US 3347469 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 17, R967 R. A. ROSS ETAL 3,347,469
GUN FOR FLOCKING TREES Original Filed Jan. 16, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 N VENTOKS W. I @1765; "'22 mph #12255 5472 he 504.2
Oct. I7, 1967 R. A. ROS$ ETAL GUN FOR FLOGKING TREES 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Original Filed Jan. 16, 1962 V 7 T I 1967 R. A. R055 ETAL r 3,347,469
GUN FOR FLOCKING TREES Original Filed Jan. 16, 1962 5 Sheets$heet 3 INVENTORS 4 firzaggw JB @(9 71,7666
-Mclr ifbafoas United States Patent 3,347,469 GUN FOR FLOCKING TREES Ronald A. Ross, Adolph W. Ross, and Marie Eva Ross, Antioch, Ill., assignors, by mesne assignments, to Patent Holding and Development Corporation, a corporation of Illinois Original application Jan. 16, 1962, Ser. No. 166,480, now Patent No. 3,223,329, dated Dec. 14, 1965. Divided and this application Dec. 13, 1965, Ser. No. 513,499
4 Claims. (Cl. 239-424) This application is a division of application Ser. No. 166,480 filed Jan. 16, 1962, now Patent No. 3,223,329.
The present invention relates to the spray coating of sticky granular materials, and is more particularly con cerned with improved apparatus for applying flock and the like materials.
An important object of this invention is to provide a compact apparatus for applying granular materials such as flock having an activatable-adhesive interspersed therein, the apparatus being adapted to eXpel the material from an applicator in an adherable condition to coat articles for decorative or protective purposes.
Still another object is to provide an improved flock applying apparatus for configurating a stream of air-suspended dry flock carrying an activatable-adhesive in a swirling path having an annular cross section and to direct a mist of an adhesive-activating material into said path.
Yet another object is to provide an apparatus as described in the latter object wherein the stream of dry flock is received into an expansion chamber and expelled therefrom into a conically directed mist of atomized particles of an adhesive-activating material.
A further object of the present invention is to provide improved apparatus which is economical and simple to use for rapidly and efficiently coating objects for decorative and other purposes.
The present invention will best be understood by reference to the following specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals designate like parts throughout, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus constituted in accordance with the principles of the present invention and including a canister having a cover and a flock applicator gun, the gun being shown in a condition for directing a stream of sticky flock into contact with an evergreen tree;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, vertical sectional view of the canister shown in FIG. 1 and having the cover removed therefrom, the section being taken along the line 2-2 therein;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical sectional view taken in the direction of the arrows along the line 3-3 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, horizontal sectional view taken inthe direction of the arrows along the line 44 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of a flock metering ap paratus shown in FIG. 4, the metering apparatus being shown in a closed position;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken in the direction of the arrows along the line 66 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, horizontal sectional view taken in the direction of the arrows along the line 7-7 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, longitudinal sectional view taken in the direction of the arrows along the line 8-8 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 9 is a View taken generally in the direction of the arrows along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a greatly enlarged, fragmentary, longitudinal section-a1 view taken in the direction of the arrows along the line 10-10 in FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a transverse sectional view, on the scale of FIG. 10, taken in the direction of the arrows therein along the line 11-11; and
FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 11 but taken in the direction of the arrows along the line ]12-12 in FIG. 10.
In FIG. 1 of the drawings there is shown a flocking apparatus made in accordance with and embodying the principles of the present invention, and including a canister, designated generally 10, in operative association with a flocking gun, designated generally 12, which is depicted as applying a stream of flock 14 to a conifer or evergreen tree 17. The flock 14 is commonly applied to objects such as the conifer 17 for purposes of decoration. Although the varieties of its constituents are numerous, flock, in the dry state, is generally granular in quality and is a mixture of finely cut fibers of rayon, cotton, or wool having a powdered adhesive, usually of a starch or wheat flour base, comprising approximately 33 /3 of the bulk. As is shown, such an adhesive is activatable when brought into contact with moisture, thereby to produce a sticky substance. Further, the flock composition may include mica or small particles of bright metallic elements to afford a sparkling quality to the object coated therewith.
The canister or housing 10 comprises a metal, cylindrical casing 12 divided into a compact mechanism compartment 15 and an upper or hopper compartment 16 by a diaphragm plate 18 suitably secured, as by welding, to the casing 12. The upper end of the hopper 16 is open for purposes of supplying therein a quantity of the dry flock 14 having an interspersed powdered dry adhesive. A cover 20 (shown in FIG. 1) may be fitted over the open end of the hopper 16 to afford a degree of protection to the flock 14 stored therein. The upper edge of the casing 12 is encased in a smoothly shaped ring of material 22 which covers the sharp edges and prevents cutting of the hands during handling of the canister 10, clearly shown in FIG. 2.
Referring particularly now to FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, a multiarmed agitator 24 is operatively mounted over the diaphragm plate 18 in the hopper 16. The agitator 24 includes a central hub 26 having eight elongated arms 28 radiating outwardly therefrom in an equally spaced apart relationship. As will be seen clearly in FIG. 4, the free ends of seven of the arms 28 terminate a short distance away from the inner surface of the casing 12. An arm 28a, on the other hand, includes a curved end portion disposed in a close relationship with the inner surface of the casing 12 thereby to sweep any flock which tends to adhere to the walls.
A slow speed gear motor 30, shown best in FIG. 2, is arranged in the mechanism compartment 14 thereby to present a vertical shaft 32 extending through an aperture in the diaphragm plate 18 to engage the hub 26 of the agitator 24. The housing of the gear motor 30 is secured :to the diaphragm plate 18- by a plurality of fasteners 34, shown best in FIG. 4. The motor 30 being connected to an electric power switching source, to be described hereinafter, revolves the agitator 24 at approximately 8 rpm.
A group of circular openings 36 are disposed in the diaphragm plate 18 to pass flock therethrough by gravity into a funnel-shaped intake 38 of a high speed turbine unit 40. To afford a metering of the flock into the intake 38 a reciprocable shutter 42 is operatively mounted on the plate 18 beneath the group of openings 36. More specifically, a spaced pair of channel elements 44, shown in FIGS. 4-6, receive the edges of the flat shutter 42 to provide a smooth action as the shutter 42 is moved in a horizontal plane. A plurality of spaced openings 46 are arranged in the shutter plate 42 whereby the openings 46 are in register with the openings 36 in the position of the shutter as shown in FIG. 4. Conversely, when the shutter plate 42 is urged forward as by pushing an outwardly extending handle 48, the openings 36 are closed by the shutter plate 42, clearly shown in FIG. 5.
The inlet 38 of the turbine 40, being disposed immediately beneath the openings 36, 46, channels the flock into the turbine casing or scroll and into the eye of a high speed, rotatable impeller 50. The multi-blade impeller 50 rotates in response to power applied to a vertical axle 52 having a pulley 54 securely mounted thereon. As shown in FIG. 7, the turbine 50 includes an offset outlet 56 which projects tangentially from the turbine casing and extends through an opening in the casing 12, thereby to present a connection means for receiving a conduit thereover.
Power is supplied to the pulley 54 of the turbine 50 from a high speed electric motor 58 arranged in the mechanism compartment 15, The motor 58 is provided with an internally arranged pulley 60, and a slot (not shown) is arranged in the motor casing to receive therethrough a power transfer belt 62 entwined over the pulleys 60 and 54. The motor 58 is constituted and constructed to operate at a speed of 15,000 r.p.m. when delivering a power of approximately horsepower. By suitable sizing of pulleys 54 and 60, the speed of the turbine impeller 50 may be varied from 7,500 to 30,000 r.p.m., thereby to propel the flock 14 through the turbine 40 at a rapid velocity.
The turbine 50 and the motor 58 are each fixedly mounted upon a floor plate 64 defining the bottom closure of the motor compartment 15. The plate 64 is continuous having only a single sizable aperture 66 therein arranged ooaxially with the motor 58. It will be noted here that the large end of the funnel intake 38 is spaced from the shutter 42 and plate 18 whereby as air is supplied to the impeller 50 a draft is effected through the air intake opening 66, through the high speed motor 58, and across the gear motor 30 into the turbine 40. A screen 68 is secured over the opening 66 to act as a filtering medium precluding the entry of foreign objects into the .operating mechanism disposed within the compartment 15.
The floor plate 64 is mounted in the casing 12 by means of three long rods 70 and tubular spacer element 72, shown best in FIGS. 3 and 4. The rounded upper ends of the rods 70 are rigidly secured to the diaphragm plate 18, as by brazing or welding, and extend downwardly beyond the end of the casing 12. The spacer tubes 72 are received over the rod 70 to space the floor plate 64 a predetermined distance from the metal diaphragm 18. A nut 74 threadably received on the lower end of each rod 70 maintains the plate 64 securely with respect to the casing 12. The free end of the rod 70, extending beyond the nut 74, receives a protective cap portion 76 thereover thereby providing legs for the canister 10.
The high speed motor 58, being mounted with its rotating axis in a vertical plane, presents mounting bolts 77, at each end respectively, extending through complementary holes in the diaphragm plate 18 and the floor plate 64. The mounting bolts 77 are fixedly secured to the plates 18, 54, to afiord a rigid, vibration-free, motor mounting structure.
The turbine 40 is fixedly mouneed on the floor plate 64 having a thrust receiving, bearing block 78 operatively mounted on the plate 64 for receiving the vertically arranged impeller shaft 52.
The lower edge of the casing 12 is covered with a protective element 22 similar to that received over the top edge of the casing 12.
An electrical conduit 80 is received through a grommet 82 in the casing wall and extends into the mechanism compartment 15. The electrical conduit 80 being con- 4. nected to a toggle switch 84 provided on the Wall of the casing selectively supplies electric power to both the gear motor 30 and the high speed motor 58.
The flock particles 14- received in the inlet 38 of the turbine 50 issue at high velocity suspended in an air stream from the turbine outlet 54 and are conveyed through a flexible conduit 86 into the flocking gun 12. Referring now to FIG. 8, the flocking gun 12 includes a hollow barrel portion 88 which projects outwardly from a handle 90 which is provided with a trigger mechanism 92 to be more fully described hereinafter.
The barrel 88 defines an expansion cavity 94 which is substantially curvilinear in cross section having an axial length substantially greater than its diameter. The end of the barrel 88 terminates in an open neck portion 96 of a lesser diameter than that of the expansion cavity 94.
A cylindrical inlet 98, generally tubular in form, opens into the cavity 94 at about the midportion thereof. A helically arranged baffle is interposed in the inlet 98 and protrudes a short distance into the expansion chamber 94. An end of the flexible conduit 86 is provided with a collar 102 adapted to be slidably received over the inlet 98. It is to be appreciated that as the stream of flock is emitted from the turbine outlet 56 and propelled along the flexible tubing 86 to be passed over the helical baffle 40 a twisting or swirling action is imparted to the stream. It has been found that absent such a ba'ffle 100 which may be disposed as well in the chamber 94 albeit in a modified form, the stream issues from the orifice 101 of the gun 12 in an irregular pattern, the flock flowing unevenly and principally from the upper segment of the orifice 101.
A nozzle 104 is centrally mounted in the orifice 101 of the barrel 88 thereby to define with the neck 96 the annular configuration of the orifice 101. The nozzle 104 is constructed and arranged to discharge a finely divided, atomized, spray of adhesive-activating agent, preferably water, into the stream of swirling flock. It is to be noted that the nozzle 104 projects the spray in a generally conical pattern having an apex angle of substantially 45 degrees.
Being threadably mounted in a hollow coupling 106, the nozzle 104 receives a supply of reagent through a conduit 108 threadably engaged in the opposite and inwardly disposed end of the coupling 106. The conduit 108 is arranged coaxially of the cavity 94 and is supported rearwardly of the barrel 88 in the handle or body portion of the gun 12. The conduit 108 may be a length of tubing fitted to the body of the gun 12 through a first bore 110 which is in communication with a second bore 112 centrally disposed in the handle 90. The bore 112 terminates in a threaded nipple 114 connectable to a source of water under pressure through the flexible tubing or hose 116. It has been found that water supplied from the municipal water mains at 30 to 35 p.s.i. suffices to produce a mist of water issuing from the nozzle 104 having the requisite wetting properties.
A valve structure comprising a plunger 118 biased by a coil spring 120 into engagement with the pivotally mounted trigger 92 is reciprocable to control the water flow in the conduit 112. More specifically, an aperture 122 is passed into alignment with the conduit 112 when the trigger 92 is squeezed rearwardly toward the handle 90. Thus, it is seen that control of the water flow to the nozzle 104 may be effected by selective actuation of the trigger 92.
Referring more particularly to the construction of the nozzle 104 and especially to FIGS. 10-l2, it is seen that a hemispherical shaped hollow body 124 of the nozzle 104 presents a narrow collar 126 for threadable engagement with one end of the bushing 106. A generally cylindrical plug element 128 is threadably received through the internally threaded surfaces of the collar 126 and projects a head or end 129 into the hollow portion of the body 124.
The head 129 of the plug 128 is generally frusto-conically shaped having a planar face 132 surrounding a small flat cone 134. When the plub 128 is operatively assembled within the body 124, the cone 134 projects through an aperture 136 in the body 124.
To maintain a passageway of predetermined dimension from the hollow portion of the body 124 through the aperture 136 thereof, four grooves 138 are arranged tangentially in the frusto-conically shaped portion of the plug 128 about the point or cone 134 best shown in FIG. 11. The threaded portion of the plug 124 is provided with a narrowed section defined by parallel flat surfaces 140 which are spaced inwardly from the internally threaded surface of the collar 126 in the assembled condition of the plug 128 and body 124, best shown in FIG. 12. Thus it may be seen that water under pressure may pass through the coupling 106 and being filtered by a cylindrical wire gauze screen 142 passes through a pair of crescent shaped passageways 144 (FIG. 12) into the hollow portion of the nozzle 124 and through the grooves 138 and is discharged in a 45 degree cone through the aperture 136.
In the operation of the flocking apparatus 10, a supply of flock is first provided in the hopper 16 and the water conduit 116 is connected to a source of water under pressure, 30 to 35 p.s.i. being adequate. Upon connection of the electric cord 80 to an associated outlet (not shown) the toggle switch 84 may be actuated to set the gear motor 30 and the high speed motor 58 into operation, thereby to respectively activate the agitator 24 and the high speed turbine 40. The reciprocable shutter 42 is moved to select the proper area of opening from the hopper into the inlet 38 of the turbine 40 thereby to control the quantity of flock 14 applied to the article such as the conifer 17. It is to be appreciated that as the turbine 40 withdraws air from the compartment a draft through the aperture 66 adjacent the high speed motor 58 is induced thereby to cool the motor 58 and the gear motor 30.
The flock 14 discharged in a steady stream through the turbine outlet 56 is conveyed through the flexible conduit 86 across the helical baflle 100 disposed in the inlet 98 of the flocking gun 12. Thus, a swirling action is imparted to the stream of flock as it emerges from the conduit 86 into the expansion chamber 94. Still retaining a high quantity of energy imparted to it by the turbine 40, the stream of flock issues from the annular orifice of the gun 12, shown best in FIG. 9, into the throat of the conically shaped spray concurrently issuing from the nozzle 104. The spray of water being finely divided or atomized activates the powdered adhesive carried in the flock 14, thereby rendering the flock in an adherable state.
When it is decided to discontinue the flock applying operation, the trigger 92 of the gun 12 is released to close off the water supply and the shutter 42 is urged inwardly by pushing the handle 48 toward the center of the casing 12 thereby to close the openings 36 in the diaphragm plate 18 and to shut off the supply of flock 14 to the turbine inlet.
The flock applicating gain 12 is characterized by a design requiring no cleaning after use and embodying a minimum number of moving parts requiring repair or maintenance over long periods of use.
By reason of activating the stream of flock with a mist of adhesive reagent sprayed into a swirling stream of annular section, virtually all of the flock particles are uniformly coated with adhesive. This eliminates, to a major degree, the contamination of the atmosphere surrounding by dust from the flocking operation.
The present invention is claimed as follows:
1. For flocking trees and the like with light, random fibrous flock; a flocking gun adapted to be manually supported and continuously moved in relation to a tree, said gun including means defining an air and dry flock flow 6 passage and means defining a supply inlet into the passage for a stream of dry flock suspended and. entrained in moving air, said supply inlet defining means including means for connecting said supply inlet with a flexible conduit supplying a stream of flock suspended and entrained in moving air, said gun including air and flock nozzle means forming an air and flock outlet opening outwardly from said flow passage, said gun including liquid atomizing nozzle means disposed in a predetermined position adjacent said air and flock nozzle means so that said air and flock outlet opens outwardly alongside said atomizing nozzle means from said passage to discharge air and flock in a trajectory extending past and beyond said atomizing nozzle means, said gun including water inlet means defining a water inlet for receiving water from a municipal water supply under municipal water pressure, said gun including means forming a passage connecting said water inlet with said atomizing nozzle means, said water inlet means including means for connecting said water inlet with a flexible water supply conduit supplying water from and under the pressure of a municipal water supply, said atomizing nozzle means including means for etiecting atomization of the water flowing thereto under the pressure of a municipal water supply, said atomizing nozzle means having water outlet means through which water issues in a trajectory forming a flow pattern of atomized water that diverges away from the nozzle means in interferring relation to the trajectory of flock and air moving beyond said water outlet means from said air and flock outlet to eifect wetting of the flock in mid-air, and said atomizing nozzle means being located axially with respect to the trajectory of atomized water from the nozzle means to position said outlet means axially outward beyond all other structure movable with the gun to thereby preclude, during normal operation of the gun, wetting of any structure of the gun by water issuing from the nozzle means.
2. A flocking gun constructed in accordance with claim 1 and including a baflie disposed in said supply inlet and oriented to produce a swirling motion in the air and entrained flock entering said passage.
3. A flocking gun according to claim 1 in which said air and flock outlet is annular in form and extends around said means forming said passage connecting said water inlet with said atomizing nozzle means, and in which said air and flock outlet is oriented on the gun to direct air entrained flock past said atomizing nozzle means in a trajectory substantially encircling the atomizing nozzle means.
4. For flocking trees and the like with light, random fibrous flock; a flocking gun adapted to be manually supported and continuously moved in relation to a tree, said gun including means defining an air and dry flock flow passage and means defining a supply inlet into the passage for a stream of dry flock suspended and entrained in moving air, said supply inlet defining means including means for connecting said supply inlet with a flexible conduit supplying a stream of flock suspended and entrained in moving air, said gun including air and flock nozzle means forming an air and flock outlet opening outwardly from said flow passage, said gun including liquid atomizing nozzle means disposed in a predetermined position adjacent said air and flock nozzle means so that said air and flock outlet opens outwardly alongside said atomizing nozzle means from said passage to discharge air and flock in a trajectory extending past and beyond said atomizing nozzle means, said gun including liquid inlet means defining a liquid inlet for receiving liquid under pressure, said gun including means forming a passage connecting said liquid inlet with said atomizing nozzle means, said liquid inlet means including means for connecting said liquid inlet with a flexible liquid supply conduit supplying liquid under pressure, said atomizing nozzle means including means for elfecting atomization of the liquid which flows therethrough, said atomizing noz- 7 zle means having outlet means through which liquid issues in a trajectory forming a flow pattern of atomized liquid that diverges away from the nozzle means in interfering relation to the trajectory of flock and air moving beyond said liquid outlet means from said air and flock outlet to efiect wetting of the flock in mid-air, and said outlet means of said atomizing nozzle means being located and oriented on the gun so that the trajectory of atomized liquid issuing from the outlet means clears all functional structure movable with the gun thereby avoiding wetting of functional structure movable with the gun by liquid issuing from the nozzle means during normal operation of the gun.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,247,000 6/ 1941 Popoff 239424 2,639,946 5/1953 Cohen et al 239-403 2,712,961 7/1955 Richardson 239424 3,111,440 11/1963 Prentice 239-424 3,223,329 12/1965 Ross et a1 239336 EVERETT W. KIRBY, Primary Examiner.