Patent application title: Variably proportional mixing device
James A. Owens (Hinsdale, IL, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65B104FI
Class name: Fluent material handling, with receiver or receiver coacting means processes plural materials
Publication date: 2009-10-22
Patent application number: 20090260708
A variably proportional mixing device is provided for automatically mixing
two fluids stored in separate containers in various ratios without
measuring, comprising a self-venting spout that attaches to an existing
gas can or other container for storing a fluid having a threaded opening
therein. The spout doses gas with oil at the specific ratio required by
an engine manufacturer and is easily adjusted to accommodate a plurality
of other ratios. To accomplish this, a constant volume of gasoline is
dosed with an amount of oil that is adjusted by the user. This adjustment
mechanism comprises a wheel valve having various-sized orifices. Twisting
the valve using a knob or key then provides the correct volumetric area
for the oil to flow through. Markings will be visible on the valve,
through a window, that correspond to a plurality of different ratios,
typically ranging from 16:1 to 50:1. The dosing valve can also be
shut-off completely to allow pure gasoline through the spout, such as for
4 cycle engines. A spring-loaded button or trigger mechanism is
incorporated to allow for a positive closure when not in use. Static
mixing elements are added at the end of the spout to ensure a thorough
mixture of oil and gas.
1. A device for automatically mixing a first and a second fluid in various
predetermined ratios without measuring, the first fluid being stored in a
first container of the type having a screw-cap opening, said device
comprising: means for attaching said device to said first container; a
second container for receiving and retaining said second fluid; means for
selecting one of said predetermined ratios; means for controlling the
flow of fluid from said second container such that the ratio of the flow
of fluid from said first container to the flow of fluid from said second
container corresponds to said selected predetermined ratio; and means for
mixing the fluids from said first and second containers.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said means for attaching said device to said first container comprises an adaptor ring.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein said second container comprises an oil reservoir having a removable screw cap.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein said means for selecting one of said predetermined ratios comprises a ratio adjustment knob.
5. The device of claim 4, wherein said means for controlling the flow of fluid from said first container comprises an oil regulator.
6. The device of claim 5, wherein said oil regulator includes a plurality of orifices selectable by rotating said oil regulator using said ratio adjustment knob.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein said oil regulator is housed within a water-tight oil regulator housing.
8. The device of claim 7, wherein said second container is attached to said oil regulator housing by means of oil connectors.
9. The device of claim 8, further including a mixing chamber within which said first and second fluids are allowed to mix.
10. The device of claim 9, further including a flapper valve and shutoff button connected to said mixing chamber to prevent said first and second fluids from escaping when said shutoff button is released.
11. The device of claim 10, further including a return spring attached to said shutoff button to bias said shutoff button in a closed position.
12. The device of claim 11, wherein said oil ratio cylinder includes venting means.
13. The device of claim 12, further including at least one venting tube.
14. The device of claim 13, wherein said means for mixing the fluids from said first and second containers further comprises a nozzle.
15. The device of claim 15, wherein said means for mixing the fluids from said first and second containers further includes at least one static mixer disposed within said nozzle.
16. A method for automatically mixing a first and a second fluid in various predetermined ratios without measuring, the first fluid being stored in a first container of the type having a screw-cap opening, said method comprising: providing a device for automatically mixing said fluids, said device comprising: means for attaching said device to said first container; a second container for receiving and retaining said second fluid; means for selecting one of said predetermined ratios; means for controlling the flow of fluid from said second container such that the ratio of the flow of fluid from said first container to the flow of fluid from said second container corresponds to said selected predetermined ratio; and means for mixing the fluids from said first and second containers pouring said first fluid into said first container; pouring said second fluid into said second container; attaching said device to said first container; selecting a predetermined ratio; limiting the flow of said second fluid from said second container such that the ratio of fluid from said first container to fluid from said second container corresponds to said selected predetermined ratio; introducing said flow of fluid from said first container to said limited flow of fluid from said second container; and mixing said fluid from said first container with said fluid from said second container.
17. A mixing apparatus for mixing and dispensing two fluids in an operator selectable ratio, said apparatus comprisinga second fluid reservoir for receiving, storing and dispensing the second fluid;a screw cap for coupling said apparatus to a conventional dispenser container, said conventional container capable of receiving, storing and dispensing a first fluid;a mixing housing comprising an oil spool plunger having multiple seals and oil ports;said plunger selectably operable into either a flow state or closed state;said mixing housing in fluid communication with both first and second fluid reservoirs when said plunger is in an open state;a dispensing nozzle in fluid communication with said mixing housing;wherein one of said oil ports is selected to provide an oil flow to said mixing housing;and said oil port provides a predetermined flow of oil so that a predetermined mixture of each fluid is dispensed from said nozzle.
18. A mixing apparatus as in claim 17 and further comprising:an internal cavity in said plunger housing with fluid communication with each and every oil port in said housing and wherein said cavity exits from said plunger in a downward manner.
19. A mixing apparatus as in claim 18 and further comprising:wherein said mixing housing comprises multiple ports for fluid communication including venting for each fluid reservoir.
This is a continuation in part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/445,355 filed on Jun. 1, 2006 in the name of James Owens for "Variably Proportional Mixing Container".
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to a variably proportional mixing device, and, more particularly, to such a variably proportional mixing device having two separate reservoirs for fluids such as oil and gasoline and a variably adjustable valve system that allows for the simultaneous pouring and mixing of the two fluids in a wide selection of ratios within the device or the spout thereof.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Systems for mixing two components in a predetermined ratio have long been known in the industry. A particular application of such systems relates to the admixture of two fluids, such as gasoline and oil, which mixture is necessary for the smooth operation of certain types of engines, such as two-cycle engines. Such engines are of the type that are frequently used for household equipment such as mowers, trimmers, blowers, edgers, snow blowers and chainsaws, as well as for recreational purposes, such as motorcycles, jet skis, snowmobiles and boats. Each type of engine may require a different ratio of gasoline to oil, which ratio must be maintained in order to prevent any damage from occurring to the engine and to extend the lifetime of such engine as long as possible.
In the typical system for mixing the fluids, a container is provided for each of the fluids, and a separate container may or may not be provided for the mixture. Since different engines require a different ratio of mixtures, the proper ratio must first be determined, and the appropriate amount of each fluid must then be measured out. Each fluid is then added to the separate container (or one fluid may be added to the other fluid's container) and the two fluids mixed together, such as by shaking. The mixed fluid may then be used in a particular application that requires such a fixed ratio.
The problems with such a system are numerous. First and foremost, only one pre-determined ratio may be mixed in the container at one time. Since many households have more than one two-cycle engine, multiple mixing containers are required to satisfy the various ratios demanded by these different engines. This system also tends to be unreliable, since it requires accurate measuring of each of the separate fluids. This system is also complicated and requires several different containers for mixing just one ratio. Furthermore, regardless of how much of the combined fluid is necessary, this system requires that a fixed amount of each fluid be used (e.g., a gallon of gasoline), often resulting in a tremendous amount of waste.
There are currently a number of such devices currently on the market, including the Gas Canplastic, the 2-Mixer and the Accu-Mix.
Examples of systems for mixing oil and gas in a predetermined ratio are also disclosed in the patent prior art. For example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,250,154, which issued to Cheresko on Jun. 26, 2001 for "Oil and gas metering and measuring device," teaches a fluid metering and measuring device having a filling chamber with a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet with a plunger disposed within the chamber to create a vacuum in the chamber to cause a fluid, e.g. oil to flow into chamber and gradations to indicate the amount of oil drawn into the chamber to ensure proper fluid ratios.
The use of separate chambers for the fluids and a mixing zone is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,079,871, which issued to Jonas, et al. on Jun. 27, 2000 for "Method and device for combining at least two fluid media," which teaches a device having first and second fluid chambers connected to a flow region and mixing zone and at least one inlet opening for diverting part of the first fluid medium from the first chamber into the second chamber wherein the second chamber is provided with at least one opening into the flow region for discharging the second fluid medium displaced into it by the first fluid medium.
Other examples of containers for use in mixing two fluids, such as oil and gas, include U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,833, which issued to Huddleston, et al. on Apr. 11, 1989 for "Measuring, metering, and mixing can for gasoline and oil" discloses a measuring, metering, and mixing can including gasoline and containers and a plunger-cylinder metering unit for withdrawing a selected amount of oil from the oil container and injecting the same into the gasoline can for producing an oil-gasoline mixture. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 4,069,835, which issued to Stadler on Jan. 24, 1978 for "Fuel and lubricant mixer" discloses a device to proportionately mix fuel and lubricant having a cylindrical lubricant container, a columnar fuel delivery inlet which perpendicularly angles to merge with and to feed fuel into a conical funneled mixing chamber immediately below the base of the lubricant supply container, and an axially secured butterfly lever in the line of fuel inlet travel which is depressed by passing fuel to thereby activates a spring-loaded piston valve which allows a proportionate flow of lubricant to the mixing chamber.
Much of the prior art is not necessarily directed to the mixture of oil and gasoline, although it is clearly the intention that such systems and methods may be so used. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,406,995, which issued to Gantzer on Apr. 18, 1995 for "Container assembly for mixing liquids in predetermined ratios" discloses a container assembly having an outer container and at least one inner container whose internal volume has the same ratio to the remaining internal volume of the outer container as the desired ratio of liquids to be mixed wherein an orifice in the inner container establishes communication between the lower end portions of the two containers so that a previously mixed liquid mixture of a predetermined ratio resides at the same level in both containers. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,373, which issued to Penn, et al. on Jul. 11, 1989 for "Apparatus for proportioning or for proportioning and mixing plural different fluid compositions" discloses an apparatus for proportioning and dispensing at least two different fluids including a cartridge having separate chambers for containing separate fluid compositions to be proportioned and dispensed and a valve structure for controlling the flow of the fluid compositions through passageways, for preventing run-on of the fluid compositions through the respective passageways due to decompression of the fluid compositions upon removal of an extruding pressure, and thereby for preventing dispensing of the fluid compositions through the respective passageways in proportional ratios other than a desired predetermined proportional ratio.
A control valve particularly suitable for mechanical refrigeration systems is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,131,128, which issued to Gotzenberger on Dec. 26, 1978 for "Control Valve." This patent discloses a spherical valve operable by turning the valve body about an axis perpendicular to the direction of the fluid flow.
It should be appreciated that the mixing systems need not be limited to fluids. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,995,540, which issued to Colin, et al. on Feb. 26, 1991 for "Unit dosage dispenser for dental impression materials" discloses an apparatus for dispensing, in sequence, a unit dosage of several elastomeric impression materials of different viscosities so as to permit a dental impression to be taken under aseptic conditions in the preparation of a dental restoration.
Numerous other examples of mixing systems and methods are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,736,536, which issued to Jacobs, et al. on May 18, 2004 for "Apparatus and method for measuring, mixing, and dispensing fluids"; U.S. Pat. No. 6,022,134, which issued to Andrews on Feb. 8, 2000 for "Mixing and dispensing container"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,662,249, which issued to Grosse on Sep. 2, 1997 for "All in one measure/funnel/pour/mix/shake container"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,447,245, which issued to Merhar on Sep. 5, 1995 for "Graduated proportioning and mixing container"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,375,742, which issued to Mowry on Dec. 27, 1994 for "Gas-oil mixture aid"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,295,610, which issued to Levison on Mar. 22, 1994 for "Mixing can having a hinged cap with an integral measuring cup"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,123,460, which issued to Reed on Jun. 23, 1992 for "Multi-purpose container system for loading liquid dispenser"; U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,016, which issued to Waring on Apr. 28, 1992 for "Fuel container system"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,860,927, which issued to Grinde on Aug. 29, 1989 for "Blow molded two-compartment container"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,779,993, which issued to Toole on Oct. 25, 1988 for "Oil and gasoline mixing device"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,721,393, which issued to Kwast on Jan. 26, 1988 for "Ratio Mix container"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,777, which issued to Soler on May 20, 1986 for "Mixing apparatus"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,480,470, which issued to Tussing on Nov. 6, 1984 for "Gas cap"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,294,273, which issued to Isberg on Oct. 13, 1981 for "Fluid proportioning device"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,292,846, which issued to Barnett on Oct. 6, 1981 for "Liquid proportioning container"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,185,653, which issued to Armstrong, et al. on Jan. 29, 1980 for "Liquid metering and mixing device"; U.S. Pat. No. 4,079,629, which issued to Hope on Mar. 21, 1978 "Oil to gasoline ratio measuring device"; U.S. Pat. No. 3,948,105, which issued to Johnson, Jr. on Apr. 6, 1976 for "Proportioning and mixing graduate"; U.S. Pat. No. 3,720,231, which issued to Ajero on Mar. 13, 1973 for "Add-on Oil-Fuel Metering Device"; U.S. Pat. No. 3,658,204, which issued to Bottger on Apr. 25, 1972 for "Set of Containers for Two Liquids"; U.S. Pat. No. 3,581,940, which issued to Cella on Jun. 1, 1971 for "Multiple compartment dispenser container with check valves"; and U.S. Pat. No. 2,986,162, which issued to Spexarth on May 30, 1961 for "Apparatus for providing a proper mixture of fuel and oil for an internal combustion engine."
As will be appreciated, none of these prior patents even address the problem faced by applicant let alone offer the solution proposed herein.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Against the foregoing background, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a variably proportional mixing device including a single pre-mix device for combining and mixing two fluids in various ratios.
It is another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that is easy to operate.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that allows for mixtures in various ratios to be poured without having to measure each component.
It is another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that is consistent and reliable.
It is but another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that combines and mixes the two fluids simultaneously.
It is yet still another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that allows ratios to be changed instantly without having to exchange parts.
It is but another object of the present invention to provide such a variably proportional mixing device that may be globally accepted, regardless of the measuring units used for each component.
To the accomplishments of the foregoing objects and advantages, the present invention, in brief summary, comprises a variably proportional mixing device for automatically mixing two fluids stored in separate containers. The device comprises a self-venting spout that attaches to a gas can or other container for storing a fluid having a threaded opening therein. The spout doses gas with oil at the specific ratio required by an engine manufacturer and is easily adjusted to accommodate a plurality of other ratios. To accomplish this, a constant volume of gasoline is dosed with an amount of oil that is adjusted by the user. This adjustment mechanism comprises a wheel valve having various-sized orifices. Twisting the valve using a knob or key then provides the correct volumetric area for the oil to flow through. Markings will be visible on the valve, through a window, that correspond to a plurality of different ratios, typically ranging from 16:1 to 50:1. The dosing valve can also be shut-off completely to allow pure gasoline through the spout, such as for 4 cycle engines. A spring-loaded button or trigger mechanism is incorporated to allow for a positive closure when not in use. Static mixing elements are added at the end of the spout to ensure a thorough mixture of oil and gas. Means to allow users to record their specific ratios for easy reference may also be incorporated. A sight-glass is also provided to view availability of oil.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The foregoing and still other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the detailed explanation of the preferred embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a rear side elevated perspective view of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a front side elevated perspective exploded view of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a front side elevated cross-sectional view of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the oil spool of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention;
FIG. 5A is side elevation view of the oil spool of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention in an open position; and
FIG. 5BA is side elevation view of the oil spool of the variably proportional mixing device of the present invention in a closed position.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment showing the variable ratio fluid mixing device 18.
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the preferred embodiment, a selectable variable fluid mixing device 18. The device 18 screws onto a standard gas can (not shown) by means of screw cap 20 and adapter ring 22. Gasoline or another primary fluid flows into the device through the adapter ring 22. The oil or secondary fluid to be mixed in a selectable variable ratio with the primary fluid or gasoline is stored in the oil reservoir 24. The oil reservoir 24 is filled with the oil before the device 18 is attached to the gas can and sealed with reservoir plug 26. An oil reservoir cap 28 seals the front of the oil reservoir 24 and also provides various conduits for gasoline fluid flow forward to the mixing assembly 30, oil fluid flow, a gasoline venting line, and an oil venting line.
The mixing assembly 30 houses the components which control the flow rates of the two fluids to achieve the desired ratio of mixing. Once the fluid flow rates have been selected, the fluids flow together into the mix chamber 32 which is enclosed in a housing nose piece 34. A nozzle cap 36 is flexibly attached so to close the open nozzle 38 when the device 18 is not in use. This prevents unwanted leakage of the fuel mixture, or odor/evaporation, as well as protects the open nozzle 38 from accumulating unwanted dirt or debris.
The activator handle 40 is secured to the oil spool 42 by a rocker pin 44 such that when downward pressure is applied to the handle end 46, an upward movement is transmitted to the oil spool 42. A retaining spring 48 returns the oil spool 42 downward to its closed position once the manual pressure is released from the activator handle end 46.
To select one of the many ratios of fluid mixture provide by the device 18, a ratio dial 50 is rotated to a desired position. The dial 50 is mechanically coupled to the oil spool 42 so that when the dial 50 is rotated, the oil spool 42 rotates as well. As will be explained further below, the spool has different sized flow ports which constrict or allow the oil flow to achieve the desired fluid ratio mixture between the gasoline and oil.
FIG. 3 is an cross sectional view of the preferred embodiment, a selectable variable fluid mixing device 18. In this view the housing nose piece 34 is in position against the mixing assembly 30. The nozzle cap 36 is shown in its two main positions, opened 36A and closed 36B.
A gas vent line 52 is seen extending to the rights side of the figure which is the air space located in the gas can. In this manner as gas flows from the container, vacuum pressure will be relieved by outside air flowing from the opposite end of the gas vent line which terminates in the mixing housing.
The rear housing 54 provides structure and enclosure for the oil reservoir 24 and gas line 56. The gas line 56 is a plastic conduit that has an opening to receive gasoline near the end of the rear housing 54 and terminates with its other end at the mixing assembly 30.
A retaining screw 58 screws into the rocker pin 44 from below securing the oil spool 42 to the receiving hole 60 in the activator handle 40.
The oil spool 42 is shown in its closed position whereby the activator handle 40 has been released and the return spring 48 has pushed the oil spool 42 down into its closed position. The oil ports 62 can be seen in the cross section view. When the oil spool 42 is in the closed position, its lower sidewalls and rubber seals close all ports entering and exiting the mixing assembly, thus preventing flow of gas, oil or air as will be described further below.
The activator handle 40 has a built in fulcrum 64 for pivoting when manual pressure is applied to the handle end 46. This built in fulcrum 64 is part of a lever design so that an operator can easily over the return force of the spring 48.
FIG. 4 is an perspective view of the oil spool 42. The spool 42 contains multiple seals which create and separate different fluid flow spaces. The spool 42 comprises a shaft portion 76 and a plunger portion 74. A first circular ring seal 66 encircles the spool 42 at the top of the plunger housing 74. A second ring seal 68 encircles the spool 42 just below the first seal 66. A third ring seal 70 encircles the spool 42 just below the second ring seal 68. A circular band seal 72 covers the bottom of the plunger housing.
A shaft 76 rises from the housing towards the ratio dial 50. A dual keyway 64 is provided on the shaft 76 so as to rotatably engage the ratio dial 50. As previously discussed when the ratio dial 50 is turned.
A series of oil ports 62 are located between the second and third ring seals 68, 70. The ports vary in their circular opening so that each of them provides a different oil flow from the reservoir to the mixing chamber 32.
FIGS. 5A and 5B show the oil spool 42 it its operational (fluid flow) and closed positions respectively. It is the movement of the spool 42 in the vertical or downward direction that switches between these two states, as commanded by the activator handle 40 and return spring 48.
In FIG. 5A, the spool 42 has been moved in an upward directions so that a selected oil port 80 is now aligned with the Oil In port. The oil flows through the selected oil port 80 at a predetermined rate given the circular size of the selected port 80 into the interior of the oil spool 42. All of the ports are in fluid communication with an interior cavity that exits through the bottom of the spool 42. Thus the oil flows into the cavity and then descends down into the gasoline fluid flow below the spool 42. The gasoline fluid flow has commenced as the spool ascended and the sealing band 72 allowed gasoline to flow into the mixing housing through a gasoline input port. The oil and gas fluids now comingling below the spool 42 exit the mixing housing through the mix out port.
It can be seen that the gasoline fluid flow will remain relatively constant as the Gas In port dimension is never varied. However the amount of oil to be mixed is selected by rotating a different oil port into alignment with the Oil In port and thus allowing differing oil flow rates. In this manner, predetermined oil/gasoline ratios can be achieved.
Air flow for venting is controlled by this same mechanism.
It should be understood that the oil flow is from the Oil In port into the mixing housing, through the selected oil port 80, into the internal cavity of the oil spool 42, then downward and exiting from the oil spool 42 and entering into the gas fluid stream below where the oil and gas first begin to mix, then exiting the mixing housing to the left towards the dispensing nozzle.
In FIG. 5B the oil spool 42 is shown in its closed position. The band seal 72 has sealed the Gas In port and Mix Out ports simultaneously. The oil port 80 has now been lowered and is no longer in fluid communication with the Oil In port. The Oil In port is now sealed by first circular ring seal 66 and second circular ring seal 68 as the oil can no longer flow into the interior cavity of the plunger housing 74.
Having thus described the invention with particular reference to the preferred forms thereof, it will be obvious that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
Patent applications by James A. Owens, Hinsdale, IL US
Patent applications in class Plural materials
Patent applications in all subclasses Plural materials