Title:
Drywall tape dispensing mudbox
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drywall tape dispensing tool for applying drywall tape and joint compound simultaneously to a drywall joint. The apparatus includes a tape dispensing mechanism fastened to a housing with a chamber for holding drywall joint compound. A tape is passed from the dispenser through the chamber where both sides of the tape are exposed to the compound. Excess compound is removed from the tape as it passes through a tape dispensing slot. An adjustable plate allows a user to selectively determine the amount of joint compound removed from the tape and the amount of pull necessary to bring the tape through the chamber.



Inventors:
Brown, Lonnie (Taneyville, MO, US)
Application Number:
12/287952
Publication Date:
04/16/2009
Filing Date:
10/15/2008
Assignee:
BMB Products, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F21/165
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
OSELE, MARK A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LATHROP GPM LLP (Overland Park, KS, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drywall tape dispensing tool comprising: A housing formed of rigid plastic, the housing defining a chamber for holding a quantity of joint compound and comprised of a hinged door and an opposed side with four walls between the hinged door and the side; a tape dispenser fastened generally rearward the housing, a first taped slot through the housing wall adjacent the tape dispenser, a second tape slot through the forward wall of the housing, a slidable plate substantially adjacent the second tape slot for exerting a predetermined pressure against the tape as it is dispensed through the second tape slot, a rigid paddle fastened to the housing substantially near the second tape slot, and at least one handle fastened to the housing for grasping by the user.

2. The drywall tape dispensing tool of claim 1 wherein the paddle and the tape guide are formed from a single piece of metal.

3. The drywall tape dispensing tool of claim 1 further comprising two wear bars adjacent to the second tape slot to prevent wear to the housing.

4. A drywall tape dispensing box comprising: A housing defining a chamber to contain a compound to be applied to the tape and having a top wall, bottom wall, front wall, back wall, and side walls, and a first and second tape slot; a tape dispenser attached to the housing for supplying tape to the chamber such that the tape overlies the compound contained therein; a vertically adjustable plate substantially adjacent the second tape slot; a horizontally movable paddle adjacent the second tape slot against which tape is forced as it is dispensed; and wherein the plate is vertically adjustable for the exertion of a predetermined amount of force against the tape as it is dispensed through the second tape slot; two wear bars, one positioned on either lateral side of the second tape slot to be replaced if grooved to prevent leakage of joint compound; at least one handle for grasping by the user, and wherein tape is forcibly pulled through the chamber of the box where it is coated with joint compound and then passed through the second tape slot for application on drywall joints by the user.

5. The drywall tape dispensing tool of claim 4 wherein one side wall comprises a hinged door on the housing for easily accessing the housing chamber and a plurality of frictional retention clips for securing the hinged door to the housing.

6. The drywall tape dispensing tool of claim 4 wherein the horizontally oriented paddle is provide with a serrated edge for cutting the tape.

7. The drywall tape dispensing tool of claim 4 wherein the vertically adjustable plate and the paddle are formed from a single piece of metal.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/999,030, filed Oct. 15, 2007, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

The application of drywall tape and mud is a time consuming and labor intensive process in the home building industry. Drywall panels, sometimes called gypsum board, are uniformly fastened to wall studs and ceiling beams to form a substantially flat and homogeneous surface for applying decorative wall covering such as paint, wall paper, wainscoating, and the like. Drywall panels are typically manufactured in dimensions such as four foot by twelve foot and thickness such as one-half inch. As the panels are installed, a joint is formed where the panel edges meet.

To provide a flat uniform surface, it is necessary to fill these joints. Traditionally, these joints are filled with plaster or a joint compound that is well known and commonly available in the industry. To prevent undue cracking or settling of the joint compound into the formed joint, it is preferable to place drywall tape, generally a paper or web material, over the joint or seam formed by adjacent drywall panels. In order to stick the drywall tape to the drywall, it is traditional to layer the joining compound on the drywall panels adjacent the seam, then place a layer of drywall tape which is forcibly pressed into the still wet joint compound. Additional layers ofjoint compound are then applied over the tape and allowed to dry. The joint compound is sanded smooth and additional layers may be necessary to fully fill the joint to provide a smooth and consistent surface.

It is the placement of the initial layer of joint compound, followed by tape, followed by another layer of joint compound that is particularly time consuming and labor intensitive.

Over the years, a variety of mechanical devices have been created to assist in this process of applying joint compound and drywall tape. Rotational tape dispensers are common in the industry and allow a user to quickly unroll the drywall tape by simply fastening a loose end of the tape to the drywall compound and unrolling the tape along the length of drywall joint. Some devices have been created which unroll the drywall tape while simultaneously placing the joint compound on the seam. Some of these devices utilize rollers to forcibly seat the drywall tape and associated compound, to the seams.

Drywall mudding boxes are known within the industry which allow the user to dispense tape, coat the tape with drywall mud, and place it on the walls in one relatively easy process. These mudding boxes have significant drawback, however, because they tend to leak the joint compound creating a mess, unevenly apply joint compound to the tape as it is dispensed, and quickly wear with a high susceptibility to breakage.

The instant invention is a drywall tape dispensing mudbox which uniformly applies joint compound to the tape as it is dispensed, and is specifically constructed to prevent leakage, wear and breakage. Further, the inventive device is simple to manufacture and inexpensive enough to provide to workers without concerns of theft, breakage or loss.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The drywall tape dispensing mudbox of the present invention comprises a substantially rectangular housing for holding a quantity of drywall joint compound. The housing is rigid and strong, and preferably made of break-resistant clear plastic. Because the housing is intentionally clear, the user can visually determine the amount of drywall joint compound residing in the chamber of the housing. A hinged door is provided which can be easily opened for adding drywall joint compound to the housing, inserting tape into the mudbox, or for cleaning at the conclusion of use. At least one friction clip fastened to the outside of the housing can be used to quickly and easily secure the hinged door in a closed position.

A tape dispenser is disposed at the first end of the housing. The tape dispenser includes a wall rigidly fixed to the housing and a perpendicular projecting rod or cylinder onto which the drywall tape roll is positioned. It is preferable that this rod or cylinder have an outer circumference slightly smaller than the inner circumference of commercially available rolls of drywall tape. This allows the tape roll to simply be pushed onto the rod or cylinder and frictionally held in place. The rod may be slightly conical in shape to ease the introduction of a tape roll onto the rod.

The sizing of the rod, however, is critical in that the circumference must be large enough to retain the roll of tape but allow it to freely turn during dispensing. A retention bar may also be provided on the housing substantially adjacent the tape dispensing rod or cylinder to further engage the tape roll to prevent it from unintentionally falling from the device during operation.

The housing is provided with a first tape slot at the first end, substantially adjacent to the tape dispensing rod. The free end of the tape roll is positioned through the first tape slot into the chamber of the housing. The chamber is further defined by an upper wall and a lower wall, also described as the top and bottom walls respectively, with the lower wall generally being closest to the drywall panel during operation.

When drywall joint compound is placed in a chamber, the tape is positioned generally upward or over the quantity of drywall joint compound so that it is nearer the upper wall. This is an important orientation of the inventive device because it allows the tape to be uniformly coated with drywall joint compound as the tape is pulled through the chamber of the mudding box.

In most known drywall mudding boxes, the boxes are configured to position the tape near the lower or bottom wall so that the quantity of joint compound generally sits on or lies over the tape. This is problematic because the weight of the joint compound can often tear the tape and as the tape is moved through the box more compound is generally applied to the upper surface of the tape than the lower surface. This often results in the tape from falling from the drywall panels as it is applied.

The forward or second end of the housing includes a second tape dispensing slot through which the tape is positioned. Substantially adjacent the second tape slot, an adjustable tape guide and paddle is mounted. The tape guide is generally formed from a flat metal piece which can be oriented generally upwards or downwards to exert a preferred amount of force on the tape as it is dispensed through the second tape slot. This prevents the tape from inadvertently passing through the second tape slot and gives the user greater control in the overall function of the device particular to the speed with which tape is pulled through the mudbox for application on the wall.

The paddle projects generally perpendicular to the second, or front, wall of the housing in a generally forward orientation. The tape passing through the second tape slot overlies the paddle which is a second piece of flat metal having a forward serrated edge. As the tape is pulled through the box for application on the wall, the paddle prevents the tape from contacting the wall before the user intends such contact. Moreover, the serrated edge provides a surface against which the user can force the tape to cut it free from the box at the end of a run.

An orifice through the forward surface or front face of the housing aligns with a slot formed in the tape guide. A screw with a fitted wing nut can be loosened to allow the tape guide to be moved vertically respective to the housing and then fastened to secure the tape guide in the preferred position.

The device further includes a rigid handle fastened to the upper most surface or upper wall of the device for grasping by the user. A flexible handle is positioned on the outer wall on the hinged door. The flexible handle allows the user to insert their hand between the handle and the wall of the housing during operation. The flexible handle is generally mounted to the housing at each end with a rigid adjustable fastener, preferably made of metal. The forward or front fastener will generally have a small flange formed therein generally perpendicular the wall of the housing against which the user rests their thumb during operation.

In operation the method and use of the inventive device is quite simple. The hinged door of the housing is opened and a quantity of drywall joint compound is placed therein. A roll of tape is positioned on the tape holder and the loose end is passed through the first tape slot into the chamber of the housing. The tape is passed over the upper most or top surface of the joint compound near the upper wall. It is then brought forward and generally downward to pass through the second tape slot essentially at or near the bottom wall of the housing.

The tape is then passed from the chamber outward through the second tape slot and over the lower surface of the paddle. The adjustable tape guide is manually positioned in the desired orientation and secured with the wing nut and bolt component. As the user begins pulling tape through the chamber, the tape is generally urged downward into the mass of joint compound. As the user continues to pull the tape through, the tape is uniformly coated with joint compound on both the upper and lower surfaces.

As the tape is pulled through the second tape slot, excess joint compound is removed from the tape by the edges of the slot and retained in the chamber. The uniformly coated tape is then passed across the paddle where the user places it on the work piece, the joint between panels of drywall to be sealed. Once the user secures the lose end of the tape against the drywall, he or she can quickly move the box along the joint to dispense perfectly coated drywall tape along the joint. A second worker follows the user and forcibly pushes the tape into the joint by traditional means, generally a flat spatula forced along the length of the tape.

One of the drawbacks of known mudding boxes is the wear and tear on the box itself. Through even limited use, the box begins to leak joint compound at various seams and joints. The instant invention addresses this and eliminates the problem by using a plastic which allows a firm seal between the hinged lid and the box housing which is generally impervious to leakage. Further, a wear bar is positioned on either side of the second tape slot. These bars are generally made of stainless steel or other substantially hard metal. These bars are not susceptible to grooving as tape is pulled through. Grooving in this area is a known cause for leakage of drywall compound. Because the bars are hard, they don't groove which reduces the likelihood of leaking. Moreover, the bars are easily replaceable in the event they do become grooved.

Because the device is preferably manufactured from a rigid plastic and all metal parts are either stainless steel or other metals which are resistant to water damage and rusting, the device can easily be cleaned with water after use. As opposed to traditional boxes formed of steel or aluminum, the instant invention is very easy to clean. It further avoids the downfalls of known taping boxes as described above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

FIG. 3 is a top view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

FIG. 5 is a detail view of a side cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

FIG. 6 is a cut-away view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to FIG. 1, a side perspective view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, also called a mudbox, is shown. The drywall tape dispensing tool comprises a housing 100 that is substantially rectangular with top, bottom, front and back walls, and two side walls. The walls of the housing 100 may be formed from a single piece of plastic, or may be formed from a plurality of pieces of plastic attached together by fasteners of various well-known kinds.

In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, the housing 100 is formed of transparent plastic to allow the user of the mudbox to ascertain the contents of the mudbox during use, and to determine the amount of joint compound remaining in the housing 100 without the necessity of opening the housing 100.

One side wall, hinged door 102, is disposed on hinges to allow access to the interior of the housing, for the purpose of loading the mudbox with joint compound and drywall tape. Hinged door 102 is held in the closed position by one or more friction clips 104, although in other embodiments of the mudbox other types of fasteners may be used to secure the hinged door 102 in the closed position. Hinged door 102 typically has lips that slightly overlap the top, bottom, and side walls to provide a better seal between housing 100 and hinged door 102.

The drywall tape dispensing tool incorporates a tape dispenser 106, which is formed from tape dispenser wall 108 and tape dispenser rod 110. Tape dispenser wall 108 extends substantially perpendicular to the back wall of the housing 100. Tape dispenser rod 110 is substantially cylindrical and extends from and is perpendicular to tape dispenser wall 108.

During use of the drywall tape dispensing tool, a roll of drywall tape is installed on the tape dispensing rod 110 and the side of the roll of tape rests against wall 108 with the loose end of the drywall tape extending toward the bottom wall of housing 100. The diameter of rod 110 should be sufficient to allow the roll of drywall tape to rotate freely around the axis of rod 110 while providing some friction to minimize the potential for the roll of tape to slip off the rod 110.

An embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool optionally incorporates a retention bar 112. In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, rentention bar 112 extends from hinged door 102 perpendicular to the back wall of housing 100 and extends across the end of tape dispenser rod 110. When hinged door 102 is in the closed position, rentention bar 112 prevents the roll of tape installed on the tape dispenser rod 110 from falling off of the rod 110. When hinged door 102 is in the open position, the end of tape dispenser rod 110 is unobstructed and rolls of drywall tape may be removed from or inserted onto rod 110.

The housing 100 includes two slots to allow the drywall tape to pass from the tape dispenser 106 through the housing 100 to be applied to a drywall joint. The first tape slot 114 is located at the corner of the housing 100 between the back wall and the bottom wall thereof. The second tape slot 116 is located at the corner of the housing 100 between the front wall and the bottom wall thereof. The drywall tape is fed from the tape dispenser 106 through first tape slot 114 and through the interior of housing 100 and then out through second tape slot 116.

A tape guide 118 is positioned at the second tape slot 116 to control the dispensing of drywall tape through the drywall tape dispensing tool. A paddle 120 is also affixed to the housing 100 adjacent to the second tape slot 116. In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, the tape guide 118 and the paddle 120 may be formed from a single piece of metal or other similar material.

The paddle 120 extends generally parallel to the bottom wall of the housing 100, and in a preferred embodiment incorporates serrated edge 124. In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, the paddle 120 is affixed to the front wall of the housing 100 and drywall tape passing through second tape slot 116 passes along the bottom face of paddle 120 before application to a drywall joint.

Tape guide 118 is adjustably attached to housing 100 by releaseable fastener 122. In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, fastener 122 comprises a machine bolt and wing nut, however fastener 122 may also consist of other types of releaseable fasteners. Fastener 122 passes through slots in both housing 100 and tape guide 118, and when it is in a loosened position, tape guide 118 may be adjusted in relation to second tape slot 116 to more or less occlude tape slot 116.

Adjusting tape guide 118 allows the user of the drywall tape dispensing tool to adjust the pressure applied to the drywall tape as it is applied, thus altering the characteristics of the application and altering the amount of joint compound on the tape as it leaves housing 100.

Rigid handle 126 is attached to housing 100 and provides a convenient method of carrying the drywall tape dispensing tool when it is not in use applying drywall tape to a drywall joint. Rigid handle 126 in a preferred embodiment may be formed from metal, plastic or wood. When using the drywall tape dispensing tool, a user holds the drywall tape dispensing tool using flexible handle 128 formed from a flexible strap or webbing material.

During use of the drywall tape dispensing tool, the user thereof places a hand through the flexible handle 128, with the palm of the hand against hinged door 102. The fingers of the hand extend toward the bottom wall of housing 100. A flange 130 is provided adjacent to flexible handle 128 to provide support for the thumb of a user of the mudbox, and to give the user additional leverage to control the tool.

Flexible handle 128 is affixed to housing 100 by two adjustable fasteners 132. Flange 130 may be incorporated into one of the adjustable fasteners 132. In a preferred embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool, the flexible handle 128 comprises a strap of webbing and adjustable fasteners incorporate buckles well-known for adjustably attaching straps.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a side view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing drywall tape dispensing tool is shown. The drywall tape dispensing tool is shown looking at the hinged door 102 with the hinge located along the top wall of housing 100. From this view, it is clear that although housing 100 is substantially rectangular, in some embodiments of the drywall tape dispensing tool not all of the comers of the housing are right angles. In the embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool shown in FIG. 2 the front wall of housing 100 is disposed at an acute angle to the bottom wall of the housing 100. Similarly, the front wall of housing 100 is disposed at the complementary obtuse angle to the top wall of housing 100.

FIG. 2 also provides a clearer view of the first tape slot 114 located at the corner of the back wall and the bottom wall of housing 100. In the embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool shown in this figure, the first tape slot is provided with a wear plate 200. As drywall tape is pulled through the drywall tape dispensing tool, it exerts pressure on the side of the first tape slot 114 formed by the edge of the back wall of housing 100. This pressure over time will wear down the edge of the back wall, widening the first tape slot 114 and degrading the performance of the drywall tape dispensing tool.

The wear plate 200 is, in preferred embodiments, a metal plate fixed to the back wall of housing 100 by rivets, screws or other similar means of attachment. The wear plate 200 extends from the outer surface of the back wall of housing 100, over the side of first tape slot 114 formed by the edge of the back wall of housing 100, and over the inside surface of the back wall of housing 100 for a short extent. Wear plate 200 prevents wear from degrading the edge of the back wall of housing 100 as described above.

Wear may also occur near the second tape slot 116 for similar reasons. The drywall tape near the second tape slot 116 exerts pressure on the side of the second tape slot 116 formed from the edge of the front wall of housing 100. The edges of drywall tape may also wear grooves in the side wall of housing 100 and the hinged door 102.

The tape guide 118 or the paddle 120 typically prevent the wear from degrading the edge of the front wall of housing 100. In a preferred embodiment, wear bars 202 are inserted on the inside surfaces of the side wall of housing 100 and the hinged door 102 to prevent the grooving thereof by the drywall tape. In the embodiment of the mudbox shown in FIG. 2, the wear bars 202 are triangular in shape to fit the acute angle formed by the bottom and front wall of housing 100. The wear bars 202 are typically formed from metal or some hard material resistant to wear.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a top view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool is shown. The various components of the drywall tape dispensing tool identified with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2 above are shown thereon. This angle clearly shows the lips of hinged door 102 that overlap the top, bottom, front and back walls of housing 100.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the drywall tape dispensing tool is shown. A roll of drywall tape 400 has been installed on the dispensing rod 110 and has been fed through first tape slot 114 and out through second tape slot 116.

The interior of housing 100 contains a quantity of joint compound 402. Tape 400 is run over the joint compound adjacent to the top wall of housing 100. As tape 400 is pulled through slot 118 it pulls tape 400 down and forces it against joint compound 402.

Some portion of joint compound 402 oozes around tape 400 and coats both the top and bottom surfaces of tape 400 as it is pulled through housing 100. The coated tape 400 then exits through slot 116 and is guided along paddle 120 and against a drywall joint.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a detail of a cross-sectional view of first tape slot 114 is shown. The wear plate 200 is shown affixed to the back wall of housing 100 by a rivet. Tape 400 extends through the tape slot 114.

Referring now to FIG. 6, a detail cut-away view of the area adjacent to the second tape slot 116 is shown. The integrated tape guide 118 and paddle 120 are adjustably attached to the front wall of housing 100 by adjustable fastener 122. Wear bars 202 are disposed adjacent to the side wall and hinged door 102 immediately adjacent to the second tape slot 116.