Title:
CONTOURED INTERFACE PAD FOR AN ABRASIVE FINISHING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet is disclosed. The contoured interface pad has a body with a first and second opposed major side. The first side is positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device while the second side is capable of receiving the abrasive sheet. The second side has a first surface portion that protrudes relative to a second surface portion, causing the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece. The first side may be releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side may be releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet. The body may be sufficiently resilient to allow the body to deform and return to an original shape. The first and second side may be releasably attachable through a hook and loop fastener system.



Inventors:
Hutchins, Alme (SIERRA MADRE, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/553984
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
10/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
451/523
International Classes:
B24D15/00; B24D11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, DUNG V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet, comprising: a body having first and second opposed major sides; the first side positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side capable of receiving the abrasive sheet; and wherein the second side is comprised of a first surface portion that protrudes relative to a second surface portion, thereby causing the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece.

2. The contoured interface pad o f aim 1, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device.

3. The contoured interface pad of claim 2, wherein the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet.

4. The contoured interface pad of claim 3, wherein the body is sufficiently resilient.

5. The contoured interface pad of claim 4, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attached to the base of the abrasive finishing device by a first hook and loop fastener system.

6. The contoured interface pad of claim 5, wherein the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet by a second hook and loop fastener system.

7. The contoured interface pad of claim 6, wherein the first and second surface portions are configured to conform to the surface of a bed of a truck.

8. The contoured interface pad of claim 4, wherein the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet by an adhesive.

9. The contoured interface pad of claim 4, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device by a threaded fastener.

10. The contoured interface pad of claim 4, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive finishing device through a magnetic fastener.

11. A contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet, comprising: a body having first and second opposed major sides; the first side positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side capable of receiving the abrasive sheet; and wherein the second side has a contoured surface comprised of an elongated middle surface portion that protrudes relative to two edge surface portions, thereby causing the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece.

12. The contoured interface pad of claim 11, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet.

13. The contoured interface pad of claim 12, wherein the body is sufficiently yielding allowing the body to deform and return to an original shape, thereby compensating for slight angular mismatches between the base of the abrasive finishing device and the irregular surface of the workpiece.

14. The contoured interface pad of claim 13, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device through a first hook and loop fastener system and the second side is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet through a second hook and loop fastener system.

15. The contoured interface pad of claim 14, wherein the first and second surface portions are configured to conform to the surface of a bed of a truck.

16. An abrasive finishing assembly, comprising: an abrasive finishing device having a base; and a contoured interface pad comprised of: a body having first and second opposed major sides; the first side positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side capable of receiving the abrasive sheet; and wherein the second side is comprised of a first surface portion that protrudes relative to a second surface portion, thereby causing the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece.

17. The abrasive finishing assembly of claim 16, wherein the body is sufficiently yielding allowing the body to deform and return to an original shape, thereby compensating for slight angular mismatches between the base of the abrasive finishing device and the irregular surface of the workpiece.

18. The abrasive finishing assembly of claim 17, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device and the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet.

19. The abrasive finishing assembly of claim 18, wherein the first side of the body is releasably attached to the base of the abrasive finishing device by a first hook and loop fastener system and the second side of the body is releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet by a second hook and loop fastener system.

20. The abrasive finishing assembly of claim 19, wherein the first and second surface portions are configured to conform to the surface of a bed of a truck.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/731,141, filed Oct. 28, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an interface pad for use with abrasive finishing devices, and more particularly to a contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet for sanding irregular workpiece surfaces.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For various reasons, it is often desirable to apply new paint or other coatings to the surfaces of vehicles or other devices. New coatings are applied to automobiles, for example, for rust protection, color restoration or repairing surface damage. Before applying a new coating, however, the surface must be either stripped of prior coatings or abraded sufficiently to allow the new coating to adhere. Therefore, a coated surface must be properly prepared before a new coating can be applied. Work in preparation for a new coating involves considerable time and physical labor. Much of this labor is spent sanding the surface. Sanding removes part or all of the old coating while also smoothing the surface.

Sanding a vehicle usually requires the use of an abrasive sheet, made up of grit adhered to the surface of a paper or fabric backing. As an abrasive sheet is moved over a surface, it removes material from the surface incrementally. A fine grit produces a smooth finish, while a courser grit takes off more material. Sanding by hand is time consuming. Currently, there are a multitude of powered abrasive finishing devices on the market. The abrasive sheet is secured to the abrasive finishing device which typically oscillates a small distance at a high rate to speed the sanding process.

Abrasive finishing devices traditionally have an abrasive sheet attached to a flat base of the abrasive finishing device. The base holds the abrasive sheet flat and allows pressure to be applied to the sanded surface, if desired. A flat base can effectively sand a wide range of flat surfaces, but is not always effective on complicated surfaces having multiple curves.

A surface with a complex shape is significantly more difficult to sand with a flat base. As the flat base of an abrasive finishing device comes into contact with a complex surface, the abrasion is localized in certain small areas. Significant amount of material can be removed from certain portions of the surface while other portions remain unaffected. Uniform finishing with an abrasive finishing device having a flat base is therefore extremely difficult to achieve.

Truck beds, in particular, are complex surfaces that are hard to sand efficiently. Having a properly abraded surface on the bed of a truck is essential for a new coating to properly adhere. The bottom surface of a truck bed often consists of alternating raised and lowered strips along the length of the bed. This adds structural rigidity and strength to what would otherwise be a large, flat surface area. Because truck beds are used to transport heavy equipment, having a solid truck bed is essential. However, sanding the raised and lowered sections is difficult to do efficiently.

It can be seen, then, that there is a need in the art for a device that can easily be adapted to effectively sand the raised and lowered contours of a truck bed. Furthermore, it can be seen that there is a need to effectively sand any surface that is comprised of a complex shape.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To minimize the limitations in the prior art, and to minimize other limitations that will become apparent upon reading and understanding the present specification, the present invention discloses a contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet. The contoured interface pad has a body with a first and second opposed major side. The first side is positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device while the second side is capable of receiving the abrasive sheet. The second side has a first surface portion that protrudes relative to a second surface portion. This allows the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece.

The first side of the body may be releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device. The second side of the body may also be releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet. In one embodiment, the body is sufficiently resilient to allow the body to deform and return to an original shape. This compensates for slight angular mismatches between the base of the abrasive finishing device and the irregular surface of the workpiece and causes substantially uniform pressure to be applied to the surface. The first side of the body may be releasably attachable to the base of the abrasive finishing device through a first hook and loop fastener system. The second side of the body may also be releasably attachable to the abrasive sheet through a second hook and loop fastener system. The first and second surface portions may be substantially flat conforming to the shape of a bed of a truck.

The device of the present invention can be easily adapted to sand an irregular surface. Furthermore, the device of the present invention can be used to effectively sand the raised and recessed contours of a truck bed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings in which like numbers represent corresponding parts throughout:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an abrasive finishing device having an interface pad constructed according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of an abrasive finishing device having an interface pad constructed according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an exploded front elevational of view of the abrasive finishing device of FIG. 1 with an irregular portion of a truck bed shown in section beneath it.

FIG. 4A is a front elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shown in its assembled condition, along with a portion of a truck bed.

FIG. 4B is a front elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the invention having an additional strip disposed against the underside of the interface pad.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of an interface pad constructed according to an embodiment of the invention in isolation.

FIG. 6(a) is a front elevational view of an interface pad constructed according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6(b) is a front elevational view of an interface pad constructed according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6(c) is a front elevational view of an interface pad constructed according to another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part thereof, in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a contoured interface pad 100 is coupled to a hand-held abrasive finishing or “sanding” device 102. The hand-held abrasive finishing device has a handle 104 and a base 106. The contoured interface pad has a first side 108 coupled to the base 106 and a second side 110 coupled to an abrasive sheet 114. The second side 110 is contoured to match a surface to be sanded and to cause the abrasive sheet 114 to define that same contour. The abrasive sheet 114 is releasably attachable to the second side 110 to manually abrade or “sand” an irregular surface.

FIG. 2 illustrates the contoured interface pad 100 coupled to a powered abrasive finishing device 112. The powered abrasive finishing device 112 can be powered by electricity, by pneumatics, or by any other suitable means. The powered abrasive finishing device can move in a linear motion, a rotary motion, an orbital motion or any combination thereof. Use of the powered abrasive finishing device 112 significantly decreases the time required to sand a surface, compared to the manual device of FIG. 1. The powered abrasive finishing device 112 has a substantially flat base 106 coupled to the first side 108 of the contoured interface pad 100.

FIG. 3 shows the contoured interface pad 100 in spaced relationship to the hand-held abrasive finishing device 102 and the abrasive sheet 114, such as sandpaper. The first side is removably attached to the base 106. This attachment can be through a hook and loop fastener system. On the first side 108 are a multitude of loop structures. On the base 108 are a multitude of hook structures. When pressure is applied between the first side 108 and the base 106, the two surfaces adhere to each other and remain in contact. To remove the contoured interface pad 100, sufficient force must be applied normal to the surface of the conformed interface pad 100 for separation. The force required for separation is more than the forces encountered during sanding. This allows the contoured interface pad 100 to be quickly mounted to and removed from the abrasive finishing device, yet to be held securely to the pad during a sanding operation.

Other methods are possible of removably joining the first side 108 and base 106. For example, an adhesive may be placed between the two parts to adhere them together. One or more mechanical threaded fasteners can also be used. Openings (not shown) may be provided along the base and contoured interface pad 100 to facilitate the use of threaded fasteners to join the pieces. A magnetic material may be used to join the two pieces, as well. The base 106 may be metallic and a magnet material (not shown) can be embedded within or affixed to the first side 106 of the contoured interface pad 100. Other methods of removably attaching the first side 108 and base 106 are possible in light of this teaching, as this description is not meant to be exhaustive.

The second side 110 of the contoured interface pad 100 is contoured and has a first surface portion 116 that protrudes relative to a second surface portion 118. The contoured surface of the second side 110 is purposefully matched to a corresponding shape of an irregular surface 120. The abrasive sheet 114 may be removably attached to the second surface 110, thus conforming to the contours of the irregular surface 120. This allows the abrasive sheet 114 to match the irregular surface 120. This is particularly useful when sanding the bed liner within a pick-up truck. The contour of the second side 110 can be matched to the contours of various pick-up truck beds. This significantly reduces the time required to sand a truck bed before a coating is applied.

Also shown in FIG. 3 is an optional strip 130 of fabric, foam or other suitable material, that matches in area the bottom surface of the first surface portion 116 of the contoured interface pad 100. The strip 130 is positioned directly below the first surface portion 116 and is used when the surface of the truck bed being finished contains depressions deeper than the distance that the first surface portion 116 extends below the second surface portion 118. The thickness of the optional strip 130 is chosen to give the abrasive sheet 114 a contour matching that of the truck bed. By using optional strips 130 of different thickness, the contour of the abrasive sheet 114 can be made to match the contour of truck beds whose depressions are deeper than the original contour of the interface pad 100.

The abrasive sheet 114 can be removably attached to the second side 110 in any of the ways previously discussed. For example, a hook and loop system can be used, with the abrasive sheet 114 having a multitude of loop structures along the non-abrasive side and the second side 110 having a multitude of hook structures. Once pressure is applied to join the two, the abrasive sheet 114 will remain affixed until sufficient pressure is used to remove it. FIG. 4A shows how the abrasive sheet 114 conforms to the contours of the second side 110. Furthermore, it shows how the hand-held abrasive finishing device 102 can also be removably attached.

FIG. 4B shows the same structure with the optional strip 130 disposed along the first surface portion 116 to give the abrasive sheet 114 a deeper contour. In the case where the abrasive sheet 114 is attached to the interface pad by a hook and loop system, the optional strip 130 may be attached in the same way. Thus, loop structures on an upper surface 132 of the optional strip 130 may engage hook structures on the first surface portion 116 of the interface pad 100, while hook structures on a lower surface 134 engage loop structures of the abrasive sheet 114.

FIG. 5 illustrates the contoured interface pad 100, the pad of which may be a homogeneous or composite mass comprising any of a variety of different materials. In one embodiment, the material is sufficiently resilient to deform and return to its original shape. For example, foam or other rubber or rubber like materials may be used, or a combination of different materials may be used. As the user presses against the abrasive finishing device during operation, it is difficult to maintain the abrasive sheet 114 precisely parallel to the irregular surface 120. The resilient material compensates for any mismatch or misalignment and produces a uniform sanding process. The base 106 and the optional strip 130 may also have resilient surfaces, or a series of resilient layers, to improve sanding surface contact.

FIGS. 6(a)-6(c) show various exemplary alternative configurations of the first surface portions 122 and second surface portions 124 that may be utilized to sand an irregular surface. These particular embodiments would be advantageous for sanding different types of pick-up truck beds. Of course, these configurations are merely exemplary and are not meant to be exhaustive of all possible configurations of the contoured interface pad of the invention.

In summary, the present invention provides for a contoured interface pad for use between a base of an abrasive finishing device and an abrasive sheet. The contoured interface pad has a body with a first and second opposed major sides. The first side is positionable against the base of the abrasive finishing device while the second side is capable of receiving the abrasive sheet. The second side has a first surface portion that protrudes relative to a second surface portion. This allows the abrasive sheet to conform to an irregular surface of a workpiece. Optionally, a strip may be placed on the protruding strip of the interface pad to increase the contour of the pad.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the invention have been presented solely for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. It is intended that the scope of the invention not be limited by this detailed description, but by the claims and the equivalents to the claims appended hereto.