Title:
Turning blanks made from bowling ball material and a manufacturning method for producing the blanks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The creation of turning blanks made from bowling ball material for use in woodworking and woodturning to make a variety of articles. The current process of obtaining said blanks is eliminated and a safer and improved manufacturing process is provided.



Inventors:
Crosby, Sheila (Fenton, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/117587
Publication Date:
11/03/2005
Filing Date:
04/28/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
264/259, 428/35.7
International Classes:
A63B37/00; (IPC1-7): A63B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HEITBRINK, JILL LYNNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, PC (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A method for manufacturing turning blanks, which are used to produce articles that match a consumers' other possession, the method using a thermosetting elastomer resin system having tanks, pumps, a mixer, at least one mold having at least one cavity, and a cutting unit, the method comprising the steps of: selecting thermoset materials that match the materials of the consumers' other possession; storing the selected thermoset materials in the tanks; conveying the thermoset materials with the pumps from the tanks to the mixer; mixing the thermoset materials with the mixer, thereby activating a exothermic reaction between the thermoset materials; dispensing the thermoset materials from the mixer to said at least one cavity of said at least one mold; curing the thermoset materials in said at least one cavity of said at least one mold to form at least one turning rod; cutting with the cutting unit said at least one turning rod into turning blanks.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the thermoset materials comprise a resin and a catalyst and further comprising the step of: storing the resin in one of the tanks; storing the catalyst in a tank separate from the tank storing the resin.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of selecting thermoset materials from a group consisting of urethanes, phenolics, amino resins, epoxies, unsaturated polyesters and vinyl esters.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: storing additive material in the tank, the additive material providing aesthetic effects in the turning blanks that match decorative effects of the consumers' other possession; conveying the additive material with the pumps from the tanks to the mixer; mixing the additive material with the thermoset materials with the mixer.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the consumers' other possession is a bowling ball.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the consumers' other possession is a boat.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the consumers' other possession is a vehicle.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the thermoset materials are not obtained from bowling balls.

9. A thermosetting elastomer resin system that manufactures turning blanks, which are used to produce articles that match a consumers' other possession, comprising: at least one tank for storing selected thermoset materials; a mixer that receives thermoset materials from said at least one tank, mixes the thermoset materials to activate an exotermic reaction, and dispenses the reacting thermoset materials, at least one pump for conveying the selected thermoset materials from said at least one tank to the mixer; at least one mold having at least one cavity that receives the reacting thermoset materials from the mixer and cures the reacting thermoset materials into a rod, and a cutting unit for cutting the rod into turning blanks.

10. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the thermoset materials are selected from a group consisting of urethanes, phenolics, amino resins, epoxies, unsaturated polyesters and vinyl esters.

11. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein said at least one tank stores additive materials, the additive material providing aesthetic effects in the turning blanks that match decorative effects of the consumers' other possession.

12. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the thermoset materials comprise a resin and a catalyst.

13. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the consumers' other possession is a bowling ball.

14. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the consumers' other possession is a boat.

15. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the consumers' other possession is a vehicle.

16. The thermosetting elastomer resin system of claim 9, wherein the thermoset materials are not obtained from bowling balls.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/567,593, filed May 3, 2004.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

N/A.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the manufacture of articles made from blanks of a thermosetting plastic material used to make bowling balls, and more particularly, an improved method for obtaining the blanks that is safer than current processes used for this purpose.

There is a need and desire within the woodworking community to produce “turning blanks” made from a same thermosetting plastic material such as is used in making bowling balls. The turning blanks are typically used by woodworkers to create handmade articles such as pens, pencils, clocks, key chains, vases and vessels, and the like for sale to a customer.

Currently, the only method of producing the blanks requires a woodworker to buy a bowling ball and cut it into pieces. The bowling ball is usually an old ball purchased at a garage sale or the like. Obtaining the turning blanks from the ball requires processing the bowling ball (which is typically 8″ in diameter) by manually feeding it into a bandsaw or other type of saw, to cut it into pieces. As can be imagined, this is a very dangerous process because the size of the bowling ball necessitates use of a saw which is much larger than that normally used to cut most materials. Further, because the bowling ball is round, special jigs are required to fix it in place so it can be safely cut. Once the ball is sliced into sections, the center core of the ball which is made of a resin material (typically polyester) having a variety of inorganic fillers used to create the proper weight for the ball, is discarded. This core material is normally not very attractive and is not the same as the outer shell material desired for the blank. Since only the outer shell material is acceptable for the blanks, it now has to be separated from the core material. The remaining portion of the outer shell is then further processed to form the portions of shell into blanks which can be turned on a lathe, shaped, polished, and formed into an end product suitable for use or sale.

The blanks were first produced to meet a demand for pens that matched a bowler's personal bowling ball. However, there are now similar opportunities to produce pens or other articles that match other types of equipment, vehicles and boats, etc. of a customer. Further, the products that can be made from a cut bowling ball are limited to the available colors and patterns of existing bowling balls.

Because of the type of plastic material from which the outer shell of a bowling ball is made, the finished product has a pleasing appearance attractive to potential customers. However, the current method by which the “raw” material to make these products is obtained, is extremely wasteful making the end product more costly then need be, as well as being dangerous to the person slicing up a bowling ball to obtain the material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The importance of the present invention is that it eliminates the expense of having to purchase used bowling balls, and then the unsafe and wasteful process of cutting the bowling balls into pieces. The method of the invention is the provision of making turning blanks made from bowling ball material by molding the bowling ball material into blanks of a specified size and shape used by woodworkers. The resulting turning blanks can be inexpensively produced in various sizes and shapes, and sold to wood turners for the making of pens, pencils, clocks, key chains, vases and vessels, and any other small turning projects as desired. In accordance with the method, a thermosetting plastic bowling ball material is poured into a mold to produce the turning blanks. The blanks are rod shaped and have a length and diameter of an appropriate size as to be conveniently mounted on a lathe and machined to a desired size and shape. To make a pen, for example, the turning blanks are formed to create the upper and lower barrels of the pen. Other articles which can be made using turning blanks are noted above. Besides being turned on a lathe, the turning blanks can be cut, drilled, sanded, turned, and generally worked with typical woodworking and woodturning tools and equipment, in a manner similar to wood.

Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate a prior art method of obtaining blanks from a bowling ball for use in making articles; and,

FIG. 2 illustrates a method of the present invention for producing the blanks.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following detailed description illustrates the invention by way of example and not by way of limitation. This description will clearly enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and describes several embodiments, adaptations, variations, alternatives and uses of the invention, including what I presently believe is the best mode of carrying out the invention. As various changes could be made in the above constructions without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

Previously, turning blanks have been made of wood or a thermoplastic resin material. The blanks have been produced from bowling balls B by cutting the balls on a band saw into rectangular pieces. As is known in the art, bowling balls are made of thermosetting resin materials with urethane, polyester, and epoxy being the most prevalent materials currently in use in the bowling industry. As shown in FIGS. 1A-1C, a bowling ball B is cut into sections using the saw. The ball has an outer shell OS of the desired material, and an inner core C usually of a polyester resin material combined with inorganic fillers. This core material is discarded. The remaining outer shell portion of the ball is then further cut, as indicated by the dashed lines in FIG. 1B, to produce turning blanks L capable of being turned on a lathe to produce a pen or other desired product. Those skilled in the art recognize that the size and shape of the turning blanks is severely limited by the size of the bowling ball's outer shell and, in particular, the diameter or thickness of the ball material once the ball has been cut into pieces.

With reference to FIG. 2, the process or method of the present invention allows turning blanks to be produced in more shapes and sizes than can be produced by cutting up bowling balls. The blanks made in accordance with the invention are now made of a more uniform size and shape, are more versatile for fabricating different articles, and are easier to work into a final product.

As shown in FIG. 2, turning blanks of the type involved in this patent are produced using a two-component thermosetting elastomeric resin system. The components X1 and X2 are pumped by respective pumps P from tanks K into a high-speed mixer M where they are blended together and begin to react. Examples of materials that can be used are urethane (which is produced from a reaction between an isocyanate and a polyol or blend of polyols), and epoxies (which are produced by mixing an epoxy resin with a catalyst, typically an amine based catalyst). The mixture is then dispensed from mixer M into one or more molds D where the reaction continues to completion and the mixture hardens. A mold D is a multi-cavity mold, with each cavity within the mold producing an elongated rod R of a specified diameter. Once the resin has hardened, the rods R are removed from the mold, and conveyed to a cutting unit T where they are cut into proper sized segments S for turning blanks. The completed turning blanks are then packaged and shipped.

The above described process permits the production of turning blanks whose colors and patterns meet the demands of potential customers to match their automotive vehicle, boat, other sporting equipment, etc. By properly selecting the materials X1, X2 to be mixed together, the turning blanks which are produced can be made in solid colors, pearlized or fluorescent, or with decorative sparkle materials contained within the blanks. This latter is particularly important in trying to match colors for boating enthusiasts who have boats with fiberglass bodies with sparkling or glittering materials in the finish of the boat. Further, the process described herein also allows for various sizes and shapes of turning blanks to be created, using custom molds, so the type and number of products that can be created are much greater than was previously possible. Accordingly, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the turning blank rods R and blank segments S depicted in FIG. 2 are illustrative only.

Producing turning blanks of urethane requires the formulation of a material that is hard and tough without being brittle. This is achieved by the proper blending of polyols (diols, triols and quadrols) along with plasticizers and other extenders necessary to produce the proper end physical properties desired. Pearlizing or sparkle materials are added to the polyol material during the blending process. The proper ratio of polyol to isocyanate is determined by measuring the hydroxyl content of the polyol blend and the functionality of the isocyanate used. The polyol blend and the isocyanate are fed into the feed tanks K from which they are later pumped, using very accurate metering pumps P, to an in-line mixing chamber of mixer M which is running at several thousand revolutions per minute. The material is continuously fed through the mixer and out through a dispensing tube or piping G to a filling station F where the molds D are sitting. The molds are filled and then set aside while the reaction occurs turning the liquid blend into a solid shaped product. Significant heat is generated while the reaction is occurring and the parts must be allowed to cool before removing them from the molds.

Similar processing and formulating operations apply to products made of epoxy or polyester resins. In these instances, the reacting materials are a resin (blend) and a catalyst. In the case of polyesters, a cobalt promoter is often used to stimulate the reaction and the polyester resin can be divided into the two feed tanks K with a catalyst added to one of the tanks and a promoter added to the other tank. The two resin batches must be reacted in a relatively short time (hours) or the resin with the catalyst may begin to harden on its own, rendering it useless and ruining the mixing equipment. When the resin materials are mixed, an exothermic reaction occurs and the liquids harden into solid parts.

In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects and advantages of the present invention have been achieved and other advantageous results have been obtained.