is that it has a direction of airflow similar to a cone. The area of airflow is narrow near the fan, and increases as the distance from the fan increases; but while the airflow area increases with distance, the cooling effect of the fan is reduced. Placing the fan near a bed can maximize the cooling effect, but this results in only a portion of the bed receiving the benefit of the increased airflow while another portion of the bed is without the benefit of the cooling properties of the airflow. If the fan is positioned further away so that a larger portion of the bed encounters the airflow then the cooling effect is reduced because the airflow dissipates as the distance from the fan increases.

Unlike circular fans, tower fans generate a wider pattern of airflow, but the pattern is elongated in a vertical direction. The result may be that only a portion of the airflow is traveling over the bed, while much of the airflow is wasted as it travels under the bed. The cooling effect of the airflow reaching a person in a prone position is limited, just as with a circular fan.

Circular fans and tower fans sometimes employ an oscillator to vary the direction of airflow. This can reduce some of the drawbacks discussed above. The narrow airflow is directed in a cycle through a variety of directions. This does not completely solve the drawbacks, however because areas within the oscillating airflow pattern are still left without sufficient airflow during portions of the oscillation cycle.

Ceiling fans can generate a wide area of airflow, but the maximum airflow is directly beneath the ceiling fan. The direction of airflow for ceiling fans cannot be adjusted, and the maximum cooling effect while sleeping is achieved only if a bed is directly beneath the ceiling fan. These fans are also more difficult to install, sometime requiring professional installation. Ceiling fans are generally more expensive than other types of fans.

Air conditioning can also make a person more comfortable while sleeping, but it is not available in all homes. Air conditioning is also prohibitively expensive for some. In houses that have central air conditioning the entire house needs to be cooled in order for the bedrooms to be cool. While a person is sleeping in a bedroom the comforting effect of central air conditioning in the rest of a house is wasted. Operating air conditioning generally consumes more energy than the operation of a fan.

Therefore, there is a need for an energy efficient fan which will deliver a focused stream of air with an airflow pattern that maximizes the fan's cooling effect. Moreover, a need exists for the focused airflow pattern that maximizes the cooling effect to a person sleeping in a prone position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure describes a novel apparatus for the movement of air. The apparatus includes a base, a vertical support member connected to the base, a horizontal axle assembly connected to the vertical support member, a fan support member connected to the horizontal axle assembly, and an axial fan connected to the fan support member. The fan support member may be connected to the ends of the axial fan. For added stability, the base may comprise a ballast. The apparatus may further include an oscillator connected to the axial fan, where the oscillator varies the direction of the airflow flow generated by the axial fan.

The vertical support member may include a telescoping mechanism that adjusts the height of the axial fan, and that telescoping mechanism may include a locking mechanism for selectively fixing the length of the vertical support member. The locking mechanism may include a detent and a detent receiver, a constricting collar or an expanding collar. In addition, the vertical support member may have a hollow cross section that forms a conduit through which an electrical cord may travel.

The horizontal axle assembly may further include a locking mechanism to selectively fix the position of the fan support member. The locking mechanism may selectively fix the fan support member at an angle, measured from the vertical support member, from 0 and 90 degrees. The locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly may comprise a detent and a detent receiver to selectively fix the position of the fan support member. The locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly may alternatively comprise an axle that is rotationally coupled to a sleeve, wherein the sleeve comprises a constricting collar or the axle comprises an expanding collar. Finally, the locking mechanism of the horizontal axle assembly may comprise an axle that is rotationally coupled to a sleeve, wherein the axle and sleeve comprise a plurality of holes, and the apparatus further comprises a pin that fixes the axle relative to the sleeve when the pin is inserted into two of the plurality of holes.

The apparatus may be operated by a control panel mounted on the axial fan and can also be operated by a remote control. The remote control may be wired or wireless. If wireless, the remote control may transmit control commands via radio or optical signals. The following are operational commands that may be activated and/or programmed by the control panel: power on, power off, initiate standby mode, increase fan speed, decrease fan speed, vary fan speed, initiate oscillation, terminate oscillation, increase oscillation speed, decrease oscillation speed, and vary oscillation speed. The control system may also have a timer that allows the above function to begin at a certain time, or to occur for a certain duration. Each of these functions may be activated and programmed by the corded or cordless remote control.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates a novel apparatus for the movement of air with the axial fan positioned in a horizontal orientation.

FIG. 1B illustrates the axial fan attached to a fan support member and a portion of the horizontal axle assembly.

FIG. 2 illustrates the novel apparatus for the movement of air placed next to a bed, with the axial fan fixed in an orientation that is horizontal to the floor

FIG. 3 illustrates the base connected to the vertical support member.

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-section view of the vertical support member.

FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-section view of the horizontal axle assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A novel apparatus for the movement of air is provided to direct the movement of air to maximize comfort. As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the apparatus (1) is adjustable so that the vertical distance of the axial fan (60) from the base (10) is variable by means of a telescoping mechanism. Vertical support member (20) is comprised of a first section (25) and a second section (26). First section (25) and second section (26) are slidably coupled. The second section (26) is dimensioned concentrically smaller than first section (25) so that second section (26) is received by first section (25). This slidable coupling allows the vertical support member (20) to telescope, extending the member (20) when the second section (26) is pulled out the first section (25) and collapsing the member (20) when the second section (26) is pushed into the first section (25). The vertical support member (20) may also comprise a plurality of sections more than the two illustrated in FIG. 1A.

The length of the telescoping vertical support member (20) can be fixed by a locking mechanism. For example, the locking mechanism may be comprised of a spring mounted detent (21) and a detent receiver (22). The spring mounted detent (21) may be connected to second section (26), while a plurality of detent receivers (22) may be included on the first section (25). When the spring mounted detent (21) is aligned and engaged with a detent receiver (22), the length of vertical support member (20) becomes fixed. It would be apparent to one skilled in the art that a number of other locking mechanisms may be used to selectively fix the length of vertical support member (20). One such non-limiting example includes a constricting collar on the first section (25) that, when activated, constricts the radius of the first section (25) such that it holds the second element (26) by friction. Similarly, the second section (26) may include an expanding collar that, when activated expands the radius of the second section (26) such that it is held to the first section (25) by friction. A final non-limiting example may include a simple pin and pin-hole configuration, where both the first and second sections (25 and 26) include a hole, or a plurality of holes. Once a hole of the first section (25) is aligned with a hole on the second section (26), a pin may be inserted; thus, fixing the length of the telescoping vertical support member (20).

Fan support member (40) is coupled to the vertical support member (20) by the horizontal axle assembly (shown in FIG. 1B). The horizontal axle assembly allows the axial fan (60) to be fixed at an angle (31), measured from the vertical support member (20), from 0 and 90 degrees, where 0 degrees is parallel to the vertical support member (20) and 90 degrees is perpendicular. FIG. 1A illustrates the axial fan (60) oriented at an angle (31) 90 degrees from the vertical support member (20). The fan support member (40) is coupled to the axial fan (60). The fan support member (40) may be coupled to the ends (70) of the axial fan (60). The axial fan is comprised of a motor (50) which spins the fan blades (61) about the longitudinal axis of the axial fan to generate the movement of air. Oscillator (55) varies the direction of airflow when the oscillator (55) is activated. A housing (not shown) may be added to the axial fan (60) to protect from unwanted objects contacting the moving parts of the axial fan (60).

The axial fan (60) is rotatable about a horizontal axis perpendicular with the longitudinal axis of the vertical support member (20). Rotating handle (30) is coupled to axial fan by the horizontal axle assembly (illustrated in FIG. 1B) and the fan support member (40). Rotating handle (30) about a horizontal axis has the effect of rotating the axial fan (60) about the same horizontal axis.

The vertical support member (20) is held in place by the base (10). The base is sized so that the vertical support member remains in a vertical position. Ballast (15) may be added to the base (10) to counterbalance the axial fan. The ballast may be water, a heavy metal, or a similar substance of sufficient weight to counterbalance the axial fan.

FIG. 1B illustrates the novel apparatus from the perspective of arrow 75 (in FIG. 1A). The novel apparatus comprises a horizontal axle assembly (80) that may include an axle (86) and an axle housing (85) (also known as a sleeve). The axle housing (85) is rotatably coupled to the axle (86) and can maintain the axle (86) in a horizontal orientation. The axle housing (85) may be connected to the telescoping vertical support member (20) discussed with reference to FIG. 1A. A horizontal axis (87) runs through the axle (86) about which the axle (86) rotates. The axial fan (60) is coupled to the axle (86) by the fan support member (40). When the axle (86) is rotated about its horizontal axis (87), the axial fan also rotates about the same horizontal axis. The handle (30) may be connected to the axle (86) such that rotating the handle (30) has the effect of rotating the axial fan (60) about the horizontal axis (87).

The axial fan in FIG. 1B is illustrated with a cover (51) over motor (50). The cover has openings which expose the receiver (91) and the control panel (92). The following are operational commands that may be activated and/or programmed by the control panel: power on, power off, initiate standby mode, increase fan speed, decrease fan speed, vary fan speed, initiate oscillation, terminate oscillation, increase oscillation speed, decrease oscillation speed, and vary oscillation speed. The control system may also have a timer that allows the above function to begin at a certain time, or to occur for a certain duration. Each of these functions may be activated and programmed by a corded or cordless remote control.

A remote control (90) is also illustrated in FIG. 1B. The remote control may be wireless or wired, and allows for partial to complete control of the axial fan. In the wireless configuration, the remote control contains operating control transmitter (93) and buttons (96) which command operation of the axial fan (60). The transmitter may send instructions to the axial fan (60) via optical signals (such as infrared) or radio signals.

In FIG. 2, the novel apparatus (1) for the movement of air is shown placed next to a bed (110). The axial fan (60) of the apparatus (1) is in a horizontal position relative to the plane of the ground. The apparatus is configured to oscillate in the direction of arrow (115), providing an airflow shown by arrows (120). Of course, the axial fan can be brought closer to the surface of the bed (110) by shortening the vertical support member (20). By adjusting the height of the axial fan (60) and the oscillation, the apparatus provides efficient cooling to a person sleeping in a prone position.

A novel apparatus for the movement of air is shown in FIG. 3 without the axial fan and without the fan support member. Base (10) may contain ballast (15) and is coupled to the vertical support member (20). The vertical support member (20) comprises a telescoping mechanism whereby first section (25) is slidably coupled to second section (26). The length of the vertical support member (20) can be fixed when the locking mechanism is engaged. The length is fixed in the disclosed embodiment when the detent (21) is engaged with the detent receiver (22). It would be apparent to one skilled in the art that a number of other locking mechanisms may be used to selectively fix the length of vertical support member (20).

A first handle (32) can be coupled to the second section (26). The handle is a segment having structural integrity to facilitate adjustment of the apparatus when the handle is grasped by the hand of a person adjusting the apparatus. A second handle (31) may be mounted on the axle housing assembly (80). First handle (31), second handle (32) and rotating handle (30) (shown in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B) may all be used, none may be used, or any combination of them may be used. The axle assembly (80) may be coupled to the vertical support member (20). In FIG. 3, the axle housing (85) of the axle assembly (80) is coupled to second section (26). The axle housing (85) rotatably couples the axle (86). When the detent receivers (82) are engaged by the detent (81) the rotatability of the axle becomes fixed. (See FIG. 1B).

A cross section along dashed line 100 of the vertical support member (20) is depicted in FIG. 4. First section (25) and second section (26) are shown with a tongue-and-grove system to prevent rotation about a vertical axis. Preventing rotation about a vertical axis maintains the counter balancing relationship between the ballast and the axial fan assembly. Additional means may be used to restrict rotation such as vertical support sections which have a square cross section or any other shaped cross section which restricts rotation.

The first section (25) and second section (26) have a hollow cross section forming a conduit through which the electrical cord (29) may pass. Spring (28) exerts force against the detent (21) and the detent stabilizer (27). Detent stabilizer (27) is fixed to the inner surface (35) of second section (26). When the distal portion of detent (21) is medially depressed below the inner surface (36) of first section (25) the detent (21) becomes free of the detent receiver (22), and the length of vertical support member (20) can be varied. Once the detent (21) encounters a detent receiver (22), the spring (28) forces the detent (21) to travel through the detent receiver (22), thus fixing the length of the vertical support member (20). This is just one example of a locking telescoping vertical support member (20). As described above, it would be apparent to one skilled in the art that a number of other locking mechanisms may be used to selectively fix the length of vertical support member (20).

A cross section along dashed line 105 of the axle assembly (80) is illustrated in FIG. 5. The detent/detent receiver configuration of the axle assembly is similar to that just described with reference to the vertical support member. The round cross section of axle (86) and axle housing (85) permits the axle to rotate about a horizontal axis within the axle housing (85). The rotation of axle (86) can be locked in a fixed orientation by engaging detent (81) with detent receiver (82). Spring (88) exerts a force against the detent (81) and the detent stabilizer (87). Detent stabilizer (87) is fixed to the inner surface of axle (86). When the distal portion of detent (81) is medially depressed below the inner surface (84) of the axle housing (85) the detent (81) disengages with the detent receiver (82), and axle (86) is no longer locked in a fixed orientation. Once the detent (81) encounters a detent receiver (82), the spring (88) forces the detent (81) to travel through the detent receiver (82), thus fixing the orientation of the axle (86) relative to the axle housing (85), which in turn, fixes the orientation of the axial fan. This is just one example of a locking axle assembly (80).

As with the locking vertical support member described above, it would be apparent to one skilled in the art that a number of other locking mechanisms may be used to selectively fix the orientation of axle assembly (80). One such non-limiting example includes a constricting collar on the axle housing (85) that, when activated, constricts the radius of the axle housing (85) such that it holds the axle (86) by friction. Similarly, the axle (86) may include an expanding collar that, when activated expands the radius of the axle (86) such that it is held to the axle housing (85) by friction. A final non-limiting example may include a simple pin and pin-hole configuration, where both the axle and axle housing (86 and 85) include a hole, or a plurality of holes. Once a hole of the axle housing (85) is aligned with a hole on the axle (86), a pin may be inserted; thus, fixing the orientation of the axle (86) relative to the axle housing (85), which in turn, fixes the orientation of the axial fan. Also, while the embodiment disclosed in FIGS. 1B, 3 and 5 illustrate the axle (86) as cylinder that is inserted concentrically into the axle housing (85), the axle assembly (80) may comprise an arrangement wherein the axle housing (85) is the smaller of the two cylinders, and the axle (86) is the larger of the cylinders and rotates on the outside of the axle assembly (80).

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it should be readily apparent to people of ordinary skill in the art that a number of modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. The presently disclosed embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description. All changes that come within the meaning of and range of equivalency of the claims are intended to be embraced therein. Moreover, the applicants expressly do not intend that the following claims “and the embodiments in the specification to be strictly coextensive.” Phillips v. AHW Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc).

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Referenced by
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US7972111Mar 1, 2010Jul 5, 2011Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US8092166Nov 20, 2009Jan 10, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan
US8308445Sep 3, 2008Nov 13, 2012Dyson Technology LimitedFan
US8721286 *Mar 3, 2010May 13, 2014Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US20100226749 *Mar 3, 2010Sep 9, 2010Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US20100226751 *Mar 3, 2010Sep 9, 2010Dyson Technology LimitedFan assembly
US20110129365 *Apr 13, 2010Jun 2, 2011I-Huang ChenElectric fan
US20130058806 *Sep 6, 2011Mar 7, 2013Yu-Yuan LinDC Electric Fan
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Classifications
U.S. Classification416/98, 417/410.1, 416/246, 416/182
International ClassificationF04D17/02, F04D29/22
Cooperative ClassificationF04D25/08, F04D29/601
European ClassificationF04D29/60C, F04D25/08