US 3464097 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 2, 1969 .J- ZOCHER ,43
FELTING NEEDLE Filed June 1, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig.l.
Y F I g 6d f4oid --20 INVENTOR. Josef Zocher g ld ,4, l ;n'cl T64; ATTORNEY J. ZOCHER FELTING NEEDLE Sept. 2, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 1, 1967 INVENTOR Josef Zocher Witness ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,464,097 FELTING NEEDLE Josef Zocher, Haaren, Aachen, Germany, assignor to The Singer Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New Jersey Filed June 1, 1967, Ser. No. 642,753 Int. Cl. D04h 18/00 11.8. C]. 28-4 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This disclosure relates to the needle art and in particular to felting needles and methods of making the same. Felting needles are of the general type which have barbs or other irregularities on their surfaces for en gaging the loose fibers presented in a batt of loose fibers and for compacting the fibers into a relatively dense mat of fiber material. The present disclosure deals with improvements in needles of this type and in methods of making the same with the result being an overall improvement in the felting process.
Brief summary of invention This invention relates to needles used in textile processes or the like which needles have barbs or irregularities on their surfaces. The invention is particularly directed to felting needles and methods of making the same in which the needles have relatively high fiber carrying capacity while minimizing the destruction of the fibers during the felting process. The needle of the invention is formed by a novel die-pressing technique which permits the formation of a desired barb groove angle and protrusion kickup, or barb point as well as permitting formation of the fiber engaging surfaces of the barb as rounded surfaces, said barb formation being carried out in a single step. Since the fiber engaging surfaces of the needle barbs are substantially void of any sharp edges, a needle is produced wherein fiber destruction is minimized permitting relatively high fiber carrying capacity. Previous felting needles in general use were normally a compromise between the yarn carrying capacity and fiber destruction characteristics since in said prior needles, a needle having relatively high fiber carrying capacity was also characterized by relatively high destruction of the fibers engaged by the needle barbs. The present invention substantially eliminates the need for such a compromise.
Accordingly, it is one object of the invention to produce a novel and isproved felting needle.
It is another object of the invention to provide a novel and improved method for making needles having irregularities or barbs in their surfaces.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel and improved felting needle which minimizes the destruction of fibers during the felting process while permitting relatively high fiber carrying capacity.
It is an additional object of the invention to provide a novel and improved felting needle wherein substantially all the fiber engaging surfaces are free of any sharp edges so as to minimize destruction of the fibers during the felting process.
It is still another object of the invention to provide a novel and improved method of making felting needles or the like wherein substantially all the major features of the needle barbs are die-pressed in a single step.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be best understood upon reading the following detailed description with the accompanying drawings.
Brief description of the drawings FIGURE 1 is an enlarged view of a felting needle of the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged side view of a portion of the needle of FIGURE 1 showing a single needle barb;
FIGURE 3 is a front portion of the needle shown in FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a partial isometric view showing part of the mechanism for carrying out the method of the invention;
FIGURE 5 is a diagrammatic view of the apparatus showing the method of the invention;
FIGURE 6A-6D are views showing needles having varying shapes manufactured in accordance with the method of the invention;
FIGURE 7 is a partial enlarged view of a needle showing another embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 8 is a side view of the needle portion shown in FIGURE 7; and
FIGURE 9 is a partial view of a felting needle showing still another embodiment of the invention.
Detailed description of the invention At the present time, one of the most common methods for forming the barbs in felting needles has been carried out through the use of a cutting tool which is pressed into a needle blank surface, as for example shown in United States Patent No. 3,307,238 to E. P. Foster. This method produces several undesirable characteristics in the needle barbs. Firstly, the cutting tool having sharp edges for carrying out the cutting process produces sharp edges in the needle barb, particularly at the fiber engaging surfaces, as for example, at the intersection at the bottom of the barb groove and the bottom surface of the barb point. Since this is one of the major fiber engaging surfaces, during the felting process this surface will act like a knife and may cut the fibers. Further, substantial variations in the barb groove angle and the barb point height or kickup are produced due to variations in the cutting tool condition during the cutting process and due to the variations in dimensions and hardness in the needle blank itself. Frequently, it requires several steps to produce the desired barb groove angle and barb kickup. As will be more clearly understood from the decsription hereinafter, the needle and method of producing the same of the present invention substantially eliminates these drawbacks.
Referring to FIGURE 1, a felting needle of the type embodying the invention is shown therein as comprising a crank 12 connected to a needle shank portion 14 at the uppermost portion thereof, a blade portion 16 connected to the lowermost portion of the shank 14 and a point 18 connected to the bottom portion of the blade 16. The blade portion 16 of the needle shown in FIGURE '1 is preferably triangular in section and includes a plurality of barbs 20 at the junction of the blade surfaces so that a blade portion having a triangular section, such as shown in FIGURE 4 and at 16a in FIGURE 6A, will have three sets of barbs, there being one set at each edge portion thereof. In the embodiment shown in FIGURE 1, each edge portion of the blade portion 16 is provided with three barbs per set with each of the barbs of each set preferably being offset relative to the barbs of each other set with respect to the longitudinal axis of the needle 10.
Referring to FIGURES 2 and 3, enlarged views of a single barb 20 are shown in reference to a portion of the needle blade 16. The barb 20 includes a barb groove 22 formed in one edge 24 of the needle blade 16 and a point or kickup portion 26. It will further be seen in FIGURES 2 and 3 that substantially all the edges of the barb 20 are rounded so that no sharp edges are present which may act as a cutting agent for destroying the fibers engaged by the barb 20. It should be particularly noted that the bottom portion 28 of the barb groove is also rounded at the intersection of the point 26 and the bottom wall 30 of the barb groove 22. Further, the bottom portion 28 or the above-identified intersection has a radius or rounded portion 32 which preferably extends in the direction of the longitudinal axis of the needle and towards the point portion 18. More particularly, it may be said that the rounded portion 32 preferably extends in a direction substantially parallel to the axis of the groove 22.
As is known in the felting art, as the felting needle penetrates the batt of fibers, the point or kickup 26 will engage the fibers and draw them into the barb groove 22. As the needle proceeds or penetrates further into the batt the fibers will be drawn toward the bottom portion 28 of the barb groove 22. In previous embodiments of fel ing needles, the bottom portion 28 of the barb groove 22 has been generally formed as a sharp edge due to the methods of forming the barbs such as by a cutting tool or the like. The sharp edges of the prior felting needles present at the fiber engaging regions would act similar to a knife edge against the fibers and bring about a cutting action and therefore a destruction of many of the fibers carried by the barb 20. This, of course, is undesirable in the felting process since it is preferred to carry as many whole fibers through the batt for compacting them as is possible. It was heretofore unknown to form a rounded groove bottom as defined by the present invention. Through the use of the needle of the invention, however, very little if any, destruction of the fibers will be brought about because of sharp edges present in the barb 20, particularly at the bottom portion of the barb groove, since substantially all of the surfaces are rounded and cannot act as a cutting knife against the fibers. As will be apparent from the descriptions hereinafter, the method of the invention permits the formation of a felting needle Wherein substantially all the surfaces of the barb are rounded, particularly at the fiber engaging portions thereof. Further, it will be seen that the desired major barb characteristics can be produced in one step by the method of the invention, some of said characteristics being represented in FIGURE 2 wherein A represents the opening angle or undercut angle of the barb, D represents the total barb depth, and H represents the dimension of the kickup or deviation of the point 26 from the normal surface of the edge 24 of the blade 16.
In the manufacture of felting needles the undercut angle A, the barb depth D, and the kickup H are all critical dimensions required to produce the desired results in felting processes. In prior known methods, such as forming the barb by the use of a cutting tool, very often the angle A will vary in accordance with the condition of the cutting tool or in accordance with the material of the needle blank, and it is substantially impossible to accurately produce the desired angle in a single step in the prior known methods. Further, it is also often necessary in the prior known methods to form the desired kickup of the point 26 and the undercut angle by subsequent separate processes so that before the desired barb characteristics are reached, several processes or steps may be required. In the present invention, the barb groove depth D, the kickup H, and the angle A, as well as the rounding of the fiber engaging surfaces may be formed in a single method step. Further, the desired major barb characteristics are relatively accurately produced through the method of the invention and it has been found that there is very little deviation in these desired characteristics from one needle to the next.
FIGURES 4 and 5 best illustrate the preferred method of fabricating the felting needle of the invention. A suitable frame member 34 fixedly supports a lower die member 36 in a suitable manner with said die 36 including a triangularly shaped groove 38 for supporting the needle blade 16 therein. An upper die member 40 is suitably connected to a shaft or rod 42 which in turn may be connected to a suitable hydraulic press or the like (not shown) for applying a pressing force to the needle 16 during the die pressing operation. The upper die member 40 is provided with a plurality of serrations or grooves on the lower surface or needle engaging surface so that the upper die will grip the needle 16 in friction contact during the die pressing operation. As illustrated in FIG- URES 4 and 5 the lower die member is formed with at least one die configuration or shape 43 for forming the barb in the needle blade 16 during the fabrication thereof. However, it should be understood that the die configuration could likewise be provided in the upper die 40 with the lower die 36 merely providing a support means for the needle. Further, should also be understood that preferably the three barbs in each edge 24 of the needle blade 16 are formed simultaneously by a die having as many die configurations therein as are required to be fabricated in each edge 24 of the needle 16.
As further illustrated in FIGURE 5, the frame member 34 supports a wedge shaped portion 44 thereon which may be integral therewith or fixedly connected thereto with said wedge shape portion 44 having an inclined or wedge surface 46 thereon. The upper die member 40 has a corresponding inclined or wedge surface 48 thereon which mates with the inclined surface 46 of the wedge member 44 so that during the vertical pressing stroke of the die upper member 40 of the wedge member 44 will simultaneously impart a horizontal force to the die member 40 as it presses the needle 16 against the lower die 36. Therefore, the pressing force upon the needle blade 16, as it is pressed against the lower die 36, will be the resultant of the upper die pressing force and the horizontal force imparted by the wedge 44. By this means, as the needle is pressed into the lower die 36, the required angle, A, of the barb the desired barb depth D, and desired kickup, H, will be formed simultaneously. The die configuration 43 also is formed so that the required rounded fiber engaging surfaces will be produced simultaneously with the formation of the barb angle and kickup dimensions. The movement of the needle blade 16, as it is pressed into the lower die 36, is illustrated in FIGURE 5 wherein the initial position of the needle 16 blade is shown in phantom and the final position of the needle blade 16 is shown in solid lines.
It will be seen therefore that the fabrication of the needle barbs having the desired characteristics may be carried out in a single die pressing step. FIGURES 6A-6D illustrate the various shapes of needle which may have barbs or other irregularities formed in their outer surfaces by the method described above. However, it should be understood that the method of the invention is not limited to the specific shapes illustrated and that the method of the invention is applicable to substantially any desired shape. It will be further seen that substantially any size or shape barb configuration may be produced through the method of the invention in a relatively simple die pressing operation. FIGURES 7-9 illustrate two nevel barb configurations which may be produced with the method of the invention. Variations in barb configuration are often desirable for producing desired effects in the appearance of a felted fabric.
FIGURES 7 and 8 illustrate one other embodiment of the needle of the invention which may be formed by the method described above. In the embodiment of FIG- URES 7 and 8 the blade portion 16, again is illusnated as having a triangular shape and the barbs 20' are formed in an edge surface 24 as in the embodiment described above. It will be seen from FIGURE 7, that at least one of the barbs 20' has a point portion 26' which is skewed or slanted relative to the longitudinal axis of the needle blade 16'. It should be, of course, understood that more than one of the needle barbs may be formed in this manner and may be skewed either to the right or the left. Forming a barb with a skewed point 26 may be relatively simply carried out by using the method of the invention by first forming the desired die configuration with a shape to fabricate the barb in the desired manner.
In FIGURE 9, the three barbs 20" shown therein are formed so that each barb is a different size for each other barb. As illustrated in FIGURE 9, the uppermost barb 26" is substantially smaller than the intermediate barb 26" which is in turn smaller than the lowermost barb 26". It will be further seen in FIGURE 9, that the distance L between the uppermost barb 20" and the intermediate barb 20" is relatively greater than the distance L' between the intermediate and lowermost barbs 20 so that it is also within the scope of the invention to vary the distance between the barbs as well as their configuration. In all other respects, the barbs of each of the embodiments of FIGURES 7-9 are the same as that illustrated and described in relation to the first described embodiment in that they all have the desired rounded surfaces at the fiber engaging surfaces. Again, the embodiment of FIGURE 9, the general barb configuration is not limited to that illustrated and the sizes and distance between the barbs may be varied, as desired, by simply constructing a die to fabricate the size of the barbs or the shape thereof in substantially any desired manner.
It will be seen from the above detailed description, that a felting needle and a method of fabricating the same are provided which results in improved felting procedures in that due to the construction of the felting needle of the invention, fiber destruction is substantially minimized during penetration of the needle for carrying out the felting process. Further, the method of the invention is effective to accurately produce barbs having the desired barb characteristics so that said characteristics may be formed without any substantial deviation from the desired dimensions, surface configurations or angles. It will also be seen that the barb fabrication produced by the method of the invention is performed in a relatively simple one step operation for forming the desired barb configuration as opposed to multi-step operations which are in common practice today.
Although the invention has been described in its pre ferred form with a certain degree of particularity, it should be understood that the present disclosure has been made of preferred forms by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Having thus set forth the nature of the invention, what I claim herein is:
1. A felting needle having an elongated blade portion, a groove formed in the outer surface of said blade portion with the axis of said groove being inclined from a line normal to the longitudinal axis of said b lock portion, a protrusion extending outwardly beyond the normal outer surface of said blade portion adjacent to said groove and the bottom of said groove being free of any straight edges and including a rounded surface extending in a direction substantially parallel to the groove axis.
2. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein said groove and said protrusion define fiber engaging surfaces therebetween and substantially all of said fiber engaging surfaces being free of any straight edges.
3. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein the upper surface of said groove and the lower surface of said protrusion are coincident.
4. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein a plurality of grooves and corresponding protrusions are disposed in said blade portion and at least one of said grooves and protrusions having a diffierent configuration from each other groove and protrusion.
5. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein the depth and inclination of said groove and the extent of said protrusion relative to said blade portion outer surface formed are die-pressed.
6. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein the axis of said protrusion is skewed relative to the longitudinal axis of said blade portion.
7. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein the least three grooves and corresponding protrusions are disposed in said blade portion in spaced relationship and substantially in the direction of the longitudinal axis of said blade portion and the distance between a first and second of said grooves and protrusions being different than the distance between the second and third of said grooves and protrusions.
8. A felting needle as recited in claim 1 wherein at least two grooves and corresponding protrusions are disposed in said blade portion with the size of one of said grooves and its corresponding protrusion relative to said blade portion being different from the corresponding size of the other of said grooves and its corresponding protrusion.
9. A felting needle as recited in claim 8 wherein at least three of said grooves and protrusions are disposed in said blade portion with the size of each of said grooves and its corresponding protrusion relative to said blade portion differing from the corresponding size of each other of said grooves and its corresponding protrusion.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,678,484 5/ 1954 Brown. 2,882,585 4/ 1959 Weickert. 3,307,238 3/ 1967 Foster.
3,353,243 11/196-7 Foster.
LOUIS K. RIMRODT, Primary Examiner