Title:
Balance ring attachment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A balance ring attachment with a spinner basket having an annular upper edge surrounding an opening therein. The spinner basket has a first cam surface adjacent the annular upper edge. A balance ring is sized to fit and register with the annular upper edge of the spinner basket. The balance ring has a second cam surface retentively engaging the first cam surface for attaching the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.



Inventors:
Hartwig, James J. (Monroe, IA, US)
Application Number:
10/357683
Publication Date:
08/05/2004
Filing Date:
02/03/2003
Assignee:
HARTWIG JAMES J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/456
International Classes:
D06F37/24; (IPC1-7): D06F29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ADHLAKHA, RITA P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCKEE, VOORHEES & SEASE, P.L.C. (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A combination comprising: a spinner basket having an annular upper edge surrounding an opening therein; the spinner basket having a first cam surface adjacent the annular upper edge; a balance ring sized to fit and register with the annular upper edge of the spinner basket; the balance ring having a second cam surface retentively engaging the first cam surface for attaching the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.

2. The combination of claim 1 further comprising a toothed member on one of the spinner basket and balance ring and a first tab on the other of the spinner basket and balance ring, the toothed member and the first tab retentively engaging for attaching the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.

3. The combination of claim 2 further comprising a ribbed-structure member on one of the spinner basket and balance ring and a second tab on the other of the spinner basket and balance ring, the ribbed-structure member and the second tab retentively engaging for attaching the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.

4. The combination of claim 3 further comprising a circumferal rib extending from the spinner basket and a bottom surface of the balance ring, the circumferal rib and the bottom surface contacting to prevent downward movement of the balance ring relative to the spinner basket.

5. The combination of claim 4 further comprising the first cam surface and the second cam surface preventing rotational movement of the balance ring about the spinner basket.

6. The combination of claim 5 further comprising the first cam surface and the second cam surface preventing radial movement of the balance ring within the spinner basket.

7. The combination of claim 6 further comprising the toothed member and the first tab preventing rotational movement of the balance ring about the spinner basket.

8. The combination of claim 7 further comprising the ribbed-structure member and the second tab preventing axial movement of the balance ring about the spinner basket.

9. A combination comprising: a spinner basket having an annular upper edge surrounding an opening therein; a balance ring having an inner annular surface and an outer annular surface; the balance ring being positioned within the annular upper edge with the outer annular surface of the balance ring contacting the annular upper edge of the spinner basket and inner annular surface of the balance ring being spaced in an inward radial direction from the annular upper edge of the spinner basket; the annular upper edge of the spinner basket having a first lock member; the outer annular surface of the balance ring having a second lock member; the first and second lock members retentively engaging one another to attach the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.

10. The combination of claim 9 the first and second lock members each comprising first and second flanges respectively.

11. The combination of claim 10 the first and second flanges each having an axially facing surface, the axially facing surface of the first flange engaging the axially facing surface of the second flange to prevent rotational moment of the balance ring with respect to the spinner basket.

12. The combination of claim 11 the upper annular edge of the spinner basket having a third lock member thereon and the outer annular surface of the balance ring having a fourth lock member thereon, the third and fourth lock members retentively engaging one another to prevent axial movement of the balance ring with respect to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket.

13. The combination of claim 12 the third lock member comprising a horizontal tab with a proximally facing surface member and the fourth lock comprising a ribbed-structure member with a proximally facing surface, the proximally facing surface of the horizontal tab engaging the proximally facing surface of the ribbed-structure member to prevent axial movement.

14. The combination of claim 9 further comprising a first cam surface adjacent the annular upper edge of the spinner basket and a second cam surface on the balance ring retentively engaging the first cam surface.

15. The combination of claim 14 further comprising the first cam surface and the second cam surface centering the balance ring about the spinner basket.

16. A method for attaching a balance ring to an upper annular edge of a spinner basket, the upper annular edge surrounding an access opening providing access into the spinner basket, the method comprising: moving a balance ring adjacent the upper annular edge of the spinner basket, the balance ring having a first cam surface thereon and the spinner basket having a second cam surface thereon; rotating the balance ring relative to the upper annular edge of the spinner basket to a locked position wherein the first and second cam surfaces retentively engage one another to attach the balance ring to the spinner basket.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the balance ring and the spinner basket include first and second lock members respectively, the rotating step further comprising moving the first and second lock members into retentive engagement with one another.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the balance ring and the spinner basket include third and fourth lock members respectively, the rotating step further comprising moving the third and fourth lock members into retentive engagement with one another.

19. The method of claim 18 further comprising the step using the first and second cam surfaces to center the balance ring within the spinner basket, using the first and second lock members to prevent circumferential movement of the balance ring relative to the spinner basket, using the third and fourth lock members to prevent axial movement of the balance ring away from the spinner basket.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to an attachment mechanism between a spinner basket of a washing machine and a balance ring.

[0002] An objective of the present invention is to provide a spinner basket and balance ring assembly that centers the balance ring upon the basket spinner when assembled.

[0003] A further objective of the present invention is to provide a locking mechanism that prevents axial movement of the balance ring relative to the spinner basket.

[0004] A still further objective of the present invention is to provide a spinner basket and balance ring attachment that prevents radial movement of the balance ring relative to the spinner basket.

[0005] A still further objective of the present invention is to provide a device which is easy to use and economical to manufacture.

[0006] The means and method of accomplishing these and other objectives will become apparent from the following description of the invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The foregoing objects may be achieved by a combination comprising a spinner basket having an annular upper edge surrounding an opening therein. The spinner basket has a first cam surface adjacent the annular upper edge. A balance ring is sized to fit and register with the annular upper edge of the spinner basket. The balance ring has a second cam surface retentively engaging the first cam surface for limiting a first direction rotation of the balance ring with respect to the spinner basket. In addition, engagement of the first and second cam surfaces causes the balance ring to be centered wthin the spinner basket.

[0008] The foregoing objects may also be achieved by a combination of a spinner basket having an annular upper edge surrounding an opening therein. A balance ring has an inner annular surface and an outer annular surface. The balance ring is positioned within the annular upper edge with the outer annular surface of the balance ring contacting the annular upper edge of the spinner basket and the inner annular surface of the balance ring is spaced in an inward radial direction from the annular upper edge of the spinner basket. The annular upper edge of the spinner basket has a first lock member. The outer annular surface of the balance ring has a second lock member. The first and second lock members retentively engage one another to attach the balance ring to the annular upper edge of the spinner basket and prevent relative movement of the balance ring in the second rotational direction.

[0009] The foregoing objects may also be achieved by attaching a balance ring to an upper annular edge of a spinner basket. The method involves moving a balance ring adjacent the upper annular edge of the spinner basket. The balance ring has a first cam surface thereon and the spinner basket has a second cam surface thereon. The balance ring rotates relative to the upper annular edge of the spinner basket into a locked position wherein the first and second cam surface retentively engage one another. This locked position is created by the retentive engagement of the first lock member with the second lock member. The combined engagement of the cam surfaces and the lock members prevents rotation of the balance ring with respect to the spinner basket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a washing machine showing the spinner basket and balance ring assembly of the present invention mounted within the cabinet of the washing machine.

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the spinner basket and balance ring attached together.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a perspective assembly view of the device of FIG. 2 showing the cam surfaces and the lock members of the spinner basket and the balance ring, respectively, in alignment.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 2 showing the cam surfaces and the lock members of the spinner basket and the balance ring in locking engagement.

[0014] FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the device of FIG. 3 showing the balance ring cam surface and lock members.

[0015] FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the device of FIG. 3 showing the spinner basket cam surface and lock members.

[0016] FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of the device of FIG. 4 having the outer surface of the spinner basket in dashed line and showing the cam surfaces and the lock members of the spinner basket and balance ring in locking engagement.

[0017] FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the device of FIG. 3 showing the balance ring cam surface and an alternate embodiment of the lock members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] With reference to the drawings a washing machine 4 includes a cabinet 6, a control panel 8, and a spinner basket and balance ring assembly or assembly 10. The cabinet 6 has an opening 12 in the top thereof, with a door 14 movable between open and closed positions relative to the opening 12. The spinner basket and balance ring assembly 10 has an opening 16 therein. A reversible drive motor 18 is mounted within the cabinet 6 and attaches to the spinner basket and balance ring assembly 10.

[0019] The above construction of the washing machine 4 is conventional and does not form a part of the present invention. The washing machine 4 may be a top loading, vertical axis washing machine. Alternatively, the washing machine 4 may be a front loading, horizontal axis washing machine.

[0020] The present invention is directed towards the spinner basket and balance ring assembly 10. Specifically, this invention relates to the spinner basket 20 and the balance ring 40 designed to be attached to one another and the method of attaching the spinner basket 20 to the balance ring 40.

[0021] The spinner basket 20 has an annular upper edge 22 surrounding the spinner basket 20 together forming an opening 16 into the assembly 10. The balance ring 40 fits and registers with the annular upper edge 22 of the spinner basket 20.

[0022] The spinner basket 20 receives balance ring 40. As seen in FIG. 3, there are cooperating members on the spinner basket 20 located at the annular upper edge or annular axial edge 22 that operate with cooperating members on the balance ring 40. These cooperating members are in mating engagement when the balance ring 40 is moved adjacent the annular upper edge 22 of the spinner basket 20 and the balance ring 40 rotated to engage cooperating members. The cooperating members for the spinner basket 20 involve a first cam surface, first cam, or first cam structure 24; a first lock member, first tab, or vertical tab 26; and a third lock member, second tab, or horizontal tab 32.

[0023] The first cam surface 24 is a portion of the spinner basket with decreasing radius. Alternatively, the first cam surface 24 is a ramp structure. Alternatively, the first cam surface 24 extends inward towards a centerline of the assembly 10. Alternatively, the first cam surface 24 may be any other structure known in the art that may engage another similarly shaped surface.

[0024] The first lock member 26 is a vertical tab. The first lock member 26 has a flange 28 and an axial facing surface 30. The first lock member 26 is formed by lancing a section of the spinner basket annular axial edge 22 and turning the lanced section inward towards the centerline of the assembly 10. Alternatively, the first lock member 26 may be made by other means known in the art.

[0025] The third lock member 32 is a horizontal tab. The third lock member 32 has a flange 34 and a proximal facing surface 36. The third lock member 32 is formed by lancing a section of the spinner basket annular axial edge 22 and turning the lanced section inward towards the centerline of the assembly 10. Alternatively, the third lock member 32 may be made by other means known in the art.

[0026] The spinner basket 20 has a circumferal rib 38. The circumferal rib 38 extends inwardly into the spinner basket 20.

[0027] The balance ring 40 fits within spinner basket 20. As seen in FIG. 3, there are cooperating members on the balance ring 40 located at the annular lower edge or annular axial edge 42 that operate with cooperating members on the spinner basket 20. These cooperating members are in mating engagement when the balance ring 40 is moved adjacent the annular upper edge 22 of the spinner basket 20 and the balance ring 40 is rotated to engage cooperating members. The cooperating members for the balance ring 40 involve a second cam surface, second cam, or second cam structure 44; a second lock member or toothed member 46; and a fourth lock member or ribbed-structure member 52.

[0028] The second cam surface 44 is a portion of the balance ring 40 with decreasing radius. Alternatively, the second cam surface 44 is a ramp structure. Alternatively, the second cam surface 44 extends inward towards a centerline of the assembly 10. Alternatively, the second cam surface 44 may be any other structure known in the art that may engage another similarly shaped surface.

[0029] Upon the balance ring annular lower edge 42 is a second lock member 46. In this embodiment, the second lock member 46 is a toothed member. The second locked member 46, as seen in FIG. 5, includes a flange 48 and a flange axially facing surface 50. The flange 48 may be sized to be placed upon an extension surface 49 as seen in FIG. 5. Alternatively, the flange 48 may be structured as a parallelogram tooth member as seen in FIG. 7, and extend without the use of an extension member 49.

[0030] Upon the balance ring annular lower edge 42 is a fourth lock member 52. In this embodiment, the fourth lock member 52 is a ribbed-structure member which has a flange 54 and a proximally facing surface 56. The flange 54 supports the proximally facing surface 56 when in contact with the horizontal tab proximal facing surface 36.

[0031] The balance ring 40 has a bottom surface 58 that conforms to the spinner basket circumferal edge 38 of the annular upper edge 22. The balance ring 40 has an inner annular surface 60, and outer annular surface 62, and an annular proximal edge or annular upper edge 64.

[0032] As seen in FIG. 3, the assembly 10 has a detached spinner basket 20 and balance ring 40. The balance ring is adjacent the upper annular edge 22 of the spinner basket 20. Before assembly, these corresponding surfaces on the spinner basket 20 and the balance ring 40 are put in alignment. Specifically, the first cam surface 24 is placed into offset alignment with the second cam surface 44. First lock member 26 is placed into offset alignment with second lock member 46. Third lock member 32 is placed into offset alignment with fourth lock member 52. When these members are all in offset alignment the balance ring 40 fits within the spinner basket 20. In offset alignment the spinner tub may be removed as it is in an unlocked position with the spinner basket 20.

[0033] The spinner basket 20 and the balance ring 40 may be placed in a locked position by rotating the balance ring 40 relative to the spinner basket 20. In this embodiment, the balance ring 40 is moved counter clockwise to the spinner basket 20. Movement of the balance ring 40 counter clockwise to the spinner basket 20 engages the first cam surface 24 against the second cam surface 44. The engagement of first cam surface 24 and second cam surface 44 centers the balance ring 40 upon the spinner basket 20. In this position, the engagement of the cam surface creates circumferal resistance to further counter clockwise movement of the balance ring 40 relative to the spinner basket 20.

[0034] In the locked position, the first lock member or first tab 26 engages the second lock member or toothed member 46. In the locked position, the first tab flange 28 engages the toothed member flange 48. The toothed member 46 is positioned such that the rotational counter clockwise movement allows for the flange 48 on the axial facing surface 50 to be moved relative to the first tab flange 28 on the first flange axial facing surface 30. This positioning allows for resistance of the balance ring 40 to move clockwise when the balance ring 40 is attached to the spinner basket. The first lock member 26 and the second lock member 46 in this embodiment have this preferred structure because the first cam structure 24 and the second cam structure 44, working together, provide resistance to counter clockwise movement of the balance ring 40.

[0035] In the locked position the third lock member 32 engages the fourth lock member 52. The third lock member 32 in this embodiment is a horizontal tab. The horizontal tab 32 fits over the ribbed-structure member or fourth locked member 52. In this embodiment, the ribbed-structure member includes a horizontal surface on the balance ring 40. The horizontal tab 32 has a flange 34 with a second flange proximally facing surface 36 that is horizontal. When the balance ring 40 is rotated counter clockwise with respect to the spinner basket 20, the flange 34 and proximal facing surface 56 align to resist upward axial movement of the balance ring 40 relative to the spinner basket 20.

[0036] In operation, the spinner basket circumferal rib 38 contacts the balance ring bottom surface 58. When the balance ring 40 is rotated counter clockwise to the spinner basket 20, the spinner basket 20 maintains contact between spinner basket circumferal rib 38 and the balance ring bottom surface 58. This contact between the of circumferal rib 38 and the bottom surface 58 prevents downward movement of the balance ring 40 relative to the spinner basket 20.

[0037] In the drawings and specifications there has been set forth a preferred embodiment of the invention, and although specific terms are employed, these are used in a generic descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Changes in the form and the proportion of parts as well as in the substitution of equivalents are contemplated as circumstance may suggest or render expedient without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention in the following claims.