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Title:
ROTARY FINISHING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A rotary finishing device includes a generally circular hub having a front surface, a back surface, an inner periphery and an outer periphery. The inner periphery of the device defines a throughhole. The front surface of the hub has a plurality of slots formed therein. Each of the plurality of slots has a plurality of finishing sheets secured therein by an adhesive. Each of the finishing sheets is of sufficient length such that when the generally circular hub rotates at a slower speed, the plurality of sheets remain within the outer periphery of the generally circular hub and provide a relatively flexible device for contacting a surface to be finished. Further, when the generally circular hub rotates at a higher speed, the plurality of sheets extend beyond the outer periphery of the generally circular hub and provide a relatively stiff device for contacting a surface to be finished.


Inventors:
Wentworth, Robert J. (Farmington Hills, MI, US)
Belanger, Lionel (Northville, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/160896
Publication Date:
01/19/2006
Filing Date:
07/14/2005
Assignee:
BELANGER INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS, IN. (19414 Gerald St., Northville, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B24B9/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARTZ & ARTZ, P.C. (28333 TELEGRAPH RD., SUITE 250, SOUTHFIELD, MI, 48034, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A rotary finishing device, comprising: a hub having a front surface, a back surface, and an outer periphery; a plurality of slots formed in said front surface of said hub; each of said plurality of slots having at least one finishing sheet secured therein; wherein each of said at least one finishing sheet has a length that is greater than or equal to a respective width thereof.

2. The rotary finishing device of claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of slots includes a plurality of finishing sheets disposed therein.

3. The rotary finishing device of claim 1, wherein each of said at least one finishing sheet extends generally perpendicularly from said front surface.

4. The rotary finishing device of claim 2, wherein said length of each of said plurality of finishing sheets is greater than or equal to twice said width of each of said finishing sheets.

5. The rotary finishing device of claim 2, wherein said length of each of said plurality of finishing sheets is greater than or equal to three times said width of each of said finishing sheets.

6. The rotary finishing device of claim 2, wherein each of said plurality of finishing sheets are secured within a respective one of said plurality of slots by an adhesive.

7. The rotary finishing device of claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of slots includes a plurality of sheets of sandpaper disposed therein.

8. The rotary finishing device of claim 7, wherein each of said plurality of slots includes a plurality of sheets of sandpaper with the grit facing in a direction in line with clockwise rotation of the device and a plurality of sheet of sandpaper with the grit facing in a direction in line with counter clockwise rotation of the device to allow the device to be operated in both directions.

9. The rotary finishing device of claim 8, wherein said plurality of sheets of sandpaper facing in said clockwise direction has a grit that is different than a grit of said plurality of sheets of sandpaper facing in said counter-clockwise direction.

10. A rotary finishing device, comprising: a hub having a front surface, a back surface, and an outer periphery; a plurality of finishing sheets in communication with and extending from said front surface of said hub and extending in the direction of an axis of rotation of said hub; wherein each of said finishing sheets has a length that is greater than or equal to a respective width thereof.

11. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, wherein when said hub rotates at a slower speed, said plurality of sheets provide a relatively flexible device for contacting a surface to be finished.

12. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, wherein when said hub rotates at a higher speed, said plurality of sheets fan out and provide a relatively stiff device for contacting a surface to be finished.

13. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, wherein said length of each of said at least one finishing sheet is greater than or equal to twice said width of each of said at least one finishing sheet.

14. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, wherein said length of each of said at least one finishing sheet is greater than or equal to three times said width of each of said at least one finishing sheet.

15. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, further comprising: a plurality of slots formed in said front surface of said hub, each of said plurality of slots receiving at least one finishing sheet.

16. The rotary finishing device of claim 15, wherein each of said at least one finishing sheet is secured within a respective one of said plurality of slots by an adhesive.

17. The rotary finishing device of claim 10, wherein each of said plurality of finishing sheets consists of sandpaper.

18. The rotary finishing device of claim 17, wherein each of said plurality of slots includes a plurality of sheets of sandpaper with the grit facing in a direction in line with clockwise rotation of the device and a plurality of sheet of sandpaper with the grit facing in a direction in line with counter-clockwise rotation of the device to allow the device to be operated in both directions.

19. The rotary finishing device of claim 17, wherein said plurality of sheets of sandpaper facing in said clockwise direction has a grit that is different than a grit of said plurality of sheets of sandpaper facing in said counter clockwise direction.

20. A rotary finishing device, comprising: a hub having a front surface, a back surface, an inner periphery and an outer periphery; a plurality of finishing sheets coupled to said front surface of said hub, said plurality of finishing sheets extending generally perpendicularly from said front face and defining a starting footprint; wherein each of said plurality of finishing sheets is of sufficient length such that when said generally circular hub rotates at a slower speed, said plurality of sheets provide a relatively flexible device for contacting a surface to be finished; and wherein when said generally circular hub rotates at a higher speed, said plurality of sheets extend beyond said starting footprint to a provide a relatively stiff device for contacting a surface to be finished.

21. The rotary finishing device of claim 20, wherein said front surface of said hub includes a plurality of slots with each slot receiving at least one finishing sheet therein.

22. The rotary finishing device of claim 20, wherein each of said plurality of sheets is secured to said front surface of said hub by an adhesive.

23. The rotary finishing device of claim 21, wherein each of said at least one finishing sheet is secured within a respective one of a plurality of slots by an adhesive.

24. The rotary finishing device of claim 20, wherein each of said finishing sheets has a length that is greater than or equal to a respective width thereof.

25. The rotary finishing device of claim 21, wherein each of said finishing sheets has a length that is greater than or equal to twice a respective width thereof.

26. The rotary finishing device of claim 20, wherein each of said finishing sheets has a length that is greater than or equal to three times a respective width thereof.

27. The rotary finishing device of claim 20, wherein said plurality of finishing sheets are sheets of sandpaper.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/588,402, filed Jul. 15, 2004 and entitled “Rotary Finishing Device.”

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a rotary finishing device, and more particularly to a rotary finishing device for improving the finish of a wide variety of different surfaces having different shapes and contours.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Tools for leveling the surfaces of parts to be finished are well known. One such tool known in the art is commonly referred to as a flap disc. This type of leveling tool consists of a backing plate constructed of a plastic, aluminum or fiberglass material. The backing plate has a plurality of sheets of abrasive media, such as sandpaper, adhered thereto by epoxy. Each of the individual sheets is disposed within a respective slot formed in the backing plate or surface mounted to the backing plate. Additionally, each of the sheets is positioned on the backing plate such that the width of each sheet is substantially longer than its length. This configuration of the sheets with respect to the backing plate provides a stiff and relatively inflexible configuration, which yields a leveling wheel that operates similar to a belt sander in that it removes material from the surface it contacts in a planar fashion in order to flatten it.

One significant disadvantage of these leveling tools is that they are unable to effectively contact the entirety of surfaces to be finished due primarily to their stiff and inflexible configuration. For example, known leveling tools cannot effectively contact curved surfaces or right-angled surfaces. Moreover, attempts to contact these hard to reach places with a leveling tool often results in “edge cutting” marks being formed in the surface, which are undesirable.

Accordingly, to improve the finish of these portions of the types of surfaces, which leveling tools cannot effectively accomplish, secondary tools or processes need to be employed. These secondary finishing tools can include hand tools with various types of finishing media or, alternatively, a flap wheel. Employing these secondary processes increases the labor time by requiring the utilization of multiple different finishing tools to finish each different surface. This also increases the costs associated therewith.

A typical flap wheel differs from a leveling wheel in that the flap wheel is intended to finish a surface instead of leveling or flattening it. Typical flap wheels include a central hub portion and have a plurality of flexible finishing strips secured thereto and extending from the outer periphery thereof. Because of their configuration, these flap wheel-type rotary finishing devices are also limited in the types of surfaces they can successfully and efficiently finish.

Because of the disadvantages present with existing rotary finishing devices, in order to improve the finish of a metal surface having a variety of contours such as a wheel rim or a surface having right angles, multiple tools typically need to be utilized to finish it efficiently. To the extent a single device can finish the surface, the surface finish is likely not uniform.

Therefore, a need exists for a rotary finishing device that is more flexible than existing finishing devices and can finish more areas on compound surfaces than existing products. In other words, a need exists for a rotary finishing device for finishing surfaces that can accomplish, in many instances, what currently requires multiple tools.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an advantage of the present invention is to provide a rotary finishing device that is more flexible than prior rotary finishing devices in that it can finish a wide variety of different surfaces, which have varying contours, including complex curves, concave surfaces and right angled surfaces.

It is a related advantage of the present invention to provide a rotary finishing device that can finish surfaces that are constructed of different materials, including metal and non-metal.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a rotary finishing device that increases the efficiency associated with finishing a product having a complex surface, a concave surface and/or a right-angled surface.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is to provide a rotary finishing device that decreases the time required to finish a product having a complex surface, a concave surface and/or a right-angled surface and therefore provides decreased cost.

Still another advantage of the present invention is to provide a rotary finishing device that can easily change the surface finish of a piece being finished by changing the rotational speed of the device.

It is still a further advantage of the present invention to provide a rotary finishing device that is more durable and has a significantly longer useful life than existing rotary finishing devices.

It is yet a further advantage of the present invention to provide a rotary finishing device with an effective diameter that varies with the rotational speed of the device.

It is a related advantage of the present invention to provide a rotary finishing device with an effective diameter that increases as the rotational speed of the device increases.

It is still yet another advantage of the present invention to provide a rotary finishing device with attached finishing media having a length that is greater than this width.

In accordance with the above and the other advantages of the present invention, a rotary finishing device is provided. The rotary finishing device includes a backing plate having an inner face and an outer face. The backing plate is coupled to a drive shaft to allow rotation of the device as desired and at a desired speed, which can vary. The inner face of the backing plate has one or more sheets of finishing media secured thereto and extending therefrom. Each of the sheets is configured such that it has a length at least as long as the width. In another embodiment, the length of the finishing strips is at least twice as great as the width.

The sheets are flexible and thus flatten or fan out as the device is rotated. The faster the device is rotated, the flatter the finishing media becomes, which provides a stiff finishing tool. The slower the device is rotated, the more flexible the finishing media becomes to allow finishing of a contoured surface. The effective contact area or diameter of the device thus changes or varies with the rotational speed.

Other advantages of the present invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the detailed description of the preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the attached drawings and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of this invention, reference should now be made to the embodiments illustrated in greater detail in the accompanying drawings and described below by way of examples of the invention:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rotary finishing device, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the rotary finishing device shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the rotary finishing device of FIG. 1 illustrating the orientation of the finishing media when the device is rotating at a higher speed.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rotary finishing device of FIG. 1 illustrating the orientation of the finishing media upon contact with a surface when the device is rotating at a lower speed.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a rotary finishing device in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is another perspective view of the rotary finishing device of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of a rotary finishing device illustrating changes in the effective contact area or diameter of the device.

FIG. 8a is an illustration of a finishing media sheet in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8b is an illustration of a finishing sheet in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8c is an illustration of a finishing sheet in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of a rotary finishing device rotating at a relatively slow speed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an illustration of the device of FIG. 9 rotating at a medium speed.

FIG. 11 is an illustration of the device of FIG. 9 rotating at a relatively fast speed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the Figures, which illustrate various embodiments of a rotary finishing device in accordance with the present invention. The rotary finishing device disclosed herein can be utilized to finish a surface, such as by polishing, abrading, grinding or the like. However, it will be understood that the finishing devices disclosed herein can be utilized for a variety of different purposes and can be formed with a variety of different configurations.

The finishing media utilized with the disclosed finishing devices can also vary depending upon the application for which the finishing devices will be used and can include cloth, sandpaper or the like. Further, the finishing media may be a textile sheet, a woven sheet, a non-woven sheet, or a neo-textile sheet. The finishing media may also be a coated abrasive sheet. It will also be understood that a variety of other different finishing media may be utilized. The disclosed finishing device can be utilized to finish pieces constructed of a wide range of different materials, including metal, wood and a variety of other materials.

Turning now to FIGS. 1 and 2, which illustrate one embodiment of a rotary finishing device in accordance with the present invention. The rotary finishing device 10 includes a generally circular backing plate 12, having an outer peripheral surface or outer periphery 14 and a passageway or throughway (arbor hole) 16 formed generally through the backing plate 12. The passageway 16 is preferably a threaded bore for ease of coupling to a driving shaft (not shown) by threaded engagement. However, it will also be understood that the passageway 16 may also remain smooth without threads and may be attached to a driving shaft in other suitable fashions. The backing plate 12 has an outer face 18 and an inner face 20. The driving shaft is coupled to the backing plate 12 through the passageway 16 to allow for rotation of the backing plate about an axis of rotation of the device 10, which corresponds to the centerline of the backing plate 12.

While the illustrated backing plate has a generally circular construction, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that a variety of other suitable configurations or shapes may be utilized. The backing plate 12 is preferably formed from a metal, such as aluminum, and is preferably formed by an extrusion process. However, it will also be understood that a variety of other materials may also be utilized to form the backing plate 12, including plastic. The backing plate 12 may also be formed in a variety of other suitable processes. It will also be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the backing plate 12 can be formed in a variety of different diameters to provide finishing devices of a variety of different sizes. The backing plate 12 may also have a variety of different thickness and a variety of different shapes.

The inner face 20 of the device 10 includes a plurality of slots 24 formed therein. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the slots 24 each constitute a groove or recesses or even a flat surface formed in the inner face 20 of the backing plate 12. In the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the plurality of slots 24 are formed entirely through the backing plate 12, such that they are open to both the outer face 18 and the inner face 20. In the embodiment where slots are utilized, the shape of the slots 24 is preferably generally rectangular. However, it will be understood that the slots 24 can take on a variety of different shapes, can be formed in a variety of different sizes, including oval, and can be formed of a variety of different depths. Additionally, the slots 24 may have a variety of orientations, including angled. It will also be understood that other structures instead of slots may be utilized. Moreover, slots may be omitted from the backing plate 12 altogether.

As shown, each of the slots 24 includes a finishing media 30 disposed therein. The finishing media 30 may be comprised of a single sheet of finishing material or, more preferably, of a plurality of sheets of finishing material (“a pack”). The finishing media 30 is intended to contact a surface to be finished. A pack of finishing media 30 is preferably disposed within each of the plurality of slots 24 such that the finishing media 30 contacts at least either side 26, 28 of each of the plurality of slots 24 such that the pack is wedged in each slot. The finishing media 30 can be disposed in each of the plurality of slots in a variety of different ways. The finishing media 30 is preferably secured within each of the slots 24 by an adhesive, such as an epoxy. Obviously, the finishing media 30 can be secured within each of the slots 24 by a variety of other suitable methods including by mechanical attachment. The finishing media 30 may also be secured to the backing plate 12 by alternate suitable methods.

As shown best in FIG. 2, the finishing media 30 that are disposed in each of the slots 24 preferably consist of a plurality of individual sheets 32, which together form a pack. In this embodiment, each of the sheets 32 within the pack consists of an abrasive paper, such as sandpaper. However, as discussed above, other finishing media 30 may be utilized. As also shown, in this embodiment, each pack is divided into two sections. The first section 34a faces in one direction while the second section 34b faces in the other direction. In other words, the abrasive part of the sandpaper is facing in one direction in one pack 34a and in the other direction in the other pack 34b. This allows the finishing media 30 to finish a surface of a piece when the backing plate 12 is rotated in either the clockwise or counterclockwise direction. It will be understood that in another embodiment, the grit of the sandpaper in the first section 34a may be different from the grit of the sandpaper in the second section 34b. This will provide varying abrasiveness depending upon the direction in which the device is rotating. It will also be understood that all the sheets in a pack can face in the same direction. Further, sandpaper having grit on each side thereof may also be utilized.

As shown in FIG. 3, because the packs of finishing media 30 are flexible, they will flatten out, such as by bending in a somewhat butterfly fashion, when the device 10 is rotating. FIG. 3 generally illustrates the configuration of the rotary finishing device 10 when it is rotating at a higher rate of speed. The faster the backing plate rotates, the flatter the device 10 becomes. Additionally, the faster the backing plate 12 rotates, the stiffer the device 10 becomes, which provides a harder finishing device. This is due to the configuration of the finishing media 30 as discussed in more detail below. A stiff device is desirable for some surfaces. Similarly, as the backing plate 12 rotates at a slower speed, the device 10 remains relatively flexible and provides a softer finishing device. A flexible device provides a surface finish that is desirable for many applications as will be understood by one of ordinary skill. FIGS. 9 through 11 illustrate the variance in the flattening out of the device and the finishing media 30 as the rotational speed of the device 10 increases.

FIG. 9 illustrates the finishing device 10 attached to a driving shaft and rotating. The device 10 in FIG. 9 is rotating at a relatively slow speed as evidenced by the fact that the finishing media 30 extends in a generally planar orientation from the backing plate 12 (i.e. perpendicular to the inner face 20 of the backing plate 12). In this orientation, the device 10 is relatively flexible. FIG. 10 illustrates the device 10 rotating at a generally medium speed. At this faster speed, the finishing media 30 have begun to flatten out, which increases the effective diameter of the device 10. FIG. 11 illustrates the finishing device 10 rotating at a higher speed where the finishing media 30 have flattened out significantly. At this speed, the effective diameter of the device 10 has increased even more than in FIG. 10. Additionally, in this orientation, the device 10 is relatively stiff.

FIG. 4 illustrates how the rotary device 10 contacts a surface and follows it as the device 10 is moved therealong. This allows for the finishing of surfaces having various contours such as a fuel tank, a wheel rim, or a part, pan or other concave surface. This is, at least in part, because the finishing media 30 are relatively flexible and can follow the contour of surface as the device 10 travels thereacross. Because the packs are more flexible, they can take on different lengths and reach into openings, grooves, or contours that would not otherwise be accessible without a smaller tool. This is because each pack of sheets can act as its own finishing device and follow the surface of the part due, at least in part, to its flexibility.

FIG. 7 schematically illustrates the flattening out of the finishing media as the device 10 rotates. As shown in the static position, the packs of finishing media 30 are oriented such that they lie within the outer periphery 14 of the backing plate 12 before the device begins to rotate, as generally indicated by reference number 50. Because the sheets of finishing media 30 are flexible, they flatten out and expand, such that the device 10 has an increased diameter or contact area as the rotational speed of the device 10 increases. For example, as the device 10 begins to rotate at a low speed, the effective diameter of the device 10 increases to a size generally indicated by reference number 52, which is larger than or expanded with respect to the initial diameter 50. As the device 10 rotates at faster speeds, the finishing media 30, due in part to centrifugal force, increases the effective diameter of the device even further, as generally indicated by reference number 54. As the device 10 rotates at an even higher RPM, the effective diameter will increase more depending upon the rotational speed of the device 10. The configuration of the device 10 illustrated in the Figures is merely exemplary and not to be construed as limiting. The device 10 is particularly suitable for use in robotic applications where the speed and direction of the device 10 can be readily changed through computer control. This allows the device 10 of the present invention to finish compound surfaces by varying the rotational speed of the device as opposed to prior methods, which required the utilization of multiple devices.

FIGS. 8a through 8c schematically illustrate exemplary configurations of a sheet of finishing media 30 in accordance with the present invention. The configuration of the finishing media 30 as attached to the backing plate provides the disclosed finishing device 10 with unique flexibility that allows for the finishing of surfaces such as right edge surfaces and concave-type surfaces. As shown in FIG. 8a the sheet of finishing media is configured such that its width (w) is about equal to its length (l). FIG. 8b illustrates another embodiment where the length (l) of the finishing media is at least twice as large as the width, (w≦2 l). FIG. 8c illustrates yet another embodiment where the length (l) of the finishing media is at least three times as great as the width (w≦3 l). It will be understood that the dimensional relationship between the length and the width can take on a variety of different configurations.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, numerous variations and alternate embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention be limited only in terms of the appended claims.