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Title:
A SPRAY-GUIDE AND SPRAYING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/146381
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
There is provided a spray-guide for use in a spraying apparatus (100) for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface, the spray-guide comprising a flexible-portion. There is also provided a spraying apparatus (100) including the spray-guide, a masking plate (200) including a flexible-portion (218), or a masking plate including the spray-guide.

Inventors:
CLARKSON PHILLIP (GB)
KETTLEWELL NEIL (GB)
HOPKINS WILLIAM (GB)
VINER PETER (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/US2021/013376
Publication Date:
July 22, 2021
Filing Date:
January 14, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS (US)
International Classes:
B05B12/22; E01C23/22; A63C19/06
Foreign References:
GB2123066A1984-01-25
JPS59112861A1984-06-29
US20030232139A12003-12-18
US20150217316A12015-08-06
DE102014015622A12016-04-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GOLDSTEIN, Avery, N. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A masking plate comprising a spray-guide for use in a spraying apparatus and for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface, the spray-guide comprising a flexible-portion.

2. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the flexible-portion of the spray-guide is at least disposed at a portion of the spray-guide nearest to the surface to be sprayed when in operation.

3. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the spray-guide comprises an engaging mechanism, wherein the engaging mechanism enables a detachable engagement with a spraying apparatus.

4. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the spray-guide comprises an engaging mechanism, wherein the engaging mechanism enables a detachable engagement with the masking plate for a spraying apparatus.

5. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the flexible-portion inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed.

6. A masking plate according to claim 5, wherein the flexible-portion inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical.

7. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the flexible-portion comprises at least one tooth.

8. A masking plate according to claim 7, wherein the flexible-portion comprises a plurality of teeth. 9. A masking plate according to claim 8, wherein a central tooth or central teeth are provided and are longer in the vertical direction than the tooth or teeth at the front end or the back end, in relation to the direction of travel in use, of the flexible-portion.

10. A masking plate according to claim 7, wherein the, some, or each tooth inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed.

11 . A masking plate according to claim 10, wherein the, or each tooth inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical.

12. A masking plate according to claim 11 , wherein the, or each tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical.

13. A masking plate according to any one of claims 7 to 12, wherein the, some, or each tooth comprises a silicone material.

14. A masking plate according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the flexible-portion comprises a silicone material.

15. A masking plate according to claim 13, wherein the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

16. A masking plate according to claim 1 , wherein the spray-guide further comprises at least one fin.

17. A masking plate according to claim 16, wherein the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape.

18. A masking plate according to claim 16, wherein the at least one fin extends vertically at an angle from the horizontal.

19. A masking plate according to claim 18, wherein the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal.

20. A spraying apparatus comprising a masking plate according to any one of claims 1 to 12.

Description:
A SPRAY-GUIDE AND SPRAYING APPARATUS TECHNICAL FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to spray-guides and apparatuses for defining the shape of marking- fluid to be sprayed onto a surface. It primarily, but not exclusively, relates to an apparatus for spraying lines onto surfaces, such as roads, car parks, factory and gymnasia floors, sports courts and playing areas, play grounds and sports fields. The invention further relates to wheeled line-marking apparatus and to elements thereof, including an aerosol operating device and stabilising and line width adjustment arrangements.

BACKGROUND

Known spraying or line-marking apparatus comprise a conventional aerosol of line-marking fluid, absent a dip tube, mounted inverted on a wheeled carriage so that, when the aerosol nozzle is triggered open, marking-fluid is sprayed downwardly as a line onto the surface over which the apparatus is being wheeled.

One problem associated with such apparatus is that the sprayed line can lack clear edge definition because of the pattern and distribution of marking-fluid as it is sprayed. Typically, this has been controlled by some form of spray-guide, mask, or shield to limit sideways spraying of marking-fluid. However, such spray-guides, masks, or shields accumulate "drips" of sprayed marking-fluid which can subsequently fall clear of and outside the sprayed line.

Another problem associated with such apparatus is a lack of lateral stability. The simplest line-marking apparatus comprise a pair of wheels, between which line-marking fluid is sprayed. The wheels set the line width and are thus close together and lack lateral stability; permitting the carriage to "rock" as it is wheeled along, resulting in, for example, a sinuous line. Additional stabilizer wheels can limit how close to a wall, or other like obstacles, a line can be sprayed.

A further problem is that, usually, the aerosol is operated by locating the spray nozzle in a fixed mounting and then forcing the aerosol can bodily down against the mounting to open a spring-loaded nozzle valve. This can result in accidental aerosol discharge even by small downward forces inadvertently applied to the aerosol can, for example, when the spraying apparatus encounters an undulation in, or on, the surface to be sprayed.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide improved spray-guides, or masks, for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface. It is a further object of the present invention to, for example, provide a spray-guide, or mask, that is easier to clean. In some aspects of the present invention it is an object to provide spray guides, or masks, that are easier to repair. In some aspects of the present invention it is an object to provide a spraying apparatus capable of a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface. In some aspects of the present invention it is an object to provide a spraying apparatus that reduces wastage of fluid to be sprayed or the like.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide an improved stabilizer for wheeled linemarking apparatus, for example, by improving steer of the apparatus, providing better stability particularly on uneven surfaces, or the like.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Aspects of the invention provide a spray-guide for use in a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface, the spray-guide comprising a flexible- portion.

This provides the advantage that a portion of the spray-guide, specifically the flexible- portion, can be arranged proximal to, or even contact, the surface to be sprayed, thereby reducing a clearance between the spray-guide and the surface to be sprayed. Thus, a line may be sprayed having a more defined edge. Moreover, the spray-guide may be easier to clean, may be less susceptible to damage in use, or the like.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion of the spray-guide is at least disposed at a portion of the spray-guide nearest to the surface to be sprayed when in operation.

This provides the advantage that a clearance between the surface to be sprayed and the spray-guide is reduced, thereby providing a more defined edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the spray-guide comprises an engaging mechanism, wherein the engaging mechanism enables a detachable engagement with a spraying apparatus, or a masking plate for a spraying apparatus.

That is, in certain embodiments, the spray-guide comprises an engaging mechanism. The engaging mechanism may enable detachable engagement with a spraying apparatus. The engaging mechanism may enable detachable engagement with a masking plate for a spraying apparatus. In some embodiments, the engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the spray-guide with a spraying apparatus or a masking plate for a spraying apparatus, comprises apertures. The apertures may be configured to receive one or more corresponding pegs of the spraying apparatus or the masking plate for the spraying apparatus. In some embodiments, the engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the spray-guide with a spraying apparatus or a masking plate for a spraying apparatus, comprises threaded apertures. The threaded apertures may be configured to receive one or more corresponding threaded pegs, bolts or the like of the spraying apparatus or the masking plate for the spraying apparatus. In some embodiments, the engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the spray-guide with a spraying apparatus or a masking plate for a spraying apparatus, comprises a push-fit, a friction-fit or a snap-fit mechanism.

This provides the advantage that the spray-guide is easily replaceable for maintenance, cleaning or repair.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines inwardly towards the marking-fluid path, when in use. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines on the spray-facing side of the flexible-portion. That is, in certain embodiments, an angle is formed between the flexible- portion and the vertical, that is, a longitudinal axis. The angle may be regarded as an inclination angle. In certain embodiments, the surface of the flexible-portion inclines inwardly. In certain embodiments, the surface of the flexible-portion inclines inwardly towards the marking-fluid path, when in use. In certain embodiments, the surface of the flexible-portion inclines on the spray-facing side of the flexible-portion.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid may be more accurately directed, thus providing more definition to an edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical. That is, with respect to a vertical, or longitudinal, axis, there is formed an angle, or an inclination angle, of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees. That is, an angle, or an inclination angle, may be formed of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees, excluding both 0 degrees and 20 degrees.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines at an angle of from 0 degrees to 20 degrees. In some examples, the flexible-portion inclines at an angle of from 0 degrees to 20 degrees, excluding 0 degrees and including 20 degrees. The inclination angle may have a lower limit of 0, 5, 10 or 15 degrees, or any integer therebetween. The inclination angle may have an upper limit of 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer therebetween. In some examples, the flexible-portion may incline at 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer therebetween.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical on the spray facing side of the flexible-portion. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical on one side of the flexible-portion.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid may be more accurately directed, thus providing more definition to an edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises at least one tooth.

The tooth may be any protrusion extending largely downwardly towards the area to be sprayed when in use. In other words, the at least one tooth largely extends downwardly when in use. Aptly, the at least one tooth is positioned on the lower edge of the flexible- portion, extending largely downwardly. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises at least one tooth disposed on the lower portion of the flexible-portion. In some embodiments, the spray-guide comprises at least one tooth disposed on the lower portion of the spray-guide.

This provides the advantage that the clearance between the surface to be sprayed and the spray-guide may be reduced. For example, such that paint can flow continuously from the spray-guide to the ground, thereby providing an even amount of marking-fluid on the surface. Furthermore, the tooth may contact the surface to be sprayed in use, thereby eliminating the clearance and/or allowing for brushing of the surface to be sprayed with marking-fluid. Thus, the tooth provides a more defined edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a plurality of teeth.

In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises three teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises five teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises seven teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises one to ten teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises three to seven teeth. In certain embodiments, the teeth extend from a lower side, surface or face of the flexible- portion towards the surface to be sprayed. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a plurality of teeth disposed on the lower portion of the flexible-portion. In some embodiments, the spray-guide comprises a plurality of teeth disposed on the lower portion of the spray-guide. In some embodiments, the teeth are in a row. In some embodiments, the teeth protrude from the lower edge of the main body of the flexible-portion, or spray-guide. Aptly, the row of teeth may be such that the teeth are disposed one behind another in a row, wherein the row of teeth has a longitudinal axis parallel to the direction of travel when in use.

This provides the advantage that the marking-fluid is distributed along more than one region of the flexible-portion, so that an even amount of marking-fluid is provided along multiple regions of the flexible-portion, thus providing a more defined edge of a sprayed line. Each tooth may hold an amount of marking-fluid.

In certain embodiments, the teeth have equal vertical lengths. That is, each tooth or the teeth may have a vertical length that is equal or substantially equal, that is, identical or substantially identical, to the other teeth.

In certain embodiments, the teeth have different vertical lengths. That is, each tooth or the teeth may each have a vertical length that is not equal, that is, non-identical or different, to the other teeth.

In some embodiments, the teeth are equal in length. In other words, the teeth protrude from the main body of the flexible-portion, or spray-guide, by an equal distance.

In some embodiments, the teeth are unequal in length. In other words, at least one tooth from the teeth protrudes from the main body of the flexible-portion, or spray-guide, by different distances from at least one other tooth.

In certain embodiments, a central tooth or central teeth are provided and are longer in the vertical direction than the tooth or teeth at the front end or the back end, in relation to the direction of travel in use, of the flexible-portion.

That is, there may be provided a central tooth or teeth flanked by a first tooth or a first set of teeth at a front end, and by a second tooth or a second set of teeth at a back end. The front end denotes the end of the flexible-portion that is nearest to the front, with respect to the direction of travel in use. The back end denotes the end of the flexible-portion that is furthest from the front, with respect to the direction of travel in use. The term flanked denotes that the central tooth or central teeth include adjacent teeth at each side of the central tooth or central teeth.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprising three teeth wherein the central tooth is longer in length than the other two teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises five teeth, wherein the central tooth is longer than the other four teeth. In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises five teeth, wherein the central three teeth are longer than the tooth at the front and longer than the tooth at the back, of the row of teeth.

In certain embodiments, the plurality of teeth are defined along a longitudinal axis extending in the usual direction of travel of the spraying apparatus, in use, the plurality of teeth including at least one central tooth flanked by at least one peripheral tooth at the front end and the back end, wherein the or each central tooth is or are longer in the vertical length than each peripheral tooth of the front end and the back end. The front end denotes the end of the flexible-portion that is nearest to the front, with respect to the direction of travel in use. The back end denotes the end of the flexible-portion that is furthest from the front, with respect to the direction of travel in use. The term flanked denotes that the at least one central tooth includes an adjacent tooth or teeth at each side of the at least one central tooth.

This provides the advantage that where marking-fluid is directed primarily to the centre of the flexible-portion, it may be directed to the longer tooth, in embodiments which have a central tooth or teeth that are longer.

This provides the advantage that should outer teeth be supplied with less marking fluid, and therefore more likely to be dry compared to the central tooth or teeth, the shorter outer teeth are less likely to make contact with the applied marking fluid which may cause unsightly scores or defects.

In certain embodiments, the or each tooth is or are resiliently deformable, flexible, or the like.

This provides the advantage that the teeth can bend and follow the undulations of the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the, some, or each tooth inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the, some or each, tooth inclines inwardly towards the marking-fluid path, when in use. In certain embodiments, the, some, or each, tooth inclines on the spray- facing side of the flexible-portion. That is, in certain embodiments, an angle is formed between the, some or each, tooth and the vertical, that is, a vertical or a longitudinal axis of a tooth. The angle may be regarded as an inclination angle. In certain embodiments, the surface of the, some or each, tooth inclines inwardly. In certain embodiments, the surface of the, some or each, tooth inclines inwardly towards the marking-fluid path, when in use. In certain embodiments the surface of the, some or each, tooth inclines on the spray-facing side of the tooth, or teeth.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid may be more accurately directed, thus providing more definition to an edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the, some or each, tooth inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical. That is, with respect to a vertical, or longitudinal, axis, there is formed an angle of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees. That is, an angle, or an inclination angle, may be formed of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees, excluding both 0 degrees and 20 degrees.

In certain embodiments, the, some or each tooth inclines at an angle of from 0 degrees to 20 degrees. In some examples, the, some or each tooth inclines at an angle of from 0 degrees to 20 degrees, excluding 0 degrees and including 20 degrees. The inclination angle, of the, some or each, tooth may have lower limit of 0, 5, 10 or 15 degrees, or any integer therebetween. The inclination angle, of the, some or each, tooth may have an upper limit of 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer therebetween. In some examples, the, some or each, tooth may incline at 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer therebetween.

In certain embodiments, the, some or each, tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical. In certain embodiments, the, some or each, tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical on the spray facing side of the flexible-portion. In certain embodiments, the, some or each, tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical on one side of the flexible-portion.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid may be more accurately directed, thus providing more definition to an edge of a sprayed line.

In some embodiments the, some or each, tooth comprises a non-stick material.

In certain embodiments, the, some or each tooth comprises a silicone. In certain embodiments, the, some or each tooth comprises a silicone material.

In some embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a non-stick material. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a silicone. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the silicone material comprises a cured silicone rubber.

In embodiments wherein the, some or each tooth, the flexible-portion or both the, some or each teeth and the flexible portion, comprises a non-stick material, for example, silicone, this provides the advantage that marking-fluid does not adhere well, on or to, the or each tooth, the flexible-portion, or both the or each tooth and the flexible-portion, such that a continuous flow of marking-fluid is provided to the surface to be sprayed, thus providing even application of the marking-fluid resulting in a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface.

In embodiments wherein the, some or each tooth, the flexible-portion or both the, some or each teeth and the flexible portion, comprises a non-stick material, for example, silicone, this provides the advantage that marking-fluid when dry, does not strongly adhere to, the or each tooth, the flexible-portion, or both the or each tooth and the flexible-portion, such that the dried marking-fluid can be easily removed from the flexible-portion or teeth by, for example, by mechanical means such as scraping or flexing and thus mitigating the use of cleaning chemicals.

In embodiments wherein the, some or each tooth, the flexible-portion or both the, some or each teeth and the flexible portion, comprises a material with low surface energy, for example, silicone, this provides the advantage that marking-fluid, does not wet the surface of the or each tooth, the flexible-portion, or both the or each tooth and the flexible-portion, such that the marking-fluid flows from the teeth, or flexible portion, and does not wet and spread across the surface which would promote drying of the marking fluid. This has the advantage of reducing the build up of dried marking fluid on the or each tooth, the flexible-portion, or both the or each tooth and the flexible-portion, such as that the performance of these parts and features is consistent for extended periods between cleaning. And so a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface is maintained over an extended period of operation of the equipment.

In some embodiments the, some or each, tooth comprises flexible material. In some embodiments, the, some or each tooth is flexible. In some embodiments, the flexible material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

In certain embodiments, the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60. That is, the or each tooth may comprise a silicone material having a Shore Hardness A of 60. Additionally, or alternatively, the flexible material may comprise a silicone material having a Shore Hardness A of 60.

This provides the advantage that the, some or each, tooth, the flexible-portion, or both the, some or each tooth and the flexible-portion, have good rigidity such that the silicone parts provide good attachment to the spray-guide. Moreover, the silicone parts are easier to clean as they can be flexed to remove marking-fluid that has dried thereon, and thus the need for cleaning chemicals is mitigated.

In certain embodiments, the spray-guide further comprises at least one fin. In certain embodiments, the fin may be of the same material as the spray-guide. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the fin may be of a different material to the spray-guide. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the spray-guide perpendicularly from one side of the spray-guide. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends perpendicularly from the marking-fluid side of the spray-guide.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid, that would otherwise not be directed towards the surface to be sprayed, is directed towards the flexible-portion, and thus towards the surface to be sprayed, in use. Thus, wastage of marking-fluid is reduced. Furthermore, the fin contributes to providing a continuous flow of marking-fluid, such that marking-fluid does not dry on the flexible-portion. The continuous flow of fluid to the surface to be sprayed provides even application of the marking-fluid and a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape. In alternative embodiments, the fin comprises other shapes, for example, rectangular, semi-circular, or square.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid can be accurately directed to a specific region, thus optimizing flow of marking-fluid towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin is located on the spray facing side of the spray- guide.

In certain embodiments, the spray-guide comprises two fins. A spray-guide with two fins advantageously helps direct the marking-fluid to the correct area.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends perpendicularly from the spray-guide, the at least one fin extending vertically along the spray-facing side of the spray-guide, in the orientation of the spray-guide when in use. That is, in certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the spray-guide is substantially coaxially with the vertical, that is, a longitudinal axis. That is, the at least one fin extends outwardly from the spray-guide.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends perpendicularly from the flexible-portion, the at least one fin extending vertically along the spray-facing side of the flexible-portion, in the orientation of the flexible-portion when in use. That is, in certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the flexible-portion is substantially coaxially with the vertical, that is, a longitudinal axis. That is, the at least one fin extends outwardly from the at least one flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at an angle from the horizontal.

This provides the advantage that the marking-fluid is collected by the at least one fin and is directed towards the flexible-portion, such that a continuous, or steady, flow of marking-fluid is applied to the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal. That is, the at least one fin extends substantially vertically and forms an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees to the horizontal, that is, a transverse axis perpendicular to the vertical, or a longitudinal axis. The angle formed may include 60 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 60 degrees. The angle formed may include 70 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 70 degrees. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at 68 degrees from the horizontal.

This provides the advantage that the marking-fluid is directed towards the flexible-portion continuously, or steadily, at an improved flow speed.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is integrally formed within the spray-guide.

Aspects of the invention also provide a masking plate comprising a spray-guide as described herein.

Aspects of the invention further provide a spraying apparatus comprising a masking plate as described herein, or a spray-guide as described herein. Aspects of the invention further provide a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface comprising a nozzle from which marking-fluid is sprayed; and at least one masking plate that defines an edge of the sprayed marking-fluid that is to be sprayed from the nozzle; wherein the at least one masking plate comprises a flexible-portion.

This provides the advantage that a portion of the masking plate, specifically the flexible- portion, can be arranged proximal to, or even contact, the surface to be sprayed, thereby reducing a clearance between the masking plate and the surface to be sprayed. Thus, a line may be sprayed having a more defined edge. Moreover, the apparatus may be easier to clean, may be less susceptible to damage in use, or the like.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises a spray-guide as described herein, for example, a spray-guide including the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is positioned on the masking plate at the portion of the masking plate nearest to the surface to be sprayed, in use.

This provides the advantage that a clearance between the surface to be sprayed and the masking plate is reduced, thereby providing a more defined edge of a sprayed line.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is at least a portion of an element that is detachably engaged to the at least one masking plate.

This provides the advantage that the masking plate is easily replaceable for maintenance, cleaning or repair.

In some embodiments, the detachably engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the flexible-portion with the masking plate, comprises pegs. In some embodiments, the detachably engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the flexible-portion with the masking plate, comprises apertures. In some embodiments, the detachably engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the flexible-portion with the masking plate, comprises threaded apertures. In some embodiments, the detachably engaging mechanism for detachably engaging the flexible-portion with the masking plate, comprises a push-fit, a friction-fit, or a snap fit mechanism.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises two masking plates, each masking plate comprising a flexible-portion. In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises two masking plates, each masking plate comprising a spray-guide as described herein, for example, a spray-guide comprising a flexible-portion.

This provides the advantage that both edges of a sprayed line can be provided with an increased definition.

In certain embodiments, during the manufacture of the spraying apparatus and/or the masking plate therefor, the flexible-portion may be manufactured depending on the orientation of the masking plate when being fitted to the spraying apparatus, such that the masking plate may fit either side of the marking-fluid spray path when in use. This enables easy of manufacture regardless if the spray mask is to be fitted to, for example, the left or right, of the marking-fluid spray path.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises at least one fin. In certain embodiments, the fin may be of the same material as the masking plate. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the fin may be of a different material to the masking plate. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the masking plate perpendicularly from one side of the masking plate. In some embodiments the at least one fin extends perpendicularly from the marking-fluid side of the masking plate.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid, that would otherwise not be directed towards the surface to be sprayed, is directed towards the flexible-portion, and thus towards the surface to be sprayed, in use. Thus, wastage of marking-fluid is reduced. Furthermore, the fin contributes to providing a continuous flow of marking-fluid, such that marking-fluid does not dry on the flexible-portion. The continuous flow of fluid to the surface to be sprayed provides even application of the marking-fluid and a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape. In alternative embodiments the fin comprises other shapes, for example, rectangular.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid can be accurately directed to a specific region, thus optimizing flow of marking-fluid towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin is located on the spray facing side of the masking plate. In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises two fins. A masking plate with two fins advantageously helps direct the marking-fluid to the correct area.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends perpendicularly from the masking plate, the at least one fin extending vertically along the spray-facing side of the masking plate, in the orientation of the masking plate when in use. That is, in certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the masking plate is substantially coaxially with the vertical, that is, a longitudinal axis. That is, the at least one fin extends outwardly from the at least one masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at an angle from the horizontal.

This provides the advantage that the marking-fluid is collected by the at least one fin and is directed towards the flexible-portion, such that a continuous, or steady, flow of marking-fluid is applied to the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal. That is, the at least one fin extends substantially vertically and forms an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees to the horizontal, that is, a transverse axis perpendicular to the vertical, or a longitudinal axis. The angle formed may include 60 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 60 degrees. The angle formed may include 70 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 70 degrees. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at 68 degrees from the horizontal.

This provides the advantage that the marking-fluid is directed towards the flexible-portion continuously, or steadily, at an improved flow speed.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises two fins per masking plate, spaced apart above the flexible-portion at an angle from the horizontal such that the distance between the two fins near to the flexible-portion is shorter in distance than the distance between the two fins further away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises at least two fins, wherein the at least two fins are configured such that the at least two fins and a portion of the masking plate form a partial funnel shape. In some embodiments the, or each, fin comprises a material with low surface energy and non-stick properties.

In certain embodiments, the or each fin comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the or each fin comprises a LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) material.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid does not wet the surface of the or each fin, thus a continuous flow of marking-fluid may be provided to the flexible-portion, thereby providing even application of the marking-fluid and a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface.

In addition, this provides the advantage that marking-fluid when dry does not form strong adhesion to the, or each, fin such that the dried marking fluid can be easily removed from the or each fin by mechanical means such as scraping or flexing the surface and thus mitigating the use of the cleaning chemicals.

In some embodiments the, or each fin comprises a flexible material.

In certain embodiments, the or each fin comprises a silicone material having a Shore Hardness A of 60.

This provides the advantage that the or each fin has good rigidity such that the silicone parts provide good attachment to the masking plate. Moreover, the or each silicone fin is easier to clean as it can be flexed to remove marking-fluid that has dried thereon, and thus the need for cleaning chemicals is mitigated.

In some embodiments the, or each fin, is detachably mounted to the masking plate, or flexible-portion. In some alternative embodiments, the fin and masking plate are integral.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a pointer. In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises a pointer. In some embodiments, the pointer may include visual indicia, such as a marking, an arrow or the like. In some embodiments, the pointer extends from a front end of the masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

This provides the advantage that the user can visually identify the intended edge of a line to be sprayed. According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a pointer comprising an elongate flexible portion with a tapered end.

The pointer may be a detachable pointer. In some embodiments the pointer comprises a detachable pointer. In some embodiments the pointer is detachable mounted to a masking plate. In some embodiments the pointer is detachably mounted to the apparatus.

Alternatively, the pointer may be fixed to the masking plate, or any part of the apparatus itself.

In some embodiments, the apparatus comprises two masking plates each comprising a pointer. Advantageously, the two pointers indicate the side edges where the fluid spray will be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is detachably mounted to the at least one masking plate. In particular examples, the pointer may be detachably mounted at a front end of the at least one masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is detachably mounted to the apparatus, for example, the body of the apparatus. In particular examples, the pointer may be detachably mounted at a front end of the apparatus, for example the body of the apparatus, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

This provides the advantage that the pointer can be easily removed or replaced.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is configured to be able to engage with the surface to be sprayed, in use. In some embodiments, for example, the pointer comprises a flexible material. In some embodiments, the pointer comprises a sledge shape. In some embodiments the pointer comprises a curved end. Where the pointer has a curved or sledge shaped edge it may ride over any undulations without getting caught.

A pointer with a sledge design with ramped front end and comprising a flexible material or design, allows the pointer to be positioned as close to the ground as possible. The pointer may flex and ride over undulations in the surface.

The pointer may be attached, for example, to the masking plate, or the flexible- portion, on either side of the apparatus to indicate either side of the marked line. The user’s preference to which side to use maybe whether the user has a preference, for example if the user is either right-handed or left-handed. For example, a right-handed user may prefer the pointer to left-hand-side so that the edge of the line will be in the line of view with the tip of pointer.

The features of the pointer explained herein advantageously helps reduce the parallax effect and a more accurate correlation of the pointer position with the edge of the marked line.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is detachably mounted to the at least one masking plate. In particular examples, the pointer may be detachably mounted at a front end of the at least one masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is detachably mounted to the apparatus, for example, the body of the apparatus. In particular examples, the pointer may be detachably mounted at a front end of the apparatus, for example the body of the apparatus, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

This provides the advantage that the pointer can be easily removed or replaced.

In certain embodiments, the pointer comprises a flexible strap extending from the at least one masking plate towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the pointer comprises a flexible strap extending from the apparatus, for example the body of the apparatus, towards the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the pointer comprises a wheel towards a distal end of the flexible strap such that the wheel may contact the surface to be sprayed, in use.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises a gas flow system arranged to direct sprayed marking-fluid.

This provides the advantage that marking-fluid accumulating on the flexible-portion is blown towards the surface to be sprayed, thus providing a more defined edge of a line marking on a surface.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is integrally formed within the at least one masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus further comprises a stabilizing arm, the stabilizing arm comprising a stabilizing wheel. This provides the advantage that the spraying apparatus is stabilized with respect to undulations in, or on, the surface to be sprayed, in use.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is located at the rear portion of the spraying apparatus, with regard to direction of travel of the spraying apparatus, in use.

This provides the advantage that the spraying apparatus is stabilized at a rear end, which is typically lighter in weight than the front end, and thus more susceptible to inadvertent movement in use. Advantageously, having the stabilizing arms at the rear of the apparatus assists in that the forward view is not blocked.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel is located on the outer facing side of the stabilizing arm.

This provides the advantage that the stabilizing wheels are distanced from the marking-fluid applied to the surface, thus preventing spoiling of the marking-fluid applied to the surface.

In some embodiments the width of the wheel base between the pair of front wheels or the pair of back wheels may be in the range, for example, 5 centimetres to 100 centimetres. In some embodiments the back wheels, or the stabilizing wheels, will have a wheelbase between 7 centimetres and 50 centimetres. In some embodiments the stabilizing wheels will have a wheelbase between 10 centimetres greater than the width of the line being produced by the marking fluid.

In some embodiments, the apparatus comprises width settings that correspond to the desired width of the marking line to be produced. A line width setting of 5 centimetres may have a wheel base of 15 centimetres. A line width setting of 10 centimetres may have a wheel base of 25 centimetres.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is pivotally mounted and arranged to oscillate in a horizontal plane.

This provides the advantage that the spraying apparatus can be steered by pivotal movement of the stabilizing arm.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus further comprises a locking mechanism arranged to lock the stabilizing arm into a position within the horizontal plane. This provides the advantage that circular markings can easily and accurately be sprayed using the spraying apparatus.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arms or stabilizing wheels comprise a suspension mechanism. In some embodiments, the suspension mechanism of the stabilizing arms, or stabilizing wheels, comprises a spring, or resilient material. In some embodiments, the suspension mechanism of the stabilising wheels comprises curved flexible spokes. In some embodiments, the suspension mechanism of the stabilising wheels comprises curved spokes wherein the curved spokes comprise a resilient material.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel comprises curved flexible spokes.

This provides the advantage that the stabilizing wheel provides suspension and vibration- dampening. Thus, the spraying apparatus has improved stability in use, particularly with respect to uneven surfaces, or undulations in, or on, the surface.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is biased to extend directly opposite to the direction of travel of the spraying apparatus.

This provides the advantage that the stabilizing arm resists articulation and thus provide improved stability when spraying straight lines.

In other aspects of the invention, there is provided a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface comprising a nozzle from which marking- fluid is sprayed; and at least one masking plate that defines an edge of the sprayed marking- fluid that is to be sprayed from the nozzle; wherein the at least one masking plate comprises at least one fin.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape.

In certain embodiments, where the fin is triangular in shape, in some specific embodiments one side of the triangle shaped fin extends along the masking plate, one side of the fin extends perpendicular from the masking plate at the top of the fin when in use, and the third side is the furthest away from the masking plate, tapering inwards to the masking plate as the surface lowers towards the bottom, as orientated in use.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin is located on the spray facing side of the masking plate. In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises two fins.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the flexible-portion vertically away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at an angle from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal. That is, the at least one fin extends substantially vertically and forms an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees to the horizontal, that is, a transverse axis perpendicular to the vertical, or a longitudinal axis. The angle formed may include 60 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 60 degrees. The angle formed may include 70 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 70 degrees. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises two fins per masking plate, spaced apart above the flexible-portion at an angle from the horizontal such that the distance between the two fins near to the flexible-portion is shorter in distance than the distance between the two fins further away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises at least two fins, wherein the at least two fins are configured such that the at least two fins and a portion of the masking plate form a partial funnel shape.

In certain embodiments, the or each fin comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus further comprises a stabilizing arm, the stabilising arm comprising a stabilizing wheel.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises a gas flow system arranged to direct sprayed marking-fluid.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a spray-guide as described herein. For example, in some embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a spray-guide including a flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a flexible-portion. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is positioned on the masking plate at the portion of the masking plate nearest to the surface to be sprayed when in operation.

Advantageously this enables the flexible-portion, including the masking plate, to be used close to the surface to be sprayed. The apparatus, masking plate and flexible-portion can be used much closer to the surface that is to be sprayed than before as should the flexible - portion hit a bump, or other object, it can deform in shape and spring back to the original shape, without lasting damage.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is at least a portion of an element that is detachably engaged to the at least one masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises two masking plates each with a flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines inwards to the surface to be sprayed.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical. That is, with respect to a vertical axis, there is formed an angle of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees. For example, the flexible-portion may incline at 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer or non-integer therebetween.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises at least one tooth. That is, the flexible-portion may comprise one or more teeth.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a plurality of teeth. That is, the flexible-portion may comprise more than one tooth, or two or more teeth.

In certain embodiments, the teeth have equal vertical lengths. That is, each tooth teeth may have a vertical length that is equal, that is, identical, to the other teeth.

In certain embodiments, the teeth have different vertical lengths. That is, each tooth may each have a vertical length that is not equal, that is, non-identical, or different, to the other teeth.

In certain embodiments, the or each tooth incline inwards to the surface to be sprayed. In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion, the or each tooth, or both the flexible-portion and the or each tooth inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical. That is, with respect to a vertical axis, there is formed an angle of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees. That is, an angle, or an inclination angle, may be formed of between 0 degrees and 20 degrees, excluding both 0 degrees and 20 degrees.

In other examples, the flexible portion inclines at an angle of from 0 degrees to 20 degrees, excluding 0 degrees and including 20 degrees. For example, the flexible-portion, the or each tooth, or both the flexible-portion and the or each tooth may incline at 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20 degrees, or any integer or non-integer therebetween.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion, the or each tooth or both the flexible-portion and the or each tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical.

In certain embodiments, the central tooth or central teeth are longer in the vertical length than the tooth or teeth at the front end or back end, in relation to the direction of travel, of the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the teeth comprise a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

In another aspect of the invention, there is provided a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface comprising a nozzle from which marking- fluid is sprayed; at least one masking plate that defines an edge of the sprayed marking-fluid that is to be sprayed from the nozzle; and a stabilizing arm; the stabilizing arm comprising a stabilizing wheel.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is located at the rear portion of the spraying apparatus, with regard to the usual direction of travel of the spraying apparatus when in operation.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel is located on the outer facing side of the stabilizing arm.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is pivotally mounted that it is able to oscillate in a horizontal plane. In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel is pivotally mounted to the stabilizing arm, such that the stabilizing wheel can oscillate in a horizontal plane.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel comprises curved flexible spokes.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing arm is biased to extend directly opposite to the direction of travel.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus further comprises a locking mechanism arranged to lock the stabilizing arm into a position within a horizontal plane.

In certain embodiments, the stabilizing wheel comprises a tyre.

In certain embodiments, the tyre comprises rubber.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a fin.

In certain embodiments, the at least one masking plate comprises a flexible-portion.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a masking plate for use in a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface comprising a flexible-portion, the flexible-portion being located on the masking plate at the portion of the masking plate nearest to the surface to be sprayed when in operation.

In certain embodiments, the flexible-portion is at least a portion of an element that is detachably engaged to the at least one masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises at least one fin.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin is located on the spray facing side of the masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises two fins.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the flexible-portion vertically away from the flexible-portion. In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends at an angle vertically from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal. That is, the at least one fin extends substantially vertically and forms an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees to the horizontal, that is, a transverse axis perpendicular to the vertical, or a longitudinal axis. The angle formed may include 60 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 60 degrees. The angle formed may include 70 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 70 degrees. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises two fins spaced apart above the flexible-portion at an angle from the horizontal such that the distance between the two fins near to the flexible-portion is shorter in distance than the distance between the two fins further away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises at least two fins, wherein the at least two fins are configured such that the at least two fins and a portion of the masking plate form a partial funnel shape.

In certain embodiments, the fin comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises a pointer. In some examples, the pointer may include visual indicia, such as a marking, an arrow or the like. In some examples, the pointer extends from a front end of the masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

In certain embodiments, the pointer is detachably mounted to the masking plate. In particular embodiments, the pointer may be detachably mounted at a front end of the masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises a flexible-portion.

In another aspect of the invention, there is provided a masking plate for use in a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface comprising a fin positioned on the intended spray facing side of the masking plate, the fin extending vertically from a lower portion of the masking plate that is nearest to the surface to be sprayed. In certain embodiments, the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin is located on the spray facing side of the masking plate.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises two fins.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends from the flexible-portion vertically away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends at an angle vertically from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically from 60 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal. That is, the at least one fin extends substantially vertically and forms an angle of from 60 degrees to 70 degrees to the horizontal, that is, a transverse axis perpendicular to the vertical, or a longitudinal axis. The angle formed may include 60 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 60 degrees. The angle formed may include 70 degrees. The angle formed may exclude 70 degrees. In some embodiments, the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises two fins spaced apart above the flexible-portion at an angle from the horizontal such that the distance between the two fins near to the flexible-portion is shorter in distance than the distance between the two fins further away from the flexible-portion.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises at least two fins wherein the at least two fins are configured such that the at least two fins and a portion of the masking plate form a partial funnel shape.

In certain embodiments, the fin comprises a silicone material.

In certain embodiments, the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises a pointer. In some examples, the pointer may include visual indicia, such as a marking, an arrow or the like. In some examples, the pointer extends from a front end of the masking plate, with respect to the direction of travel in use. In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus further comprises a stabilizing arm, the stabilising arm comprising a wheel.

In certain embodiments, the spraying apparatus comprises a gas flow system arranged to direct sprayed marking-fluid.

In certain embodiments, the masking plate comprises a flexible-portion.

In another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a kit of parts including a spraying apparatus and a masking plate as described herein.

In another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of using a spraying apparatus, comprising the steps of:

- providing a spraying apparatus including a nozzle from which marking-fluid is to be sprayed, and at least one masking plate as described herein that defines an edge of the sprayed marking-fluid that is to be sprayed from the nozzle; and,

- actuating the nozzle so as to spray marking-fluid towards a surface to be sprayed; and moving the spraying apparatus in a direction of travel thereby providing a sprayed marking on the surface.

In another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a spraying apparatus having a masking plate as described herein.

In another of the present invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a masking plate as described herein, optionally for use in a spraying apparatus as described herein.

As used herein, the term “fin” is used to describe a generally planar protrusion.

As used herein, the term “marking-fluid” is used to describe a fluid, including granular solids, that can be sprayed to leave a mark.

Any of the features or steps described herein in relation to one embodiment, aspect or example, of a spraying apparatus, a masking plate, a flexible-portion, a method of manufacturing or using a spraying apparatus or masking plate or flexible-portion, or a kit of parts comprising a spraying apparatus or a masking plate or a flexible-portion, or the like, may be equally applicable to any other embodiment, aspect of example of a spraying apparatus, a masking plate or flexible-portion, a method of manufacturing or using a spraying apparatus or masking plate, or a kit of parts comprising a spraying apparatus or a masking plate or a flexible-portion.

Below, there is provided a non-exhaustive list of non-limiting examples. Any one or more of the features of these examples may be combined with any one or more features of another example, embodiment, or aspect as described herein, either above or below in the detailed description.

1. A spraying apparatus, for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface, comprising:

- a stabilizing arm, the stabilizing arm comprising a stabilizing wheel.

2. A spraying apparatus according to example 1 , wherein the stabilizing arm is located at the rear portion of the spraying apparatus, with regard to direction of travel of the spraying apparatus, in use.

3. A spraying apparatus according to example 1 or 2, wherein the stabilizing wheel is located on the outer facing side of the stabilizing arm.

4. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 1 to 3, wherein the stabilizing arm is pivotally mounted and arranged to oscillate in a horizontal plane.

5. A spraying apparatus according to example 4, further comprising a locking mechanism arranged to lock the stabilizing arm into a position within the horizontal plane.

6. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 1 to 5, wherein the stabilizing wheel comprises curved flexible spokes.

7. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 1 to 6, wherein the stabilizing arm is biased to extend directly opposite to the direction of travel of the spraying apparatus.

8. A spraying apparatus according to any previous example, wherein the spraying apparatus comprises a spray-guide, wherein the spray guide comprises a flexible- portion. A spraying apparatus according to example 8, wherein the flexible-portion of the spray-guide is disposed on the spray-guide at a portion of the spray-guide nearest to the surface to be sprayed, in use. A spraying apparatus according to example 8 or 9, wherein the spraying apparatus comprises an engaging mechanism for detachably engaging with the spray-guide. A spraying apparatus according to example 8, 9 or 10, wherein the spraying mechanism comprises a masking plate. A spraying mechanism according to example 11 , wherein the masking plate comprises an engagement mechanism for detachably engaging with a spray guide. A spraying apparatus according to example 11 or 12, wherein the spraying apparatus comprises two masking plates, each masking plate comprising a spray guide. A spraying apparatus according to any examples 8 to 13, wherein the spray-guide or the flexible-portion of the spray-guide, inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed. A spraying apparatus according to example 14, wherein the spray-guide or the flexible-portion of the spray-guide, inclines between 0 degrees and 20 degrees from the vertical. A spraying apparatus according to example 8 to 15, wherein the spray-guide comprises at least one tooth. A spraying apparatus according to example 16, wherein the spray-guide comprises a plurality of teeth. A spraying apparatus according to example 17, wherein a central tooth or central teeth are provided and are longer in the vertical direction that the tooth or teeth at the front end or the back end, in relation to the direction of travel in use, of the flexible- portion. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 16 to 18, wherein the or each tooth inclines inwardly towards the surface to be sprayed. 20. A spraying apparatus according to example 19, wherein the or each tooth inclines at 5 degrees from the vertical.

21. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 8 to 20, wherein the spray- guide comprises a silicone material.

22. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 8 to 21 , wherein the flexible- portion of the spray-guide comprises a silicone material.

23. A spraying apparatus according to example 21 or 22, wherein the silicone material has a Shore Hardness A of 60.

24. A spraying apparatus according to any one of examples 11 , 12 or 13, wherein the at least one masking plate comprises at least one fin.

25. A spraying apparatus according to example 24, wherein the at least one fin comprises a triangular shape.

26. A spraying apparatus according to example 25, wherein the at least one fin extends vertically at an angle from the horizontal.

27. A spraying apparatus according to example 26, wherein the at least one fin extends vertically at between 60 degrees and 70 from the horizontal.

Reference will now be made to the drawings, which depict one or more embodiments of the disclosure. However, it will be understood that other embodiments not depicted in the drawings fall within the scope of this disclosure. Like numerals used in the Figures refer to like components, steps and the like. However, it will be understood that the use of a number to refer to a component in a given Figure is not intended to limit the component in another figure labelled with the same numeral. In addition, the use of different numerals to refer to components in different figures is not intended to indicate that the components having different numerals cannot be the same or similar to other components. The figures are presented for purposes of illustration and not limitation. Schematic drawings presented in the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Example embodiments of the invention are now described, by way of example only, hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a spraying apparatus according to an embodiment invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 in a first configuration;

FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 in a second configuration;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 in a third configuration and a marking-fluid sprayed from the spraying apparatus onto a surface;

FIG. 6 illustrates an enlarged top view of the stabilizing arms and the stabilizing wheels of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 7 illustrates an enlarged side view of the stabilizing wheels of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 9 illustrates a portion of an air flow system of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of a pointer of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 11 illustrates an enlarged view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 having a protective plate;

FIG. 12 illustrates the central protective plate of FIG. 11 ;

FIG. 13 illustrates another enlarged view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 1 having a protective plate.

FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of a masking plate; FIG. 15 illustrates a side view of the masking plate of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 illustrates another perspective view of the masking plate of FIG. 14;

FIG. 17 illustrates a perspective view of the masking plate of FIG. 14 having the pointer and the flexible-portion removed;

FIG. 18 illustrates a perspective view of a flexible-portion of the masking plate of FIG.

14;

FIG. 19 illustrates a perspective view of a masking plate, a nozzle and a region in which marking-fluid is sprayed from the nozzle;

FIG. 20 illustrates an enlarged view of a spraying apparatus having another embodiment of a masking plate;

FIG. 21 illustrates an enlarged cross-sectional view of the spraying apparatus of FIG.

20

FIG. 22 illustrates another enlarged cross-sectional view of the spraying apparatus of FIG. 20;

FIG. 23 illustrates a perspective view of the masking plate and the flexible-portion of FIG. 20; and

FIG. 24 illustrates a perspective view of the flexible-portion of FIG. 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The described example embodiment relates to an apparatus for spraying lines onto surfaces. The apparatus may be a wheeled line-marking apparatus in an exemplary embodiment.

Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words ‘upper’, ‘lower’, ‘upwardly and ‘downwardly’ designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made and are with respect to the described component when assembled and mounted. The words ‘inner’, ‘inwardly’ and ‘outer’, ‘outwardly’ refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, a designated centreline or a geometric centre of an element being described (e.g. a central axis), the particular meaning being readily apparent from the context of the description. Further, the terms ‘proximal’ (i.e. nearer to) and ‘distal’ (i.e. away from) designate positions relative to a body or a point of attachment.

Further, as used herein, the terms ‘connected’, ‘affixed’ and the like are intended to include direct connections between two members without any other members interposed therebetween, as well as, indirect connections between members in which one or more other members are interposed therebetween. The terminology includes the words specifically mentioned above, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import.

Further, unless otherwise specified, the use of ordinal adjectives, such as, ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘third’ etc. merely indicate that different instances of like objects are being referred to and are not intended to imply that the objects so described must be in a given sequence, either temporally, spatially, in ranking or in any other manner. Like reference numerals are used to depict like features throughout.

An apparatus for line-marking

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 7, and according to an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a spraying apparatus for defining the shape of marking-fluid when sprayed on a surface, for example a wheeled line-marking apparatus 100. The apparatus 100 generally includes a first end, or a front end with respect to the usual direction of travel, and a second end, or a rear end with respect to the usual direction of travel. Such direction of travel is generally indicated by the arrow D.

The apparatus 100 comprises a body 102 on which a holder 104 for an aerosol cannister 106 is retained. With further reference to FIG. 19, the aerosol cannister 106 includes a nozzle 107 from which a spray of marking-fluid F is to be sprayed onto a surface, for example, the ground. The aerosol cannister 106 is retained within the holder 104 by a locking mechanism 114. An operating arm 108 terminating in a handle 110 having an operating trigger (not shown) is pivotably connected to the holder 104. The operating arm 108 extends upwardly, from the body 102, and towards the second end of the apparatus 100. A pushbutton 112 is provided as part of the operating arm 108 to allow, when depressed, free pivoting of the operating arm 108 to a desired position, and to allow, when released, locking of the operating arm 108 substantially in said desired position. The body 102 includes a portion for spraying marking-fluid, including masking plates 200 and, optionally, an air flow system, as described in further detail below, FIG. 8. With reference to FIGS. 1 to 7, a pair of wheels 116a, 116b are provided at the first end of the apparatus 100, vertically below the aerosol cannister 106. The wheels 116a, 116b are rotatably attached to the lateral outer side of a pair of side wall members 118a, 118b, each located on the lateral outer sides of the body 102. Each side wall member 118a, 118b includes a wheel inner blanking plate 120, with a laterally-extending axle 122, to which each wheel 116a, 116b is rotatably mounted. Each wheel is provided with a series of linear spokes 124 extending linearly, or substantially straight, from a central hub 125 towards a circumferential wheel rim 128. A tyre 129 is provided on the circumferential wheel rim 128 and is arranged to contact the surface, for example, the ground, in use. The distance between the wheels 116a, 116, regarded as the front wheelbase, may be, in this embodiment, approximately 10 centimetres.

The apparatus 100 is further provided with a pair of stabilizing wheels 130a, 130b, disposed at the second end of the apparatus. Each stabilizing wheel 130a, 130b is provided on one of a pair of stabilising arms 132a, 132b which extend longitudinally from the body 102 towards a distal end. Each stabilising arm 132a, 132b is provided with a laterally-extending axle 134 to which each stabilizing wheel 130a, 130b is rotatably mounted. The stabilizing wheels 130a, 130b are mounted to the outside of the stabilising arms 132a, 132b, such that the stabilizing wheels 130a, 130b are arranged distal to a region of the surface in which a marking-fluid has been applied.

The stabilising arms 132a, 132b are pivotably connected to the body 102. Each pivotable connection is operable by a locking mechanism. The locking mechanism can be used to selectively lock each stabilising arm 132a, 132b into a desired position, thereby allowing the user to create circular patterns or the like, in use. Moreover, in some examples, the stabilising arms 132a, 132b may be spring-biased such that they are biased towards a first configuration in which the apparatus 100 is to be driven in a straight line. In some examples, the stabilising arms 132a, 132b may be operated in isolation, that is independently of one another, whereas in other examples the stabilising arms 132a, 132b may be operably coupled such that they move in unison, that is movement of one is dependent upon, or causes movement of, the other.

Each stabilizing wheel 130a, 130b is provided with a plurality of curved and flexible spokes 136 extending from a central hub 138 towards a circumferential wheel rim 140. The curved and flexible spokes 136 are arranged to act as shock absorbers, such that the spokes flex when the apparatus encounters an uneven surface. As best shown in FIG. 1 , a tyre 142 is provided on the circumferential wheel rim 138 and is arranged to contact a surface, for example, the ground, in use. The distance between the stabilizing wheels 130a, 130b, regarded as the rear wheelbase, may be smaller than the front wheelbase. In some examples, the rear wheelbase may be approximately 10 centimetres.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, an air flow system 300 may optionally be provided and may include each wheel inner blanking plate 120, where each blanking plate 120 defines a housing for an impeller or fan 126 powered by an electric motor (not shown). The blanking plate 120 may include a stationary plate 127 having an aperture 129 to allow air to flow towards the impeller or fan 126. In examples where the impeller or fan 126 and the electric motor (not shown) are present, air is drawn in through apertures 129 and is expelled radially and downwardly through a duct 131 towards a spraying region. The spraying region may generally be enclosed between the masking plates 200 and vertically below the nozzle 107 of the aerosol cannister 106. The expelled air directs the sprayed liquid in the spraying region towards a defined region of the surface, or towards the masking plates 200. The electric motor (not shown) may be powered by any appropriate power source, for example, a type AA 1 2v rechargeable battery, or the like. A switch (not shown) formed as part of the body 102 may be used to operate the electric motor (not shown).

Additionally, FIG. 8 illustrates a spraying region having a width W defined as the distance between the opposing masking plates 200. The width W can range from, for example, 5mm to 200mm, depending on the desired line to be sprayed. It may be preferable that the width W is adjustable between several configurations, in use. For example, the width W may be adjustable between a first configuration, in which W is, in this embodiment, equal to 50mm, and a second configuration, in this embodiment, in which W is equal to 100mm.

Additionally, as best shown in FIG. 1 , the apparatus 100 may comprise a pointer 350. The pointer 350 may be formed as part of the masking plate 200, as shown in FIG. 14, or as part of the body 102 of the apparatus. The pointer 350 provides a visual indication of a projected edge of the line to be sprayed. Thus, in use, the user can readily recognise where the edge of a sprayed line will be formed.

Additionally, or alternatively, the apparatus 100 may comprise a detachable pointer 400, as best shown in FIGS. 2 to 5 and 10. The detachable pointer 400 comprises a first end 402, forming an attachment end, a second end 404, forming a pointed end. The first end 402 comprises a slot 406 for detachably mounting the first end 402 to the apparatus 100. The second end 404 includes a curved profile 408 terminating in a protrusion 410. A flexible section 412, for example, a flexible strap 412 is formed between the first end 402 and the second end 404. In other examples, the detachable pointer 400 may comprise a wheel (not shown) for contacting the ground, in use. The detachable pointer 400 may, in some embodiments, optionally be used as a scraping tool to clean the apparatus, for example, to scrape off marking fluid. In some embodiments the detachable pointer may have a sharp edge, for example, at the back end of the flexible section 412. The sharp edge, in some embodiments, may be configured to fit between fins, for example, on the masking plate. In embodiments where the sharp edge is configured to fit between fins, enables the sharp edge to be used to clean, for example, remove marking fluid, between the fins. The detachable pointer may be used to clean other areas of the apparatus. The sharp edge of the detachable pointer may be used to clean other areas of the apparatus.

In alternative embodiments the pointer 400 may be an integral part of, for example, the masking plate or apparatus.

Referring to FIGS. 11 to 13, the apparatus 100 may further comprise a protective plate 500. The protective plate 500 includes a first end 502, including a pair of arms 504, and a second end 505, including a substantially planar protective portion 506. The planar protective portion extends perpendicularly to a wall 508. The wall 508 and the pair of arms 504 at the first end 502 are generally coplanar. The pair of arms 504 are arranged to be received within a receiving portion 510 of the apparatus 100. Thus, the protective plate 500 may be detachably coupled to the apparatus 100. In particular, the receiving portion 510 may be adjacent to the body 102, the holder 104 or both the body 102 and the holder 104. T us, the protective plate 500 may serve to protect a portion of the apparatus 100, for example, the body 102, the holder 104 or both the body 102 and the holder 104, from overspray, in use. That is, the protective plate 500 protects the apparatus 100 from a sprayed fluid.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 5, 8 and 9, in use, a switch may be operated to start the fans 126, if an air flow system 300 is present, a trigger of the operating arm 108 is pulled to actuate the aerosol cannister 106 and the apparatus 100 sprays a line L, as shown in FIG. 5, as it is wheeled along the surface. The air flow, emerging from the ducts 131 longitudinally along and downwardly across masking plate 200 edges, laterally contains over-sprayed marking- fluid and blows droplets of marking-fluid that accumulate along the masking plate 200 bottom edges back onto the sprayed line, thereby producing a well-defined sprayed line. Moreover, the masking plates 200 also serve to direct marking-fluid towards the surface, allowing droplets of marking-fluid to drop onto the surface having the sprayed marking-fluid thereon. Thus, either the masking plates 200, or a combination of the masking plates 200 and the air flow system 300, serve to produce a sprayed line having well-defined outer edges. The masking plates 200 are described in further detail below. In use, the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b, including the stabilizing wheels 130a, 130b, can be adjusted to a desired configuration. As shown in FIG. 3, in a first configuration, the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b are substantially parallel. Moreover, the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b do not form an angle with respect to their respective transverse axis, indicated T in FIG. 3, which extends from a point of attachment of the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b in a direction directly opposite that to the direction of travel. In this first configuration, a straight line will be sprayed. This first configuration may be useful where it is desirable to have a small rear wheelbase, for example, where space is limited, such as adjacent to a wall or other structure.

As shown in FIG. 4, in a second configuration, the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b are not parallel, but each stabilizing arm 132a, 132b forms an equal and opposite angle with respect to their respective transverse axis, indicated T in FIG. 4. In this second configuration, a straight line will also be sprayed. However, this second configuration may be useful where it is desirable to have a large rear wheelbase, for example, to ensure extra stability.

As shown in FIG. 5, in a third configuration, the stabilizing arms 132a, 132 are substantially parallel and each form an angle with respect to their respective transverse axis T. In this third configuration, a curved line will be sprayed. The curvature of the sprayed line may be altered by changing the respective angles of the stabilizing arms 132a, 132b with respect to the transverse axes T.

Masking Plates

As shown in FIGS. 14 to 24, the apparatus 100 comprises provided a pair of opposing masking plates 200. The masking plates 200 may be used in conjunction with the apparatus 100 as described herein, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 20 to 22. In particular, a masking plate 200 is disposed on an inner surface of the body 102 to each lateral side of the spray of marking-fluid F that is to be sprayed from the nozzle 107 of the aerosol cannister 106, in use. Thus, the masking plates 200 define a region in which fluid is to be sprayed, and thus define the width and geometry of the spray pattern. In some examples, the masking plates 200 may be installed such that the spraying region has a width of 50mm. The width of the spraying region, and thus the sprayed pattern, is generally defined by the distance between the two masking plates. The masking plates 200 may be adjustable between various settings, for example, the masking plates 200 may be adjustable between a first setting, for example including a distance of 50mm, and a second setting, for example including a distance of 100mm. The masking plates 200 may be adjusted in any appropriate manner to any appropriate setting. In some examples, the masking plate 200 includes a spray-guide having a flexible portion 218, as described below. The spray-guide may be integral with the masking plate 200, as described in the present examples, or may be formed as a separate component which can be attached to the masking plate 200.

As best shown in FIGS. 14 to 19, one embodiment of the masking plate 200 includes a bottom edge 202, a top edge 204, and first and second side edges 206, 208 connecting the bottom edge 202 and the top edge 204. The first side edge 206 is formed at a front end of the masking plate 200, with respect to the direction of travel D, and the second side edge 208 is formed at a rear end of the making plate, with respect to the direction of travel D. The masking plate 200 includes a first face 210 and a second face 212, each face 210, 212 being bound and formed by the bottom, top and two side edges 202, 204, 206, 208, and each face 210, 212 facing outwardly. The first face 210 faces towards the inner surface of the body 102, and the second face 212 is arranged to receive, and direct, making fluid.

The first side edge 206 is provided with a front wall 214 extending inwardly from the second face 212 towards the spraying region, which may be a curved front wall 214. The curved front wall 214 curves from the top edge 204 of the masking plate 200 to the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200. Thus, the front wall 214 is arranged to direct marking-fluid towards the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200. The second side edge 208 is provided with a rear wall 216 extending inwardly from the second face 212 towards the spraying region, which may be substantially vertical. The rear wall 216 may be provided as a curved rear profile of the masking plate 200, curving inwardly and rearwardly to form the rear wall 216. Thus, the rear wall 216 is arranged to prevent leakage of marking-fluid outside of the spraying region. In other examples, the masking plate 200 may not include the front and rear walls 214, 216, and instead be generally defined as a rectangular block.

The bottom edge 202, or a portion thereof, is generally disposed proximal to, or is arranged to engage with, the surface to be sprayed. The bottom edge 202 generally serves to allow marking-fluid to drip therefrom onto the surface to be sprayed. Thus, the clearance between the bottom edge 202 of the masking plates 200 and the surface may be important for line definition. For example, if the masking plates 200 are close, or very close, to the surface, the edges of the sprayed line tend to be better defined, as drips terminate at the surface quicker at smaller clearances than larger clearances. Thus, it may be desirable for the apparatus 100 to have a large clearance with respect to the ground, so that it may be operated correctly and with ease, but also for the masking plates 200 to have a small clearance with respect to the ground. The masking plate 200 comprises a flexible-portion 218 extending from the bottom edge 202 towards the surface to be sprayed. The flexible-portion 218 is arranged to be proximal to, or engage, the surface to be sprayed. The flexible-portion 218 is attachable to the masking plate 200 by virtue of apertures 220, extending through the flexible-portion 218, that provide a friction-fit, a push-fit or a snap-fit, with a corresponding plurality of mounting pegs 222 formed as part of the first face 210 of the masking plate 200. Thus, the flexible-portion 218 may be readily attached to, or detached from, the masking plate 200. Moreover, the flexible- portion 218 may be retrofitted to existing masking plates or spray-guides.

The flexible-portion 218 further includes a plurality of teeth 224 extending from a bottom edge of the flexible-portion 218 towards the surface to be sprayed. In the depicted example, three teeth are shown. The teeth 224, or a portion thereof, are arranged to be proximal to, or engage, the surface to be sprayed. The teeth 224 of the masking plate 200 are generally inclined inwardly, with respect to the vertical, or a longitudinal, axis, towards the spraying region. That is, the teeth 224 of one masking plate 200 extend inwardly towards the opposing masking plate 200, as shown in FIG. 1 . In some embodiments, the angle is 5 degrees to the vertical. In other examples, the flexible-portion 218 may be generally inclined inwardly, with respect to the vertical, or a longitudinal, axis, towards the spraying region. In such examples, the teeth 224 may be coplanar, and thus share the same inclination angle, or may be angled with respect to the flexible-portion 218.

In the depicted embodiment, the teeth 224 are arranged in a regular configuration, that is, each single tooth of the teeth 224 is substantially identical in dimension, arrangement and the like. In this embodiment, the teeth 224 are arranged having a distance between each tooth of 7mm. In use, in this embodiment the teeth 224 may be are arranged to be positioned approximately 0.5mm from a flat surface.

In other examples, the teeth 224 may be irregular, such that each tooth, or a portion of the teeth, may vary in dimension, arrangement or the like. In some examples, there may be provided three teeth 224 disposed centrally along the bottom edge of the flexible-portion 218, having a central tooth that is longer than the teeth flanking the central tooth.

The flexible-portion 218 generally comprises a flexible material, such as a silicone, such that the flexible-portion 218 may contact the surface to be sprayed (i.e. the ground) without being damaged. Further, the flexible-portion 218 may be resiliently deformable, such that the flexible-portion 218 may contact the surface to be sprayed in use, and then return to its original configuration. Moreover, the flexible material allows marking-fluid to continuously drip from the bottom edge of the flexible-portion, that is, the flexible-portion prevents marking-fluid drying thereon. Thus, a better defined edge of a sprayed line may be provided.

Moreover, the teeth 224 may generally comprise a flexible material, such as a silicone, such that the teeth 224 may contact the surface to be sprayed (i.e. the ground) in a similar manner to the flexible-portion 218. In this way, a minimal clearance can be provided between the masking plate 200, at its flexible-portion 218, and the surface, thus providing a well-defined edge of a sprayed line. Moreover, the teeth 224 may be arranged to contact the surface to be sprayed, in use, thereby defining an outer edge or boundary in which the marking-fluid does not cross. The flexible-portion 218 and the teeth 224 may comprise the same or different materials, and may be integral or separate components.

Each masking plate 200 also includes one or more fins 226 that are arranged to guide marking-fluid sprayed from the nozzle 107 towards the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200, particularly the flexible-portion 218, namely the teeth 224. The fins 226 serve to provide a continuous flow of marking-fluid to the flexible-portion 218, namely the teeth 224, thereby substantially mitigating, and even eliminating, the risk that the marking-fluid dries on the flexible-portion 218. In this way, the fins 226 cooperate with the flexible-portion 218, and the teeth 224, to provide a well-defined sprayed line.

Each fin 226 generally extend from an apex proximal, or at, the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200 adjacent the flexible-portion 218, upwardly towards a base proximal, or at, the top edge 204 of the masking plate. Thus, each of the fins 226 may generally be defined as a triangular structure. The fins 226 may be formed as a right-angled triangle.

In the depicted example, a pair of fins 226 is provided. The pair of fins 206 may each be orientated off-axis with respect to the vertical, that is a vertical or longitudinal axis, and thus form an inclination angle. In some embodiments, the inclination angle of a fin may be between 10 degrees to 30 degrees. In some specific embodiments the inclined angle of a fin is 20 degrees. Put another way, each fin may form an angle of between 0 degrees and 90 degrees, excluding 0 and 90 degrees, with respect to the bottom edge of the masking plate 200

Each fin 226 may be opposingly inclined. The first fin and the second fin may be inclined to substantially form a partial funnel shape, for example, an isosceles trapezium having its shorter edge defined by an imaginary line between the apex of each fin 226, that is, proximal to, or at, the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200, and its longer edge defined by an imaginary line between the base of each fin, that is, proximal to, or at, the top edge 204 of the masking plate 200.

Additionally, the masking plate 200 includes a pointer 400 comprising a point 350. In some examples, a pointer 400 may be attached thereto, as described above. In the example shown, the pointer 400 may be detachably mounted to the masking plate 200.

FIGS. 20 to 24 illustrate another example of a masking plate 200. The masking plate 200 of FIGS. 20 to 24 is substantially similar to that described in relation to FIGS. 14 to 19, and so like elements are denoted with like reference numerals. The differences between the masking plates 200 of FIGS. 14 to 19 and the masking plates 200 of FIGS. 20 to 24 are discussed below.

The masking plate 200 in this example does not include fins. Moreover, the masking plate includes seven teeth 224 rather than three teeth. The remaining features of masking plate 200 of FIGS. 20 to 24 are the same as those described in the masking plates 200 of FIGS. 14 to 19.

Further, in some examples, there may be provided seven teeth 224 disposed centrally along the bottom edge of the flexible-portion 218, as illustrated in Figure 24. The teeth 224 may include a central tooth 224a with a first length, two primary teeth 224b flanking the central tooth 224a at each side thereof and each having a second length, two secondary teeth 224c flanking the primary teeth 224b at each side thereof and each having a third length, and two tertiary teeth 224d flanking the secondary teeth 224c at each side thereof and each having a fourth length. The first length may be larger than the second, the third and the fourth lengths. Further, the first length may be greater than the second length, and the second length may be greater than the third length, and the third length may be greater than the fourth length. In other examples, as shown in Figure 24, the first length, the second length, the third length and the fourth length are substantially, or exactly, equal.

Referring to FIGS. 14 to 24, in use, a marking-fluid is introduced proximal the top edge 204 of the masking plate 200. The marking-fluid is continuously directed, by the fins 206 where present, the curved front wall 214 and the rear wall 216, towards the bottom edge 202 of the masking plate 200, particularly towards the flexible-portion 218 and the teeth 224 provided centrally at a lower end of the masking plate 200. The marking-fluid continuously flows from an upper end of each tooth 224 towards a lower end of each tooth 224, and either drips from the lower end of each tooth 224 to the surface to be sprayed, or, as the respective tooth 224 contacts the ground, is brushed onto the surface to be sprayed. It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the above embodiment(s) have been described by way of example only and not in any limitative sense, and that various alterations and modifications are possible without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Various modifications to the detailed designs as described above are possible, for example, variations may exist in shape, size, arrangement, assembly or the like. In specific examples, as will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art, the masking plate may or may not include one or more fins, one or more teeth or the like. In some examples, the masking plate includes one fin, two fins, three fins, four fins or five fins. In other examples, the masking plate includes more than five fins. In some examples, the flexible-portion includes one tooth, two teeth, three teeth, four teeth, five teeth, six teeth, seven teeth, eight teeth, nine teeth or ten teeth. In other examples, the flexible-portion includes more than ten teeth. In other examples, the flexible-portion includes no teeth. The teeth may be substantially, or exactly, equal in size, dimension, geometry, shape or the like. Alternatively, the teeth may vary in size, dimension, geometry, shape or the lie.