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This application claims priority to Ser. No. 29/227,462 and Ser. No. 29/227,463, both filed Apr. 12, 2005.
The present invention relates to a personal nail care device and, preferably, to a cordless, battery-operated personal nail care device for sanding or filing a person's nail, and forming or contouring it to a desired length and/or shape.
Nail clippers or metal files have been generally used to clip or trim a person's nails. Such manual devices, however, require an additional effort and time that are sorely lacking in today's hectic and busy schedule of many people. Furthermore, these devices can cut one's skin and possibly cause infection if used in a rush carelessly. Still further, the nail clippers or metal files can be confiscated at airports if inadvertently taken onto a plane in a pocketbook or travel case.
Alternatively and in response to the above need, there are several AC or battery-powered manicure systems or manicure/pedicure sets currently available on the market. These models include, in general, a filing or sanding element for filing person's nails and a motor for providing power to the filing element. These so-called motorized devices provide quality that almost matches that of a professional salon.
When filing or shaping one's nails with such motorized devices, nail cuttings or dust debris result from such activity. It is particularly unseemly if a person uses the device in public, and the nail dust remains uncollected and simply falls on the ground, clothes, etc.
A need arises for a cordless battery-operated nail care device that addresses the above issues, the device comprising, among other things, a dust and clippings catcher for collecting nail dust and clippings resulting from filing, sanding, contouring or shaping one's nails.
The above need is met by a personal nail care device of the subject application. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a personal nail care device comprises an elongate housing, a disk having a surface adapted to contact a nail of a user of the device, the disk made to rotate when the device is in an on condition and a catcher having a cavity extending therein for receipt within the cavity of nail dust and/or clippings created during the contact of the nail and the disk during the on condition, the catcher being selectively, removably attached to the housing for emptying the catcher of the dust and/or clippings. The catcher is removable from the housing using any known construction, including but not limited to rails and channel guides and/or protrusions and openings and/or Velcro or other known manners of connecting such structures together. The device also has a hood to substantially cover the top and sides of the disk to help prevent spraying of the dust and/or clippings during use of the device. The hood may consist of just a top and/or a top and sides and may be pivotally openable and/or fully removable from the housing.
The present invention is illustrated in the figures of the accompanying drawings which are meant to be exemplary and not limiting, and in which like reference characters are intended to refer to like or corresponding parts:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a personal nail care device according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, with a hood in a raised position;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, with the hood in an alternate, removed condition, and a catcher in a removed condition;
FIG. 4A is a bottom plan view of the catcher showing rails;
FIG. 4B is a side elevational view of the catcher showing protrusions;
FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a circuit for supplying power to the disk; and
FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of a disk, drive shaft, motor, power source and on/off switch assembly.
Referring to FIG. 1, a nail care device 10 is illustrated therein in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. As shown in the figure, device 10 is preferably cordless and battery operated. Device 10 is adapted to accept either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. It is substantially cylindrical in shape and tapered at both ends. Device 10 is measured approximately 5.5 inches in length and 1 inch in diameter, although other shapes and dimensions are anticipated and these shapes and dimensions are not meant to be limiting.
With further reference to FIG. 1, device 10 preferably includes an elongated housing 12, preferably and ornamentally rounded on its sides, for storing, among other things, a motor, drive train, and batteries. In a preferred embodiment, the power is provided by a rechargeable battery such as NiHM, for example. In addition, housing 12 holds a disk 14 that can perform many functions, such as filing, sanding, contouring, shaping and/or buffing one's nails. Housing 12 is preferably made of plastic, as for example, by an injection-mold process, although other materials and manners of making same are anticipated herein.
Continuing with FIG. 1, element 18 is a guide and/or support for protecting the skin at the tip of the finger and/or toe, just below the nail, to prevent any skin abrasion when a nail is being tended to by device 10. In a preferred embodiment, guide/support 18 is positioned at the front of device 10 and projects slightly beyond housing 12. Guide/support 18 preferably, but not mandatorily, has a rubber edge 20 and is preferably concave in shape in order to substantially conform to the rounded shape of the tip of one's finger and/or toe. Guide/support 18 can also be flexible in structure so as to assist a user when moving device 10 from one end or side of the nail to the other side. In operation it is preferred that a user position guide/support 18 between the bottom of the user's nail and the top of the user's finger/toe so that guide/support 18 separates the two, shielding the user's finger/toe from the spinning disk 14. Guide/support 18 is sufficiently long in length and movable in a direction along the length of device 10, to allow the distance a user's nail is from disk 14 to be adjustable, thereby further assisting in the manicuring operation of device 10. Guide/support 18 helps make the process of trimming or contouring more effective, efficient and comfortable by helping to ensure that the user's nail is trimmed evenly all around and further by helping to prevent injury to the user's finger/toe.
Further shown in FIG. 1 is a hood 22. Hood 22 is preferably located over disk 14, preferably covering its top and sides, for preventing nail dust from spreading in all directions while trimming the nail. In a preferred embodiment, hood 22 is openly pivotable and/or removably attached to device 10 so that disk 14 may be cleaned and/or replaced, when necessary, and/or so that hood 22 may be cleaned (see, FIGS. 3 and 4). FIG. 3 shows hood 22 in its openly pivotable condition, while FIG. 4 shows a removable hood 22. It is also anticipated herein that hood 22 may both pivot and be removed. It is also anticipated, although not shown herein, that only the top of hood 22 may be pivotally openable and/or removable, leaving its sides in place on device 10. Other constructions may of course also be available and as such the nature and manner of how hood 22 is shown to be pivoted and/or removed is not meant to be read herein in a limiting manner.
The figures also show a dust and clippings catcher 24. As illustrated in more detail in FIG. 4, catcher 24 is preferably an elongate container having a cavity 25 extending longitudinally therein, whose elongate shape is meant to extend along the longitudinal length of device 10. In one ornamental embodiment of device 10 shown in the figures, a top of catcher 24 is rounded or semi-circular in shape. Of course, however, other shapes are anticipated so that any ornamental configuration is achievable.
Catcher 24 is removably attached to housing 12 of device 10 by, for example, sliding rails 27 (FIG. 4A) which extend from a bottom surface 21 of catcher 24 along the length of device 10 within channel guides 50 (FIG. 4) located on a top surface 52 of housing 12, until catcher 24 is firmly in place. Catcher 24 may also be removably attached to housing 12 by any other known construction, including but not limited to, removably securing protrusions 29 (FIG. 4B) extending downward from catcher 24's bottom surface 21 into receiving openings (not shown) located on surface 52 of housing 12. Nail dust and/or clippings from a person's use of device 10 are substantially caught in the cavity of catcher 24. Catcher 24 can be emptied when removed from device 10 as mentioned above. Catcher 24 is removably secured to housing 12 by other known constructions, including but not limited to, Velcro or other known manners of connecting such structures together and nothing herein is meant to be read in a limiting sense.
Additionally illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 6 is a switch 26 for completing the circuit between one or more batteries or power source 28 and motor 30. The schematic diagram of the circuit is shown in FIG. 5. Variable resistor 32 adjusts the speed of disk 14 in accordance with one feature of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is an illustration of a preferred schematic diagram showing the interconnection of the internal components of device 10. It should be understood herein that other configurations and arrangements and use of other components is also anticipated by the invention. Power source 28, representatively shown as 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries preferably having at least 1100 mAh each, is connected at its positive and negative terminals to wires 34. One of the wires is connected to motor 30 and the other wire is connected to switch 26 for activating device 10. Further, motor 30 includes a drive shaft 36 attached to a drive gear 38. Situated at approximately a 90-degree angle to drive shaft 36 and drive gear 38 is an action gear 40 attached to a disk shaft 42. Disk 14 is attached to disk shaft 42 in a removable manner but secured in order to prevent it from disengaging during operation of device 10. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a magnet can hold disk 14 in place through a coupling force with a ferromagnetic material of disk shaft 42. This is in addition to disk 14 being snapped into place for operating device 10.
In operation, the appropriate disk is selected by a user for the desired operation. The user then attaches disk 14 onto shaft 42 and activates the device by turning on switch 26. Switch 26 completes the electric circuit from power source 28 to motor 30, thereby starting the motor which, in turn, causes drive shaft 36 to rotate, further causing gear 38 to cause gear 40 to rotate, thereby causing disk 14 to spin. The user brings a nail into contact with the rotating disk for filing, sanding or buffing his/her nail. Device 10 may be easily maneuvered to be oriented in various positions and at various angles with respect to the nail to achieve a nearly professional performance.
Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the constructions, principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.