Title:
Drainage-aiding device and method of use thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drainage-aiding device and method of use thereof for application in areas of water flow, such as, for exemplary purposes only, the drainage pipes of sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, urinals, and the like. The present invention includes a cutting blade assembly that is disposed within a drainage pipe, wherein the blade assembly may be rotated in the direction of water flow to eliminate and prevent clogs and other obstructions that may occur within the drainage pipes.



Inventors:
Sthanki, Dinesh G. (Newnan, GA, US)
Pandit, Himanshu R. (Peachtree city, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/097551
Publication Date:
10/05/2006
Filing Date:
04/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/266
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, KEVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINESH G. STHANKI (NEWMAN, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drainage-aiding device, comprising: a blade assembly, wherein said blade assembly is disposed within a bathroom fixture, wherein the fixture is selected from the group consisting of, bathtub pipes, shower pipes, bathroom sink pipes, toilets, toilet pipes and urinal pipes.

2. The drainage-aiding device of claim 1, further comprising a drive assembly, wherein said drive assembly is coupled to said blade assembly.

3. The drainage-aiding device of claim 2, wherein said drive assembly comprises a force transferring means, wherein said force transferring means is selected from the group consisting of, chains, gears, rods, and combinations thereof.

4. The drainage-aiding device of claim 2, further comprising a drive port, wherein said drive port is coupled to said drive assembly.

5. The drainage-aiding device of claim 4, wherein said drive port comprises an aperture for receiving a rotary drive means therewithin.

6. The drainage-aiding device of claim 5, wherein said rotary drive means is selected from the group consisting of drills, wrenches, crankhandles, and combinations thereof.

7. The drainage-aiding device of claim 4, wherein said drive port comprises a manually operated crankhandle.

8. The drainage-aiding device of claim 4, wherein said drive port comprises a motor.

9. A drainage-aiding device, comprising: a blade assembly, wherein said blade assembly is disposed within a drainage pipe; and a means for rotationally-driving said blade assembly.

10. The drainage-aiding device of claim 9, wherein said means for rotationally-driving said blade assembly comprises a drive assembly.

11. The drainage-aiding device of claim 10, further comprising a rotary drive port.

12. The drainage-aiding device of claim 10, wherein said drive assembly comprises a force transferring means, wherein said force transferring means is selected from the group consisting of, chains, gears, rods, and combinations thereof.

13. The drainage-aiding device of claim 11, wherein said rotary drive port comprises an actuation drive means.

14. The drainage-aiding device of claim 13, wherein said actuation drive means is selected from the group consisting of a crankhandle and a motor.

15. The drainage-aiding device of claim 13, wherein said actuation drive means is removably-engaged to said rotary drive port.

16. The drainage-aiding device of claim 15, wherein said actuation drive means is selected from the group consisting of drills, wrenches, crankhandles, and combinations thereof.

17. A method for imparting a rotational force within a bathroom fixture for facilitating drainage of liquid or solids therethrough, said method comprising the step of: rotationally-actuating a blade assembly disposed within the bathroom fixture, wherein the fixture is selected from the group consisting of, bathtub pipes, shower pipes, bathroom sink pipes, toilets, toilet pipes and urinal pipes.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising the steps of: coupling a drive means to said blade assembly; and actuating said drive means to rotationally drive said blade assembly and thus impart a rotational force within the drainage pipe.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the step of imparting a manual force to rotationally drive said blade assembly.

20. The method of claim 18, further comprising the step of transferring a rotational force from said drive means to a drive assembly coupled to said blade assembly.

21. The method of claim 17, further comprising the step of imparting a force to rotationally drive said blade assembly by coupling a rotational drive means to said blade assembly, wherein said rotational drive means is selected from the group consisting of drills, wrenches, crankhandles, and combinations thereof.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to plumbing devices, and more specifically to a drainage-aiding device and method of use thereof for eliminating and preventing clogs and other obstructions that may occur within bathroom drainage pipes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Waterborne wastes such as hair, dirt, grease, soap, paper products, and human waste, form deposits in drainage pipes. Over time, these deposits impede the flow of water, thus requiring unclogging or cleaning of such pipes. Unfortunately, however, most plumbing pipes are generally inaccessible, thus making the unpleasant task of cleaning such pipes difficult and cumbersome.

Accordingly, a variety of chemical drain cleaners have been developed for unclogging pipes, wherein such chemical solutions are poured directly into a drain inlet to dissolve and degrade waste deposits and other solid obstructions. Despite their relative effectiveness, such chemical cleaners are inherently highly corrosive and produce numerous other adverse effects. For example, chemical drain cleaners typically emit heat and produce harmful gases, all of which react with metal and/or plastic piping, thereby reducing the longevity of same and posing a risk to human health and the environment.

In addition to or in lieu of chemical cleaners, many homeowners utilize wire “snakes” and/or other mechanical cleaning devices to cleanse and unclog drainage pipes. Examples of such devices are taught by U.S. Pat. No. 3,872,521 to Friedman (“Friedman '521”) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,843 to Francisco (“Francisco '843”). Friedman '521 discloses a drain trap for sinks, bathtubs, tanks and the like, which includes a self contained cleaning means operable to dislodge waste deposited in the drain trap. The cleaning means includes a resilient strap member disposed within the trap for reciprocatory movement when necessary, wherein the strap member carries scrapers for dislodging deposited waste from the inner surfaces of the trap, together with auxiliary means for facilitating the dislodgement of such deposited waste. The cleaning means is integral with the trap so as to be available for use at all times.

Francisco '843 teaches a drain strainer for a shower or tub, wherein the drain strainer includes an upper sieve receptacle in the form of a substantially cylindrical basket with openings for passage of water and smaller debris, and a lower bristle extension in the form of a depending stem with projecting bristles that ensnare hair shed from the bather. The drain strainer further includes a support structure to suspend the sieve receptacle and bristle extension within the drainage pipe.

Unfortunately, however, repetitive use of the foregoing mechanical plumbing devices damage fixtures and leave behind abrasions within the drainage pipes. Further, such mechanical devices are typically difficult to utilize and often require expertise in their manipulation and operation. Therefore, the costly services of plumbing professionals are inevitably required to maintain clean and unobstructed pipes.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a drainage-aiding device and method of use thereof, wherein the device effectively cleans and unclogs drainage pipes, and wherein the device is easy to use despite the general inaccessibility of plumbing pipes. Further, there is a need for such a device that does not damage pipes and other plumbing fixtures, wherein the device is safe for human use and the environment.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a drainage-aiding device and method of use thereof comprising a blade assembly that is disposed within a drainage pipe, wherein the blade assembly may be rotated to eliminate and prevent clogs and other obstructions that may occur within drainage pipes.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in its preferred form is a drainage-aiding device comprising a blade assembly, a drive rod, a chain-drive assembly and a drive port.

More specifically, the blade assembly comprises a plurality of rotary blades for cutting debris and other obstructions that may form within the interior of a drainage pipe. Additionally, rotation of such blades increases the rate of water flow to further prevent and eliminate clogs and other obstructions. The blade assembly is linked to the chain-drive assembly via the drive rod, wherein the chain-drive assembly is coupled to the drive port. The chain-drive assembly and drive rod function to transfer rotational force from the drive port to the blade assembly. More specifically, when a rotational force is applied to the drive port, such force is transferred from the drive port, through the chain-drive assembly and the drive rod, and into the blade assembly.

Accordingly, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to effectively clean and unclog drainage pipes.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to assist water flow, thereby preventing clogs and other obstructions from forming within drainage pipes.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ease of use, even in situations where plumbing pipes are rendered inaccessible by bathroom fixtures, cabinets, walls and other building structures.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to clean and unclog drainage pipes without scratching or otherwise damaging pipes and surrounding plumbing fixtures.

Still yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to function without application of toxic chemicals, thus providing a safe and environmentally-conscious system and method for cleaning drainage pipes.

A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its sanitary system and method of operation, which enables a user to clean and unclog drainage pipes without direct physical contact with the sewage contained therewithin.

Still a further feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be either manually or electrically driven.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a blade assembly of a drainage-aiding device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front cross-sectional view of a blade assembly and drive rod of a drainage-aiding device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a drainage-aiding device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a drainage-aiding device according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a drainage-aiding device according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a drainage-aiding device according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND SELECTED ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and selected alternative embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-6, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIG. 1-3, the present invention in a preferred embodiment is drainage-aiding device 10, wherein drainage-aiding device 10 comprises blade assembly 20, drive rod 30, chain-drive assembly 40 and drive port 50. Drainage-aiding device 10 is preferably utilized in conjunction with a conventional bathtub drainage system, as is commonly known within the art. However, it should be recognized that the present invention is suitable for utilization with other bathroom fixtures; therefore, while the apparatus and method of the present invention is described conveniently in association with a bathtub drainage system, it is not limited to application or implementation with such fixtures alone. As such, it is contemplated in an alternative embodiment that drainage-aiding device 10 could be utilized with other bathroom fixtures, such as, for exemplary purposes only, bathtub pipes, shower pipes, bathroom sink pipes, toilet pipes and/or urinal pipes. For example, as best illustrated in FIG. 6, it is contemplated that blade assembly 20 could be disposed within toilet T.

Preferably, blade assembly 20 comprises blades 22, shaft 24 and housing 26, wherein blades 22 comprise base 28, rotary cutting edges 60 and receiving port 62. Cutting edges 60 and receiving port 62 are preferably affixed to base 28 via a bolt; however, integral formation, welding and other fastening means are contemplated. Preferably, base 28 comprises first side 64 and second side 66, wherein cutting edges 60 are centrally disposed on first side 64 of base 28 and extend outwardly therefrom, and wherein receiving port 62 is centrally disposed on second side 66 of base 28. Receiving port 62 preferably functions to connect blades 22 to shaft 24, as more fully described below.

Preferably, shaft 24 comprises first end 70 and second end 72, wherein first end 70 is threadably engaged or otherwise affixed to receiving port 62 of base 28 of blades 22, and wherein second end 72 is threadably engaged or otherwise affixed to drive rod 30.

Preferably, housing 26 comprises channel 80 formed therethrough, wherein channel 80 is dimensioned to receive and rotationally engage shaft 24 therewithin.

Blade assembly 20 is preferably disposed within P-trap P of a conventional plumbing drainage system; however, it is contemplated in an alternative embodiment that blade assembly 20 could be disposed within other linear or curved plumbing pipes that may be clogged or otherwise susceptible to formation of solid deposits therewithin. Preferably, orifice O is formed on a sidewall of P-trap P, wherein blade assembly 20 is threadably engaged or otherwise secured therewithin. It is recognized that drainage-aiding device 10 could further comprise seals, gaskets and/or plumbing cement to securely retain blade assembly 20 within orifice O.

Preferably, drive rod 30 comprises first end 32 and second end 34, wherein first end 32 of drive rod 30 is threadably engaged or otherwise coupled to second end 72 of shaft 24 of blade assembly 20, and wherein second end 34 of drive rod 30 is threadably engaged or otherwise coupled to chain-drive assembly 40. Drive rod 30 preferably functions to transfer a rotational force to blade assembly 20, as more fully described below.

Preferably, chain-drive assembly 40 is a gear-and-chain system that functions to link drive port 50 to blade assembly 20, wherein a rotational force applied to drive port 50 is transferred to blade assembly 20, as more fully described below. Chain-drive assembly 40 is preferably affixed to the interior of wall W, wherein wall W is preferably situated proximate bathtub B.

Preferably, chain-drive assembly 40 comprises first gear 42, second gear 44 and chain 46, wherein first gear 42 and second gear 44 each preferably comprise a plurality of teeth 48. Teeth 48 are disposed on the peripheral edges of first gear 42 and second gear 44, wherein teeth 48 are adapted to engage chain 46.

Preferably, first gear 42 and second gear 44 further comprise apertures 90, 92, respectively, and stanchions 94, 96, respectively, wherein apertures 90, 92 are centrally disposed on first gear 42 and second gear 44, respectively. Preferably, apertures 90, 92 are circular-shaped and stanchions 94, 96 are cylindrical-shaped, wherein apertures 90, 92 are dimensioned to receive and retain stanchions 94, 96, respectively, therewithin via threaded engagement. Stanchions 94, 96 are preferably mounted to a wall surface, wherein first gear 42 and second gear 44 may freely rotate around stanchions 94, 96, respectively.

Preferably, chain 46 is a conventional linked chain, comprising a plurality of links 100, wherein gaps 102 are formed between each two successive links 100. Preferably, first gear 42 is situated above second gear 44, wherein chain 46 is disposed around first gear 42 and second gear 44, and wherein teeth 48 of first gear 42 and second gear 44 are cooperatively engaged with gaps 102 of chain 46.

Preferably, first gear 42 and second gear 44 each further comprise brackets 98, 99, respectively, wherein brackets 98, 99 are integrally formed to first gear 42 and second gear 44, respectively, and wherein brackets 98, 99 are situated proximate apertures 90, 92, respectively, of first gear 42 and second gear 44, respectively. Brackets 98, 99 are preferably threadably engaged or otherwise coupled to drive port 50 and drive rod 30, respectively. Preferably, bracket 98 links first gear 42 to drive port 50, as more fully described below, and bracket 99 links second gear 44 to second end 34 of drive rod 30, wherein a rotational force that is applied to drive port 50 is transferred to drive rod 30, as more fully described below.

Preferably, drive port 50 is disposed within wall W, wherein drive port 50 is situated proximate first gear 42 of chain-drive assembly 40. Drive port 50 preferably comprises plate 52, bearing 54 and drive shaft 56. Preferably, plate 52 comprises aperture 58, wherein aperture 58 is centrally disposed on plate 52. Aperture 58 is preferably dimensioned to receive and retain bearing 54 therewithin via frictional fit, wherein bearing 54 preferably facilitates rotation of drive shaft 56, as more fully described below. Preferably, bearing 54 comprises inner channel 110, wherein inner channel 110 is dimensioned to receive a drill bit therewithin.

Preferably, drive shaft 56 comprises first end 112 and second end 114, wherein first end 112 of drive shaft 56 is threadably engaged or otherwise affixed to bearing 54, and wherein second end 114 of drive shaft 56 is threadably engaged or otherwise affixed to bracket 98 of first gear 42 of chain-drive assembly 40. Drive shaft 56 preferably functions to transfers force from bearing 54 to chain-drive assembly 40.

Drainage-aiding device 10 is preferably operated in conjunction with drill D, wherein drill D is preferably a conventional hand-held electric power drill, as is commonly known within the art. Preferably, drill D comprises hexagonal-shaped drill bit DB, wherein bit DB is inserted into inner channel 110 of drive port 50 and actuated to create an electrically-driven rotational force. Preferably, the rotational force is transferred from drill D to drive port 50, through chain-drive assembly 40 and drive rod 30, and into blade assembly 20. Accordingly, the rotational force preferably rotates blades 22 of blade assembly 20 in the direction of water flow to eliminate and prevent clogs and other obstructions that may occur within drainage pipes.

Referring now to FIG. 4, in an alternative embodiment, chain 46 of chain-drive assembly 40 is replaced with drive assembly 120. Drive assembly 120 comprises rod 122 and gears 124, 126, wherein gears 124, 126 are disposed on opposing ends of rod 122. In such a configuration, gear 124 of drive assembly 120 engages first gear 42 of chain-drive assembly 40, and gear 126 of drive assembly 120 engages second gear 44 of chain-drive assembly 40. As such, a rotational force applied to first gear 42 of chain-drive assembly 40 is transmitted through gear 124, rod 122, and gear 126 of drive assembly 120, and to second gear 44 of chain-drive assembly 40, thus transferring the rotational force to drive rod 30.

It is further contemplated that drive port 50 comprises motor 140, wherein motor 140 is affixed to drive shaft 56 of drive port 50. In addition, drive port 50 comprises actuation switch 142 for activating motor 120, wherein activation of motor 120 creates a rotational force that rotates drive shaft 56 of drive port 50. Accordingly, a rotational force that is applied to drive shaft 56 is transferred through chain-drive assembly 40 and drive rod 30, and into blade assembly 20 for rotating blades 22.

Referring now to FIG. 5, in another alternative embodiment, teeth 48 of first gear 42 and second gear 44 are replaced with annular grooves 43, and chain 46 is replaced with belt 45. In such an alternative embodiment, belt 45 engages grooves 43 via frictional engagement.

It is further contemplated that drive port 50 comprises crankhandle 130, wherein crankhandle 130 is affixed to bearing 54 of drive port 50. Accordingly, rotational manipulation of crankhandle 130 creates a rotational force that is transferred from drive port 50, through chain-drive assembly 40 and drive rod 30, and into blade assembly 20 for rotating blades 22.

In still another alternative embodiment, drainage-aiding device 10 could be utilized in conjunction with a removable mechanical tool, such as, for exemplary purposes only, a wrench or a crankhandle, wherein the tool could be inserted into inner channel 110 of drive port 50 to manually impart blades 22 with a rotational force.

In yet another alternative embodiment, drainage-aiding device 10 could lack chain-drive assembly 40, wherein drill D could be directly connected to receiving port 62 of blade assembly 20 to provide a rotational force thereto.

In still yet another alternative embodiment, chain-drive assembly 40 could be disposed on the exterior of wall W.

In a further alternative embodiment, first gear 42 and second gear 44 of chain-drive assembly 40 could be mounted to wall W via other suitable fasteners, such as, for exemplary purposes only, brackets, clamps, pins, dowels, or the like.

In still a further alternative embodiment, apertures 90, 92 of first gear 42 and second gear 44, respectively, of chain-drive assembly 40 could comprise bearings to assist rotation of first gear 42 and second gear 44 around stanchions 94, 96, respectively.

In yet a further alternative embodiment, drainage-aiding device 10 could comprise two or more blade assemblies 20.

In still yet a further alternative embodiment, blade assembly 20 could comprise a motor for providing a rotational force thereto. In such an embodiment, the motor could be linked to an actuation switch, wherein the actuation switch is disposed on a wall surface.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.