Title:
Handheld Rotary Wheel Cleaning Brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A handheld rotary bristle brush head especially useful for cleaning the detail on vehicle wheels, as well as being useful for cleaning larger surfaces on the wheels and the vehicle. The brush head has a block with a generally dome-shaped main body of bristles, and a distinct forward cluster of bristles extending axially forward of the main body of bristles from a rounded end of the block in a flared cone. The forward bristle cluster has a smaller diameter than the main body of bristles, and can accordingly be applied to a surface or recess to be cleaned independently of the main body of bristles. The density and angle of the forward cluster gives a more thorough cleaning in tight, hard-to-reach spaces. The main body of bristles remains useful for cleaning larger surfaces.



Inventors:
Kolarevic, John S. (Traverse City, MI, US)
Kolarevic, Michael D. (Traverse City, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/466696
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/23/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/23
International Classes:
A46B7/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANT, ALVIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORTHERN MICHIGAN PATENT LAW, PLC (TRAVERSE CITY, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. In a rotary cleaning bristle brush head adapted to be driven by a handheld motor drive unit to clean a vehicle, the brush head having a block and a main body of bristles extending from the block in generally dome-shaped fashion, the improvement comprising: a forward bristle cluster extending from a rounded outer end of the block in a flared cone, the forward bristle cluster having a smaller diameter than a diameter of the main body of bristles and comprising bristle ends axially spaced forwardly and distinct from the main body of bristles on the block, such that the bristle ends of the forward bristle cluster can be applied to a surface or recess to be cleaned without placing the main body of bristles in contact with the surface.

2. The brush head of claim 1, wherein the forward bristle cluster has a bristle density greater than a bristle density of the main body of bristles.

3. The brush head of claim 1, wherein outer bristles in the forward bristle cluster are flared and inner bristles in the forward bristle cluster are axial.

4. The brush head of claim 1, wherein an outer angle of the forward bristle cluster is a forward angle closer to the block axis than the angle of the nearest portion of the main body of bristles.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the field of handheld rotating brushes used for cleaning vehicles, especially vehicle wheels.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

Many vehicle owners clean their own vehicles. The racks of hardware and retail automotive supply stores are typically well-stocked with manual brushes, sprayers, squeegees, buckets, and cleaning agents specially designed for cleaning vehicles at home. Vehicle owners are often known for the great care they put into cleaning their vehicles, the more so if the vehicle is valuable or customized or a collector's item.

Soft rotary polishing balls driven by handheld motors such as cordless drills are commercially available. These are soft balls of compressible foam or foam strips, with a shank to fit a cordless chuck-type drill, used for buffing and polishing painted surfaces, wheels, fiberglass, metal, and other surfaces on automobiles and boats. These soft polishing balls are typically used with the addition of polishing compounds specially designed for the surface being polished or buffed. The softness or compressibility of the foam heads is advertised as allowing the heads to conform to irregular or hard-to-reach surfaces and spaces such as the detail on custom aluminum wheels.

It has also been known to rotate brush heads on the ends of cordless drills or dedicated handheld motors to clean both household items and vehicles. Cleaning brushes with dedicated handheld motor units and disc-, cylinder-, and dome-shaped brush heads are known for cleaning toilets, dishes, and other household items. In one product (the “Ultimate Scrubber”) with multiple interchangeable brush heads for household cleaning chores, a set of auto detailing “brushes” (actually disc-shaped sponge heads) is offered as an option.

Another prior art brush known to the inventor(s) is a dome-shaped bristle brush head adapted to fit a cordless drill, and particularly adapted to clean vehicle wheels with a central cluster of generally axial bristles at the tip of the “dome” defined by the main body of bristles. The bristles are mounted on a conical hub or block, and the tips of the bristles of the central cluster follow the contour of the main dome-shaped body.

None of the foregoing prior art devices is considered by the present inventors to be ideal for truly cleaning the details on vehicle wheels, such as lug nut pockets and the spaces between wire wheel spokes, and still remain useful for cleaning bigger, easier to reach surfaces.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an improved bristle arrangement for a generally dome-shaped bristle head of a vehicle cleaning brush, particularly useful for cleaning vehicle wheels. “Dome-shaped” is used herein to mean the range of shapes in which the main body of bristles changes from a generally radial bristle orientation to a more forwardly-angled orientation from the motor-driven base toward the outer free end of the bristle head, such that the outer end of the bristle head can be applied generally axially against a surface to be cleaned; this would include spherical bristle heads since the forward or outer half of spherical bristle heads can be considered dome-shaped, and would be the primary cleaning portion of the brush head.

The cleaning head of the brush has a hub or “block” with a main body of standard bristles projecting radially from the block at an increasing forward angle as they approach a rounded outer end of the block, creating the dome shape. By “rounded” is meant a block with at least an outer free end that curves or reduces in diameter to a rounded tip; this would include bullet-shaped, hemispherical, and spherical blocks. However, the main body of bristles is interrupted below the rounded outer end or tip of the block, and a forward cluster of bristles extends from the outer end of the block in a flared cone at a forward angle greater than the angle of the nearest bristles of the main body. The bristle ends of the forward cluster extend beyond the main body of bristles, such that the forward cluster forms a distinct flared brush portion projecting axially beyond the main body of bristles and having a diameter smaller than the main body of bristles. The forward cluster can accordingly be placed in and around lug nuts and other hard to reach places to clean them, independently of the main body of bristles.

In a further form of the invention, the forward cluster of bristles has a greater bristle density than the main body of bristles.

In a further preferred form, outer bristles in the forward cluster are flared or set at an acute forward angle relative to the block axis, and inner bristles are aligned with the block axis for a more cylindrical configuration.

These and other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon further reading of the specification in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective side view of a brush head according to the invention, shown in exploded view (solid lines) relative to a cordless drill, and assembled to the drill (phantom lines).

FIG. 2 is a perspective front view of the brush head of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2A is similar to FIG. 2, but the bristles have been replaced with a phantom outline to show the block of the brush head.

FIG. 3 is a front (outer end) elevation view of the brush head of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of brush head of FIG. 1, shown spinning.

FIG. 4A is similar to FIG. 4, but shows the forward cluster of bristles on the brush head in spinning contact with a recessed detail of a vehicle wheel.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the brush head of FIG. 1, with the main body of bristles in contact with the vehicle wheel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a currently preferred example of a vehicle cleaning brush head 10 according to the invention, shown both exploded from (solid lines) and assembled to (phantom lines) a common cordless drill 12 with a motor powered by a rechargeable battery. Brush head 10 has a drill-attaching shank 14 adapted to be removably engaged by the chuck or jaws 12a of the drill in known fashion, allowing brush head 10 to be rotated at whatever speeds the drill is capable, and either forward or reverse. It will be understood that while a common cordless drill is preferred as the motor drive, cord-powered drills and other cord-powered and cordless drives (for example in-line screwdriver drives), and even dedicated handheld motor drives to which the brush head is permanently or removably connected for motor-driven rotation, are also possible. In the preferred form (best shown in FIG. 1, shank 14 is a hexagonal metal shaft with a fillet, allowing it to be attached to both chuck-type and screwdriver socket-type drivers.

Brush head 10 has a plastic block 16, in the form of a straight-walled or tapered cylinder with a rounded, substantially hemispherical end 16c. A main body of bristles 18 is attached to the main body of block 16 in known fashion, for example by staple-fitting tufts 18b of nylon bristle into blind bores or sockets 16b (FIG. 2A) formed in the main body of the block. The main body of bristles 18 is arranged on the block in standard fashion, projecting generally radially from the block at base end 16a and progressively being angled more forwardly as they approach the outer end, such that the tips of the main bristles 18 form a uniform, generally dome-shaped body as seen for example in FIG. 1. It will be understood that the generally dome-shaped main bristle body can vary in accordance with the shape of block 16 and with the angle and depth at which the bristles 18 are mounted on the block.

However, bristles 18 do not cover the entire block 16 in conventional fashion to create a uniform dome contour, but are replaced at the rounded outer end 16c of the block with a distinct forward cluster of bristles 20. Forward bristle cluster 20 has a flared cone shape extending farther from the block than the nearest (outer/forward-most) portion 18c of the main body of bristles 18, as best shown in FIG. 1, and is smaller in diameter than the main body of bristles 18.

As best shown in FIGS. 2, 2A, and 3, forward bristle cluster 20 is formed by a plurality of bristles or bristle tufts, for example secured in known manner to block 16 by staple-fitting them into sockets 20b formed in the rounded outer end 16c of the block. Sockets 20b are clustered more closely together than main bristle body sockets 18b. Forward cluster sockets 20b are also angled more forwardly relative to the block axis than the nearest sockets 18b. The result, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, is a forward bristle cluster 20 with a greater bristle density than main body 18, and an outer flared layer of bristles with a greater forward angle relative to the block's axis y than the nearest bristles in main body 18. The inner bristles in cluster 20 can be more closely aligned with the block axis, and preferably the innermost bristles in forward cluster 20 are aligned with the block axis.

FIG. 4 shows brush head 10 spinning. Forward bristle cluster 20 maintains its distinct shape relative to main bristle body 18 at recommended cleaning speeds (in the illustrated embodiment between about 150 and 450 rpm, although this might vary depending on bristle construction), making it easier for the person using brush 10 to apply the spinning forward bristle cluster 20 to some detail (especially a recessed detail) of vehicle wheel 30 independently of main bristle body 18. FIG. 4A shows that as the spinning cone of bristle cluster 20 engages a surface or recess such as lug nut pocket 40 on a vehicle wheel 30, the bristles in cluster 20 generally maintain the flared, conical shape that the forward cluster exhibits at rest, and this is believed to enhance the forward bristle cluster's cleaning ability and utility. Bristle cluster 20 can accordingly be applied to some portion of wheel 30 independently of the main dome-shaped bristle body 18, while main bristle body 18 can be kept off an adjacent surface such as 32, if desired. It has been found that spinning brush head 10 faster than the recommended speeds can result in an undesirable flaring and spreading of the bristles of the forward cluster back into the main dome-shaped body.

FIG. 5 shows the main bristle body 18 being applied to larger and more accessible surfaces 32 of wheel 40. This can be done independently of bristle cluster 20 by holding the main body of bristles 18 at an off-axis angle relative to the work surface, or by pushing bristle cluster 20 into some recessed portion of the wheel until the main body 18 contacts the outer surfaces, or (in the example of FIG. 5) by simply overcoming the resistance posed by bristle cluster 20, deforming it against the surface being cleaned until the main bristle body 18 makes contact with the surface.

It will be understood that while the brush head 10 is especially designed for cleaning vehicle wheels, it may have utility for cleaning other parts of a vehicle (and even for cleaning objects other than vehicles) as well.

It will finally be understood that the disclosed embodiments are representative of presently preferred forms of the invention, but are intended to be illustrative rather than definitive of the invention. The scope of the invention is defined by the following claims. We accordingly claim: