US 3676986 A
An improved vacuum cleaner device utilizing a housing with portions which are rapidly assembled by interlocking together under compression, to simultaneously seat and mount the motor and impellers as well as the stators within the assembled housings. The device utilizes a flexible motor-mounting element and compressible O-rings, one of which is positioned between the two telescoping housings to provide an air seal as well as axial resilience helping to retain the parts in their assembled state. A similarly interlocking cylindrical extension is provided for use in enlarging the housing to accommodate a larger motor. A wall-mounted receptacle for access to the vacuum from the interior of the habitation has a front cover plate attached to the receptacle by a living hinge, and the entire receptacle can be molded in one piece, so as to bias the cover plate in its fully opened position by the molding orientation of the living hinge.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
UnitedStates Patent Reiling  BUILT-IN CENTRAL VACUUMING DEVICE  Inventor: Joseph W. Reiling, Battle Creek, Mich.
 Assignee: Charles Woods, Delton, Mich.
 Filed: Sept. 15, 1969 21 Appl. No.1 858,079
Grellsson ..55/472 [451 July 18,1972
Kroker et a1 ..417/363 Primary Examiner-Bemard Noziclt Attorney-Roy A. Plant and William W. De Witt ABSTRACT An improved vacuum cleaner device utilizing a housing with portions which are rapidly assembled by interlocking together under compression, to simultaneously seat and mount the motor and impellers as well as the stators within the assembled housings, The device utilizes a flexible motor-mounting element and compressible O-rings, one of which is positioned between the two telescoping housings to provide an air seal as well as axial resilience helping to retain the parts in their assembled state. A similarly interlocking cylindrical extension is provided for use in enlarging the housing to accommodate a larger motor. A wall-mounted receptacle for access to the vacuum from the interior of the habitation has a front cover plate attached to the receptacle by a living hinge, and the entire receptacle can be molded in one piece, so as to bias the cover plate in its fully opened position by the molding orientation of the living hinge.
17 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEU JULI 8 m2 SHEET 1 OF 2 INVENTOR J.W. REILING BY 0P aw ATTORNEY PATENTED JUL 1 8 I972 SHEET 2 OF 2 INVENTOR J.W. REILING VI B I @CPM ATTOR NEY BUILT-IN CENTRAL VACUUMING DEVICE BACKGROUND OFTI-IE INVENTION In the present era, it is rapidly becoming recognized that more and more people have increased amounts of leisure time and money for travel and for luxuries such as modern automobiles, boats, travel trailers, and the like. Considerable time is spent in the use of these products, which are utilized to a certain extent as habitations, in much the same way as a house; consequently the need for an efficient cleaning system for the same has arisen. Although permanently mounted or built-in vacuum cleaning devices have been made available heretofore, these devices have previously been designed and assembled in conformity with conventional practices, using numerous mechanical fasteners, conventional motor-mounting techniques, ordinary hinges, and the like, and requiring a considerable labor expenditure to assemble and produce. For these and other similar reasons, such devices have therefore been overly expensive to-make and sell. Consequently, they have heretofore been regarded as more of an expensive novelty than a truly practical and economically advantageous tool, which their broad underlying nature and purpose had intended them to be. Furthermore, previous devices of this nature have been stereotyped in design and have not had any appreciable assembly or use flexibility. For example there has previously been no ready way to build a family of such devices having different motor or collection bag capacities by means of a simple assembly modification which can if desired be made in the field after initial construction, at the request of the ultimate consumer.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an improved vacuuming device, intended primarily for permanent mounting in a central location in an automobile, travel trailer, boat, or like habitation, as that term is used herein. Briefly stated, this invention provides an improved form of such a device in which there is a means for creating the vacuum which includes a first housing, and a means for collecting objects drawn by vacuum from the interior of the habitation into the device, which includes a second housing, the improvement comprising means for assembling the vacuum-creating means and the object-collecting means together while at the same time mounting internal components thereof, all by assembling the first and the second housings together with respect to each other by a quick-connect sliding interlock accomplished when the housings are under mutual compression and serving to hold the housings under such compression. In the improvement of the invention the vacuum-creating means is also improved, by virtue of such internal components and their relative assembly and mounting, and an improved access receptacle is also provided which comprises an integrally molded structure having a cover plate hingedly attached by a living hinge and a novel mounting structure which is readily convertible to accommodate both suspended and flush mounting placements.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved vacuuming device having a novel housing assembly which is rapidly and easily accomplished without mechanical fasteners and which is positively locked against accidental disassembly.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a device of the above character wherein the operative components of the vacuum-creating means are mounted in a novel manner during the assembly of the housing.
It is a related object of the invention to provide a device of the above character having a novel form of access receptacle with a cover which is inexpensively hinged thereto with a preferred orientation providing a self-biasing feature.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a device of the above character wherein the housing can be easily and rapidly modified to accommodate a larger motor or collecting bag.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent upon reference to the following drawings and detailed discussion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of a vacuuming device constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary exploded view in perspective of the device illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional side elevational view taken along the plane III-III of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an extension adaptor which can be utilized with the invention;
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the receptacle for the device shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the plane VI--VI of FIG. 5, the switch having been omitted; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the plane VII-VII of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The invention relates to a vacuuming device of the type that can be mounted in a generally permanent manner out of sight in a utility or like room or area of a habitation, with tubes or the like communicating to access receptacles mounted in wall openings or attached to an overhanging wall or shelf in the habitation. For example, such a device could be mounted behind a wall or in a compartment of a travel trailer, boat, automobile or airplane, with the access receptacles mounted in a wall, dashboard, fire wall, door, or the like.
The vacuum device basically comprises a motor 10 (FIGS. 2 and 3) enclosed in a first housing 12, with an impelling means 14 mounted on the drive shaft 16 of the motor, for generating the vacuum, as well as a collecting bag 18 confined in a second housing 20 upstream from the impelling means 14. A desired number of access receptacles 110 are provided, coupled to desired locations within the interior of the habitation by hoses or tubes 24 connecting the second housing or container 20 to the receptacle 110, and mounting straps 26 or like elements are provided for mounting the device within or behind the wall of the habitation. A tube cap 27 connects the hose 24 to the housing 20, and the cap utilizes a bayonet-type connection for this purpose, comprising a number of mutually spaced .1- shaped slots 28 cooperating with lugs 29 formed on or attached to the housing 20. A flange-like extremity 19 at the outer edge of the collecting bag 18 fits over the end 21 of the collector housing 20, so that the bag is anchored in place by seating the cap 27 upon the end of the housing. In this connection, the flange extremity 19 may be resiliently compressible, so as to spring load the bayonet fitting just described.
The impelling means 14 has a second stage impeller 30 mounted on the drive shaft 16 of the motor 10 and indexed against a shoulder 32 on the shaft, as well as a separator stator 34 mounted over the motor shaft in a novel manner hereinafter described and disposed on the side of the impeller 30 opposite to the shoulder 32, a first stage impeller 36 also mounted on the drive shaft 16 and interlocked with the second stage impeller 30 by means of notched interlocking hubs 38,
and an inlet cover 40, the novel mounting of which is also described hereinafter. Both the impellers and the stator have a plurality of equally-spaced inwardly-curved vanes, the outer edges of which are secured to disk-like plates 42 and 44, respectively. The two impellers are held on the motor drive shaft 16 by a nut 46, with the interlocking hubs 38 positioning the vanes in the desired manner on either side of the stator 34.
In accordance with the invention, the housings l2 and 20 are interconnected to each other so as to place them under axial loading forces and thereby positively lock them together, while at the same time mounting the motor, impellers and collecting bag. To accomplish this, the rearward end 50 of the housing 12 (FIG. 3) has three spaced flanges 52 which support the rearward end or base 54 of the motor radially, and each of these is preferably formed with an arcuate groove 56 which together seat an O-ring 58 formed from an elastomeric material. As illustrated, the flanges 52 preferably are inclined radially inwardly inside the housing 12, so as to guide the motor into place when it is inserted from the open end of the housing. The forward end 60 of the motor is supported within the housing 12 by means of a separator element 62 which is at least slightly flexible. Separator 62 has a convergent end portion 64 which defines an annular internal shoulder 66 which fits over the end of the cylindrical motor to mount the same in centered relationship within the housing 12.
- The forward end of the separator opposite the convergent portion 64 is formed with a forwardly-projecting annular lip 68 which is spaced inwardly from the inside wall of the housing 12. It is this lip and the adjacent housing wall which support the aforementioned stator 34 and the fan cover 40, the latter having a tubular rear portion 41 which fits snugly between the inside wall of the housing 12 and the outer peripheral surface of the stator. As illustrated, the relationship is thus one of interfitted co-axially telescoped tubular portions of progressively increasing diameter formed by the separator 62, the stator 34, the fan cover 40, and the housing 12. Furthermore, the separator, stator and fan cover each have stepped end extremities which form intertitting shoulders, so that the fan cover bears rearwardly on both the stator and the separator, the stator bears rearwardly on the separator at two radially spaced areas, and the separator bears rearwardly on the motor, to force the latter rearwardly against the flanges 52 and the O-ring 56 carried thereby (if used). The outer periphery of the separator, stator and fan cover are all of substantially the same diameter, however, to fit snugly within the casing 12.
.To seal the two housings 12 and 20 together while forced toward one another compressively and while under axial loading, the fan cover 40 has a stepped circumferential portion 80 of its rearwardly-extending skirt 78 which has 'a slightly smaller diameter than the latter, whose outer diameter is substantially the same as the inside diameter of the housing 12. This step in the skirt 78 forms a recessed annular shoulder, on which an elastically compressible O-ring 82 is seated, within the space between the fan cover portions 78 and 80 and the inside wall of the housing 12. The end extremity 84 of the collector bag housing 20 follows the O-ring into this recess or pocket and axially abuts the O-ring therein in direct longitudinal registration. To lock the housing 20 and the housing 12 in this position, the walls of the two housings are formed with a bayonet type of connection comprising a plurality of spaced J- shaped slots 90 in the wall of housing 12 (FIGS. 1 and 3) and a corresponding number of similarly spaced lugs 92 on the outer periphery of the end portion of housing 20.
Thus, upon telescoping insertion of the housing 20 within the housing 12 with the lugs 92 sliding in the slots 90, the O- ring 58 at the base of the motor 10 and the aforementioned O- ring 82 will be elastically compressed and the separator 62 will flex, so that when the bayonet connection is completed, the rings and the separator will exert a reaction force in the opposite direction due to their elasticity. It is this force which securely locks the two housings together with resilient axial loading and prevents their accidental unlocking. Furthermore, it simultaneously anchors the motor and its attached impellers in place, as it does the stator 34 and the fan cover 40, all without the need for mechanical fastener means. Additionally, the location of the O-ring 82 insures that a proper air seal is obtained between the two housings and the fan cover. In this connection, it is to be noted that if the separator 62 is made of a material such as polypropylene having a moderately high degree of resilient flexure, it may not be strictly necessary to use the O-ring 58 at the base of the motor, since the added compressibility which it affords may not be required. This is particularly true if the motor and impeller housing 12 is also made of such material, since in this case the motor-retaining flanges 52 will also provide a degree of resilient flexure. Of course, if relatively rigid material is used for these parts, 0- ring 58 may be quite desirable.
It will be readily apparent that actuation of the motor 10 causes the two impellers 30 and 36 to rotate, drawing air in through the receptacle 22, the hose 24, and into the collecting bag 18. Because such bags are pervious to air, the air continues out through the bag, past the motor and through the opening formed by the three flanges 52, leaving dirt, dust or refuse material inside the bag.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, to extend the usable volume contained in the housings 12 and 20, an extension cylinder or adapter 100 (FIG. 4) is provided. The cylinder 100 has a stepped portion 102 having the same diameter and wall thickness as the housing 12 and having the same type of J-shaped slots 104 to cooperate with the lugs 92 on the housing 20. The other end 106 of the cylinder has lugs 108 and is of the same diameter as the end 84 of the housing 20, so as to engage the bayonet mounting slots of the housing 12. By use of the cylinder 100, either a larger motor 10 or a longer bag 18 can be utilized with complete interchangeability of other components. It will be readily apparent that when the cylinder is used, the O-ring 82 is positioned at the end 106 of the cylinder 100, within the wall of the housing 12.
In accordance with still another aspect of the invention the receptacle 110 is improved as follows: the cover plate 114 and other portions of the box-like receptacle are integrally molded, with the cover plate 1 14 being attached by means of a living hinge 116 (FIGS. 6 and 7 In this connection, the words living hinge mean a flexible connection between two relatively inflexible objects, normally integral therewith, so that the flexible connection does substantially all of the bending and the customary pintle structure is eliminated. Accordingly, in this case the two inflexible objects are the front face or surface 112 and the cover plate 114. Such a hinge has the advantage of simple and economical manufacturing, inasmuch as the entire receptacle is cast or molded from a synthetic plastic material with the cover plate formed integral with the rest of the receptacle. The casting or molding can be done with the parts occupying the position shown in FIG. 7, in which case the cover plate 114 will always tend to reoccupy this position due to its memory or inherent bias. Thus, when the cover is opened it will automatically hinge upwardly to the maximum open position, thus freeing the users hands for depositing objects into the opening 118 of the receptacle or for the attachment of a conventional vacuum hose or extension instrument.
To latch the cover plate 114 in closed position, a latch 120 is molded at the outer edge of the cover plate. The latch cooperately engages an abutment shoulder formed by the terminus of a groove 122 formed in the opening 113. To seal the opening 118 when the cover is closed, an annular lip is molded or cast upon the inside surface 132 of the cover plate, the diameter of the lip being of such size as to mate with the opening 118 to thereby close it.
To mount the receptacle in a wall opening, it is provided with a shoulder flange 140, the outer dimensions of which at least slightly exceed the dimensions of the wall opening into which the receptacle is to be inserted. Screw holes 142 allow conventional screws to complete the mounting. In the event the receptacle is to be mounted on the bottom edge of an overhanging wall or shelf, a spacer plate 144 is provided which fits onto the top surface 146 of the receptacle, to in effect fill the shoulder recess behind the frame-like flange 140. In this case, the screw connections are made through both the top surface 146 and the spacer plate 144. By use of the spacer plate, the receptacle gives the appearance of being an integral extension of the wall or shelf to which it is mounted.
A conventional push-button actuator switch 150 is positioned in an opening 152 in the front face of the receptacle, the button of the switch being spring-loaded outwardly to be released when the cover plate 114 is opened, thereby completing an energizing circuit to automatically start the motor 10 so as to create the vacuum.
It will thus be appreciated that the present invention provides very desirable features not heretofore available in such a device, which allow for extremely effective and efficient manufacture and assembly. All of the component parts of the system such as the housings, impellers, stator, fan cover and the like can readily be molded from synthetic plastics or the like, and the assembly is very rapid and easy, as well as being practically fool-proof. Consequently, it is entirely conceivable that those skilled in the art may well devise certain variations and modifications of the preferred embodiments disclosed and described hereinabove. Consequently, the specific structures which are illustrated and described should be regarded as being for purposes of illustration, and not as determinative of the only practical or desirable way of implementing the concept on which the invention is based.
I therefore particularly point out and distinctly claim as my invention:
1. A vacuuming devicefor use in a habitation, comprising:
A. a first substantially tubular housing having an open end, means for radially supporting a motor, and means at one end of said first tubular housing and said motor supporting means axially restraining a motor in one direction;
B. vacuum creating means mounted within said first housing comprising:
1. said motor having a rotatable shaft and being slidably disposed within said motor supporting means and having one end in engagement with said axial, motor restraining means,
2. an air impeller assembly comprising:
a. an impeller tubular housing slidably received within and in contact with said first tubular housing and including means for engaging the other end of said motor supporting means,
b. a stator mounted within said impeller housing,
c. at least one impeller rotatably mounted within said impeller housing and operatively coupled to said motor shaft; and
C. a second substantially tubular housing having an arrestment means mounted therein for collecting dirt or refuse objects drawn from the interior of said habitation and passing the air to the air impeller assembly,
said second housing having an open end slidably received within said first tubular housing,
means for detachably connecting the open end of said second housing to the open end of said first housing,
the open end of said second housing abuttingly engages said impeller housing and provides axial restraint for said vacuum creating means in the other axial direction,
said vacuum creating means being free of attachment to said first and second housings and further being slidably removable from said first housing upon disengagement of said detachable means, and
D. detachable means provided at the other end of said second housing adapted to engage an air conduit for transporting dirt from the habitation to the arrestment means,
E. outlet means in said first tubular housing for allowing passage of air from the air impeller assembly outwardly from the vacuuming device.
2. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 1, wherein there is additionally provided flexible means which includes means for mounting said stator with respect to said motor.
3. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 2 wherein said stator mounting means includes a flexible separator element having portions engaging said stator arid also having motor-engaging portions.
4. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 1, and further including as an improvement thereof, a receptacle attached to said conduit means, said receptacle having a front surface and a cover plate hingedly attached to said front plate by a living hinge.
5. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 4, wherein said cover plate is biased in a predetermined position with respect to said front surface by the orientation and resilience of said living hinge.
6. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 1, wherein there is additionally provided holding means which includes means mounted between said first and said second housing portions for spacing the same and for increasing the volume enclosed by the same in the direction if their axes.
7. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 6 wherein said spacing means is a cylinder mounted between said first and second housings by detachable fastener means which complement and attach to respective portions of the first and second housings.
8. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 6 and further including compressible means mounted adjacent that end of said spacing means which is associated with said first housing for sealing said spacing means with respect to said first housing.
9. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 1, wherein there is additionally provided mutually slideable interconnection means which includes bayonet-type connector elements between said first and said second housing portions.
10. A vacuuming device according to claim 1, wherein said impeller housing (a) comprises a first annular member having an annular flange extending in one direction mounted over and engaging one end of said motor, a second annular member having a radial wall and an annular flange at the periphery thereof engaging said first annular member, enclosing said airimpeller (c), and having said stator mounted on said radial wall, with an air channel centrally located in said radial wall; a second impeller operationally connected to said motor shaft; and a third annular member having an axial flange mounted over and engaging said second radial member and enclosing said second impeller and said stator; wherein the lip of said second tubular housing engages said third axial member, thereby providing axial restraint for said motor and air impeller assembly.
11. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 1 wherein said biasing means includes an O-ring positioned for compressive axial loading between said housing portions.
12. The improved vacuuming device as defined in claim 11 including means defining an annular passage within one of said housing portions;
said O-ring disposed within said passage; and
an annular skirt on the other of said housing portions;
said skirt being of such dimension as to fit within said passage to confine said O-ring therein.
13. In a vacuum cleaner device, of the type having a cannister-type housing which encloses a motor coupled to an air impeller means, an arrestment means located upstream from the air impeller means for removing debris from air and having a conduit means connected thereto for guiding debris to the arrestment means by the air movement created by the intercoupled motor-impeller means, the improvement comprising:
a. at least two connectable tubular housing portions comprising said housing,
b. means for seating and restraining said inter-coupled motor-impeller means within one of said housing portions,
c. said seating means including means extending between the intercoupled motor-impeller means and the other of said housing portions,
biasing means disposed between said two housing portions for biasing such portions apart,
e. means for interlocking said housing portions one to the other to detachably secure the housing portions together against the action of the biasing means while simultaneously mounting said motor and air-impeller means therewithin,
said interlocking means comprises interengageable structures held in mutual engagement at least in part by said biasing means acting on said housing portions,
g. said interengageable structures comprise projections and recesses forming detents,
tending between said other housing portion and said intercoupled motor-impeller means includes means defining a stator element disposed adjacent said rotor element and braced against said motor.
16. The improvement of claim 15, wherein said seating means includes at least a portion which is at least slightly flexible.
17. The improvement of claim 16, wherein said flexible portion comprises part of said means forming said stator element.