Title:
Apparatus and method for stripping floor surfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus is provided including a motor, a belt that rotates in response to the motor, an extension arm, and a scrub head attached to the extension arm. The scrub head oscillates back in forth in response to rotation of the belt. The scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of one or more cleaning pads. The cleaning pads may be doodlebug pads. A method is provided comprising causing a belt to rotate in response to a motor; and causing a scrub head attached to an extension arm to oscillate back and forth in response to rotation of the belt.



Inventors:
Zahner, Greg (Spring Hope, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/212538
Publication Date:
02/05/2004
Filing Date:
08/05/2002
Assignee:
ZAHNER GREG
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/52.2, 15/98
International Classes:
A47L11/12; (IPC1-7): A47L11/12
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Walter J. Tencza Jr. (Metuchen, NJ, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An apparatus comprising: a motor; a belt, which rotates in response to the motor; an extension arm; and a scrub head attached to the extension arm; and wherein the scrub head oscillates back in forth in response to rotation of the belt.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of one or more cleaning pads.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of one or more doodlebug pads.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of a baseboard cleaning pad and a sandpaper cleaning pad.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprised of a cleaning pad attached to the scrub head.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein wherein the cleaning pad is a sandpaper pad.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein wherein the cleaning pad is a brush.

8. A method comprising the steps of: causing a belt to rotate in response to a motor; and causing a scrub head attached to an extension arm to oscillate back and forth in response to rotation of the belt.

9. The method of claim 4 wherein the scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of one or more cleaning pads.

10. The method of claim 5 wherein the scrub head is adapted to allow the attachment of one or more doodlebug pads.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the scrub head is attached to a cleaning pad.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the cleaning pad is a sandpaper pad.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein the cleaning pad is a brush.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to improved methods and apparatus for stripping, cleaning, scrubbing or sanding floor surfaces and their adjacent edges.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Typically in the prior art floor surfaces are sanded or stripped by machines, which rotate circular abrasive pads, brushes or sandpaper. However, in certain applications parts of the floor close to a wall are typically stripped by hand using what is known as a doodlebug pad. These pads are typically square or rectangular and are attached to a long pole that is maneuvered in a back and forth motion by a person using the doodlebug pad. This is very labor intensive, taking a long time to accomplish and often the results are only marginal in quality at best. Others will use steel wool to do the edges or even a grill cleaning pad. So a need exists to automate the process of doodlebugging on various floor surfaces. Also in the area of floor care the baseboards tend to be ignored because there is no real way to do them, except manually by hand. This is very intensive and requires much labor. There is a need to do it quicker and cheaper.

[0003] Also in tile cleaning with grout, i.e. bathrooms, commercial kitchens etc., cleaning of these areas is done by a brush and solely by manual labor. This is an arduous and poor quality process. While there are some grout cleaning machines, none address the need of the edges of grout tile laid floors or their adjoining baseboard areas.

[0004] Typically in the prior art, wood floor edges are the worst part of the job. Current machines still have about ⅛ to ¼ of the edge unsanded. Also the wood baseboards are often destroyed and /or need replacement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention automates the process of stripping, cleaning or refinishing the parts of a floor nearest walls or edges. Unlike prior art machines, the present invention provides an apparatus and method, which allows doodlebugging of all edges and their adjoining ninety degree perpendicular surfaces, as well as full extension to allow complete exposure of all open ended displays. An apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, may include an extension arm, which may have at least two optional lengths to give at least two different reaches. An apparatus in accordance with the present invention gets to absolute edges. In one embodiment, an apparatus is provided including a four head attachment comprised of first, second, third, and fourth heads. The first head may be used for tile edges or any other edge surface. The second head may be used on edges as well as baseboards. The third head may be used to clean grout laid tile. The third head may clean the grout as well as the ceramic tile. The fourth head may be used to sand wood floors. In one embodiment of the present invention, a twenty-four volt battery may power the apparatus, which is particularly applicable to the floor care industry. In another embodiment, the apparatus may be powered by 110 volt alternating current from a standard electrical outlet, which may be particularly applicable to the rental industry, or hospitals. The apparatus may have adjustable ergonomic handles for comfort. The entire head assembly may use double sealed ball bearings.

[0006] The apparatus in embodiment includes crank bearings mounted inside a swivel bearing. This arrangement results in a low profile head assembly. The apparatus may also include an extension arm, which in conjunction with a low profile head may allow the apparatus to reach under equipment for cleaning. The apparatus may include a shuttle block, which has threaded inserts for allowing easy attachment of a scrubbing pad holder and optional attachments. The apparatus may include shuttle bearings which ride within hardened steel rails and a hardened steel top plate, which provide a robust mechanism and a long life. The apparatus may include a handle with slotted holes, which allows for easy adjustment for operators of different heights.

[0007] An apparatus in one embodiment is provided comprising a motor, a belt that rotates in response to the motor, an extension arm, and a scrub head attached to the extension arm. The scrub head oscillates back in forth in response to rotation of the belt. The scrub head may be adapted to allow the attachment of one or more cleaning pads, which may be doodlebug pads. A method is provided comprising the steps of causing a belt to rotate in response to a motor, and causing a scrub head attached to an extension arm to oscillate back and forth in response to rotation of the belt.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0009] FIG. 2 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0010] FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 4 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 5 shows perspective views of an edge scrubber along with optional attachments; and

[0013] FIG. 6 shows a cross section of an assembled head portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1. the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an apparatus 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 shows an exploded perspective view of the apparatus of 10 FIG. 1. FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of some components of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0015] The apparatus 10 includes a handle 12, a main cover 25, a motor 60, a chassis plate 62, a cover belt drive 38, a v-belt 64, an extension arm 36, and an edge scrubber 42. The v-belt 64 refers to the cross sectional shape of the belt meaning that it is not square, but has tapered sides which provide greater gripping power. FIG. 2 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1. FIG. 2 shows a lid 210, a charger 212, cover screw 214, cover mount 216, battery 218, and battery bracket 220, as well as other components which have been or will be described.

[0016] The handle 12 includes arms 13 and 14, and members 16, 18, and 20. The arms 13 and 14 are fixed at opposite ends of the member 16. The member 16 is substantially perpendicular to members 18 and 20. The member 16 has a first end fixed to member 18 and a second end fixed to member 20. The handle 12 is fixed to the main cover 25 by knobs, screws, or bolts 21, 23, 22, and 24 which can be inserted through holes in the handle 12, then through holes in the main cover 25, and then inserted into threaded holes in nut plates 50 and 52, as shown by FIGS. 1 and 2. The main cover 25 is comprised of portion 26, which covers the battery not shown for powering the motor 60 and portion 34, which covers the motor 60.

[0017] The motor 60 is fixed to the chassis plate 62 by screws, bolts, and/or nuts. The chassis plate 62 is fixed to the bottom of main cover 25 so that motor 60 lies inside portion 34. The portion 34 and the chassis plate 62 form a chamber in which the motor 60 resides. Bracket 28 and another opposing bracket are rotatably connected to chassis plate 62 by screws 28a and a similar screw for the opposing bracket. Bracket 28 and the opposing bracket, not shown, are rotatably connected to wheel 32 and an opposing wheel not shown, by pin 30 and a similar pin, not shown, respectively.

[0018] The extension arm 36 is fixed to the bottom of the chassis plate 62 by screws 36a and 36b which are inserted through holes in extension arm 36, then through holes in spacer blocks 66a and 66b respectively, and then through holes 62a and 62b in the chassis plate 62. The belt drive cover 38 is fixed to the extension arm 36 by screws 38a, 38b, 38c, and 38d inserted through holes in the cover 38 and in the extension arm 36.

[0019] The edge scrubber 42 has a portion of it inserted through the hole 37a of the extension arm 36. The edge scrubber 42 is fixed to the bearing 72. The bearing 72 is connected to one end of the belt 64. The other end of the belt 64 is connected to the motor 60. The motor 60 can cause the belt 64 to rotate in the directions D1 and D2 shown by FIGS. 1 and 3, which causes the edge scrubber 42 to oscillate back and forth in the directions D3 and D4 shown in FIG. 1.

[0020] The flange 108a on the crank shaft 108b has a crank bearing 108c mounted off-center (eccentric) to its rotational axis. The crank bearing 108c fits within a slot 103d in the cam 103 that is fastened to the shuttle 102. As the crank bearing 108c orbits the crank shaft 108b axis, it is allowed to move freely in the direction of the slot 103d, while maintaining contact with sides 103b and 103c of the cam 103. The shuttle bearings 130a-d on each side of the shuttle 102 ride within fixed rails 104a and 104b, and restrict output motion of the shuttle 102 to an oscillating motion.

[0021] The spring 76 is attached to the pivot arm tensioner 74 and the spring 76 maintains proper belt tension, for the belt 64, by forcing the tensioner idler bearing 68 against the belt 64. The tensioner bearing pin 70 is attached to the tensioner arm 74 and reaches thru the extension arm 36. The tensioner idler bearing 68 is pressed onto the tensioner bearing pin 70.

[0022] FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 shows a shoulder spring screw 224, a shoulder spring screw 226, a shoulder screw tensioner pivot 228, a screw head swivel stop 230, a bearing retaining screw 232, and bushings 222a, 222b, and 222c, which may be made of bronze, which are used to take out slack and can be manually manipulated to take out extra slack on stretched belts. FIG. 4 shows an exploded perspective view of some of the components of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1, including an exploded view of the edge scrubber 42. The edge scrubber 42 that is shown in assembled form in FIG. 5, includes all the components shown in FIG. 4 except the plate 101, and pads 135 and 136. FIG. 6 shows a cross section of an assembled head portion of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1 of the present invention.

[0023] The edge scrubber 42 or also called head with scrub pad removed, includes a pad mount plate 101, a shuttle block 102, a cam block 103, shuttle rails 104a and 104b, a top plate head 105, wear strips 106a and 106b, bearing housing 107, crank 108, two shuttle bearing pins 109 including 109a, a pulley crank 123, two bearing cranks 128a and 128b, a scrub pad 135, a pad facing 136, a retaining ring 140, a retaining ring 141, a retaining ring 142, a thrust washer 202, a crank retaining ring 204, a retaining pin 206, a ring 208a, a ring 208b, and a screw head swivel stop 240. The retaining ring 140 holds the bearing housing 107 on the swivel bearing 72. The retaining rings 141 and 142 hold the crank bearings 128a and 128b in the bearing housing 107.

[0024] The swivel bearing 72 is installed into the extension arm 36 and held by screws. Bearings 128a and 128b are installed in the bearing housing 107 and held by retaining rings 141 and 142. Bearing housing 107 is assembled to the top plate 105 with screws 107a. Thrust washer 202, shown in FIG. 4, is placed onto the bearing housing 107 and the thrust washer 202 and the bearing housing 107 are then installed into the swivel bearing 72, and held by retaining ring 140. Bearing 129 is pressed into an eccentric pin (not shown) on the crank 108 and then the bearing 129, eccentric pin, and the crank 108 are installed into the crank bearings 128a and 128b and held by retaining ring 204, shown in FIG. 4. Cam block 103 is assembled to the shuttle 102 with screws 103a. Bearing pins 109a and 109b are installed in the shuttle 102 and retained by pin 206. Spacers 132a and 132b and bearings 130a and 130b are placed onto pins 109a and 109b and retained by rings 208a and 208b, respectively. Wear strips 106a and 106b are assembled to the shuttle 102 and held by screws 106c. The shuttle block or assembly 102 is positioned under top plate 105 and in between rails 104a and 104b are then assembled to the top plate 105 with screws 105a. The pad mounting plate 101 is assembled to the shuttle 102 with screws 101a. The pad facing 136 is adhered to the pad mounting plate 101 with a special chemical resistant adhesive. Scrub pad 135 is a commercial part known as a “doodlebug” pad or utility pad and attaches to the pad facing 136 by means of hooks on the pad facing 136 grabbing the loops of the scrub pad 135 (or vice versa).

[0025] FIG. 5, shows an edge scrubber 42, an optional brush attachment or cleaning pad 160, an optional baseboard attachment or cleaning pad 180 and an optional sandpaper attachment or cleaning pad 170. The edge scrubber 42 includes shuttle 102 and rails 104a and 104b, top plate 105, and various other components shown in FIG. 5. Optional brush attachment head 160 can be used to scrub grout on tile floors. Optional baseboard attachment 180 can be used to hold the scrub pad 135 perpendicular to the floor and is used to clean baseboards. Optional sandpaper attachment 170 is used to sand wood floors. All optional attachments or attachment heads, such as 160, 170 or 180, are assembled to the shuttle 102 with screws, similar to as shown in FIG. 4 for the pad mounting plate 101 attached to the shuttle 102.

[0026] FIG. 6 shows a cross section of a head portion of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1. The present invention automates the process of stripping, cleaning or refinishing the parts of a floor nearest walls or edges.

[0027] An apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, such as apparatus 10, may include an extension arm, such as arm 36 in FIG. 3, which may have two optional lengths, to give both a twenty-two inch reach and a twenty-eight inch reach. An apparatus in accordance with the present invention gets to absolute edges. In one embodiment, an apparatus 10 is provided including a four separate and individual head attachments, allowing complete versatility of the machine. The first head attachment may be used for tile edges. The second head attachment may be used for edges as well as the baseboards. The third head attachment may be used to clean grout laid tile. The third head attachment or pad may clean grout as well as ceramic tile. The fourth head attachment may be used to sand wood floors. In one embodiment of the present invention, a twenty-four volt battery may power the apparatus, such as apparatus 10, which is particularly applicable to the floor care industry. In another embodiment, the apparatus may be powered by 110-volt alternating current from a standard electrical outlet, which may be particularly applicable to the rental industry, or hospitals. The apparatus may have adjustable ergonomic handles, such as shown in FIG. 2, for comfort. The entire head assembly may use double sealed ball bearings.

[0028] The apparatus in embodiment includes crank bearings mounted inside a swivel bearing. This arrangement results in a low profile head assembly. The apparatus, such as apparatus 10 may also include an extension arm such as arm 36 in FIG. 2, which in conjunction with a low profile head may allow the apparatus 10 to reach under fixtures for cleaning. The apparatus 10 may include a shuttle block such as block 102, which has threaded inserts for allowing easy attachment of a scrubbing pad holder, such as pad holder 101 and optional attachments, such as attachments 160, 170 and 180 in FIG. 5. The apparatus 10 may include shuttle bearings which ride within hardened steel rails 104a and 104b and a hardened steel top plate 105, which provide a robust mechanism and a long life. The apparatus 10 may include a handle with slotted holes, which allows for easy adjustment for operators of different heights.

[0029] Although the invention has been described by reference to particular illustrative embodiments thereof, many changes and modifications of the invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to include within this patent all such changes and modifications as may reasonably and properly be included within the scope of the present invention's contribution to the art.