Title:
Article with decorative or ornamental surfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An article including a rigid body, said rigid body being of a definitive shape and from ingredients containing a mixture of a petroleum based binding agent and a filler, said filler contains stone-like powder substances, the outer surface of said rigid body being applied and fast with a vinyl base film, said vinyl film having a decorative or ornamental pattern.



Inventors:
Zhu, Nancy (Chai Wan, HK)
Application Number:
10/463762
Publication Date:
12/23/2004
Filing Date:
06/18/2003
Assignee:
Quanzhou Lubao Gift Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
C04B26/18; (IPC1-7): A41G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCNEIL, JENNIFER C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BURNS, DOANE, SWECKER & MATHIS, L.L.P. (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. An article including a rigid body, said rigid body being of a definitive shape and from ingredients containing a mixture of a petroleum based binding agent and a filler, said filler contains stone-like powder substances, the outer surface of said rigid body being applied and fast with a vinyl base film, said vinyl film having a decorative or ornamental pattern.

2. An article of claim 1, wherein said filler contains powder of natural stone such as marble or stone-like substances.

3. An article of claim 1, wherein said petroleum based binding agent includes polyester resin.

4. An article of claim 3, wherein said stone or stone-like substances contain a substantial amount of calcium carbonate.

5. An article of claim 3, wherein said stone or stone-like substances contain lime stone.

6. An article of claim 3, wherein said powder of natural stone or stone-like substance constitute a majority by weight of said rigid body.

7. An article of claim 6, wherein said polyester resin constitute a second majority by weight of said rigid body after said natural stone or stone-like substances.

8. An article of claim 6, wherein said rigid body being applied with a based colour before said vinyl film is fast onto said rigid body.

9. An article of claim 8, wherein said decorative pattern or patterns being similar to the patterns of a natural marble.

10. An article of claim 9, wherein said article being a decorative article such as a trophy, a plaque, a medal, a pen holder and the like.

11. An article of claim 7, wherein the relative amount of said powder of natural stone or stone-like substances and said polyester resin being that the density of said rigid body being similar to that of a natural stone.

12. An article of claim 11, wherein said natural stone includes marble, limestone and the like.

13. An article of claim 3, wherein said polyester resin including unsaturated polyester resin.

14. An article of claim 13, wherein said unsaturated resin being formed from a mixture containing 2Propanedia, Ethylene glycol, Diethylene glycol ether, Phthalis anhydride, Maleic anhydride, Styrene.

15. An article of claim 3, wherein said decorative or ornamental pattern being similar to that of natural stones such as marbles.

16. An article of claim 15, wherein said decorative pattern or patterns being formed on said vinyl-based film being form said film is fast on said rigid body.

17. An article of claim 16, wherein said vinly-based film being a soluble vinly film.

18. An article of claim 17, wherein said decorative pattern or patterns being formed on said soluble vinyl film by photographic means.

19. An article having a three-dimensional shape and configuration, said article having the look and feel of marble on the outer surfaces, the internal of said article includes a mixture of binding agents and stone or stone-like powder.

20. A method of making an article with a decorative or an ornamental surface, said including the steps of: forming a rigid body of a pre-determined shape, forming a decorative pattern on a soluble vinyl film, floating said vinyl film on a water bath, dipping said rigid body into said water bath through said vinyl film, drying said rigid body to form said article.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to articles with decorative or ornamental surfaces and methods of making same. More particularly, this invention relates to articles with the feel and appearance of natural stones. More specifically, although of course not solely limited thereto, this invention relates to man-made articles with the look and feel of natural marbles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Articles made from natural stones, such as, for example, marble, granite and other stones with visible patterns, are usually quite costly to make because of the skill and time required.

[0003] Decorative and ornamental articles, such as, for example, trophies, plagues, figures or figurines, desktop pieces, paper weights, statutes and the like, which are made from stone are usually highly indicative of the value of the article and the meaning, especially the sentimental meaning, behind it.

[0004] However, the hardness and brittleness of natural stones such as marble have always severely limited the flexibility of the design and making of such articles and articles made from natural stone are always quite costly.

[0005] Imitation stone products which aim at providing the appearance of natural stones are known. Such imitation stones are typically made by transferring a film imprinted with a pattern onto a polyester board to produce the visual effects of natural stones. However, such imitation stones are not satisfactory for making articles because this technique can only be used to transfer a pattern onto a flat planar surface and the plastic feel of the polyester board does not usually meet with the approval of people with an affection of natural stone.

[0006] Hence, it is highly desirable if there can be provided articles, especially decorative and ornamental articles, made with the appearance and feel of natural stones, such as marbles, and processes for making such articles.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0007] According, it is an object of the present invention to provide articles with the appearance and feel of natural stones, such as marbles, while obviating the difficulty of making such articles from natural stones. It is also an object of the present invention to provide methods and processes for making articles with the feel and appearance of natural stone such as marble while alleviating the difficulties encountered with processing natural stones. Preferably, such articles and processes and methods of making same should not be overly expensive or complicated. At a minimum, it is an object of the present invention to provide articles, having the look and feel of natural stones and methods and processes for making same for the useful choice of the public.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an article including a rigid body, said rigid body being of a definitive shape and from ingredients containing a mixture of a petroleum based binding agent and a filler, said filler contains stone-like powder substances, the outer surface of said rigid body being applied and fast with a vinyl base film, said vinyl film having a decorative or ornamental pattern.

[0009] According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, there is provided An article having a three-dimensional shape and configuration, said article having the look and feel of marble on the outer surfaces, the internal of said article includes a mixture of binding agents and stone or stone-like powder.

[0010] According to another object of the present invention, there is provided a method of making an article with a decorative or an ornamental surface, said including the steps of:

[0011] forming a rigid body of a pre-determined shape,

[0012] forming a decorative pattern on a soluble vinyl film,

[0013] floating said vinyl film on a water bath,

[0014] dipping said rigid body into said water bath through said vinyl film,

[0015] drying said rigid body to form said article.

[0016] Preferably, said filler contains powder of natural stone such as marble or stone-like substances.

[0017] Preferably, said petroleum based binding agent includes polyester resin.

[0018] Preferably, said stone or stone-like substances contain a substantial amount of calcium carbonate.

[0019] Preferably, said stone or stone-like substances contain lime stone.

[0020] Preferably, said powder of natural stone or stone-like substance constitute a majority by weight of said rigid body.

[0021] Preferably, said polyester resin constitute a second majority by weight of said rigid body after said natural stone or stone-like substances.

[0022] Preferably, said rigid body being applied with a based colour before said vinyl film is fast onto said rigid body.

[0023] Preferably, said decorative pattern or patterns being similar to the patterns of a natural marble.

[0024] Preferably, said article being a decorative article such as a trophy, a plaque, a medal, a pen holder and the like.

[0025] Preferably, the relative amount of said powder of natural stone or stone-like substances and said polyester resin being that the density of said rigid body being similar to that of a natural stone.

[0026] Preferably, said natural stone includes marble, limestone and the like.

[0027] Preferably, said polyester resin including unsaturated polyester resin.

[0028] Preferably, said unsaturated resin being formed from a mixture containing 2Propanedia, Ethylene glycol, Diethylene glycol ether, Phthalis anhydride, Maleic anhydride, Styrene.

[0029] Preferably, said decorative or ornamental pattern being similar to that of natural stones such as marbles.

[0030] Preferably, said decorative pattern or patterns being formed on said vinyl-based film being form said film is fast on said rigid body.

[0031] Preferably, said vinly-based film being a soluble vinly film.

[0032] Preferably, said decorative pattern or patterns being formed on said soluble vinyl film by photographic means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0033] Preferred embodiments of the present invention will be explained in further detail below by way of examples and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0034] FIG. 1 shows a plurality of plain rigid bodies before decorative patterns are applied,

[0035] FIG. 2 shows a sheet of soluble vinyl film pre-formed with a decorative pattern,

[0036] FIG. 3 illustrates the application of a base colour to one of the plain rigid bodies of FIG. 1 in preparation for the next processing step,

[0037] FIG. 4 shows a sheet of the soluble vinyl film floating on a bath of water and sprayed with moisture,

[0038] FIG. 5 shows the dipping of the rigid body fast with the base colour into the water bath of FIG. 4 with the soluble vinyl film between the bath and the rigid bodies,

[0039] FIG. 6 shows flushing of the patterned article after the step of FIG. 5 to remove excessive vinyl residue, and

[0040] FIG. 7 shows examples of finished articles with surface textures resembling that of marbles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0041] Referring to the Figures, there are shown examples of preferred steps for making articles with decorative surfaces according to the present invention and finished articles made according to the invention.

[0042] Referring to FIG. 1, there are shown a plurality of plain rigid bodies 10a, 11a, 12a, each of which is to be applied with a prescribed decorative surface pattern. The decorative surface patterns to be applied in the present examples are continuous surface patterns resembling that of natural stones and, more specifically, marble. Firstly, the plain rigid bodies are made into the respective prescribed shapes and configurations by, for example, moulding or other appropriate shaping methods. The rigid bodies are usually formed into the prescribed shapes and configurations according to their specific purposes. For example, the articles can be made into customary shapes of trophies, plaques, medals, pen holders or other articles with ornamental and decorative surfaces. In the present examples, the finished articles are to be applied with a decorative surface pattern resembling that of natural stones, such as marble, so that the finished articles will have the look and feel of natural marble.

[0043] In order to give the finished articles the appropriate feel of the specific material to be imitated, which is natural marble for the present example, the plain rigid bodies are synthesized from a mixture of ingredients which, when combined and/or react together, will give the desirable physical characteristics of the materials to be imitated.

[0044] In order to give the plain rigid bodies the appropriate or desirable physical characteristics, the ingredients of the plain bodies generally include a binding agent and a filler. The filler gives the appropriate density to the main body and contains stone powder or limestone powder. On the other hand, the binding agent gives the necessary binding and strength to the filler (stone powder) as well as producing a smooth and fine surface resembling that of the marble to the imitated. The binding agent can be a petroleum based resin such as polyester resin. In the present example of imitation marble, an unsaturated polyester resin is used as the binding agent. To provide the feel of the marble to be imitated, the rigid body is made from an ingredient comprising an appropriate proportion by weight of polyester resin and stone powder. In the present example, the percentages by weight of the polyester binding agent and the stone powder are respectively 40% and 60%. The composition of the unsaturated polyester resin is set out as an example.

[0045] 2Propanediol

[0046] Ethylene glycol

[0047] Diethylene glycol ether

[0048] Phthalis anhydride

[0049] Maleic anhydride

[0050] Styrene

[0051] The limestone powder filler used in the present example contains more than 98% of calcium carbonate (CaO3) and also contains a trace of ferrous oxide Fe2O3 ([0.05%). After the rigid bodies have been formed from the ingredients, the plain rigid bodies will be subjected to subsequent processing to be explained below. Sand and clay also appear to be suitable fillers for combining with the petroleum based binder, i.e., the unsaturated polyester resin, to form the plain bodies, although stone powder, such as limestone powder has been shown to give the most satisfactory results.

[0052] After the plain rigid bodies have been made into their prescribed shapes from the mixture of the binding agent and the filler, their outer surfaces are then applied with a base colour, for example, by spraying. The base colour to be applied will generally depend on the base colour, for example, of the material to be imitated. Hence, in the present example as shown in FIG. 3, the base colour to be applied is the base colour of the marble to be imitated. A rigid body with the appropriate colour is indicated as 10b in FIG. 3. For example, a black base colour is applied were the marble to be imitated has a generally black background. Of course, this base colour can also be colourful where the background colour of the marble to be imitated has a coloured background.

[0053] To prepare for the application of a desirable decorative surface pattern onto the outer surfaces of the plain rigid bodies, a continuous surface pattern resembling that appearing on a natural marble is formed on a soluble vinyl film 20 as shown in FIG. 2. The surface pattern can be formed, for example, by photographic means or other suitable lithographic process. After the decorative surface pattern has been developed on the surface of the soluble vinyl film, the continuous pattern will appear on the transparent background of the vinyl film as shown in FIG. 2. Soluble vinyl films, especially soluble vinyl films with vegetable-oil based pigments, are used in the present example because empirical trials have shown that soluble vinyl films with vegetable-oil based pigments demonstrate outstanding surface adhering characteristics when applied to the plain rigid bodies of the exemplary compositions above.

[0054] The soluble vinyl film 20 with the decorative patterns is then placed on a water bath. Due to its lower specific gravity, the vinyl film will float on the water bath 30 as shown in FIG. 4. Moisture 31 is then applied, for example, by a water sprayer 32, onto the surface of the soluble vinyl film which is not in contact with the water bath so that the surface of the vinyl film which is exposed to the air is moisturized. Due to the characteristics of the soluble vinyl film, the soluble vinyl film will begin to dissolve when in contact with moisture or water.

[0055] The plain body 10b, which has been applied with the base colour (black) are then dipped into the water bath 30 with the soluble vinyl film 20 interposed between the plain bodies and the water bath.

[0056] Due to the surface compatibility of the plain rigid body and the soluble vinyl film, the soluble vinyl film, together with the decorative surface pattern, will be adhered onto the outer surfaces of the rigid bodies. The rigid body 10c, after having been applied with the soluble vinyl film, is then washed, for example, under a shower of water 33, so that the residue or excessive vinyl substances are washed away. After the excessive vinyl residue has been washed way, the rigid bodies, having been applied with the decorative surface pattern, are then subject to a thermal drying process. When the rigid bodies have been dried, the decorative surface patterns are found to have been secured and fast onto the outer surfaces of the rigid bodies, thereby creating an article with the look and feel of natural marble of various background colours as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.

[0057] While the present invention has been explained by reference to the preferred embodiments described above, it will be appreciated that the embodiments are only illustrated as examples to assist understanding of the present invention and are not meant to be restrictive on its scope. In particular, the scope, ambit and spirit of this invention are meant to include the general principles of this invention as inferred or exemplified by the embodiments described above. More particularly, variations or modifications which are obvious or trivial to persons skilled in the art, as well as improvements made on the basis of the present invention, should be considered as falling within the scope and boundary of the present invention. Furthermore, while the present invention has been described with reference to articles imitating natural stone or marble, it will be appreciated that the present invention can be utilized in other imitation articles without loss of generality.