US 3608120 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
E- N. SEILER PAINT ROLLER CLEANING APPARATUS Sept. 28,-1971 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed. Oct. 17, 1969 lNVENTOR BEDW/N NAIL SE/LER I ATTORNEY Sept. 28, 1971 s. N. SEILER 3,608,120
PAINT ROLLER CLEANING APPARATUS Filed Oct; 17, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet Fla. 5
United States Pate- ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A paint roller cleaning device comprises a hollow cylinder having a helical projection extending from the inner surface of the cylinder. A paint roller to be cleaned is contained within the cylinder and is rotated by an electric motor or the like. One end of the cylinder extends into a pool of cleaning fluid, and as the roller is rotated, fluid is sucked into the device through one aperture and expelled through another aperture at the opposite end. As the roller rotates, the helical projection compresses it to squeeze residual paint from it as it is being washed by the cleaning fluid. Methods for making such apparatus are described.
This is a continuation-in-part of patent application Ser. No. 813,424, filed Apr. 4, 1969, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for cleaning paint rollers, and more particularly, to apparatus for squeezing residual paint from a paint roller as the roller is being flushed with cleaning fluid, normally a paint solvent.
Numerous devices have been proposed for cleaning residual paint from paint rollers as is normally required after a conventional paint roller has been used. Virtually all such devices include apparatus for flushing the paint roller with liquid cleaning fluid, and many of them include means for applying some sort of force to the roller as it is being flushed. It can be appreciated that the fiberous nap of a paint roller is most efliciently cleaned by applying a steadily advancing compressive force to the roller as it is being soaked or flushed with cleaning fluid. This mode of cleaning is popularly known as a squeegee operation, and producing such a continuously advancing squeezing force on the roller may be known as squeegeeing.
It is also, of course, desirable that eflicient use be made of the cleaning fluid and that the cleaning fluid and residual paint be expelled from the paint roller with a minimum of mess and inconvenience. Since paint rollers are typically relatively inexpensive devices in themselves, any apparatus used for cleaning them should likewise be inexpensive and easy to use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with an illustrative embodiment of my invention, a hollow cylindrical member includes a helical projection of flexible material axially extending along its inner surface. The paint roller to be cleaned has a slightly larger outer diameter than the helix diameter so that, when the roller is placed within the cleaning device, the flexible helical projection compresses and bears against it. Means are included for rotating the roller as it is compressed within the device.
If the roller is rotated in a direction opposite the direction of the helix, paint is squeezed from the roller and forced to a top end of the cleaning cylinder where it is expelled from an aperture. In accordance with another feature of the invention, the bottom end of the cleaning cylinder contains another aperture which is submerged in a pool of cleaning fluid. It can be shown that as the paint roller is rotated, residual paint is not only squeezed from the nap of the roller, but a suction force is created that pulls cleaning fluid in through the input aperture, carries it along a helical channel defined by the flexible helical projection, and expels it from the output aperture near the top of the cleaning cylinder. Thus, the roller is efliciently flushed as it is being progressively compressed from the bottom toward the top in a squeegee operation. Moreover, the expelled cleaning fluid containing residual paint from the roller can be con veniently collected as it is projected from the output aperture, either to be disposed of or to be recirculated through the cleaning device for further use.
In accordance with another feature of the invention, the cleaning cylinder and helical projection may be made from a single sheet of extruded plastic. One edge of the sheet forms a continuous cylinder, the opposite edge forms a continuous socket adapted to engage the cylinder, and a wall is formed along the middle of the sheet parallel to the two edges. The flexible plastic sheet is then obliquely rolled and the opposite edges are attached such as to twist the central wall into the form of an internal helix. As will be appreciated hereinafter, this method of making the paint cleaning device substantially reduces the cost of fabrication.
These and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.
DRAWING DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view taken along lines 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view of part of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of part of an extruded plastic sheet that may be used for making a paint roller cleaning device in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a paint cleaning device made from the plastic sheet of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a side view of the paint roller cleaning device of FIG. 5 at a subsequent stage of fabrication; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of part of an extruded plastic sheet in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown paint roller cleaning apparatus comprising a hollow cylinder 11 having an intake aperture 12 at a bottom end and an output aperture 13 near an upper end. An axially extending helical projection 15 of flexible material extends along an inner surface of the hollow cylinder. The bottom of the hollow cylinder 11 is located in a pool of appropriate cleaning fluid 16.
A paint roller 17 to be cleaned is inserted into the hollow cylinder such that the central axle 18 of the roller extends out through an upper end of the cylinder as shown. An appropriate device such as an electric drill motor 19 is coupled to the axle 18 for rotating the roller 17 with respect to the helical projection 15.
The inner diameter of the helical projection 15 is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the paint roller 17 to be cleaned. The roller therefore is compressed Within the helical projection, and, as shown in FIG. 3, the helical projection protrudes into the nap 21 of the roller 17.
The purpose of the apparatus is of course to clean residual paint from roller 17. When the axle 18 is rotated,
the projection 15 produces a localized compressive force on the roller that continuously moves axially, thus squeegeeing the roller. If, looking downwardly, the helical direction is counterclockwise as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and if the direction of rotation of the roller is clockwise, as shown by the arrow of FIG. 1, then the direction of the continuous compressive force on the roller will be upward, from bottom to top. That is, paint squeezed from the bottom end of the roller will be carried by the helical projection 15 toward the upper end of the hollow cylinder as the roller rotates. The helical projection defines a helical channel 22 that carries the paint squeezed from the roller to the output aperture 13 where it is ejected.
In addition to squeezing residual paint from the roller, rotation of the roller sucks cleaning fluid 16 through input aperture 12 to the interior of cylinder 11 where it too rides up helical channel 22 to the Output aperture 13. As it does so, it soaks and flushes the nap of the roller to aid in the cleaning process. The constituency of cleaning fluid 16 of course depends on the type of paint to be removed; normally it is a solvent with respect to the type of paint to be removed.
In an experimental model of the apparatus made, the hollow cylinder 11 was made from 28 gauge metal about two and a half inches in diameter. The helical projection 15 was made by gluing, to the inner surface of the cylinder, plastic material commercially known as Sears, Roebuck & Company N0. 7464 plastic weather strip material. The axle of the roller was fitted into the chuck of a commercially available variable speed electric drill and it was found that best operation was obtained when the roller was turned at a relatively slow speed.
Referring nOW to FIG. 4 there is shown an integral sheet 24 of extruded plastic from which a paint roller cleaning device can easily be made. The sheet comprises a continuous cylinder 25 along one edge and a continuous socket 26 along the opposite edge which is adapted to engage the cylinder 25,. Extending along the middle of the sheet is a wall 28 from which a series of slots or notches 29 have been cut to form an array of segments 30. The slots 29 are V-shaped and are cut after the sheet 24 including the wall 28 have been formed through a single extrusion process. Extrusion refers to a process by which fluid material, in this case plastic, is formed into a desired configuration by forcing it under high pressure through an aperture of that configuration.
When the sheet '24 is obliquely rolled such that socket 26 engages a displaced part of cylinder 25, the entire sheet will be twisted and wall 28 will form a helix. For example, the sheet 24 may be rolled and twisted such that point A of socket 26 engages point B of cylinder 25. The resulting configuration is shown in FIG. 5. Because the segments 30 are on the interior of the structure, the V-shaped slots separating them are closed to give a continuous wall 28 in the form of a helix. Thus, the device of FIG. is capable of being used in a manner portrayed in FIG. 1. If so desired, the ends of the device of FIG. 5 may be trimmed to give the device shown in FIG. 6. Additionally, an aperture 31 may be formed at one end of the device to give a coherent output stream as is depicted in FIG. 1.
It can be appreciated that, since the device of FIGS. 5 and 6 is made from a single sheet of extruded plastic, the expenses of fabrication can be markedly reduced. Another advantage of this method of fabrication is that the diameter of the device can be easily adjusted to accommodate various sizes of rollers to be cleaned. Referring again to FIG. 4, the inner diameter of the device will be reduced if point A is joined to point C, rather than point B.
Referring to FIG. 7, another advantage of this embodiment is that by simply providing two parallel walls to the extruded sheet, one attains two helices of bifilar c0nfiguration when the device is assembled. This may be adi vantageous if relative rotation is to be made manually rather than with the use of the electric motor.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that my paint roller cleaning apparatus combines in a single simple structure the following functions: squeegeeing the nap of the roller; flushing the nap with cleaning fluid; and pumping the cleaning fluid from a pool or reservoir. In addition, be cause the used cleaning fluid emanates from output aperture 13 as a single coherent stream, it can conveniently be collected in a receptacle or directed to an appropriate drain with a minimum of mess and inconvenience.
A simple and inexpensive method of fabricating the device has been described which is also advantageous in that it permits adjustment to accommodate rollers of different sizes.
It is to be understood that an electric drill or electric motor is only one of various means that could be used for rotating the shaft or axle of the paint roller being cleaned. A manually operated crank with an appropriate gear train would also be practical. If desired, the roller can be turned in the same direction as the helical projection, but in this case, fluid and residual paint is forced in the direction of top to bottom. A flexible hose could of course be used to admit cleaning fluid into aperture 13 at the top of the cylinder. It may also be advantageous at the end of the cleaning operation illustrated in FIG. 1 to reverse the direction of rotation after the cylinder has been removed from pool 16 to force residual cleaning fluid out through aperture 12, and in effect, to dry the nap of the paint roller. The input and output apertures need not take any specific configuration and may merely constitute open opposite ends of the cylinder. On the other hand, it may be desirable to include a cap on the top end of the device of FIG. 1 to insure that all expelled fluid is forced through aperture 13.
In addition to the extrusion method described, paint roller cleaning devices may be molded from flexible plastics such as polypropylene. The molded device could be of substantially uniform thickness. The flexible body of the device would permit the operator to grip it sufficiently tightly to decrease the effective cylinder diameter to accommodate the nap of various sized rollers. The same method presently used to mold cast plastic bottles could be used for molding devices of this type.
If so desired, the cylinder 11 may be rotated with the paint roller being held stationary. Various other embodiments and modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Paint roller cleaning apparatus comprising:
a hollow cylindrical member;
means defining a substantially helical projection extending from the inner surface of the cylindrical member, the projection being capable of substantially surrounding and compressing the paint roller to be cleaned;
an opening at a bottem end of the cylindrical member adapted to extend into a reservoir of cleaning fluid; an opening at a bottom end of the cylindrical member the helical projection extending in a first angular directioin, and defining with the paint roller a helical channe and means for rotating the roller with respect to the cylindrical member in a direction opposite the first angular direction, whereby said cleaning fluid is pumped from the opening at the bottom of the cylindrical member to the opening at the top of the cylin drical member, while residual paint is squeezed from the roller and transmitted with the cleaning fluid along the helical channel. 2. The paint roller cleaning apparatus of claim 1 wherein:
the opening at the top end of cylindrical member comprises an aperture having a central axis transverse to the central axis of the cylindrical member, whereby,
when the cylindrical member is held in a vertical position and operated, cleaning fluid is ejected in a stream from the aperture.
3. In combination:
a hollow cylindrical member;
a solid cylindrical member contained within and coaxial with the hollow cylindrical member;
means defining a substantially helical projection from the inner surface of the hollow cylindrical member;
the helical projection being made of flexible material and having a slightly smaller inner diameter than the outer diameter of the solid cylindrical member, whereby adjacent turns of the projection, the outer surface of the solid cylindrical member, and the inner surface of the hollow cylindrical member define a helical channel;
an opening at a bottom end of the cylindrical member adapted to extend into a reservoir of fluid;
an opening at the top end of the cylindrical member;
the helical projection extending in a first angular direction;
and means for rotating the solid cylindrical member with respect to the hollow cylindrical member in a direction opposite the first angular direction, whereby said fluid is pumped from the opening at the bottom of the hollow cylindrical member to the opening at the top of the hollow cylindrical member.
4. Paint roller cleaning apparatus comprising:
a hollow cylindrical member comprising a single strip of flexible material having first and second opposite edges and including thereon means for attaching said first and second opposite edges together;
said first and second opposite edges being attached such that points on the first edge are uniformly dis placed from corresponding point on the second edge, whereby the juncture of the first and second edges is curved substantially in the shape of a helix;
means defining a substantially helical projection exextending from the inner surface of the cylindrical member, the projection being capable of substantially surrounding and compressing the paint roller to be cleaned;
and means for providing relative rotation between the paint roller and the helical projection, thereby to squeeze residual paint from the roller.
5. The improvement of claim 4 wherein:
the first and second edges are mutually parallel and parallel to the helical projection.
6. The improvement of claim 4 wherein:
the strip of flexible material and the projection are integral and made of a single piece of plastic material.
7. The improvement of claim 4 wherein:
the helical projection comprises a series of segments 6 that form a substantially helical wall when the first and second edges are attached but which are mutually separated by a series of slots and are arranged in substantially a linear array when the first and second edges are not attached.
8. The improvement of claim 4 wherein:
the attaching means comprises a substantially continuous socket along the first edge and a substantially continuous cylinder along the second edge, the cylinder being adapted to engage the socket.
9. The method for making a paint roller cleaning device of the type comprising a helical projection extending along the inner surface of a hollow cylinder comprising the steps of forming a strip of flexible material having first and second opposite edges and including a Wall therebetween, the wall being parallel to, and substantially coextensive with, the first and second edges;
rolling the strip obliquely to contact the first edge to the second edge such that points on the first edge are uniformly displaced from corresponding points on the second edge;
and attaching the first and second edges to form a cylinder having a helical projection along an inner surface. 10. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step of:
making an aperture near. one end of the strip for expulsion of solvent from the cylinder during use.
11. The method of claim 9 wherein:
the step of forming the strip and Wall comprises a single step of extruding plastic having that shape.
12. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step cutting V-shaped slots in the wall to prevent the Wall from buckling when the strip is rolled.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 193,025 7/1877 Newton l5-257.05 208,758 10/ 1878 Newton 15-257.05 2,807,037 9/1957 Garske 15-21 2,819,483 1/1958 Macaulay 68-213X 2,983,938 5/1961 Veazey 15-25106 3,284,833 11/1966 Von Tersch et al. 15--236X 3,431,574 3/1969 Mathieu 68-213X FOREIGN PATENTS 3,041 5/ 1932 Australia 15--257.05
DANIEL BLUM, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 15-97, 104.92; 6-82l3; 211; 264-117, 295