Title:
FLUID DRIVEN TOOTHBRUSH
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fluid driven toothbrush includes: a brush-mounting shank defining a fluid channel and a disc-receiving chamber that is in fluid communication with the fluid channel and that is defined by a chamber-defining surface; and a brush head including a disc that extends axially and rotatably into the disc-receiving chamber and that is rotatable about a rotation axis. The brush head further includes a plurality of angularly disposed vanes centered at the rotation axis, protruding axially from the disc, and disposed in the disc-receiving chamber. Each of the vanes has a free end face in sliding contact with the chamber-defining surface of the disc-receiving chamber. The fluid channel has a curved discharging end section extending in a tangential direction relative to the disc so as to generate a tangential flow in the disc-receiving chamber.



Inventors:
Tsai, Chung-ting (Taichung, TW)
Application Number:
11/561941
Publication Date:
05/24/2007
Filing Date:
11/21/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A46B13/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANT, ALVIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DARBY & DARBY P.C. (P. O. BOX 5257, NEW YORK, NY, 10150-5257, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fluid driven toothbrush comprising: a brush-mounting shank defining a fluid channel and a disc-receiving chamber that is in fluid communication with said fluid channel and that is defined by a chamber-defining surface; and a brush head including a disc that extends axially and rotatably into said disc-receiving chamber and that is rotatable about a rotation axis, said brush head further including a plurality of angularly disposed vanes centered at the rotation axis, protruding axially from said disc, and disposed in said disc-receiving chamber; wherein each of said vanes has a free end face in sliding contact with said chamber-defining surface of said disc-receiving chamber; and wherein said fluid channel has a curved discharging end section terminated at said disc-receiving chamber and extending in a tangential direction relative to said disc so as to generate a tangential flow in said disc-receiving chamber to push said vanes in sequence to thereby rotate said disc.

2. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 1, wherein each of said vanes has a first axial end connected to said disc, and a second axial end opposite to said first axial end, and is formed with a recess extending axially from said second axial end to said first axial end and radially from said free end face toward the rotation axis, said disc being formed with a plurality of jet holes, each of which is axially aligned and is in fluid communication with said recess in a respective one of said vanes.

3. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 2, wherein said fluid channel is defined by a channel-defining surface that has a discharging end edge, said discharging end edge having a leading edge portion and a trailing edge portion with respect to a flowing direction of the tangential flow, said free end face of each of said vanes having a trailing edge with respect to the flowing direction of the tangential flow, said recess in each of said vanes being defined by a recess-defining surface that extends inwardly from said trailing edge of said free end face of the respective one of said vanes, said recess-defining surface of said recess in each of said vanes facing toward and being aligned with said discharging end edge of said channel-defining surface of said fluid channel in the tangential direction when said trailing edge of said free end face of the respective one of said vanes coincides with said leading edge portion of said discharging end edge of said channel-defining surface.

4. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 1, further comprising a handle connected detachably to said brush-mounting shank and formed with a fluid passage that is in fluid communication with said fluid channel.

5. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 4, wherein said handle has a connecting end portion that is formed with an inner retaining groove, said brush-mounting shank having a connecting end portion that extends into said connecting end portion of said handle and that is formed with a retaining boss engaging said inner retaining groove in said connecting end portion of said handle.

6. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 5, further comprising a regulator valve that is mounted in said fluid passage in said handle.

7. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 5, wherein said brush-mounting shank further has a circular end portion opposite to said connecting end portion and defining said disc-receiving chamber.

8. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 7, wherein said brush head further includes a cylindrical shaft that defines the rotation axis and that is formed with an axially extending inner threaded hole, and a cylindrical central sleeve that projects axially from said disc and that is sleeved rotatably on said shaft, each of said vanes extending radially from said central sleeve toward said chamber-defining surface of said disc-receiving chamber, said circular end portion of said brush-mounting shank having a base wall that has a peripheral edge, and a surrounding wall that extends axially from said peripheral edge of said base wall, said discharging end section of said fluid channel terminated at said surrounding wall of said circular end portion, said fluid driven toothbrush further comprising a fastener extending through said base wall of said circular end portion of said brush-mounting shank to engage threadedly said inner threaded hole in said shaft.

9. The fluid driven toothbrush of claim 1, wherein said discharging end section of said fluid channel is tapered toward said disc-receiving chamber.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Taiwanese Application No. 094220374, filed on Nov. 24, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a fluid driven toothbrush, more particularly to a fluid driven toothbrush including a disc that is provided with bristles and that is driven to rotate by a tangentially flowing fluid.

2. Description of the Related Art

FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional toothbrush that includes a hollow handle 11, a battery unit 14, a motor 15 connected electrically to the battery unit 14 and having an output shaft that is provided with a cam 151, a lever 16 connected to an urging member 162 and driven by the cam 151 to swing back and forth, an elastic tube 12 connected to an open end of the handle 11 and in contact with the lever 16 so as to vibrate when the lever 16 swings back and forth, and a brush head 13 provided with bristles 131 and connected to the elastic tube 12 so as to co-vibrate with the elastic tube 12.

FIG. 2 illustrates an oral irrigator that includes a seat 21, a water container 22 formed on the seat 21 and provided with a cylinder-and-piston assembly 23, an irrigator jet tip 243, and an irrigator handle 242 connected to the water container 22 through a tube 241.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide a fluid driven toothbrush including a brush head that is capable of being driven to rotate by an injected fluid flow without using electrical power as required by the aforesaid conventional toothbrush.

According to this invention, there is provided a fluid driven toothbrush that comprises: a brush-mounting shank defining a fluid channel and a disc-receiving chamber that is in fluid communication with the fluid channel and that is defined by a chamber-defining surface; and a brush head including a disc that extends axially and rotatably into the disc-receiving chamber and that is rotatable about a rotation axis. The brush head further includes a plurality of angularly disposed vanes centered at the rotation axis, protruding axially from the disc, and disposed in the disc-receiving chamber. Each of the vanes has a free end face in sliding contact with the chamber-defining surface of the disc-receiving chamber. The fluid channel has a curved discharging end section terminated at the disc-receiving chamber and extending in a tangential direction relative to the disc so as to generate a tangential flow in the disc-receiving chamber to push the vanes in sequence to thereby rotate the disc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a conventional toothbrush;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a conventional oral irrigator;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of a fluid driven toothbrush according to this invention for connecting to a faucet;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating how a brush-mounting shank engages a handle of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating how a flow rate can be controlled through a regulator valve mounted in the handle of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating the configuration of a brush head of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view of the preferred embodiment viewed from a radial direction;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along lines IX-IX in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along lines X-X in FIG. 8;

FIGS. 11 and 12 are fragmentary sectional views to illustrate how the brush head is driven to rotate by a fluid flow and how the fluid flow flows through the brush head; and

FIGS. 13 and 14 are fragmentary schematic views to illustrate the preferred embodiment in a state of use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 3 to 8 illustrate the preferred embodiment of a fluid driven toothbrush according to this invention connected to a faucet 100 through a hose 32 and a connector 200. The connector 200 has first and second outlet ports 201, 202 and a two-way valve 203 for controlling discharge of the fluid flow through a selected one of the first outlet port 201 and the second outlet port 202.

The fluid driven toothbrush includes: a brush-mounting shank 41 defining a fluid channel 414 (see FIG. 8) and a disc-receiving chamber 413 (see FIG. 4) that is in fluid communication with the fluid channel 414 and that is defined by a chamber-defining surface 413′; and a brush head 50 including a disc 51 (see FIG. 7) that extends axially and rotatably into the disc-receiving chamber 413 and that is rotatable about a rotation axis (Z). The brush head 50 further includes a plurality of angularly disposed vanes 512 centered at the rotation axis (Z), protruding axially from the disc 51, and disposed in the disc-receiving chamber 413. Each of the vanes 512 has a free end face 510 in sliding contact with the chamber-defining surface 413′ of the disc-receiving chamber 413 (see FIGS. 7 and 9). The fluid channel 414 has a curved discharging end section 415 (see FIG. 9) terminated at the disc-receiving chamber 413 and extending in a tangential direction relative to the disc 51 so as to generate a tangential flow in the disc-receiving chamber 413 to push the vanes 512 in sequence to thereby rotate the disc 51. The discharging end section 415 of the fluid channel 414 is tapered toward the disc-receiving chamber 413, thereby increasing the pushing force of the fluid flow acting on the vanes 512.

In this embodiment, each of the vanes 512 has a first axial end 5125 (see FIG. 7) connected to the disc 51, and a second axial end 5126 opposite to the first axial end 5125, and is formed with a recess 5121 extending axially from the second axial end 5126 to the first axial end 5125 and radially from the free end face 510 toward the rotation axis (Z). The disc 51 is formed with a plurality of jet holes 5112, each of which is axially aligned and is in fluid communication with the recess 5121 in a respective one of the vanes 512 (see FIG. 8). The disc 51 is provided with bristles 53 (see FIGS. 4, 8, and 10) disposed opposite to the vanes 512. A flange 511 extends radially from the disc 51 so as to define a shoulder 517 therebetween. The chamber-defining surface 413′ is formed with a neck 417 that is in sliding contact with the shoulder 517 (see FIG. 8).

The fluid channel 414 is defined by a channel-defining surface 414′ (see FIGS. 8 and 9) that has a discharging end edge 416. The discharging end edge 416 has a leading edge portion 4161 and a trailing edge portion 4162 (see FIG. 9) with respect to a flowing direction of the tangential flow. The free end face 510 of each of the vanes 512 has a trailing edge 5101 with respect to the flowing direction of the tangential flow. The recess 5121 in each of the vanes 512 is defined by a recess-defining surface 5121′ (see FIG. 7) that extends inwardly from the trailing edge 5101 of the free end face 510 of the respective one of the vanes 512. The recess-defining surface 5121′ of the recess 5121 in each of the vanes 512 faces toward and is aligned with the discharging end edge 416 of the channel-defining surface 414′ of the fluid channel 414 in the tangential direction with respect to the disc 51 when the trailing edge 5101 of the free end face 510 of the respective one of the vanes 512 coincides with the leading edge portion 4161 of the discharging end edge 416 of the channel-defining surface 414 (see FIG. 9), there by guiding the fluid flow through the respective jet hole 5112 in the disc 51.

A handle 31 is connected detachably to the brush-mounting shank 41 (see FIGS. 4 and 5), and is formed with a fluid passage 314 that is in fluid communication with the fluid channel 414. The handle 31 has a connecting end portion 313 that is formed with an inner retaining groove 315. The brush-mounting shank 41 has a connecting end portion 411 that extends into the connecting end portion 313 of the handle 31 and that is formed with a retaining boss 4111 engaging the inner retaining groove 315 in the connecting end portion 313 of the handle 31. A regulator valve 33 (see FIG. 6) is mounted in the fluid passage 314 in the handle 31, and is in the form of a ball valve.

The brush-mounting shank 41 further has a circular end portion 412 opposite to the connecting end portion 411 and defining the disc-receiving chamber 413. The brush head 50 further includes a cylindrical shaft 55 (see FIGS. 4, 7, and 8) that defines the rotation axis (Z) and that is formed with an axially extending inner threaded hole 551, and a cylindrical central sleeve 518 that projects axially from the disc 51 and that is sleeved rotatably on the shaft 55. Each of the vanes 512 extends radially from the central sleeve 518 toward the chamber-defining surface 413′ of the disc-receiving chamber 413. The circular end portion 412 of the brush-mounting shank 41 has a base wall 4121 (see FIG. 8) that has a peripheral edge, and a surrounding wall 4122 that extends axially from the peripheral edge of the base wall 4121. The discharging end section 415 of the fluid channel 414 terminates at the surrounding wall 4122 of the circular end portion 412 of the brush-mounting shank 41. A fastener 52 extends through the base wall 4121 of the circular end portion 412 of the brush-mounting shank 41 to engage threadedly the inner threaded hole 551 in the shaft 55.

FIGS. 11 to 14, in combination with FIGS. 3 and 9, illustrate how the fluid driven toothbrush brushes and rinses simultaneously the teeth when in a state of use. In operation, tap water flows through the fluid passage 314 in the handle 31 and the fluid channel 414 in the brush-mounting shank 41 and into the disc-receiving chamber 413, and pushes the vanes 512 in sequence to rotate the brush head 50 (see FIG. 11), thereby enabling brushing of the teeth. At the same time, the tap water further flows through the jet holes 5112 so as to generate water jets to rinse and clean the teeth during brushing (see FIGS. 12, 13, and 14).

By virtue of the design of the vanes 512 and the discharging end section 415 of the fluid channel 414 extending in the tangential direction, the fluid driven toothbrush of this invention can be used to brush teeth efficiently. Moreover, with the inclusion of the jet holes 5112 in the disc 51 of the brush head 50, the fluid driven toothbrush of this invention is capable of perform brushing and rinsing simultaneously.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.