US 3908391 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Wulke et al.
[451 Sept. 30, 1975 PORTABLE ICE CUBE MAKER  Inventors: William L. Wulke, 1313 N.
Thornburg; Reinhart J. Rabska, 917 Haslam Dr., both of Santa Maria, Calif. 93454  Filed: Nov. 7, 1974  Appl. No.: 521,640
 US. Cl 62/137; 62/353  Int. Cl. F25C H10  Field of Search 62/340, 346, 353, 137, 62/189  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,510,400 6/1950 Hurley 62/345 3,357,200 12/1967 Connors 62/353X Prinutry E.\'aminerWilliam E. Wayner Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William C. Babcock  ABSTRACT A portable ice cube making device in which a series of cups are moved intermittently to be filled with metered quantities of water. A cup after being filled with water at a first location remains stationary until refrigeration means within the device cool the water until a crust of ice forms thereon. Each cup after the crust of ice is formed thereon, in the form of the invention as illustrated, is intermittently moved through four locations and is continued to be refrigerated. Each cup upon reaching the fifth location has the water therein frozen to define an ice cube. As one cup moves from the first location, another cup is moved thereinto for the above described operation to be repeated. The ice cube is discharged from the cup in the fifth location into a tray that may be removed from the device. When the tray has a predetermined weight of ice cubes therein, operation of the device is temporarily terminated, but with the refrigeration means continuing to operate to the extent that ice cubes in the tray will not melt. The present invention is an improvement on our Pat. No. 3,796,063 that issued Mar. 12, 1974, entitled ICE CUBE MAKING DEVICE.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Sheet 1 of2 U.S.- Patent Sept. 30,1975
US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet2of2 3,908,391
PORTABLE ICE CUBE MAKER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention Portable ice cube maker.
2. Description of the Prior Art In the past, various devices have been developed and used to freeze water into ice cubes. However, such devices are of a complicated nature, are bulky and heavy, and are not adapted to be easily moved from location to location.
The primary purpose in devising the present invention is to supply a portable ice cube maker that is compact, relatively light in weight, may be moved from location to location as required, and has a minimum of moving parts.
Another object of the invention is to provide an ice cube maker that may be selectively operated either from a battery that is included as a part thereof or from a domestic source of electric power, and a device of such structure that it is not susceptible to variations in water or atmospheric pressure.
Yet another object of the invention is to supply a portable ice cube maker that may be adjusted to form ice cubes of various sizes and configurations, and one of such structure that the output thereof may be increased to a desired degree by using more than one rotatable ice cube making device.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention includes a housing provided with a handle for carrying the same and the housing on the upper portion thereof supporting a water reservoir, and a metering tank situated below the reservoir. The reservoir and tank have first and second water outlets. A conventional refrigeration unit is mounted within the housing, and refrigerates by alternately compressing and expanding a refrigeration fluid, with the expansion taking place in coils that are adjacently disposed to a compartment within the housing.
A drum is rotatably supported in the compartment, and the drum having a sequence of cups arranged around the outer portion thereof, with each cup serving to receive a metered quantity of water from the tank. The drum is intermittently moved by a driving mechanism contained within the housing, and each cup after it has received water through a double acting valve associated with the reservoir and metering tank remaining in a stationary position until a crust of ice forms thereon. The drum is then intermittently rotated to move the cups containing the water with crusts of ice thereon towards a second locations, with the water in the cups continuing to be refrigerated.
By the time each cup reaches the fifth location the water therein has frozen solid to define an ice cube. As the cups move to the second location means are provided that discharge the ice cubes therefrom, with the cubes dropping into a tray. The tray may be periodically removed from the housing as ice cubes are required.
The tray when a predetermined weight of ice cubes have been deposited therein registers the same, and the operation of the driving assembly is temporarily terminated. However, the refrigeration unit continues to maintain the ice cubes in the tray in a frozen condition until the cubes are required. After the ice cubes have been removed from the tray, means are provided to automatically initiate the operation of the device to form additional ice cubes that will drop into the tray to provide a constant supply of cubes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross sectional view of the device taken on the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a vertical cross sectional view of the device taken on the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged transverse fragmentary vertical cross sectional view of the device; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of a portion of the device.
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic view of the electrical circuit that may be used in the ice cube maker.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The portable ice cube maker as may be seen in the drawings includes an elongate vertically disposed housing A that may be formed from any desired rigid material such as plastic or the like. A reservoir B is mounted on the upper end of the housing A and rigidly connected therety by conventional means (not shown). A metering tank C is disposed within the housing and located below the reservoir B.
Reservoir B has a first water outlet 10 and metering tank C has a second water outlet 12 therein as may be seen in FIG. 3. Housing A has a conventional refrigeration unit situated within the lower portion thereof that includes a power driven compressor D that is operatively associated with expansion coils E that are situated along the sides 14 and top 16 of a compartment F that is situated in the housing A as shown in FIG. 3.
The compressor D sequentially compresses a refrigeration liquid or fluid (not shown) and allows the same to expand into the coils E to lower the temperature of the interior of compartment F to a desired degree. The conventional components of the refrigeration unit such as an expansion valve and the like are well known to the art and are not shown in the drawings, but these conventional components would normally be disposed within the confines of the housing A. A drum G is provided that has a number of'circumferentially spaced cups 18 supported on the outer portion thereof, with the drum including a first circular side plate 20 and second circular side plate 22. The drum G is rotatably supported within the confines of .the compartment F by a drive shaft 23. The drive shaft 23 has a first end portion 23a of non-circular transverse cross section that slidably engages a member H that is driven by an electric motor J. The end portion 23a'slidably engages a cavity 23b of non-circular transverse cross section formed in the member H. The motor J is secured to the interior of housing A by conventional means.
A generally U-shaped bracket K extends outwardly from the motor J and rotatably supports the portion of drive shaft 23 adjacent a second end portion 230 thereof. The drive shaft 23 has a first gear 24 thereon adjacent the motor J, with this first gear engaging an idling gear 26, which idling gear is rotatably supported by a shaft 28 as may be seen in FIG. 4. A circular sequence cam M is provided that has a flange 29 projecting outwardly from the periphery thereof, which flange on the interior thereof defines a ring gear 30 that is in toothed engagement with the idling gear 26.
The ring gear 30 and gear 24 are of such width that when the drive shaft 23 and cam M move from the first position shown in solid line in FIG. 4 to a second position illustrated in the same figure in phantom line, the first gear 24 and ring gear 30 do not remain in engagement with idling gear 26. The drive shaft 23 to the right of the sequence cam M as shown in FIG. 4 has a rigid transverse member 34 mounted thereon, and this member supporting a tapered resilient truncated drive cone 36. The drive cone 36 may be engaged by a tapered circular surface 37 formed as a part of a boss 37a that projects to the right of the sequencing cam M as shown in FIG. 4. When drive shaft 23 and cam M move to the second position, surface 37 is in frictional driving contact with truncated cone 36, and cam M rotates at the same speed as drive shaft 23.
A helical spring 38 encircles the shaft 23 and has one end in abutting contact with the member 34 and the other end in abutting contact with a part of the bracket K, and the spring at all times tends to move the shaft 23 to the left to a first position as shown in solid line in FIG. 4. The shaft 23 is prevented from moving to the left beyond the first position by a stop 39 mounted on the shaft, which stop as illustrated abuts against a portion of the motor J when the shaft is in the first position.
The shaft 23 adjacent the second end portion 23c thereof has at least one key 40 that extends outwardly therefrom and is capable of engaging any one of a number ofcircumferentially spaced, radially extending slots 44 formed in the first circular plate 20 as may be seen in FIG. 5. The motor J as shown in FIG. supports at least one arcuate lobe L that extends outwardly therefrom, which lobe is periodically contacted by a cam 42 that projects outwardly from the sequencing cam M as best seen in FIG. 5.
When the sequencing cam M is in a first position, shown in solid line in FIG. 4, it rotates relative to drive shaft 23 due to being driven by the first gear 24, idling gear 26 and ring gear 30. Sequencing cam M rotates at a substantially lesser rate of rotation than the drive shaft 23.
However, when the cam 42 engages one of the lobes L, the sequencing cam M is moved to the right to the second position, shown in phantom line in FIG. 4 to frictionally contact the truncated drive cone 36 and also concurrently move the drive shaft and key 40 to a second position shown in phantom line in FIG. 4 where the key is in engagement with one of the slots 44. The sequencing cam M when in the second position is in frictional contact with the cone 36, and rotates at the same speed as shaft 23. The shaft 23 preferably rotates at approximately one revolution per minute.
After the sequencing cam M has been rotated to a position where the cam 42 is disengaged from a lobe L, the spring 38 will return the shaft 23 to the first position as shown in solid line in FIG. 4 where the stop 39 is in abutting contact with the motor J and the sequencing cam rotates at a rate that is determined by the gear ratios between the first gear 24, idling gear 26 and ring gear 30. Each time the shaft 23 moves from the first to the second position and then back to the first position, it rotates the drum G through approximately 60 to dispose one of the cups 18 in an upper-most vertically extending, water receiving position as shown in FIG. 2.
During the time that one ofthe cups 18 is moved into an uppermost position as shown in FIG. 2, the right hand side of the sequencing cam M as viewed in FIGS. 3 and 4 contacts a pivotally supported member 47 best seen in FIG. 3, and this member as it is pivoted counterclockwise raises a vertical rod 50 on which first and second valve members 46 and 48 are mounted as shown in FIG. 3. The rod 50 and first and second valve member 46 and 48 comprise valve N.
The first valve member 46 when the rod 50 is in a first position permits water to flow from reservoir B into metering tank C through outlet It but with the second valve member 48 obstructing flow of water from the second outlet 12. When the sequencing cam M moves to the second position and pivots member 46, the rod 50 moves to a second position where first valve member 46 obstructs first outlet 10 and second valve member 48 is moved from second outlet 12 to permit a metered quantity of water to discharge from the metering tank C into the most upwardly disposed cup 18 through a passage 52.
The interior of the housing A is preferably filled with a heat insulating material S as may be seen in FIG. 3. Each of the cups 18 due to the operation of the sequencing cam M remains in an uppermost position after receiving a metered quantity of water until a crust of ice forms thereon, with the drum thereafter being rotated 60 to position another one of the cups 13 in an uppermost position to have a metered quantity of water discharged thereinto. As the drum F intermittently rotates, the water W that has been discharged into the uppermost one of the cups 18 is frozen solid to define an ice cube W prior to the cup 18 reaching the lowermost position as shown in FIG. 2 to drop downwardly from the cup into a slidably movably tray 0 that forms a part of the housing A. Tray 0 may be removed from the housing A to permit the ice cubes W to be taken from the tray.
The tray 0 as can be seen in FIG. 2 is not only slidably mounted in the housing A, but may move slightly vertically downwardly relative thereto due to resting on a horizontal plate 54 that is supported on springs 56. The plate 54 when it moves downwardly opens a normally closed switch 58. Switch 54 controls the flow of electric power from a source X thereof to the electric motor J. Thus, when ice cubes W have been deposited in the tray 0 and exceed a predetermined weight, the motor J is deenergized to prevent an excess quantity of ice being made and deposited in the tray 0.
In FIG. 6 it will be seen that the source of power X has an electric conductor 62 extending therefrom to one terminal of motor H with the other terminal of the motor H having an electrical conductor 64 extending therefrom to a contact 66 of the normally closed electric switch 58. The movable portion 68 of switch 58 is connected by a conductor 70 to a contact 72 of manually operated switch 74 which switch has an electrical conductor 76 extending therefrom to a terminal of the source of power X. When switch 74 is placed in the closed condition the ice maker A is actuated as previously described. The compressor D may be driven by conventional means 78 that are actuated when the motor H is energized. The compressor D by conduit means 80 is connected to the expansion coils E as may be seen in FIG. 6. I
The operation of the invention is as follows. When the switch 74 is closedthe motor H is electrically energized to drive the shaft 23. As the shaft 23 rotates the first gear 24 likewise rotates to drive the idling gear 26, which in turn drives the ring gear 30 to rotate the sequencing cam M. When cam M engages a lobe L, the sequencing cam is moved to the right as viewed in FIG. 4 to drivingly engage the resilient body 36. Movement of the sequencing cam M to the right causes movement of shaft 23 and key 40 in the same direction for the key to engage one of the slots 44. As movement of the sequencing cam M to the right takes place, the valve N is moved to a second position due to movement of actuator 46 to allow flow of water from metering tank C through passage 52 into the uppermost positioned cup 18. During the time the sequencing cam M has the cam 42 thereof in contact with the lobe L, the drum is being rotated to dispose one of the cups 18 under the passage 52 to receive water.
When one of the cups 18 is disposed in the uppermost position shown in FIG. 2, the cam 42 will become disengaged from the lobe L with the spring 38 then moving the sequencing cam M to a first position where the stop 39 engages the right hand side of the motor J as viewed in FIG. 4. The sequencing cam M is now disengaged from the driving member 36 with the cam now rotating relative to the drive shaft 23 at a rate that is determined by the gear ratios between the first. gear 24, idling gear 26, and ring gear 30. The gear ratios must be such that the cam 42 will not again contact a lobe L until a sufficient time has elapsed for the water W in the uppermost one of the cups 18 to have had a crust of ice formed thereon. After a crust of ice has formed on one of the cups 18 the drum G is again rotated sixty degrees for the previously described operation to be repeated. It will be particularly noted that the cups 18 are of tapered configuration and after water in one of the cups transforms into an ice cube W the expansion of the water in transforming to ice separates the ice cube from the cup 18 in which it is formed to permit the ice cube to drop downwardly into the tray by gravity as can be seen in FIG. 2.
When the weight of ice cubes W in the tray 0 exceeds a predetermined weight the normally closed switch 58 is opened and operation of the ice cube maker is temporarily disrupted. Water W may be discharged into the reservoir B through a neck 82 shown in FIG. 2 that is removably closed by a cap 84. The interior of the metering tank C is vented to the interior of the tank B through a vent tube 86 shown in FIG. 3. Vent tube 86 preferably has external threads 86a on the lower portion thereof that engaged internal threads (not shown) on a collar or nut 88 that is mounted on a bottom 90 of reservoir, and is in communication with a bore 92 that extends through the bottom. The threads above described permit vertical adjustment of vent tube 86 to control the amount of water entering metering tank C, and this amount of water determining the size of each ice cube that will be formed.
The neck 82 is removably engaged by a cap 83. An inverted U-shaped handle Z is pivotally connected to the upper portion of the housing A to permit easy carrying of the device from one location to another.
The use and operation of the invention has been previously described and need not be repeated.
1. A portable ice cube making machine that includes:
a. an assembly that includes a vertically extending housing having upper and lower end portions, a
water'reservoir in said upper portion, a water metering tank in said housing below said reservoir,
said reservoir and metering tank having first and second water discharge openings therein through which water may flow by gravity; I b. movable valve means capable of occupying either first or second positions, said valve means when in said first position obstructing said second discharge opening and permitting water to flow into said metering tank to fill the latter, and said valve means when in said second position obstructing said first opening and permitting to flow downwardly from said metering tank through said second discharge opening; g
. a vertically extending drum rotatably supported in said housing below said second discharge opening, said drum having a plurality of circumfercntially extending cups thereon that have inwardly tapering sidewalls;
d. an electric motor; 7
e. drive means actuated bysaid motor for intermittently rotating said drum to sequentially dispose 'said cups in an uppermost position to receive a metering quantity of water from said second discharge opening and said cup receiving said water remaining in said uppermost position for a predetermined length of time; i
f. first means that concurrently with the actuation of said drive means to dispose one of said cups in said uppermost position move said valve means from said first to said second position, and said first means as said drum is intermittently rotated to move one of said cups from said uppermost position moving said valve means from said second to said first position;
h. refrigeration means that cool said drum to the extent that a crust of ice forms on said water in said one of said cups in said uppermost position during said predetermined length of time, with said water having said crust thereon being frozen solid to define an ice cube prior to said cup in which it is disposed being rotated by said drum to occupy a lower most position thereon, and said ice cube falling from said cup when the latter is in said lowermost position due to the expansion of the water as it transforms to ice in contact with said tapered sidewalls of said cup;
i. second removable means in said housing for receiving said ice cubes as they fall from said cups when the latter are in said lowermost position;
j. third means for temporarily terminating operation of the device when a predetermined weight of ice cubes has accumulated in said second removable means; and
k. a source of electric power for said electric motor.
2. A portable ice cube making machine as defined in claim 1 which in addition includes:
k. a compartment in said housing, and said second removable means by a tray that is slidably mounted in said compartment to receive said ice cubes, with said tray being removable through an opening in said housing.
3. A portable ice cube making machine as defined in claim 2 in which said refrigeration means includes a compressor driven by said motor and expansion coils on said compartment which expansion coils are in communication with said compressor, and said compressor alternately compressing a refrigerating fluid after the latter has expanded in said expansion coils to cool the interior of said compartment.
4. A portable ice cube making machine as defined in claim 2 in which said third means is a normally closed switch in electrical communication with said source of electric power and said motor, but said switch being opened to terminate actuation of said electric motor when a predetermined weight of ice cubes has accumulated in said tray.
5. A portable ice cube making machine in which said driving means includes:
1. a rotatable member having a recess of non-circular transverse cross section formed therein which member is rotated by said electric motor.
m. a drive shaft having first and second end portions, said first end portion of non-circular transverse cross section and slidably movable in said recess, with said drive shaft extending into said compartment to rotatably support said drum thereon when said drive shaft is in a first position;
n. a longitudinally extending key on said drive shaft that can engage any one of a number of circumferentially spaced slots formed in said drum to cause said drum to rotate concurrently with said drive shaft;
0. a sequencing lobe supported in a fixed position relative to said motor;
p. a sequencing cam plate rotatably supported on said drive shaft, said plate including a ring gear, and a cam projecting outwardly from said ring gear, said cam capable of slidably engaging said lobe, said plate having a boss projecting outwardly therefrom in a direction away from said ring gear, said boss defining a tapered circular surface within the interior thereof;
q. a first gear mounted in a fixed position on said drive shaft;
r. an idling gear rotatably supported in a fixed position relative to said motor and in engagement with said first gear and ring gear;
s. a bracket that occupies a fixed position relative to said motor and rotatably supports said drive shaft;
t. a rigid member secured to said drive shaft;
u. a tapered resilient tubular body secured to said member and capable of being drivingly engaged by said tapered surface of said boss when said cam is in engagement with said lobe being moved laterally by concurrent longitudinal movement of said drive shaft to engage one of said slots to rotate said drum with said drive shaft;
v. spring means in abutting contact with said shoulder that at all times tends to move said drive shaft to a first position where said key is not in engagement with one of said slots, and said shoulder and tapered resilient body are adjacently disposed to said boss but not in driving engagement with the tapered surface thereof, with said valve means being moved from said first position to said second position when said cam is in contact with said lobe to discharge water from said second opening into one of said cups occupying the uppermost position on said drum, with said cup filled with water so remaining to have a skin of ice frozen thereon until said circular plate is again rotated to bring said cam thereof in contact with said lobe to laterally move said cam plate for said boss to engage said resilient body to bring said key into engagement with one of said slots and concurrently rotate said drum to dispose another one of said cups in alignment with said second discharge opening to receive a metered quantity of water from said tank as said plate moves said valve means from said second to said first position.