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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/214568
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cleaning apparatus is described herein comprising a housing defining a fluid reservoir and further comprising a carriage assembly rotatably positioned within the housing capable of supporting and rotating a tubular object. A method of using the cleaning apparatus is also described herein.

Inventors:
WILLIAMS, Zachary, P. (P.O. Box 323, Kaw City, OK, 74641, US)
Application Number:
US2017/036852
Publication Date:
December 14, 2017
Filing Date:
June 09, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RESI-BLASTER (P.O. Box 323, Kaw City, OK, 74641, US)
International Classes:
B08B3/04; B08B1/04
Foreign References:
JP4582649B22010-11-17
CN202943052U2013-05-22
JPH05245449A1993-09-24
US5778907A1998-07-14
US3397702A1968-08-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SOROCCO, Douglas, J. (Dunlap Codding, P.C.PO Box 1637, Oklahoma City OK, 73113-2370, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An apparatus for cleaning a tubular object, comprising:

a housing defining a fluid reservoir, the housing having a base, at least one wall extending from the base, and a removable top; and

a carriage assembly rotatably positioned within the housing, wherein the carriage assembly is configured to support a tubular object having a first end and a second end such that:

(i) when the carriage assembly rotatably moves the tubular object towards the base of the housing, the base is closer to the first end than the second end of the tubular object, and

(ii) when the carriage assembly rotatably moves the tubular object away from the base, the base is farther away from the first end than the second end of the tubular object.

Description:
CLEANING APPARATUS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS/

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE STATEMENT

[0001] The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/347,906, filed June 9, 2016. The entirety of which is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to an apparatus for cleaning a tubular object using, for example, a solvent such as ethanol. The present disclosure also relates to a method of cleaning a tubular object using the apparatus.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Smoking devices generally comprise a receptacle capable of holding smokable materials (e.g., tobacco) and a stem for consuming the smoke produced when the smokable materials are heated or burned. The receptacle is capable of mating with a screen or similar device to prevent the inhalation of ashes when a user inhales. In some instances, the stem further comprises a mouthpiece to improve the comfort or use of the smoking device.

[0004] Smoking devices generally have a tubular shape and can come in a variety of materials, including ceramic, glass, plastic, and/or metal. All smoking devices - with the exception of paper-based products like cigarettes - have the same problem despite their material make-up or shape: organic residues such as tar collect on their interior surfaces when used for smoking. These organic residues accumulate and scale overtime, which can negatively impact a user's experience if these organic residues are not cleaned from the device. For example, the organic residues can negatively impact the perceived taste of unflavored or flavored tobacco resulting in an unpleasant experience for a user. Additionally, these organic residues can ultimately impact the usability of the smoking device by, for example, clogging the stem and restricting flow of the smoke through the stem. [0005] Current tools and methods for cleaning smoking devices can be insufficient and/or labor intensive. As such, there is a need for a cleaning apparatus and method requiring minimal labor, yet efficiently and effectively cleans the residue that may build up on the inside surfaces of a smoking device when the device is used to smoke, for example, tobacco.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] To assist those of ordinary skill in the relevant art in making and using the subject matter hereof, reference is made to the appended drawings, which are not intended to be drawn to scale, and in which like reference numerals are intended to refer to similar elements for consistency. For purposes of clarity, not every component may be labeled in every drawing.

[0007] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the cleaning apparatus disclosed herein.

[0008] FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

[0009] FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

[0010] FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1 when in use.

[0011] FIG. 5 illustrates another side view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1 when in use.

[0012] FIG. 6 illustrates a top view (FIG. 6a), a perspective view (FIG. 6b), and a side view

(FIG. 6c) of an aspect of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

[0013] FIG. 7 illustrates a top view of the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] Before explaining at least one embodiment of the disclosure in detail, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited in its application to the details of construction, experiments, exemplary data, and/or the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings unless otherwise noted.

[0015] The disclosure is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for purposes of description, and should not be regarded as limiting. [0016] U nless otherwise defined herein, technical terms used in connection with the presently disclosed and/or claimed inventive concept(s) shall have the meanings that are commonly understood by those of ordinary skill in the art. Fu rther, u nless otherwise required by context, singular terms shall include pluralities and plural terms should include the singular.

[0017] The following detailed description refers to the accompanying d rawings. The same reference numbers in different drawings may identify the same or similar elements.

[0018] As used in the description herein, the terms "comprises," "comprising," "includes," "including," "has," "having," or any other variations thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion. For example, unless otherwise noted, a process, method, article, or apparatus that com prises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to on ly those elements, but may also include other elements not expressly listed or in herent to such process, method, article, or apparatus.

[0019] Further, unless expressly stated to the contrary, "or" refers to an inclusive and not to an exclusive "or". That is, the use of the term "or" is used to mean "and/or" unless explicitly indicated to refer to alternatives on ly or the alternatives are mutually exclusive, although the disclosure su pports a definition that refers to only a lternatives and "and/or. " For exam ple, a condition A or B is satisfied by any one of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), a nd both A and B are true (or present).

[0020] I n addition, use of the words "a" or "an" are employed to describe elements and com ponents of the embodiments herein . This is done merely for convenience and to give a general sense of the inventive concept. This description should be read to include one or more, and the singular also includes the plural u nless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise. Fu rther, the use of the term "plurality" is meant to convey "more than one" u nless expressly stated to the contrary.

[0021] Th roughout this application, the term "a bout" is used to indicate that a value includes the inherent variation of error for the quantifying device, the method being employed to determine the value, or the variation that exists among the study subjects. For exam ple, but not by way of limitation, when the term "about" is utilized, the designated value may vary by plus or minus twelve percent, or eleven percent, or ten percent, or nine percent, or eight percent, or seven percent, or six percent, or five percent, or fou r percent, or three percent, or two percent, or one percent. The use of the term "at least one" will be understood to include one as well as any quantity more than one, including but not limited to, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, etc. The term "at least one" may extend up to 100 or 1000 or more depending on the term to which it is attached. In addition, the quantities of 100/1000 are not to be considered limiting, as lower or higher limits may also produce satisfactory results. In addition, the use of the phrase "at least one of X, V, and Z" will be understood to include X alone, V alone, and Z alone, as well as any combination of X, V, and Z. The use of ordinal number terminology (i.e., "first", "second", "third", "fourth", etc.) is solely for the purpose of differentiating between two or more items and, unless explicitly stated otherwise, is not meant to imply any sequence or order or importance to one item over another or any order of addition.

[0022] As used herein, any reference to "one embodiment," "an embodiment," "some embodiments," "one example," "for example," or "an example" means that a particular element, feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. The appearance of the phrase "in some embodiments" or "one example" in various places in the specification is not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, for example.

[0023] Referring now to the Figures, FIGS. 1 - 3 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of an apparatus 10 for cleaning a tubular object 12. The tubular object 12 having a first end 14 and a second end 16. It should be noted that the term "tubular" is not meant to be limited to an item with a circular cross section. Rather, the tubular object 12 may have any geometrical cross section, e.g., square, oval, or triangular, and still be encompassed by the presently disclosed concept(s).

[0024] The apparatus 10 comprises a housing 18 that defines a fluid reservoir. The housing 18 having: (i) a base 20, (ii) at least one wall 22 extending from the base 20, and (iii) a removable top 24. The apparatus 10 further comprises a carriage assembly 26 rotatably positioned within the housing 18, wherein the carriage assembly 26 is capable of supporting the tubular object 12.

[0025] By "rotatably positioned" it is meant that (at least) the portion of the carriage assembly 26 capable of supporting the tubular object can rotate within the housing 18 in a substantially circular manner from a first position that is closer to the top of the housing 18 than the base 20 of the housing 18 to a second position that is closer to the base 20 of the housing 18 than the top of the housing 18; and back to the first position.

[0026] The carriage assembly 26 is configured to support the tubular object 12 in a way that: (i) when the carriage assembly 26 rotatably moves the tubular object 12 towards the base 20 of the housing 18, the base 20 is closer to the first end 14 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12; and (ii) when the carriage assembly 26 rotatably moves the tubular object 12 away from the base 20 of the housing 18, the base 20 is farther away from the first end 14 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12.

[0027] Turning to FIGS. 4-5, FIG. 4 illustrates a side profile view of an exemplary embodiment of the apparatus 10 illustrating the position of the tubular object 12 on the platform 28 when the carriage assembly 26 is moving towards the base 20 of the housing 18. In particular, FIG. 4 illustrates that when the carriage assembly 26 is moving towards the base 20 of the housing 18, the base 20 is closer to the first end 14 of the tubular object 12 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12.

[0028] FIG. 5 illustrates a side profile view of an exemplary embodiment of the apparatus 10 illustrating the position of the tubular object 12 on the platform 28 when the carriage assembly 26 is moving away from the base 20 of the housing 18. In particular, FIG. 5 illustrates that when the carriage assembly 26 is moving away from the base 20 of the housing 18, the base is farther from the first end 14 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12.

[0029] Turning back to FIGS. 1-3, in one embodiment, the carriage assembly 26 comprises a platform 28 comprising a support 30 and one or more guides 32 on the support 30 oriented to form a receiving element. The platform 28 can further comprise an openable and closeable container 34 positioned on the support 30 for receiving, for example but without limitation, screens that are normally positioned within one end of a smoking device to prevent ash and other particles from being inhaled by a user. The platform 28 is capable of receiving the tubular object 12 in the receiving element formed by the one or more guides 32, and can be held in place by one or more restraints 36.

[0030] In one embodiment, the restraint 36 comprises a VELC O ® (manufactured) strap connected to the platform 28 in such a manner that the ends of the VELCRO ® strap can be connected to restrain the tubular object 12 or separated to release the tubular object 12. It is also envisioned that the one or more restraints 36 can be any other restraining mechanism or device as would be known to a person of ordinary skill for keeping the tubular object 12 in contact with the platform 28 when the carriage assembly 26 rotates within the housing.

[0031] Turning to FIGS. 6A-C, illustrated therein are detailed depictions of the above- described platform 28. In particular, FIG. 6A is a top view, FIG. 6B is a perspective view, and FIG. 6C is a side view of the platform 28 showing the support 30 and a non-limiting example of the one or more guides 32 oriented on the support 30 to form a receiving element capable of holding the tubular object 12. Although the one or more guides 32 defining the receiving element are depicted herein as a series of prongs defining a channel therebetween, it will be understood that the one or more guides 32 can comprise (a) a single guide sized, shaped, and/or spaced to receive a tubular object 12 like, for example, a channel; or (b) multiple guides in the shape of, for example, prongs that are also sized and spaced to receive a tubular object 12.

[0032] In one embodiment, the one or more guides 32 are adjustable such that the receiving element formed by the one or more guides 32 is capable of receiving a tubular object(s) 12 having a variety of shapes and sizes. In another embodiment, the one or more guides 32 can be adjustable such that the receiving element formed by the one or more guides 32 is not only capable of receiving a tubular object(s) 12 having a variety of shapes and sizes but is also capable of securing the tubular object(s) 12 without the use of an additional restraining device. In yet another embodiment, the one or more guides 32 can be adjustable such that the receiving element formed by the one or more guides 32 is capable of receiving a tubular object(s) 12 having a variety of shapes and sizes and further comprises one or more restraints 36.

[0033] FIGS. 6A-C further illustrate one non-limiting, exemplary embodiment of the above-described platform 28 wherein the support 30 has a long axis and a short axis, and the one or more guides 32 are positioned on the support 30 such that the receiving element is angled on the support 30 relative to the long axis.

[0034] The platform 28 is positioned on (or attached to) the rotatable portion of the carriage assembly 26 using any means or methods as would be known to a person of ordinary skill in the art such that when the carriage assembly 26 rotates, a tubular object 12 on the platform 28 also rotates in such a way that: (i) when the carriage assembly 26 moves towards the base 20 of the housing 18, the base 20 is closer to the first end 14 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12; and (ii) when the carriage assembly 26 moves away from the base 20 of the housing 18, the base 20 is farther from the first end 14 than the second end 16 of the tubular object 12.

[0035] In one embodiment, the platform 28 is positioned on the rotatable portion of the carriage assembly 26 using hooks 38 that are positioned on the platform 28 opposite the one or more guides 32. In an alternative embodiment, the platform 28 can be positioned on (or attached to) the rotatable portion of the carriage assembly 26 by any means, apparatus, or mechanism as would be known by a person of ordinary skill in the art.

[0036] In one non-limiting embodiment, the tubular object 12 is a smoking pipe such that the first end 14 is a receptacle capable of holding smokable materials (e.g., tobacco) and the second end 16 is a stem or mouthpiece. In another embodiment, the tubular object 12 can be the body of a syringe.

[0037] Although FIGS. 1-5 and 6A-C depict an openable and closeable container 34 positioned on the support 30, other embodiments may be free from such an openable and closeable container 34 or have more than one openable and closeable container 34.

[0038] Turning back to FIGS. 1-3, these figures further illustrate an exemplary embodiment of the carriage assembly 26, wherein the carriage assembly 26 comprises one or more rotatable shafts 40.

[0039] In one embodiment, the one or more rotatable shafts 40 can be an offset shaft, wherein the platform 28 is attached to the offset shaft in such a manner that the platform 28 rotates within the housing 18 in a substantially circular manner from a first position that is closer to the top of the housing 18 than the base 20 of the housing 18 to a second position that is closer to the base 20 of the housing 18 than the top of the housing 18; and back to the first position.

[0040] In another embodiment, the one or more rotatable shafts 40 can be at least two rotatable shafts (a first rotatable shaft 40-1 and a second rotatable shaft 40-2), comprising a gear assembly 42, wherein the gear assembly comprises one or more gears 44 on each of the one or more rotatable shafts 40 and at least one drive member 46 connecting a gear 44- 1 of the first rotatable shaft 40-1 to a gear 44-2 of the second rotatable shaft 40-2. Of course, the first and second rotatable shafts 40-1 and 40-2 can have additional gear assemblies 48 as depicted in FIG. 1 for exemplary purposes. [0041] In one embodiment, the one or more gears 44 can comprise circular discs that rely on friction to rotate the at least one drive member 46. In another embodiment, the one or more gears 44 can comprise spur gears, sometimes referred to as sprockets.

[0042] The at least one drive member 46 can be a chain, rope, belt, and/or any other apparatus or material as would be known to a person of ordinary skill in the art capable of transmitting rotation and power between the one or more rotatable shafts 40. In one embodiment, the platform 28 is positioned on the rotatable portion of the carriage assembly 26 by attaching the platform 28 to the at least one drive member 46.

[0043] In one embodiment, the one or more gears 44 comprise a sprocket and the at least one drive member 46 comprises a chain.

[0044] As depicted in FIGS. 1-3, in one exemplary embodiment, the one or more rotatable shafts 40 can be in communication with an electric motor 50. Alternatively, it is envisioned that the one or more rotatable shafts 40 can be in communication with a mechanical crank (not pictured) to be controlled by a user (not pictured). In one embodiment, an energy source, e.g., a battery, for the electric motor can be stored in the removable top 24. In one embodiment, the electric motor 50 can be powered by electricity received through an electric cord (not pictured).

[0045] Additionally, as depicted in FIGS. 3-5 and 7, in one exemplary embodiment, the apparatus 10 can further comprise a timing apparatus 52. The timing apparatus is configured such that the motor will shut off after a predetermined amount of time. In another embodiment, the timing apparatus is configured so as to start the motor when a predetermined amount of time is selected and stop the motor after the predetermined amount of time has passed. The timing apparatus 52 can be an analog timer or a digital timer. In one embodiment, the analog or digital timer is pre-set so that a user only has to select between one, or two, or three, or four or more options for a time for the apparatus 52 to run. In one embodiment, the timing apparatus 52 is a digital timer comprising a button and a digital display, wherein a user can engage the button to display, select one or more amounts of time, and/or start the apparatus 52.

[0046] Another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a kit comprising an apparatus as disclosed by any one of the above-described embodiments and a solvent. The solvent can be selected from the group consisting of water, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, and combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the solvent is within the fluid reservoir defined by the housing as described above.

[0047] Yet another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a method of cleaning a tubular object using an apparatus as disclosed by any one of the above-described embodiments. For the sake of clarity, elements having similar operation as illustrated in FIGS. 1-7 and/or described above will be utilized below when describing an exemplary method of cleaning a tubular object.

[0048] In one non-limiting embodiment, the method of cleaning a tubular object comprises: (a) inserting a tubular object 12 into the apparatus 10 by placing the tubular object 12 on the platform 28 within a receiving element defined by one or more guides 32,

(b) securing the tubular object 12 using a restraint 36, and (c) selecting a predetermined amount of time for the apparatus to run.

[0049] In another embodiment, the method of cleaning a tubular object comprises: (a) adding a solvent to the apparatus 10 to at least partially fill the fluid reservoir defined by the housing 18, (b) inserting a tubular object 12 into the apparatus 10 by placing the tubular object 12 on the platform 28 within a receiving element defined by one or more guides 32,

(c) securing the tubular object 12 using a restraint 36, and (d) selecting a predetermined amount of time for the apparatus to run.

[0050] In another embodiment, the method of cleaning a tubular object comprises: (a) inserting a tubular object 12 into the apparatus 10 by placing the tubular object 12 on the platform 28 within a receiving element defined by one or more guides 32, (b) securing the tubular object 12, and (c) selecting a predetermined amount of time for the apparatus to run.

[0051] Although the presently disclosed and claimed inventive concept(s) has been described in conjunction with the specific drawings, description, and language set forth hereinabove, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the presently disclosed and claimed inventive concept(s).