US 3236715 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 22, 1966 R. R. GUNDERSON 3336,7131;
PORTABLE DEVICE FOR SECURING ADHESIVE-BACKED REFLECTING LENS UNIT TO A MOUNTING SURFACE Filed March 8, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 J77 Me)? for $040k 621724671907? o zforzzegs- I United States Patent PORTABLE DEVICE FflRSECURlNG ADHESIVE- BACKED REFLECTING LENS UNIT TU A MOUNTING SURFACE Ralph R. Gunderson, 7100 S. Shore Drive, Chicago 49, Ill. Filed Mar. 8, 1962, Ser. No. 178,397 6 Claims. (Cl. 156-382) This invention relates to a device for applying adhesive reflectors to a mounting surface, and more particularly, to a tool for successively utilizing vacuum and air pressure in the application of light reflecting units having adhesive backs to mounting surfaces on highway vehicles, boats, warning signals and the like.
Light reflecting units currently used on highway vehicles are commonly formed from a plastic material, usually Lucite. Heretofore, such reflectors have been secured to a mounting surface of the vehicle by seating the unit in a plastic or metal bracket which in turn is secured to the mounting surface by means of cap screws or other mechanical means. Thus, apertures had to be formed in the mounting surface for the cap screws; then the bracketmeans for the reflector unit needed to be aligned with the apertures; and finally the time-consuming operation carried out of placing the cap screws through the bracket and the mounting surface. Such brackets and reflector units, while providing a secure mounting, have failed to provide a hermetic seal with the mounting surface. Thus, the reflecting and refracting surfaces within the reflector units have become dirty during use which impairs their reflecting qualities.
To obviate the deficiencies inherent in the above-described reflector units, I have proposed utilizing a reflector lens provided with a double-faced adhesive backing for adhering the reflector lens to a mounting surface of a highway vehicle. Such adhesive-backed reflector units provide the needed hermetic seal so that the reflecting qualities of the unit are unimpaired during prolonged use. The tool of the present invention is for applying such adhesive backed reflectors in a secure and facile manner.
Accordingly, the primary object of the present invention is to provide for the first time a tool for applying an adhesive-backed lens unit to a mounting surface.
Another object is to provide such a tool which is adapted to exhaust a confined volume of air so that the reflector unit can be adhered substantially in a vacuum to a mounting surface.
A further object is to provide a tool for applying adhesive backed lens units in which the tool is adapted for holding the lens unit on the tool by vacuum prior to applying the lens unit to a mounting surface.
Still another object is to provide such a tool which has a structure adapting it to utilize the force of air pressure rushing into an evacuated cavity to force an adhesivebacked lens unit firmly against a mounting surface.
Another object of the invention is to provide a tool having a structure enabling the tool to exhaust air pressure from within a cavity of the lens unit as the lens unit is being secured to a mounting surface.
The invention is illustrated in a preferred embodiment in the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of one form of a reflecting lens unit adapted for use with the reflector applying tool;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken as indicated on line 2-2 of FIG. 1 illustrating the reflecting and refracting surfaces in the inner cavity of a light reflecting lens unit and showing a two-faced adhesive backing adhered to the peripheral rim of the lens to close the inner cavity;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the tool for applying adhesive-backed reflectors illustrating a three-way valve unit connected to a line leading to a vacuum pump;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken as indicated on line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken axially of the tool diagrammatically illustrating the three-way valve unit and showing vacuum applied to hold a lens unit against a seat within the reflector applying tool;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing the tool being pressed against a mounting surface with vacuum applied to exhaust confined air within the tool, and also showing the adhesive backing bellowing outwardly against the mounting surface under the influence of the confined air pressure within the reflecting lens unit;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating the inflow of ambient air pressure to the upper chamber of the tool to force the piston and the lens unit toward the mounting surface; and
FIG. 8 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating the three-way valve being turned to admit ambient air pressure into the lower chamber of the tool to strike the exposed lens face and to force the lens unit against the mounting surface.
-In the embodiment illustrated, the vacuum tool or gun of the form shown in FIG. 3 is adapted for use with a light reflector lens unit, generally designated 10, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The lens units 10 generally are formed of resilient plastic, preferably Lucite. Each lens unit may have a light-receiving outer face 11 with a depending peripheral Wall 12 which terminates in an annular rim 13 so that the lens unit 10 has an inner cavity 14. Normally, the reverse face of the lens unit 10 is provided with a number of plastic portions 15 which reflect and refract the incident light back again along its incoming path.
The lens unit 10, as best shown in FIG. 2, is also provided with a two-faced adhesive backing 16 by which the backing 16 is adhered to the annular rim 13. The outer face of the adhesive backing 16 is generally provided with a covering sheet of durable paper material 17 which remains in place upon the backing 16 until the lens unit is about to be used. This brief description of the lens unit is believed adequate for the purposes of the present application, but in the event that additional information is desired, attention is invited to my copending application filed concurrently herewith Serial No. 178,400.
Referring to FIG. 3, the reflector applying tool generally consists of a cup-shaped housing, generally designated 18, a compound valve mechanism, generally designated 20 and a lever valve, generally designated 21, which is operable to provide air pressure to the interior of the housing 18, when desired.
The cup-shaped housing 18 has a bottom wall 22 and a peripheral side wall 23 which afford an interior chamber for the housing 18. The open end of the housing 18 is provided with a resilient gasket or sealing ring 24 which is seated and held in an annular groove 25 encircling the free end of the side Wall 23.
Provision is made within the housing 18 for a supporting seat to receive an annular shoulder 26 of the lens unit 10 so as to position the lens unit within the housing 18 for its application to a mounting surface 27. Referring to FIG. 5, the lens unit 10 rests within the housing 18 upon an annular seat 28 formed in a reciprocating piston or pressure applying member 30. The outer peripheral surface of the piston 30 is carefully machined in respect to the inner surface of the side wall 23 so as to make a close and exacting slidable fit therewith. Thus, it can be seen that the reciprocating piston 30 divides the interior chamber of the housing 18 into an outer cavity 31 and an inner cavity 32.
The free end of the piston 31) preferably has an annular groove 33 machined in its outer face so as to insure communication between the outer cavity 31 and the 3 space between the lens unit 10 and the mounting surface 27 (see FIG. 6) through any of a number of bleeder passages 34. Thus, when a vacuum is applied to the outer cavity 31 above the outer face 11 of the lens unit 10, a vacuum is likewise applied to all of the confined space about the lens unit 10 (see FIGS. and 6).
The piston 30 is preferably secured to an end of a tubular vacuum line or conduit 35 which extends outwardly through an annular bearing 36 in the bottom wall 22 of the housing 18. The tubular vacuum line and the annular bearing 36 make a close substantially air-tight sliding fit with each other so that sliding movement of the vacuum line 35 in turn slidably moves the piston 30 within the inner chamber of the housing 18.
The piston 30 is preferably provided with a peripheral stop 37 on its inner end. Thus, when the piston 30 is pulled to its innermost position within the housing 18, the inner cavity 32 is assured between the piston 30 and the bottom wall 22.
Additional small ports 39 are also preferably provided through the vacuum line 35 for direct communication with the inner cavity 32. By this structure, when vacuum is applied to the outer cavity 31, the inner cavity 32 is likewise substantially exhausted of air pressure by use of the ports 39.
Means are also provided with the reflector tool in conjunction with the vacuum line 35 so that the vacuum line 35 can be open to ambient atmospheric pressure, or to a source of vacuum such as a vacuum pump, or can be closed off completely. Since the compound valve mechanism, generally designated 22 and shown in FIG. 3 is a conventional valve, the valve and its operation is illustrated diagrammatically in FIGS. 5 through 8. In essence, it is a three-way valve. In FIG. 5, the rotatable valve portion 38 is shown turned within the valve housing 40 so that the port 41 leading to the atmosphere is closed. In this illustration, the transverse passageway 42 is connected to the vacuum line 35 which in turn is connected to a source of vacuum, such as a vacuum pump.
In FIG. 8, the rotatable portion 38 is shown as moved through an angle of 90 so as to connect the passageway 43 with the vacuum line 35 and the passageway 42 with the port 41 leading to the atmosphere.
Means are also provided on the housing for permitting a selective and rapid increase of ambient air pressure in the inner cavity 32 of the housing 18. As herein shown, a ball-type lever valve 21 is employed which is normally urged by a compression spring 45 embracing the vacuum line 35 to close an opening 46 extending through the bottom wall 22 of the housing 18. The lever valve 21 preferably has a stud 47 at one end which is loosely received within a recess 48 in the outer face of the bottom wall 22. The lever valve 21 also includes a channeled arm 50 which is slotted as at 51 so as to be loosely impaled by the vacuum line 35. Friction washers 52 may be disposed at opposite ends of the compression spring 45 so as to provide an effective bearing surface for the opposite ends of the compression spring.
The free end of the lever valve 21 may be provided with a resilient ball seat 53, preferably of rubber, which is firmly held in place by a threaded shank (not shown) of a headed screw 54. Near the upper end of the lever valve 21, a finger piece 55 may be provided to facilitate pivoting the valve 21 between closed position against the bottom wall 22 and open position as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.
In operation, the lens unit is inserted into the open end of the housing 18 as shown in FIG. 5. Vacuum is applied to exhaust air pressure from within the outer cavity 31 so as to hold the lens unit in place. The bleeder passages or openings 34 are sufficiently small so that sufficient vacuum is maintained within the outer cavity 31 to hold the lens unit in position under normal operating circumstances. Of course, the covering sheet 17 of the adhesive backing 16 is removed prior to the time that the lens unit is inserted within housing 18.
It should be noted that at this time the compression spring 45 serves to hold the lever valve 21 in closed pjosition on the opening 46, and it also resiliently holds the piston 30 in its innermost position in the housing 18, as shown in FIG. 5.
In FIG. 5, the vacuum pump connected to the vacuum line 35 is exhausting the outer cavity 31 and the inner cavity 32 and is holding the lens unit 10 against the annular seat 28 of the piston 30. The lens unit 10 is held in this position in spite of the fact that the bleeder passages 34 are drawing air from the atmosphere because the entrance of air into the cavity 31 is at a much smaller rate than the exhausting of air by the vacuum pump.
In FIG. 6, the housing 18 is shown placed against a mounting surface 27 so that the sealing ring 24 is in airtight engagement therewith. The valve mechanism 20 remains positioned as in FIG. 5 so that the vacuum line 35 is in communication with the vacuum pump to exhaust air pressure from the outer cavity 31 and the inner cavity 32. The vacuum pump used with the tool readily maintains a pressure differential of 25 or 26 inches of mercury between the ambient air pressure and the interior of the housing 18.
The outer cavity 31 is quickly exhausted on both sides of the lens unit 10 which causes the air pressure within the lens unit 10 to bellow the central portion of the backing 16 outwardly into uniform and intimate adhering contact with the mounting surface 27. At this time also, the seal between the backing 16 and the annular rim 13 may be temporarily disrupted by the air pressure within the lens unit 10 so taht the interior of the lens unit 10 is also exhausted.
In FIG. 7, it will be noted that vacuum is still being applied to the outer cavity 31, but that the lever valve 21 has been raised to permit air pressure to rush through the opening 46 into the previously exhausted inner cavity 32. The in-rushing air pressure causes the piston 30 to force the lens unit toward the mounting surface 27 so that the peripheral marginal edges of the adhesive backing 16 are also adhered to the mounting surface. On occasion, the seal between the backing 16 and the annular rim 13 is not disrupted to exhaust air from within the lens unit 10 in the position illustrated in FIG. 6. In this event, the air may be forced out from within the lens unit 10 during movement of the piston 30 to its position illustrated in FIG. 7., Since the ports 39 communicate with the vacuum line 35, air pressure entering the vacuum line is immediately exhausted and the adherence of the lens unit 10 is still carried out in a substantial vacuum even after the lever valve 21 is opened.
Finally, in FIG. 8, the valve mechanism 20 is shown turned to atmosphere and closed to the vacuum pump. This permits the in-rushing air from the atmosphere to pass through the vacuum line 35 and into the outer cavity 31 where it strikes the outer face 11 of the lens unit 10 a substantial blow. Comparing the crown of the outer face 11 in FIGS. 7 and 8, it will be noted that the resilient plastic lens has its crown depressed in FIG. 8 which exerts radial stretching forces to the adhesive backing 16 to further enhance the adherence of the lens unit 10 to the mounting surface 27 as explained in my accompanying application filed herewith Serial No. 178,400.
The reflector applying tool of the present invention has applied adhesive backed reflector units which exhibit superior adhering qualities within great temperature ranges, for example 10 F. through 186 F. The reflector units can be placed on mounting surfaces not heretofore accessible to conventional reflector mountings because of area limitations, or character or thickness of mounting surface. In addition, the tool enables the units to be put on a surface with great speed and convenience.
The foregoing detailed description is given for clearness of understanding only and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, for some modifications will be obvious to those skilled in the art.
1. A portable device for securing an adhesive-backed reflecting unit to a mounting surface, comprising: a cupshaped housing affording an interior chamber and adapted to make a substantially air-tight connection at its open end with a mounting surface, said open end being of a size to receive an adhesive-backed reflecting unit therein; a pressure applying member movable in the chamber of the housing for pressing against a unit in the housing to force the unit against the mounting surface; a conduit adapted for connection with a vacuum source and positioned to communicate with an outer cavity of the chamber between the pressure applying member and unit to evacuate air pressure therefrom; and valve means for closing the conduit leading from the vacuum source and for quickly admitting ambient air pressure through the conduit into the outer cavity and against the exposed face of the unit in the housing to force said unit into firm adherence with the mounting surface.
2. A portable device as specified in claim 1, in which the housing has an inner cavity above the pressure applying member, said housing being provided with a passageway affording communication with the vacuum source, and second valve means is provided for admitting ambient air to the inner cavity so as to urge the movable pressure applying member and unit against the mounting surface.
3. A portable device for securing an adhesive-backed reflecting unit to a mounting surface, comprising: a cupshaped housing affording an interior chamber and adapted to make a substantially air-tight connection at its open end with a mounting surface, said housing being provided at its open end with a seat of a size to receive an adhesive-backed reflecting unit therein; exhaust means for evacuating air pressure from within said chamber so as to retain the unit upon said seat of the housing prior to applying the unit to the mounting surface; means for providing pressure to move the unit against the mounting surface; and control means for admitting air pressure into said chamber to release the unit from its seat at the open end of the housing.
4. A portable device for securing an adhesive-backed reflecting lens unit to a mounting surface, comprising: a cup-shaped housing affording an interior chamber and adapted to make a substantially air-tight connection at its open end with the mounting surface, said open end being of a size to receive an adhesive-backed reflecting lens unit therein; a rigid conduit adapted for connection with a vacuum source and slidably mounted in the housing for movement axially thereof, the conduit carrying a pressure applying member on its inner end for pressing against a lens unit within the housing to force the lens unit against the mounting surface, said conduit communicating with an outer cavity of the chamber between the pressure applying member and lens unit to evacuate air pressure therefrom; and valve means for closing the conduit connection to the vacuum source and for quickly admitting ambient air pressure through the conduit into the outer cavity and against the exposed face of the lens unit in the housing to force said lens unit into firm adherence with the mounting surface.
5. A device as specified in claim 4, in which the pressure applying member has a depending annular portion affording a seat for the peripheral marginal edge portion of a lens unit, said annular portion being provided with a bleeder port to evacuate air pressure confined between the mounting surface and the lens unit positioned in the housing.
6. A device as specified in claim 4, in which the housing has an inner cavity above the pressure applying member and an outer cavity between the pressure applying member and lens unit, the inner cavity being provided with a small passageway affording communication with the vacuum source for evacuation of air from the inner cavity, said housing having an air passage extending between the ambient air and the inner cavity and being provided with a valve normally closing said air passage whereby opening of said valve will admit ambient air pressure to the inner cavity and force the pressure applying unit and lens unit against the mounting surface.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,939,998 12/1933 Lytle 156382 2,184,824 12/1939 Von Hofe 156285 2,992,953 7/1961 Talburt 156382 3,025,208 3/1962 Geiger 156382 3,028,289 4/1962 Roberts et al. 156-382 JACOB H. STEINBERG, Primary Examiner.
HAROLD ANSHER, ALEXANDER WYMAN,