US 3116578 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 7, 1964 R. J. BOTTLER METHOD OF CLEANING BASEBALLS Filed Dec. 19, 1960 INVENTOR lea/mu: cl Barr-LEI? ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,116,578 METHOD OF CLEANING BASEBALLS Ronald J. Bottler, 7230 NE. Tillamook, Portland: 13, Greg. Filed Dec. 19, 1960, Ser. No. 76,756 4 Claims. (Cl. 51-316) This invention relates to a method. and apparatus for removing surface dirt from generally spherical bodies. In particular it relates to the cleaning of baseballs by mildly. abrading the dry surface of the balls.
It is evident that baseballs can be cleaned to some extent by a variety of methods such as by scrubbing with a brush or by agitating the balls in a suitable cleaning liquid. Such conventional cleaning methods suffer from a disadvantage in that unless great care is taken, parts of the surface of the balls escape being contacted or abraded by another solid surface and are therefore insufficiently cleaned. Of course any wet cleaning process requires a drying step and in addition involves possible damage to the materials in the balls as a result of attack by the cleaning liquid. Some wet cleaning processes involve tumbling together in a drum small metal articles to be cleaned together with steel balls and a cleaning liquid. Dry processes are known in the prior art for cleaning the surface of small metal articles in which the articles are tumbled in, for example, a rubber lined drum, the lining serving to abrade the surfaces of the articles during tumbling. To the inventors knowledge these tumbling processes have been limited to the cleaning and polishing of small metal articles. It has now been found by the inventor that an improved tumbling process when applied to baseballs results in cleaning of the balls with extraordinary speed and efiiciency. More in particular the improved cleaning process comprises tumbling the dry baseballs together with chips or pieces of mildly abrasive material.
Accordingly it is a primary object of this invention to provide a method of simply effectively, and speedily cleaning the surface of baseballs.
It is a further object of this invention to accomplish the cleaning of baseballs by tumbling them with pieces of mildly abrasive material.
It is a further object of this invention to discard dirt particles and small abrasive particles during tumbling of baseballs together with larger pieces of abrasive material.
The method of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is an elevation partly broken away of an apparatus for tumbling the baseballs and pieces of abrasive material.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of the apparatus of FIG- URE 1.
As shown in the drawings particularly FIGURE 1 an apparatus suitable for carrying out the inventors method consists of a drum constructed of any desired material mounted as by bolting or welding on shaft 12 which is supported in bearings held by supports 14. The drum preferably is polygonal in cross-section as is evident from FIGURE 2 wherein it is seen that drum 10 of the described embodirnent is octagonal. A pulley 16 is mounted on shaft 12 and is provided with belt 18. An electric motor 20 drives pulley 22 which cooperates with belt 18 to rotate shaft 12. The periphery of the drum 10 is provided with a door 24 which is hinged along one edge by hinges 26. Door 24 is latched in a closed position by hooks 28 attached to the door and eyes 30 attached to the adjacent surface of the drum 10. Door 24 is any convenient size which permits baseballs to be easily added to or withdrawn from the drum 10. The broken away portion of FIGURE 1 shows baseballs 32 and rubber balls 34 which have been added to the drum 10. It has been found that best results are obtained when the mate- 3,116,578 Patented Jan. 7, 1964 rial of balls 34 is rubber such as is used for rubber erasers, but other mildly abrasive material may be used with some success. In place of balls, chips or pieces of any convenient size and shape may be used. However, it has been found that particularly good results are obtained with rubber balls which have diameters which are about A the diameter of a baseball. The periphery of drum 10 is provided with several slits 36 which during rotation of the drum permit dirt particles and small rubber particles to fall out of the drum. The slits 36 may be any convenient size and shape so long as they have dimensions which prevent the balls 34 from falling out of the drum 10. A grinding wheel 38, preferably made of rubber, is mounted on shaft 12.
The method of cleaning baseballs with the above-described device is readily apparent. Dirty baseballs 32 together with rubber balls 34 are added to drum 10 through the opening formed when door 24 is opened. As indicated above the quickest and most efiicient cleaning of the baseballs is accomplished when rubber balls are used. After the baseballs 32 and rubber balls 34 are added, the door 24 is closed and latched by means of hooks 28 and eyes 30 and motor 20 is actuated to rotate the drum 10. Rotation of drum 10 will tumble the baseballs 32 and rubber balls 34 so that the surfaces of the baseballs 32 will come into abrading contact with the surfaces of rubber balls 34. Preferably the drum 10 is polygonal as is evident from FIGURE 2 so that the baseballs 32 and rubber balls 34 will intermittently roll and bounce as the drum 10 is rotated. The rolling and bouncing assures that all surfaces of the baseballs 32 will come into abrading contact with the surfaces of the rubber balls 34. The abrading contact between the surfaces will result in particles of dirt being knocked oif the surfaces of the baseballs 32 and to some extent being incorporated into particles of the rubber balls 34 which are similarly knocked off. These dirt particles and rubber particles will fall through slit 36 as the slit passes beneath and rises past the mixture of baseballs 32 and rubber balls 34. The cleaning action resulting from tumbling will take place to a degree at any rotational speed below that at which the contents of the drum 10 are held against the walls of the drum by centrifugal force. Particularly good results are obtained when the drum is rotated at a peripheral speed of between about 250 ft./min. and about 375 ft./min. with the lower speeds'of the range being preferred. With a drum two feet in diameter this range of speeds corresponds to a range of about 40 to 60 rpm. The length of the period of tumbling depends, of course, on the amount of dirt originally present on the surfaces of the baseballs. After the baseballs have been tumbled to remove substantially all of the surface dirt, rotation of drum 10 is stopped and the baseballs are removed. The final step in the cleaning process is to remove any stubborn dirty spots from the balls by means of the rubber grinding wheel 38 which is mounted on shaft 12. This step is performed by manually holding the surface of a baseball in contact with the grinding wheel 38 after motor 20 has been restarted. A second batch of baseballs can be tumbled while the first batch is being touched-up on wheel 38.
It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise embodiment described above and that minor modifications may be made within the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A method of removing surface dirt from baseballs which comprises tumbling together in a closed container at least one dirty baseball with a plurality of pieces of mildly abrasive rubber, said pieces being somewhat smaller than said baseball.
2. A method as in claim 1 wherein said pieces comprise rubber balls.
3. A method of removing surface dirt from baseballs which comprises; placing a plurality of dirty baseballs in a container together with mildly abrasive rubber balls said rubber balls being somewhat smaller than a baseball and the volume of mixed baseballs and rubber balls being less than the volume of the container, closing the container to prevent removal of said baseballs and rubber balls, providing at least one aperture whose size and shape prohibit passage of said rubber balls therethrough in the periphery of said container, rotating said container about an axis which passes through said container in a generally horizontal direction so that said balls and said spheres continually tumble over each other during rotation and so that dirt particles and small rubber particles produced during tumbling pass through said aperture, removing said balls from the container and grinding ofi dirt spots still remaining on said baseballs.
4. Method as in claim 3 in which said rubber balls are about /3 the size of baseballs and in which said container is rotated at a peripheral speed of between about 250 ft./min. and about 375 ft./min.
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